The rise of Durban Hip Hop

Words by Fred Kayembe

When you’re from a city that is popularly known for its bunny chows, plush beaches, beautiful women and a lavish annual horseracing event that no-one attends for the horse racing, it’s easy for your attempts to blow-up to be eclipsed by all of the city’s generous attributes. Admit it, three years ago when someone mentioned Durban you couldn’t help but let your imagination wander off to a warm, placid utopia. The last thing you thought of was music, and when you did, the experience involved two highly zealous chubby guys and a skinny dude (R.I.P Mashesha) on stage hypnotizing the crowd with amazing, high-energy house music.


We’ve never been mad at that. But what that did was sell the hip hop community there short of its awesome dynamic. And the surge of talented producers, fierce emcees, buck krumpers, skilled poppers & lockers, vocalists and visual artists were not being represented to the world. They were being told they had to move to the city of gold to ‘make it.’ And now that’s all changed monumentally and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

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