First we would like to thank Hype Magazine for giving up this exclusive, even though they have a platform, which is their website, that they could have used. Now known as "The List", the Hype Magazine Top 50 MCs list have got so many people talking on social networks with different views.
"The List" is part of Hype Magazine's celebration of their 50th issue, which is now available in stores. We spoke to Hype Magazine's Fred Kayembe to explain how the list was compiled. He sent us this lengthy text:
"I'm not going to beat around the bush and try be diplomatic. We have never had this much online interest in the mag before, you know why? Because most people who have had something to say about this list have not read more than two words in the magazine in years.
Firstly, people have the list misconstrued. If you bought this issue of the magazine, you will know that it is centered around reliving the journey of HYPE from its inception until now. For example, as soon as you open the magazine there is a collage of every single cover in chronological order. What is meant by this is, the list is NOT meant to be SA's CURRENT top 50 MCs list, but a list of 50 MCs who were the most impactful to the HYPE market in their respective time during HYPE's existence. By looking at all the covers and when they were released, one witnesses the evolution of how the game has changed over the years. Are people even aware that once upon a time Proverb was SA's biggest rapper? Or that when POC came out they were compared to NWA in South Africa and eventually banned by the SA government because of their anti-apartheid lyrics? The list considers the overall impact of the MC in their time, as opposed to just lyrics and singles and that's why an AKA can sit a few positions away from a Zubz - no one can deny either of their lasting impact on the entire industry. If one's musical knowledge does not extend beyond their personal taste or recent music, one will not be able to understand the impact that a Selwyn, Skwatta Kamp or Golden Shovel, for instance, has had on the rap game in their time.
Secondly, again, people who have never seen HYPE as an authority in rap music or hip-hop in general are now suddenly concerned with Hype's opinion. Why? I GUARANTEE you that the majority of people pushing this sensationalism are not supporters of HYPE, cos if they were, they would know that over a period of more than two months, we compiled this info through many a poll on the HYPE site and Twitter and Facebook pages. People were asked who the best local MC ever is (with lyrics, accomplishments and general IMPACT on the SA people, all considered) and that is a big way of how the list came to be in existence. Most people are shocked by this because they are not Hype readers, have never bothered to visit the site or taken interest in voting or SA music beyond what they think is dope. I'll even admit that had this been a personal list of mine, quite a few things would be different. But like in a democratic government, if you do not vote for representation, how are you going to complain about the party who won the election? Essentially, if are mad about this it's because you feel misrepresented by the people on this list, right? I am not at all surprised about the reaction of all this because through this outcome, it has exposed the apathy of our people towards local music, until something bad happens. Then every Tom, Dick and Harry cares. We all believed that SA should've won Big Brother last season, so why didn't we vote? So and so should've won Idols last year, so why didn't we vote? Personally, my only hope is that people will see beyond the twitter jokes (which I had a very good laugh to, by the way - shout out to Lemonka, Sizwe and Trevor Gumbi) and really start to question their individual roles in building the industry."
Fred had a lot more to say, but he wanted to end of like this: "It just sucks that it realisation had to come at the expense of some artists, but I know that they know that the entire industry needs more support".
The debate will continue tomorrow on YFM's Full Clip with Sizwe Dhlomo and Siya Ngwekazi. Interesting debate. If you can, get yourself a copy of the magazine so you can join in on the debate. Don't try comment if you don't have the mag.
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