HHP. Picture: Supplied

This year is a historic one for the South African Music Awards (Samas). Not only is this the 25th anniversary of the country’s music awards show, it comes off the back of an impressive year in terms of musical output. 

The past year saw more of number one radio hits than before, more new artists coming to the fore and more great albums than in previous years.

Amidst the gradually changing music scene, one thing remains the same: Black Coffee is the ruler of the land. Off the back of his internationally acclaimed album, Music is King, the house DJ is the most nominated artist at this year’s awards.

His nominations include Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and a double nomination in the Collaboration of the Year award for Drive featuring David Guetta and Delilah Montagu, and for Wish You Were Here featuring Asanda Lusaseni-Mvana. He looks primed to win at least one of these.

Hot on the heels of Black Coffee is the BET award-winning Sjava whose impressive debut album, Umqhele, earned him five nominations: Album of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Best Afro Pop Album, Record of the Year and Best Engineer.

Both artists are neck and neck for the Male Artist of The Year and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top. Newcomer Sho Madjozi and veteran singer Zonke are close behind with four nods each.

Nasty C will be the favourite for Best Hip Hop Album, where he’ll be going head to head with AKA’s double platinum-selling album, Touch My Blood.

Testament to the growth of the music industry over the last year, the Samas also sees the return of the Best Reggae Album category which will pit Bongo Riot (Next Levels) against Botanist (Game Changer), Ras Vuyo (Diversion) The Mediators (Explosion) and Black Dillinger (Mavara is King).

There will be three sets of hosts at this year’s awards “to recreate the magic and rapport that made them a formidable 1990s TV couple, Bob Mabena teams up with Melanie Bala... Lesedi FM host Twasa Seoke joins forces with popular hip-hop star Khuli Chana to relive the moments that made the 2000s such a vibrant period in local music and comedian Mpho Popps and actress Nomzamo Mbatha hook up to present the period after 2010”.

The Samas will bestow the Lifetime Achievement Awards to the late hip hop star HHP, kwaito’s TKZee and ’90s group Mango Groove.

However, drama has overshadowed this category after Seabelo Modibe, who was HHP’s business partner at Lekoko Entertainment, objected to HHP’s wife Lerato Sengadi receiving the award on the dead rapper’s behalf.

Nevertheless, HHP, who passed away last year, will be remembered for the role he played in making Motswako a force to be reckoned with.

Congratulating the recipients North West MEC for Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs, Ontlametse Mochware, said: “The Lifetime Achievement Award is probably the finest award an artist can earn, whether they are living or not. This is a reflection of the influence and impact HHP, Mango Groove and TKZee have had on the musical landscape in South Africa and beyond.

“They truly deserve the honour, and we are proud of them for the example they set for the youth and the inspiration they have been to us all. As the North West, we are particularly happy that our own HHP is one of the legends recognised in this year’s prestigious awards.”

The Record of the Year category, the pinnacle of the awards, presents a challenge for voters.

Will they be swayed by newcomer Sun-El Musician’s single Sonini or lean more towards AKA’s Fela In Versace? We’ll have to wait and see.

Nhlanhla Sibisi, the chief executive of the Recording Industry of South Africa, congratulated the nominees.

“This has been a great year of music. We are proud of this nomination list which we believe is a fair reflection of the artists who made a good impact in the industry and had music lovers entertained. The stage is set for a showdown as we start the countdown to Sun City for the final awards show.”

* Sama25 takes place at Sun City, this weekend. The awards will broadcast live tomorrow on SABC1 at 8pm.

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