And while many of SA’s biggest stars—from Cassper Nyovest and Gigi Lamayne to Fifi Cooper, Stilo Magolide, Emtee, Anatii and Duncan are all 25 or under—you already knew that. This list is something different. From Cape Town’s”boom bap” emcees, Joburg’s trappers, to Durban’s innovators and the rest, these are the best of South Africa’s next generation of hip-hop.
10. Espacio Dios
Espacio Dios is mysterious. So is his music. This 17-year-old from the Northwest province raps and croons over spacey pads and filtered drums–his music drips of emotion–think along the lines of Drake and pre-popstar The Weeknd. Reverbs and echoes on his vocals add to the heavenly feel of his music–he is a craftsman who understand his abilities and sound well. Espacio is relatively new, but he’s raking SoundCloud plays by the dozens. His latest EP, Backseat Galaxy, is tied by a monolithic production style, and personal stories in the lyrics.