Riky Rick. Picture: Supplied
The return of popular talent show "The Voice South Africa" sees a shakeup in the line-up of celebrity coaches. For the first time in the history of the show, a hip-hop artist will have a red seat.

It came as a surprise to many when Riky Rick was announced as a new coach for the show’s third season. The award-winning artist, known for his sense of fashion and hits like Boss Zonke and Sidlukotini, will certainly bring a level of cool to The Voice SA stage.

A fan of the international version, Riky said when he was approached, it only made sense to say yes. “M-Net and The Voice SA’s producers approached me about possibly being part of the show, and I liked the idea of trying something new. I’ve always been a fan of the international version of the show, and some of my favourite producers have been on it, so I thought let me give it a run and my family can watch me every Sunday,” he said.

Although The Voice is produced in more than 10 countries that have seen an array of artists from different genres as a coach, the local version has never had hip-hop artist as a coach.

“This is a first here in South Africa, and it’s a big statement because hip-hop influences a lot of music that comes out today. We are the culture. So it’s amazing to be represented on The Voice SA,” said Riky.

No stranger to talent shows, Riky said that although he has experience, The Voice SA is different. “During the blind auditions, you can’t see the talent while they perform. Your decision is based on what you hear only, so that’ll be the most difficult part for me, simply because I like to see performers in action when they are on stage.”

On what sets him apart from the other coaches, Riky said, “All the coaches have done amazing things in their careers, but I’m bringing a younger element to the show, and a lot of swag.”

When it comes to what he was looking for, Riky was clear. “I’m looking for heart, passion and talent that is unique. I’m tough on getting the best out of the talent, but I also want to have fun with the talent on my team.”

The hip-hopper, who is currently working on his next album, said he was looking forward to moulding the future stars of South Africa.

Riky joins returning coach Lira and newbies Riana Nel and Francois van Coke.