The top five SA hip-hop collaborations of the year

From songs to sneakers, here is a look at some of the collaborations that shifted culture in South Africa in 2022.

Written by Boitumelo Molamu

From music to fashion, when done right, collaborations can have an unimaginable impact and introduce people to new experiences, creatives and styles. This year was not short of amazing collaborations in music and fashion.

Reflecting on the year that was, we put together a list of the collaborations that stood out the most for us. This list is in no particular order.

Never Ride’ by MashBeatz featuring Thato Saul and Maglera Doe Boy

Arguably the biggest hip-hop song of the year, ‘Never Ride’ came at a point when South African hip-hop was having a resurgence. Thato Saul and Maglera Doe Boy, who were already hot topics, further proved why so many hip-hop fans were excited about their come-up.

Thato Saul and MashBeatz already had a collaborative relationship from their 2021 joint EP If You Know, You Know, so bangers from them were nothing new. It was perhaps Maglera Doe Boy’s verse that took ‘Never Ride’ from a banger to an SA hip-hop classic. Maglera’s verse is contender for “verse of 2022”, and ‘Never Ride’ is one of SA hip-hop’s highlights this year.

Air Jordan and Shelflife

After their first collaboration with Puma back in 2010 and another with Adidas in 2019, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Shelflife did it again, this time with Air Jordan. Dubbed “Team Only”, the Shelflife x Air Jordan 2 Low is a way for Shelflife to pay homage to and celebrate the team that makes the brand and store what they are, and also never forget its community. In an interview with HYPE, Nick Herbert (founder and creative director of Shelflife), expressed his pride and excitement about this collaboration, stating, “As a sneakerhead or retailer, collaborating with the Jordan brand is one of the highest compliments you could get.”

SETE’ by K.O. featuring Young Stunna and Blxckie

By all means, ‘SETE’ could be considered the song of the year at this point. K.O.’s consistency and level of musicality have to be examined. Since its release in August, the song has continuously reached and surpassed different milestones. Its first was reaching platinum status within just 16 days, hitting 10 million views on YouTube within the first month, and, lastly, holding the number-one spot for 12 consecutive weeks on SA Radiomonitor. The genre of ‘SETE’ has been discussed at length, with many emphasising that it’s not a hip-hop song, but rather an Afro pop song with touches of amapiano. Not off-brand for the former member of Teargas, a hip-hop group that always coloured outside the lines. This time around, he collaborated with new age genre-benders Blxckie and Young Stunna.

Wanda Lephoto and Dakotas

Wanda Lephoto might be one of the most exciting designers and brands of our generation. His work, ranging from creative consulting to creative direction, has had a bigger influence on creative culture than most realise. But it’s his eponymous brand that takes the cake. Early in 2022, we got to see one of the greatest collaborations to ever come out of South Africa, and that was the creation of the Hi-Shine mule by Wanda Lephoto and South African heritage footwear brand Dakotas. The range, which was the first time most of us saw Wanda go into footwear, sold out within a matter of weeks. The designer took one of Dakotas’ classics, the Hi-Shine loafer, lowered its back and turned it into a mule, which was a simple but impactful take.

Cotton Fest and Valhalla

Riky’s words, “When I die, the legacy carries on…” are words that will forever echo; his impact and influence on introducing the world to new talent and on collaboration can never be measured. In 2022, Cotton Fest showed it stands for what he believed in – putting talent on. The annual festival collaborated with up to six brands to produce merch. While all the brands had their unique designs and takes, it was Valhalla that was the clear stand-out. We saw the collaborative graphic T-shirt embraced by the masses, worn and endorsed by the likes of Major League DJz and Uncle Vinny. This collaboration was proof that, when major brands trust the creativity of small brands, there’s a mutual benefit. Valhalla went on to collaborate with Balcony Mix by the Major League DJz later in the year.

Join the Hype fam and sign-up today

Newsletters • competitions • events