‘Love and Hip Hop SA’ is finally here and the cast reveal more

Published Mar 1, 2023


“Love and Hip Hop South Africa” has finally made its screen debut, much to the delight of staunch lovers of the US franchise, which includes Atlanta, Miami, Hollywood and New York.

For the first time, the franchise is stepping outside of America and South Africa is the perfect option considering the country’s rich hip hop culture.

Some of the biggest stars are hip hop artists and while the debate on whether “hip hop is dead or alive” is ongoing, there is no denying the relevance of SA hip hop.

For the first season of “Love and Hip Hop South Africa” an all-star cast, featuring newcomers and OGs has been assembled, offering a bit of everything in terms of the hip hop scene in Mzansi.

Leading the cast are Mzansi’s hip hop recording artist and record producer Da L.E.S, aka “The North God”, award-winning hip hop star Gigi Lamayne and “Utatakho” hit maker Yanga Chief, South African Music Award winner for Best Hip Hop Album Shane Eagle along with his leading lady Nicole “Nikki” Swartz.

Hip hop culturalist and broadcaster DJ Speedsta and Motswako First Lady, Fifi Cooper, sensational starlet Money Badoo and rapper, singer and songwriter J Molley all form part of the 13-episode series.

This cast is no stranger to controversy, so they are fully aware of what they have signed up for being a part of the show that can be a tad ratchet.

Before the show’s premiere IOL Entertainment sat for an exclusive interview with the entire cast, except DJ Speedsta, who was in Cape Town and did not attend the launch party.

J Molley admits that it was scary at first having the cameras with 20 people watching during filming but he managed to cope and be vulnerable.

Being a huge mental health advocate, because of his own struggles Molley shared that he wouldn’t be watching the show and will be avoiding social media to protect his space.

However, in the chat, he was reminded that it might be a challenge when it comes to the reunion episode.

The experience of coming together and working with each other on a project that isn't music was “dope” as Eagle put it.

“I think it’s really jiggy, because there is a cool balance of everybody bringing something different. There’s no two people who are the same,” said Eagle.

“It would be wack if everyone was the same. So for the viewer there’s something to identify about. Okay there’s love there, we like that, there’s some jiggyness, the ladies, there’s rappers. There’s fair balance, it’s been jiggy to see what everyone can bring,” said Eagle.

Being on a platform as big (as) MTV is no small feat and the entire cast acknowledged this.

Swartz added: “Since I was 18, I want my s*** played on MTV, I know that’s gonna make them niggas envy me.”

Motswako’s first lady is stepping back into the spotlight by joining the cast. And, yes, Cooper has been around working but ever since her fallout with her former record label Ambitiouz Entertainment, her spotlight has dimmed.

Her performance last year at the inaugural Basadi in Music Awards was such a lovely reminder of the star she is but, in the digital age, if people aren’t speaking about you, it’s easy to become old news.

Hopefully, throughout the season, her storyline will go beyond her 2014 beef with fellow female rapper Gigi Lamayne.

“It’s a blessing because I’ve been wanting to give my fans different sides of Fifi, a lot of people just know Fifi the artist. Even on social media, I’m not one to really open up about relationships and stuff like that.

“It’s crazy but it’s a big opportunity for me, I’ve been working on a lot of things and now my fans will be able to see and tap into my life really as Refilwe Moeketsi.”

A newcomer to the music industry, Money Badoo is there to reveal who she really is beyond the public perception of being noticed for tattoos.

When asked during the panel discussion on why he was at the centre of cast photo, rapper Da L.E.S proudly said he was there when MTV came to South Africa, which says everything about his longevity in the industry.

“I think, ‘Love and Hip Hop’ is a really big brand, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that,” he shared

“And with new music on the way, what a better platform to promote your work.”

Eagle, who had his first taste of reality TV on “The Hustle” said that he saw himself as more than a rapper and considered himself to be a franchise and to be endorsed by MTV was an acknowledgement that he was a big enough franchise.

“Love and Hip Hop SA” premières during a sombre time in the industry following the murder of award-winning rapper and music producer Kiernan “AKA” Forbes, who was close to Da L.E.S and Yanga Chief.

Chief, who spoke at the slain rapper’s public memorial shared that it was sad that the moment was happening without the rapper and knew he would have wanted him to go on his own run.

Lamayne explained that the show was a showcase of culture, in terms of Mzansi hip hop and the various backgrounds, how the cast was day-to-day and addressed certain issues in their own voices.

The first season of “Love and Hip Hop SA” will be an interesting ride to see how this all-star cast navigates their lives, beefs, careers and the culture that is hip hop.