The announcement of the nominees in the inaugural South African Hip Hop Awards, which take place today in Joburg, have made the event less “hip hop hooray” and more “hip hop huh?”
To clarify, this is what graffiti artist Falko tweeted: “I [sic] afraid the SA Hip Hop awards should just be called the ‘Jozi pat on the back awards’.”
And judging from the amount of retweets that statement got and talk between hip hop heads, many people feel that way.
This is because many of the nom-inees are from, or based in, Joburg. When asked to elaborate, Falko said while he understood “the music industry is more Joburg-based and the business side of things happens there, calling it the ‘South African’ Hip Hop Awards is making it too large. Especially if 90 percent of the nominees are from Joburg”.
Music writer Ts’eliso Monaheng said: “I think they [awards org-anisers] should have made a concerted effort to include the rest of South Africa so as to not make it the Joburg Awards. It’s evident the Joburg circles are who is nominated.
“It should have been an all-inclusive ceremony.”
Skwatta Kamp rapper Shugasmakx (whose solo efforts have been nominated) chuckled: “It’s a great initiative and just the other day I asked someone what the difference between these awards and the Hype Awards are and their answer was: ‘The Hype Awards aren’t happening and these ones are.’
“The music industry in general is based in Joburg and we can’t shy away from that, but it’s good that they are giving credit to other provinces.”
Unlike the hotly-debated Hype Magazine hip hop awards from a few years ago, the South African Hip Hop Awards feature categories that aim to crown a rapper in every province.
However, Monaheng asked: “Why have regional categories? That feels like a consolation prize because all the important cate-gories have been filled.”
Another bone of contention, as Shugasmakx pointed out, is the in-sufficient time for the public to vote, as nominees were announced only a week ago.
“How do you expect to reach the masses if you’re only on Facebook?” said Mosidi Pule, community organiser and a part of the Boombox Collective.
“This initiative caters for all elements of hip hop, but they needed to be out there more. Get more people involved and explain what the judging criteria are, because one week we heard about people complaining about not being nominated then the next week, they were on the nominees’ list. There should have been more transparency.”
In response, Menoe said: “We are aware that the voting system was in a short space of time, but we have more than 2 000 votes. We’re just trying to find our groove.”
• The South African Hip Hop Awards, at the Alexander Theatre in Braamfontein, today. R200 at the door.