Hip Hop as a music genre has always stemmed from the fact that it is a counterculture and rebellious sound with its roots in the Bronx in New York City.
As such when the sound migrated to African shores in the late nine- ties, particularly in Cape Town, it had the same function, with rappers from the Cape Flats bringing their personal experience to their music and acting as a voice for the strug- gling youth.
Recently Hip Hop has seen a big shift specifically with its move from Cape Town and Joburg where the genre touches not its former countercultural roots but has become the same to the Trap movement in the US.
Editor of the online magazine The Plug, Caron Williams, recently wrote a lengthy opinion piece about how local Hip Hop has lost its edge and lacks any message behind it.
However, Cape Town native Youngsta CPT has never wavered from keeping the message of the Capetonian youth at the core of his music. Even with his very Cape Town focused sound the rapper has been able to reach a wide variety of people.
The rapper also ventured to the great Outback earlier this year. Heading to Australia he was very anxious but it ended up being “wonderful”.
Speaking of his knowledge of the country, he says all he knew about Australia was “Kangaroo Jack and Border Patrol”.
During the tour he visited seven cities and while not many people knew his music, hearing people rap in the Cape Town vernacular was amazing. The tour to Australia was such a success the rapper is heading back this month.
When Youngsta started rapping he would initially make his flow and vernacular a lot more easier on the ear and he was faced with a lot of comparisons from international acts like Drake and Kendrick Lamar. This is part of the reason his sound is very Capetonian, to separate him from the crowd.
Another reason his sound is very localised, is to give a voice to Capetonian youth who are neglected a lot of the time.
While Youngsta is one of the biggest rappers to have come out of Cape Town there have been others who moved to Joburg from the Cape Flats who’ve adopted American accents.
He says that not everyone goes out of their way to represent their city and he doesn’t blame them for it. For him, however, it keeps him close to his roots and keeps him humble.
While the rapper has gained a legion of dedicated fans, he has also faced a lot of backlash for his sound.
The reason he thinks some people are put off by his message is it can be seen as too in your face or too confrontational.
Born Riyadh Roberts, the Cape Town rapper says the reason he is called Youngsta CPT is that from a young age he was always the “laaitie” around an older crowd.
Today still in his crew he is the youngest at 25 and this is the reason he so socially conscious. While most of his peers are “suiping” and chasing “kinnes” he is out collecting blankets for underprivileged youth and trying to do more with his music. In the upcoming months he is set to release three more mixtapes rounding off to 30.
He is also currently in the studio working on his album which he plans on releasing some time in 2018. The main goal for him is to stay consistent and create awareness of the issues he champions.