Sjava, AKA, K.O, Lloyiso and Kabza De Small go head to head in most hotly contested Male Artist of the Year battle

Ex-Idols contestant Lloyiso. Photo: Supplied

Ex-Idols contestant Lloyiso. Photo: Supplied

Published Oct 3, 2023


Most times, it’s fairly obvious early on who will take home the most coveted awards at any given awards show.

Other times, at best it’s just two artists going toe to toe.

However, at this year’s South African Music Awards (SAMAs) there are plenty of interesting match-ups to look forward to.

From Album of the Year to Duo/Group of the Year, it’s difficult to predict who’ll come out on top in various categories.

None though is more interesting than the hotly contested Male Artist of the Year category which pits AKA, K.O, Sjava, Lloyiso and Kabza De Small against each other.

Kabza De Small’s ‘KOA II Part 1’ was arguably the most impressive body of work in his sprawling catalogue and the most cohesive amapiano project of the past year.

Featuring the likes of Msaki, Young Stunna, Daliwonga and Ami Faku, it also packed plenty of star power.

AKA’s ‘Mass Country’ and K.O’s ‘SR3’ are almost inseparable for their timing, importance and impact on hip hop culture.

The two projects were also widely lauded for their sonic quality and creative spark.

After over a year toiling away and trying to figure out how to find his voice at one of the biggest record labels in the world, Republic Records, Lloyiso came out with a bang with his recent project ‘Seasons’.

With just seven songs, the project is concise, focused and flawless.

With each of the aforementioned albums having a good case based on quality, Sjava will be hoping that the narrative around his latest solo effort ‘Isibuko’ will give him a slight edge over his competition.

Everyone loves a good comeback story and ‘Isibuko’ saw the 38-year-old emerge from the wilderness after having struggled to find his feet following the controversy around Lady Zamar’s accusation that he had raped her.

Beyond the comeback story, ‘Isibuko’ was also a huge commercial success with several radio hits, including the brilliant ‘Isoka’, and critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike for its self-reflection and for its cohesive thread of introspection throughout.

Overall, AKA leads the pack with six nominations across Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Engineered Album, Best Collaboration (twice for ‘Company’ and ‘Lemons’) and Best Produced Music Video.

Hot on his heels is K.O who garnered five nominations thanks to his platinum-selling album ‘SR3’ and the single ‘Sete’ featuring Young Stunna and Blxckie.

He is nominated in the categories of Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Produced Music Video and Remix of the Year.

Amapiano pioneers Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa earned four and three nominations respectively.

They also walked away with two nominations for their collaboration as Scorpion Kings.

The announcements were made at The Soweto Theatre in Jabulani, Soweto and hosted by television personality Nomalanga Shozi as the industry gathered to toast the finalists in this year’s edition of the SAMAs.

It was also revealed that the SAMAs will be staged at the Durban ICC on the weekend of November 17 and 18 and broadcast live on SABC1.

The province of KwaZulu-Natal will also be the home of the SAMAs for the next three years.