The South African music industry has grown in leaps and bounds in recent times. Like most African countries, the internet which has made the world become a global village has actually given Africans the opportunity to showcase their music to the world. South African musicians especially rappers can now joyfully churn out top-charting music and make money while at it. The music industry is doing so well that we can even explore a list of the richest rappers in South Africa.
These rappers are talented, resourceful, and hardworking. A number of them have diversified into music production, management, and other businesses. A few of them have made money from juicy endorsement deals and advertising. Despite all this, every one of them is talented, hardworking, and deserves to be on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa.
The Richest Rappers In South Africa and Their Net Worths
- Net Worth: About $12 million
- Age: 35 years old
- Popular Tracks: Victory Lap (2014), Alter Ego
- Record Label: Vth Season
- Active Since: 2003 till present
Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, popularly known by his stage name – AKA, is considered by most to be the biggest rapper in South Africa presently and he sits atop the list of the richest rappers in South Africa. Born in Cape Town, South Africa on January 28, 1988, he teamed up with two of his friends in 2002 to start a music group called Entity, and even though the group was disbanded just 4 years later, he has not looked back ever since he became a solo artist. He went to the University to study Sound Engineering, and subsequently became a music producer and an entrepreneur as well.
AKA has worked with A-List artists both in South Africa and internationally, and the reason for this is because his flow is so tight that he improves whatever music he is featured on constantly. Some of his most popular songs include “Congratulate”, “Run Jozi”, “Jika”, “Composure”, “The Saga”, “Fela in Versace”, “The World is Yours”, “Baddest”, and “All Eyes on Me”, just to mention a few of them.
AKA has probably won the most awards amongst all the talented rappers in South Africa and some of them include Best Male Artist (for Alter Ego) at the 18th South Africa Music Awards (2012), Best Male Artist (for his album, Levels) at the 21st South African Music Awards (2015), Best Hit Single (for Baddest) (2016) and most recently in 2020, the award for the Music Video of the Year (for his song, Jika) at the 26th South African Music Awards, amongst several others.
2. Die Antwood
- Net Worth: About $10 million
- Age: Ninja 48 years old, Yolanda 38 years old
- Popular Tracks: Suck on This, Rap Rave Megamix
- Record Label: Zef
- Active Since: 2008 to present
The second spot on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa is occupied by a rap group simply known as Die Antwood – an Afrikaans word that simply means “The Answer”, and they do provide the answers to the musical questions of their teeming fans all over South Africa and the rest of the world. They are a group that collaborates with several other gifted artists and individuals to create a movement, which seems to bring a lot of them together and one which they are all very passionate about.
This unique duo was formed in 2008 and it consists of male rapper Watkins Jones and female rapper Anri du Toit, alongside music producers Lil2Hood and HITEK3000. The group sings most of their songs in both the English language and indigenous Afrikaans language. They are unique because their artistry and image are built around the South African Counterculture movement simply known as Zef, and some of their most popular songs include Daddy, Enter The Ninja, Cookie Thumper, Banana Brain, I Fink U Freaky, Baby’s On Fire, Pitbull Terrier, Ugly Boy, Beat Boy, just to mention a few.
They may not have won several awards yet to justify their lofty position on this list, but their work and artistry is well received by all and appreciated for what it is.
3. Casper Nyovest
- Net Worth: $8 million
- Age: 32 years old
- Popular Tracks: Gusheshe, Doc Shebeleza
- Record Label: Family Tree Records (under exclusive license to Def Jam Africa, Universal Music Group)
- Active Since: 2013 till present
Refiloe Maele Phoolo, popularly known by his stage name – Casper Nyovest, sits comfortably on the 3rd position on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa. Nyovest, who was born on December 16, 1990, is much more than a rapper as he is also a music producer, songwriter, and business entrepreneur. His business acumen is very crucial to his sizeable net worth as he is probably the South African rapper with the most endorsement deals to date – with brands like Ciroc, MTN and AG Mobile, Shoprite, Castle Lite, Samsung South Africa, Coca Cola, Nike South Africa, etc. His early songs were released under his former record label, Impact Soundz.
