OPINION: The Black Panther Soundtrack is a huge test of faith for SA rap

When Kendrick Lamar dropped the tracklist for the soundtrack of the highly anticipated blackity black superhero film, Black Panther, the local interwebs went wild over the South African artists that got features on Black Panther: The Album.

There’s a wide variety of the rappers on call here however, it looks like Ambitious Entertainment may have a plug over at TDE because 2 of their artists got the green light. The other placement is courtesy of Iapetus Records.
Yugen Blakrok
Yugen Blakrok is a 3 time South African Hip Hop Award nominated dungeon rap MC. She has had peers such as Tha Hymphatic Thabs & Gin-I Grindith at Iapetus Records. She’s paired up with Vince Staples on “Opps”. She may be underground but she’s no slouch as she has had 2 successful tours in Europe as well as a pit stop in the US. Admittedly, Yugen is not that known in the mainstream hip hop spaces but her being placed on the Black Panther soundtrack is a huge validation for the “keep it real” section of hip hop and may give her the boost to rep the J-Sec rap overseas. She released an album in 2013 called Return of the Astro-Goth, you can check it out for a sample of her style.

If Yugen is underground, then Saudi is above ground. Sky high, maybe. He is more of a hazy rap merchant, It would be easy to compare him to Future but you can catch some elements. I like that when he raps in vernac, he can experiment with different flows that float in and out of consciousness. It’s probably why he called his recently released album, D.R.U.G.S Inc. The Msotra Man can get melodic like a MF and can pour his emotions on wax all while detailing the life of a young trapper in Soweto. It would make sense to put him with Schoolboy Q & 2 Chainz on “X”.

Sjava is technically not a rapper but his style definitely has some hip-hop elements. He is comfortable around a trap beat or a Afro type of background. Listen to his Gold-certified album, Isina Muva to get a dip of his diversity. Man has the voice of an angel that can put you in a trance, no lies. He is very capable of treating hooks like a punching bag. Ameni is a good example of such. i suspect that may be his contribution on “Seasons” with Mozzy & California, USA based rapper Reason.

These three artists have made strides in their respective lanes in the local music industry. Now, their contributions are going to be received on a global audience. It is a huge test of faith that the folk at TDE is taking on SA rap. I believe that they did best. There’s a chance that their song could end up on the actual movie.
The album is dropping on Friday, 9 February & we will be holding our breaths until we stop imagining the songs & we get to hear them for real.

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