The Fast Emergence Of “Internet Artists” in South Africa

Words by Benny “Benzo” Kobeli

The other night I was at home playing FIFA like any other 19-year-old teenage boy does and an idea came to mind so I text Megan telling her all about it and being the wonderful soul she is, she backed the idea and allowed me to use her platform to make the idea come to life. I told her I think it’s time everyone knew about the fast-growing scene of internet artists in South Africa, what it’s all about and where it’s going.

Top left: The Big Hash; Top right: Acid; Bottom left: Gator; Bottom right: PatricKxxLee

I am someone who has always been passionate about hip-hop and music as a whole so whatever new trend emerges I study it because as a creative myself it’s important to know what’s hot and what’s not. The South African hip-hop scene has seen immense growth over the past few years, which is admirable considering South Africa is a dance nation. One thing that has also seen immense growth within the hip-hop culture in South Africa is the emergence of internet artists, also known as “SoundCloud rappers”, here in South Africa we’ve given it our own term, we call them “The New Wave”. This movement consists of the artists, independent clothing brands, promoters, influencers, graphic designers, tattoo artists, videographers, photographers, independent PR and marketing companies and of course, the people who stream the music and rage at the events, the supporters, who are normally deemed as “cool kids”.

Lead by artists like J-Molley, Gator, PatricKxxLee, and The Big Hash, who have all seen success in the mainstream. Their success on the internet has seen them get features and co-signs from the country’s biggest artists, bookings at the biggest festivals in the country and even partnerships with big brands.

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Producers have also been an important part of this growth because without them the sound that has given these artists their current success wouldn’t exist. The sound is mostly made up of 808 slides, quick hi-hats and auto-tune, influenced by producers and artists like Eestbound, Wondagurl, South Side and Travis Scott to name a few, notable producers who have mastered the sound and given birth to our favorite “New Wave’ hits are 808x, Elohim, Elizee, Clxrity, Neese and Wav. Gang, there are many more but these are the ones I could think of from the top of my head.

Many people have been instrumental in the rise of this sub-genre, stables such as TreeHouse birthed some of the biggest artists within “The New Wave”. The growth is also weird considering how expensive data is in South Africa and also because not everyone has access to wifi, so it speaks volumes in terms of the amount of faith that is invested in this movement.

This movement is destined for greatness, we are definitely bound to see more artists breaking into the mainstream and becoming household names.

A compiled a Soundcloud playlist of some of the notable hits that have been given to us by “The New Wave”. Check the link below and enjoy.