In 2014, he established his own record label called Family Tree Records and released his debut album titled Doc Shebeleza – which was received very well by the public, and even got him recognition from famed South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The release of his second album, Tsholofelo, on his own label was a resounding success and sat on top of iTunes charts in South Africa for two whole months. It also got him ranked AS THE NUMBER 2 HOTTEST MC in Africa, on MTV South Africa’s Hottest MC show. While the rest of the world was just recovering from the ravaging effects of Covid-19, Nyovest’s unique gift and talent saw him launching out on new fronts in 2021. He found Root Of Fame – a sneaker company (under Drip Footwear) in July and two months later he established his own unique liquor brand called Billiato.
Some of his other popular songs include Baby Girl, Destiny, Siyanthadana, Destiny, Move For Me, Friday Night, Gets Getsa, and several others. His lists of awards include Most Gifted Male Artist and Most Gifted Video of the Year awards at the Channel O Music Awards in 2014, Best Hip Hop (2015) and Best Live Act (2015) at the MTV African Music Awards, as well as the Best Collaboration award at the South African Music Awards in 2017.
4. Nasty C
- Net Worth: (put between) $2 million to $7 million
- Age: 25 years old
- Popular Tracks: There You Go
- Record Label: Universal Music Africa
- Active Since: 2013 till present
Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo also known as Nasty C to his teeming fans all over the world sits on the fourth spot on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa. He was born on February 11, 1997, in South Africa and is not only a rapper but also a songwriter and record producer as well. He is considered as the rapper’s rapper, with possibly the best lyrical flow and delivery, as well as his very punchy sounds and hooks. He released his very first mixed tape at 15 titled One Kid, A Thousand Coffins in May 2012.
Some of his very popular songs include Switched Up, Easy, Hell Naw, Bad Hair Extensions, I.V, Vent, SMA (featuring Rowlene), Phases (featuring Rowlene), Strings and Blings, just to mention a few of them. His sounds are very unique and that’s the reason why he is considered one of the best rappers currently in South Africa. He has also ventured, even though rather briefly, into the acting world and this has further showcased his versatility to his fans, who can’t seem to get enough of him currently.
In 2015, at the South African Music Awards, he received the Best Freshman Award, and just 2 years later at the 16th Metro FM Music Awards, he carted home 4 awards in the Best New Artist (for Bad Hair Extensions), Best Male Artist, Best Hip Hop Album and Song of The Year (for Hell Naw) categories, and he still has a lot of years ahead of him to rake in more awards in the future.
5. Khuli Chana
- Net Worth: $5 million
- Age: 40 years old
- Popular Tracks: Hape le Hape, Jivas Febulous
- Record Label: Mythrone Records
- Active Since: 1992 till present
Khulane Morule, popular known as Khuli Chana, is number 5 on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa. He was born in South Africa on August 27, 1982, and is one of the rare breed of rappers in the country that lays their flow in Motswako – a style of music that originated from Mahikeng town in the North-West province, usually rendered in a mix of both English and Setswana dialect. Some say his choice of style is probably what endeared him to several indigenous fans in the country as they can easily relate to the originality of his songs. He has definitely come a very long way from the young kid that was initially part of a group called Morafe at the start of his career, to a full-fledged musician that can hold his own anywhere.
Some of his popular songs include Lenyalo (featuring Rest from Morafe and Maxhoba), Sthamdwa Sam (featuring Towdee Mac), Konka, No More Hunger, Hape 3.0, Back to the Heights, Maje, Never Grow Up, Tswa Daar, just to mention a few. He is probably the most successful Motswako rapper in the country currently, and continues to show others how it is done in the rap game, releasing very relatable songs one after another to thrill his fans and lovers of good music all over the world.
