BEATLAB: South African hip-hop albums & EPs of the month (May)

We bring you the South African hip-hop albums and EPs that caught our attention this month.

Money Badoo – PORN$TAR


As much as Money Badoo’s debut album comes with raunchy songs, such as ‘cum 2 me’ and the title track, PORN$TAR isn’t just about sex. The rapper and singer explores existential life issues such as heartbreak, hustling and believing in oneself. At 10 tracks long, PORN$TAR is punchy, comes with no wasted moments and is free of tautology, which you come across with some albums (no names mentioned). Listen with caution, though – this album has the ability to unleash your inner baddie.

ShabZi Madallion – Who’s Around When It’s Finally Done


ShabZi Madallion delves deep into his soul in his latest three-track release. He asks existential questions such as the title and: “How did I end up in the hospital? What’s a journey without obstacles? It’s like we meant to suffer/ Why do I even bother to live when I’m living under?” On Who’s Around When It’s Finally Done, ShabZi is looking for answers, a relatable quest to pretty much anyone alive today. A perfect listen for cold winter nights with fittingly warm beats.

BELO SALO – cold emPress

BELO SALO’s four-track EP cold emPress is a SoundCloud-only release that he shared with his fans as he works on the album. Haunting vocals drenched in reverb in an atmosphere of soulful beats, and filtered pads and heavy bass, make for a hypnotic listening experience.

031CHOPPA – Shake Azul

Genre-bender 031Choppa returns with yet another EP. His dilatory maskandi-esque melodies float over soulful production with touches of amapiano on the opening track ‘Jika’. The rest of Shake Azul consists of trap-based production, which 031Choppa handles himself in this light-hearted release.


BhutLegend’s Xhosa trap is entertaining; his voice is as big as his personality, which dominates his latest offering. On ISIXHOSA NEVER BEEN COOLER, BhutLegend raps about his progress in the game in both a boastful and introspective way, which provides the opportunity to also explore soulful boom bap production alongside kwaito and the dominant bass-heavy trap beats. He’s joined by a few vocalists and likeminded rappers such as Soul T Idyan, BRAVO LE ROUX and Flash Ikumkani.

Gigi Lamayne – Set in Stone

In her new album, Set in Stone, Gigi Lamayne enlists Vugar M Beats on production. While the project is still hip-hop leaning towards the trap side of life, the producer sprinkles a local flavour on the beats; most of the songs are given a South African sonic accent by the inclusion of amapiano’s log drum – a contraption that is being deployed by a large number of musicians from all different genres across the continent. As she always does in her albums, Gigi recruits an interesting list of guests, ranging from Majorsteez, MusiholiQ and Big Zulu to Makhadzi and Busiswa.

Flash – Ikumkani Umbono Wam

In his latest release, Flash Ikumkani’s trademark style of Xhosa rap melodies carries heartfelt messages of his journey in the game. He explores pain with the poster boy of emo raps, PDOT O, on ‘Intlungu’ and expresses he’s proud of himself on ‘Proud of Me’, a collaboration with Just Bheki and Lord Script, while he rolls solo on ‘Isigqibo’, ‘24’, ‘Iyabulela Ilali’ and ‘Umbono Wam’. On the latter, the EP’s lead single, he brings more motivational raps over a laidback trap instrumental – a sound that dominates the project.

Nanette – Bad Weather

Rising R&B songstress Nanette used her Bad Weather EP as a platform to voice her concerns about relationships. She demands better treatment, holds herself accountable and isn’t shy to express her rawest feelings. The EP’s title itself, apart from providing perfect imagery for the music, makes reference to a personal fear of hers. She recently told Apple Music: “I was an only child, and sometimes I’d be staying as this lonely child in the house alone [during a thunderstorm], scared as heck. That fear of being alone in a thunderstorm or a catastrophic event has never left. I always saw even the things that went wrong in my life as another thunderstorm. I wanted the album to feel like an account of me in my room with my blinds down, and it’s pouring, and the thunder’s crashing against the window. The album is a really tumultuous journey because nothing about bad weather is peaceful.”

[Album of the Month] Tyson Sybateli – HOME

Emerging Pretoria lyricist Tyson Sybateli released an album that caught everyone’s attention and has been on repeat since its release on 27 May.

To find out why HOME is our Album of the Month, read the article here.

























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