Civicism and Hip Hop


No pain, no gain/ Be true to your culture/ Be aware of the vultures/ Remember where you come from/ Representing MP to the fullest/ I show you how to do this/ I came into the industry with something/ I ain’t going back home with nothing.

Rappers from different parts of the country sacrifice the comforts of being a ‘hometown’ based artist, for the centre of the country’s music industry which is Joburg or J-Sec for those who grew up in the culture. J-Sec is, in most cases the only destination high school rappers upon completing their matric, without any further consideration, choose to continue their studies in the institutions there.

High school rappers are to the culture what garage bands are to the DNA of Rock music – they are the backbone of underground hip hop (where the endangered bars and rap battles still exist amidst the possibility of an early extinction).

The indecision of choosing J-Sec as their study destination, is not limited to the educational opportunities and the standard of institutions in the city.

The immediate plan for the now high school graduate and mafikizolo in J-Sec is simple: while in the city, study during the day – in between classes and night, go about the city making moves and rubbing shoulders with the people that will advance the rap career.

Usually the books suffer, after getting relegated to being second to building the rap career as the number one priority, (but that is a different topic on its own).

Now the debate begins when conforming and accepting the new city as home seem more sound than representing your own hood. When rappers conform to standards and falling in love with the scene in the new city, they tend to forget where they came from and the culture in their hometowns, altogether.

Building a career in Joburg is the quickest way to hit mainstream, getting airtime during peak hours on radio, the box, and most importantly boosting a large public interest. Depending on the music you are doing is that of corporate culture and commercial radio standards, if not your fan base is non-existent HERE.

Rappers in most parts of the country are usually frustrated than those who ply their trade in Joburg.

Because those active in Joburg are afforded many platforms, resources, and connections than those who stay pushin. in the hoods, in most cases, their music don’t get the appreciation and reach as reflected to the hustle they put in.

Why am I talking about the importance of reppin. your hood?

No one can ever be too good for home, the frost drives a pig back home!!!

If we borrow a leaf from American greats in OutKast and many other legends, reppin. their hoods even if the tape is made in New York or LA, is standard and first concern. They do not forsake their hometowns.

They bring and incorporate elements from the culture in their hoods and help evolve the whole fraternity in these new found cities, to make the best of their situation. That’s because the music they put out were quite adept at storytelling of their experience, social issues that made up their environment and framed their wit.

Thanks to their civicism and indigenous tactics, no list of the greatest rap songs of all time, is complete without songs that are thankful, reminiscing, dedicated or about the rapper’s hometowns.

2Pac – California Love, Wiz Khalifa – Black and Yellow, Will Smith – Miami, NWA – Straight Outta Compton and Jay Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind, are amongst the biggest chat topping anthems one can think of. Let us bring it back to SA.

In every other song, K.O. (caracara and Teargas fame) will never leave out the fact that he is from Mpumalanga or how he is doing it for his home province and town. AB Crazy (whom this article’s introduction opened with lyrics from his song Man of The Moment) is one of the rappers that home defines their careers and feed their lyricism.

I’ve been staying away from Cap City – Pretoria (my hood) for the past few years. I find myself making an effort wherever I am in the country to be part of the trends and also familiarizing myself with all the evolving dynamics of the culture in my hood.

These I do, because my foundation in what I do was constructed there, and I’m indebted to the city for this.

Wherever my path takes me next, heart-warming and widespread support is the order of every trip, but all that support is nothing comparable to the one I get in Cap City.

And don’t get me wrong, the support I get in other cities is bigger in magnitude to that I get in Pretoria.

Why does little support in Cap City become more meaningful than that found elsewhere?

Well my answer to that is, people in Cap City saw the raw talent in me and supported me regardless, meaning the influence on them was a sure thing, before the talent was polished.

Support found elsewhere in some angle, can be seen as fame.

Fame create an ego not greatness.

People are fickle towards artists, as long as the association between the artist and them have no background. They easily jump ship to the next act they consider the heat of the moment.

When you have too much to lose, it is always best to have a firm foundation and composure to fall back on.

Stay true instead of being a fame fool, fame is short-lived and when it is rough out in the wild you are forced to crawl back.

Rather define yourself at your home, so when it is rough, you walk back not crawl; That way, you don’t have to start all over, you are already defined at home.

Away from home they look at your clothes. At home they look at what is under them.

Social Media

Tania Moeng, editor of The NashMag and hip hop writer, posted a very definite status update on Facebook, a week ago.


To no surprise, the first comment was, “I’m one of them”, and all the comments to follow confirmed her account as it is; Even a “F*ck Capcity!” bomb was dropped during the debate on the status update. Two comments however, caught my attention and licensed this article.



KB Makabaza’s latest single “Live and Let Live” featuring Bonzito, dispute the struggles he faced in his hood, he echoes how he stays true to the values he was taught through it all in his hood in his journey to live his dream.

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