- Net Worth: $2 million
- Age: 34 years old
- Popular Tracks: Pump It, Babhemi, Flash It, and Stomp
- Record Label: RapLyf Records
- Active Since: 2002 till present
Senzo Brikka Vilakazi, who is professionally known as Kwesta, is arguably the most successful rapper out of South Africa considering how well his songs have been received both locally and internationally. Kwesta is a songwriter and rapper who began writing poetry while in high school. He was born in a town called Katlehong, Gauteng. His musical career started in 2003 when he formed a rap group with his friends. Their group was named Ghetto Fellaz and was later changed to The Juvenylz. They disbanded two years after and Kwesta began to pursue his solo career. He is presently signed to RapLyf Records, an independent media company which he co-owns with Kid X.
Kwesta has released 4 studio albums with several chart-topping singles. In 2018, he was named on Forbes Africa 30 under 30. Some of his accolades include four South African Hip Hop Awards, six South African Music Awards, one Metro FM Awards, and one MTV Africa Music Awards. Kwesta’s third album titled DaKAR II, which was released in February 2016, was certified 7x Platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) after selling 210,000 copies in South Africa – the album became the best selling hip hop album of all time.
7. Da L.E.S
- Net Worth: $2 million
- Age: 37 years old
- Popular Tracks: Heaven
- Record Label: Fresh 2 Def Productions
- Active Since: 1993 till present
Leslie Jonathan Mampe Jr., otherwise known as Da L.E.S, is one hip hop recording artist cum music producer that you can classify as the best of two worlds. He occupies the 7th spot on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa today. Born on July 26, 1985, in Washington, DC in the United States of America, he became quite popular while still with his former band called Jozi. He had a cool demeanor at the onset of his career and coupled with his college swag, his style quickly became the standard on the streets of South Africa among the young ones.
Da L.E.S is credited as being the first rapper in Africa whose sphere of influence covered all of the three facets of hip hop – lifestyle, clothing, and music; he is always setting trends with his style and holding the market with his music. Some of his popular songs include Foreign, Trust, Traddic (featuring Sorry), We On Fire (featuring Bonge & Magge), Up To Something, Diamond in Africa, So High (featuring Gemini Major), and several others.
- Net Worth: $900,000
- Age: 42 years old
- Popular Tracks: Cara Cara
- Record Label: Cashtime Life, Sony Music Africa
- Active Since: 2005 till present
Ntokozo Mdululi is not just your average rapper, the hip-hop artist and songwriter is also a businessman with excellent business acumen, and that is definitely the reason why he is number 8 on the list of the richest rappers in South Africa. Born on October 13, 1980, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, he spent his early career being a member of a group called Teargas which was formed in 2005 with some friends he met while studying for a National Diploma in Public Relations Management at the Vaal University of Technology. He teamed up with his Teargas bandmate, Ma-E, and Thabiso Khati – a Music Marketing Executive, to form an Entertainment company called Cashtime Life, becoming the first artist on the label’s stable.
K.O released his debut solo album called Skhanda Republic in 2014, which was followed by another one titled Skhanda Republic 2.0 in 2017, and “PTY UnLTD” in 2019 under Sony Music Entertainment Africa. Some of his popular songs include Mhlobo Wami, Supa Dupa, Flight School, No Fear, Waya Waya, Num8er Num8er, Ding Dong, Mission Statement, Wake Up, Say What U Will, and several others. His song Cara Cara was the first-ever South African music video to be viewed more than a million times on YouTube and got him 5 nominations at the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards in 2014.
- Net Worth: $850,000
- Age: 35 years old
- Popular Tracks: Gata Le Nna
- Record Label: Feel Good Music
- Active Since: 2007 till present
Tabure Thabo Bogopa Jr., popularly known as J R to his fans all over the world, is a very enterprising musician, songwriter, and entrepreneur, who is number 9 on the list of richest rappers in South Africa. He was born on March 12, 1987, in Bloemfontein, Freestate, South Africa. He’s a Motswako rapper, laying down all of his flow in both English and Setswana languages. JR can be regarded as the writer for the rappers, as he has written songs that have turned out to be very popular with the fans, even for some of the names on this list. He wrote the song “Congratulate” for AKA, “No More Hunger” for Khuli Chana, and a few other ones just to mention a few.
