Recap: Back To The City 2022

Written by HYPE Staff

After a two-year hiatus, Africa’s largest hip-hop festival, Hennessy Back to the City, returned to Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, on the 1st of October.

Since announcing their partnership in 2020, this was the first event with Hennessy at the helm, which saw hip-hop reenergised in Newtown as the event was abuzz with hip-hop and street culture activity.

Khomotso Ledwaba, Marketing Manager at Hennessy, says that the partnership was natural:

“Hennessy has long been synonymous with the culture. Ever since first being uttered in a verse, the brand has featured in over 2500 songs and to date, it is the most mentioned alcohol spirit brand in the music industry. Going beyond hip-hop, we have also collaborated with many other global urban culture legends, ranging from street artist icons such as Shepard Fairey, KAWS and Faith XLVII, to dance duo, Les Twins, and more. Iconic events like Back to the City are just another extension of our existing relationship with the culture.”

Attracting more than 15 000 adoring fans and a line-up of more than 100 local and international artists, the event was headlined by some of South Africa’s greatest hip-hop mavens including A-Reece, Big Zulu, Nadia Nakai, and superstar, AKA, as part of the showstopping Hennessy Moment on stage. Fans were also treated to appearances by international rap legends, Talib Kweli, Lost Boyz, and Keith Murray.

Speaking on this year’s theme, Freedom of Movement, Osmic mentioned that there is a current need for a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity:

“The festival is an ongoing exploration of how hip-hop culture is evolving. The genre continues to be shaped by pioneers and contemporary artists alike, such as POC, Gogga and others, which has propelled it to the global force it is today. Since its inception, Hennessy Back to the City has been an advocate for promoting sustainability and economic growth, through passion. In South Africa, the motivation for the local hip-hop scene has always come from within.”

As a first-time partner, Hennessy ensured that they pulled out all the stops, providing fans with invigorating experiences throughout. This included VIP treatment of some hip-hop headliners such as Loot Love, Stogie T, JR, and Scoop Makhathini who, among other guests, were able to enjoy the festival and performances. Additionally, festival attendees dabbled with the Hennessy basketball cube, where they tested their 3-pointer skills to join the rolling leader board, a nod to their ongoing global partnership with the NBA. Hennessy also showcased their first-ever fashion capsule collection with French duo, Les Twins, who also subsequently designed the 11th edition of the Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition bottle last year.

The peak of the event was the Hennessy Moment on stage, where hip-hop royalty AKA delivered a showstopping performance under a curtain of fireworks, ending the evening in true style.


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