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3 of the most controversial artists at the moment

Kanye West performs during his concert in central Yerevan. Picture: Karen Minasyan/AFP

Kanye West performs during his concert in central Yerevan. Picture: Karen Minasyan/AFP

Published Nov 3, 2021


After the nightmare of the past year and a half thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it almost feels oddly satisfying that we’re largely back to being consumed with celebrity gossip.

There is controversy at every turn, just like it used to be: Dave Chappelle has returned with his distasteful transgender jokes, Ntsiki Mazwai’s Twitter hate train is back rolling, Cassper Nyovest and AKA still don’t like each other.

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Last year was a blip on the record, but we’re back on track now. Here, we take a look at three of the most controversial artists filling up tabloid pages:

Kanye West

There’s really no other place to start than with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West.

Despite a hugely successful career that includes a whopping 21 Grammys and a billion dollar clothing line, Ye is one of the most polarizing artists in the world.

Since he emerged as Jay-Z’s prodigy in the early aughts, he has shown himself to be incredibly unpredictable and hotheaded time and time again.

His first major brush with controversy came in 2009 when he infamously stormed the MTV VMAs stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech and proclaimed that Beyoncé was the rightful winner of the award.

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He’s since made a habit of frequently sparking controversy on social media and in public.

Just last week Ye grabbed headlines when images emerged of him sporting a bizarre new hairstyle went public.

The sequence of seemingly random patches on his head has had fans joking that he let one of his young children cut his hair.

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AKA has never shied away from expressing his adoration for Ye.

Musically, the influence has been clear since the days of his critically acclaimed sophomore album, “LEVELS”.

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At times AKA has also taken to Ye's brash persona.

A few years ago he allegedly slapped his nemesis Cassper Nyovest across the face and had someone in his entourage flash a gun at the rapper.

He’s since maintained a bad boy image with feuds with everyone from Julius Malema and Burna Boy to Riky Rick and Black Coffee.

There are those who believe AKA’s long-running feud with Nyovest is a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt to keep both artists relevant.

It’s an unlikely claim but one that speaks to the appetite for artists to remain in the public consciousness, even if it means sometimes orchestrating fake public disputes.

Earlier this year, AKA’s fiancé Anele Tembe fell to her death outside Cape Town’s Pepperclub Hotel while he was with her in the hotel.

The circumstances around her death have sparked several conspiracy theories and left a cloud hanging over the embattled rapper that he may never be able to escape.

Ntsiki Mazwai

Ntsiki Mazwai has always been a troll of sorts.

Despite her biggest claim to fame arguably being that she’s the sister to multi platinum-selling singer Thandiswa Mazwai, who is among the country’s top musical talents, she has forged a name for herself not through her own music or poetry but through positioning herself as a hater.

Her “opinions” always seem to be tailored to be as controversial as possible.

Earlier in the year, when everyone and their mother was raving about actress Thuso Mbedu’s performance on “The Underground Railroad“, Mazwai chimed in right on queue stating that she felt the actress is overhyped just because she’s in America.

Over the years, Mazwai has also poked fun at or attacked the likes of Trevor Noah, Boity, Kuli Roberts, Bonang Matheba, Julius Malema and DJ Zinhle.

Nobody’s safe from Mazwai’s wrath.

Read more such stories in our latest IOL Entertainment magazine, click here.