Some of his own popular songs include Show Dem, Phuma, Munru, So Hot (featuring TeePee), Mathata (featuring SFS), Mnqobi, Ole Time Feeling, just to mention a few. In June 2021, he launched an app called Fyve, which offers the platform for musicians to release their own songs for distribution via their mobile phones. Some of the awards he has received include Best Hip Hop album at the Metro FM Awards in 2008 and also the Best Hip Hop Record at the MTV Hype awards in the same year. In 2009 at the SAMAS, he won the Best Rap award and in 2010 at the Sound City Awards in Nigeria, he got the Discovery Of The Year award.
10. Jack Parrow
- Net Worth: $700,000
- Age: 40 years old
- Popular Tracks: Cooler As Ekke
- Record Label: Parowphernalia, Top Notch Music BV
- Active Since: 2009 till date
Zander Tyler was born in Durbanville, Western Cape in South Africa on February 22, 1982, and he is currently number 10 on the list of richest rappers in South Africa. Jack Parow wanted to become a rapper since his days in secondary school and has worked tirelessly to become the rapper that he is today. He has a very unique elongated cap which he puts on in almost all his videos – which gives a comedic feel to some of his songs.
Growing up, his musical inspirations were American rapper Snoop Dogg and singer T-Pain. He initially began his rap career in the English language, but as time went on he switched over to rapping in Afrikaans and has stuck with it ever since. Some of his popular songs include Cooler as Ekke – which has over 5 million views on YouTube, Boepens Vark, Naweek, P.A.R.T.Y., Dans Dans Dans, Bing Babbelas, Ode To You, Altyd Op Vankasie, and several others.
Upcoming South African Rappers To Watch Out For
The music industry in South Africa is definitely on fire and thriving. With the quality and talent of the upcoming rappers in the industry, the future of the rap genre is looking very bright. Here is a list of 5 upcoming rappers in the country that you should watch out for:
Sihle Sithole, better known to his fans as Bixckie, is one of the young rappers to watch out for in South Africa. While visiting Johannesburg in 2019, he was caught up by the 21 days lock-in imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19. He used the opportunity to team up with a few upcoming acts and released music free on Soundcloud daily. His music caught up on everybody and he hasn’t looked back since. Some of his popular songs include Big Time Shlappa – his breakout single, Uppity, Mama It’s Bad (featuring Nasty C), to mention a few.
2. Lucas Raps
Lucas Duncan Malong, also known as Lucas Raps, was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He was making his songs on a low-key level before he was discovered and signed to Def Jam Recording in 2018. He released his debut single, Amno with DJ Maphorisa to much acclaim and has gotten better over the years. Some of his popular songs include Slide, What it is, Without Me, and a few others more.
3. Priddy Prince
Ella’s Domingos, better known as Priddy Price, is a very young rapper to watch out for in the future. The 16-year-old began rapping when he was 7 and hasn’t looked back since then. A few of his popular tracks include Like Me, Jump, Jump part 2, etc. His energy and flow in his videos put him in a class of his own, and he is definitely one to watch out for.
4. Malone Vector
Vector was born in Maseru in Lesotho. Having conquered the airwaves in his home country, a fortuitous opportunity brought him to the attention of executives of Ambitiouz Entertainment, and after flying in to do a session with him in Lesotho, he was signed and relocated to South Africa. Some of his popular songs include Nobody, Dumelang, Lerato, just to mention a few.
5. Maglera Doe Boy
Maglera was first noticed by the public when his hook on Khuli Chana’s song, All Hail, hit the airwaves. Many wondered who this newbie was, and now they don’t have to anymore. He created his own brand of music called “Strata” (meaning The Streets) and this has endeared him to the “streets”, alongside his talents, rich voice, and swag. Some of his popular songs include Plug Talk, Bodega, Brolly, Tetris Brickz, etc.
Recap Of Richest Rappers In South Africa
- AKA – About $12 million
- Die Antwood – About $10 million
- Casper Nyovest – $8 million
- Nasty C – $2 million to $7 million
- Khuli Chana -$5 million
- Kwesta – $2 million
- Da L.E.S – $2 million
- K.O -$900,000
- J.R- $850,000
- Jack Parrow – $700,000