June 16, 2024


Buzz The Music

the mounting white South African rap star who embraced black hip-hop culture

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Soaring 28-year-outdated South African dancer and rapper Costa Titch (born Costa Tsobanoglou) died soon after collapsing on stage on 11 March whilst executing in Johannesburg.

Costa Titch entered the enjoyment earth as a dancer with Cassper Nyovest, a different South African hip-hop mega star, ahead of striving his luck as a rapper, typically dabbling in the country’s amapiano dance music genre. He had a large hit with his monitor Huge Flexa and was destined to glow brilliant on the country’s new music scene.


Remaining white, Nelspruit-born Costa Titch introduced new colour and a unique flavour to the songs scene with his use of African languages, earnest experiments in cultural subversion and elaborate urban dance routines that challenged the “white gentlemen can’t dance” myth.

There are other explanations why Costa Titch’s position in the country’s music scene can be considered as both polarising or unifying – dependent on one’s place of perspective.

As a white man embracing African hip-hop tradition, Costa Titch was a symbol of South Africa’s rainbow nation aspirations – a time period coined by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe various ethnic teams dwelling and doing work alongside one another and shifting on from apartheid’s brutal earlier.

Senegalese-American mega-star Akon considered that Costa Titch was destined for even bigger issues and could be a match-altering artist. The young singer experienced lately signed with Akon’s label, Konvict Kulture. His demise is a further blow to a scene reeling right after various significant-profile fatalities. The most latest was AKA (Kiernan Forbes), the hip-hop star with whom he collaborated numerous instances.

Go through additional:
AKA: slain South African rapper was a once-in-a-era pop lifestyle sensation

Hip-hop fatalities

High profile deaths inside the hip-hop group around the past couple of yrs have provided HHP, Prokid, Flabba, Riky Rick, DJ Dimplez, DJ Citi Lyts, and most lately AKA. Some, like HHP and Riky Rick, took their own life. Other folks were being murdered – and, although these forms of homicides have not arrived at the gory amounts of the US rap scene, they are turning into a disturbing development.

The South African hip-hop scene achieved mainstream acceptance only a several decades ago. It is still somewhat small as opposed with the country’s other dominant songs genres like gospel, home or Maskandi. As these types of, the reduction of numerous revered artists is sure to have sizeable reverberations.

Which is mainly because their successes gave hope to youthful South Africans mired in poverty, violence and uncertainty. The country’s townships (minimal-price housing tasks) established by apartheid spatial scheduling and casual settlements are plagued by drug and alcoholic beverages abuse, unemployment and crime. The rise of figures like HHP and Riky Rick recommended that hip-hop could be a way out for youthful individuals.

Rainbow rap

Costa Titch personified an completely distinct form of hope. Contrary to quite a few historically sick-outfitted youth of his generation, he embodied the sort of guarantee Nelson Mandela would have favored South African youth to embrace. Here was a white rapper who was fluent in African languages, dressed like an urban hood dweller, danced like the son of a Pantsula (a township road dance characterised by unbelievable actual physical overall flexibility) qualified and shot most of his video clips drawing heavily on ghetto scenes.

Music tastes, as with most other issues in South Africa, have been defined by race. White audiences ordinarily choose various forms of rock and folks audio. And black audiences patronise anything from home and Maskandi to rap and soul. But there are artists who defy this rigid rule – as we have viewed in countries, these as the US.

In this way he falls within the bracket of white South Africans who enthusiastically embrace regional cultural norms in forging their artistic identities. Other folks include the late Johnny Clegg, PJ “Thandeka” Powers, Claire Johnston the direct vocalist of the band Mango Groove, and David “Qadasi” Jenkins, a Maskandi musician.

In traversing these seemingly rigid racial and cultural divides, these artists are in a position to keep aloft the flame and promise of a “rainbow nation” and its accompanying multiculturalism. This creed provides substantially optimism in situations of countrywide despair and despondency. This is obvious in Costa Titch’s adoption of the city township life-style and the ebullience that radiates from his ghetto-themed films.

Costa Titch had all the prospects to remain sequestrated inside the comforts presented by white electric power and privilege. Instead he chose to embrace South Africa’s diversity in unambiguous racial, socio-financial and cultural phrases. He seemed at dwelling in many settings and didn’t surface apologetic about this oddity. Now his promising potential will hardly ever be realised.