After the dread of 2020, I think it's safe to say we all hoped and wished that 2021 would come with some much-needed respite.
While things haven't quite been smooth sailing on several fronts, we've at least been blessed with the emergence of some serious local talent. We look back at the year to uncover five of our favourite breakthrough talents:
There’s really no other place to start than with Uncle Waffles. In just two short months, she’s elevated from being a little known up-and-comer trying to find her feet in the entertainment industry, to one of the most on-demand female DJs on the continent.
Since her viral video caught the attention of the entire country, and some Canadian rapper named Drake, she’s gained over 300K followers across Twitter and Instagram and become one of the most recognisable female DJs around.
Her December is already looking busier than most of the country's biggest artists, and she's already toured Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania. Catch her if you can!
Blxckie’s rise to superstardom really began during the first hard lockdown of 2020. That was when he and frequent collaborator Lucasraps started documenting their experience stuck indoors together on Instagram. Then they began releasing music for free on SoundCloud at a frantic pace.
By then, Blxckie was gaining real traction online. But it wasn’t until “Big Time Shlappa” dropped last November that he started to go mainstream. The Durban-born and raised MC rode that momentum by releasing the anthemic “Ye X4” featuring Nasty C before he unleashed his brilliant debut album, B4Now. Now he’s a major star with continental co-signs from the likes of Ckay, Davido and Oxlade.
At some point this year, “Bopha” was the most talked about song in the country. Even before it was officially released, the single by Mello & Sleazy and Felo Le Tee (featuring Young Stunna and DJ Maphorisa) was the most trusted party starter at parties across the country.
This was how most people got introduced to Kabza De Small's latest protégé, Young Stunna. He went on to release one of the year’s most impressive projects, Natumato in October, proving that he wasn't just a one hit wonder but a serious talent. The project’s lead single, “Adiwele” has a real shot at being the song of the summer.
Yes, in the intro we said “serious” talent, and Slik Talk doesn’t exactly fit the bill. But the fact that he’s on the verge of securing a lucrative boxing match with Cassper Nyovest, one of the biggest names in SA entertainment, is at least evidence of some talent. The fast-talking YouTuber’s year couldn't be going any better.
Having largely flown under the radar as an annoying hater constantly criticising Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest and other celebrities he didn’t like, Slik Talk’s break came when MacG gave him a platform to share some of his thoughts a month ago. Slik Talk ran with it and used the platform as an audition of sorts. That appearance earned him major clout and his YouTube views have since gone up tenfold.
Another supreme talent who made the most of the lockdown, dancer Khadija Sibiya has been consistently putting out quality dance videos for over a year now. Still only in her early twenties, she's already performed as a dancer for the likes of Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest, Busiswa, Boity and Nasty C.
She’s also a regular dancer at venues across the country, including Konka and Rockets. Her recent bridesmaid dance video where she performed Felo Le Tee and Myztro’s infectious 66 challenge with her friends is sitting on 1.4 million views on YouTube in just one month.
This article was first published in Sunday Insider, Dec 19, 2021