Hip hop queen Ms Supa is taking women to forefront of genre
If you have not yet been introduced to the First Lady of SA Hip Hop, it is time you knew who she was.
Ms Supa, whose real name is Ayanda Malele, has been in the music industry for the past 16 years.
This year, the 36-year-old was all about re-branding and taking her name to the top.
“I would describe myself as someone who is outspoken, and wants to get females recognised in the space of Hip Hop. I have had a passion for this art as far back as I can remember. I grew up with hip hop and writing.”
The year-old said her love for music started when she would perform ‘Brenda Fassie’ concerts from age 6.
“I thought I was that great and I knew I wanted to be a performer. It was only when I started listening to hip hop in my teens that I realised it was a genre I wanted to be part of. It was my voice and where I was most comfortable.”
Ms Supa started her journey in 1996 at age 13 and her professional career in 2003, right after American rapper Foxy Brown had just started her career.
“I didn’t know that women could do it. Hip hop wasn’t big in South Africa back then, so when Foxy came out with Get Me Home, that’s when I went on the path.”
While she still remembers her first rhyme, with hip hop being about police brutality and hustling at that time, it was hard for the then 13-year-old to structure her own raps around those topics.
“I came up with something along those lines and my verses started to get better over time.”
One of her biggest tasks is changing the narrative of women in hip hop. Her movement Ladies of the Night is something she is working on getting back off the ground.
“It is a platform for female rappers to be heard on one mixtape and profile them so people can get to know more about them. I first did this between 2008 and 2012 to show that there was more than one female rapper in the industry and many of them were not being recognised or celebrated. It quietened down as I did as well but now I am trying to revive that.We are always better as a collective.”
Ms Supa took some time off from the music scene to focus on her family.
“There are different things that women want and being in the industry you can’t focus your full attention on all of them. Now my kids are older- 4 and 5 - so I can focus on myself now fully.”
In July this year she released her single Vibe, the first after her EP 'HerStory in the Making' came out in 2015.
Last month she released another single Public Service Announcement (P.S.A) to communicate a message that addresses the dynamics within the industry and to celebrate female artists like Foxy Brown.
“We have come miles ahead in terms of females; however, I do not like where we are headed as the double standards are still at play.”
The gap between male and female artists is still quite evident. Throughout history, women have always had a hard time getting recognition for a job well done or being taken seriously.
“Because the founders of Hip Hop were male, women have had to work twice as hard to prove that they are just as good. We are definitely equal in skill, but the market is yet to take us (women) in the same light”.
The new year will see Ms Supa diving into her projects and releasing an album.
“The landscape of music is so varied you don’t have to stick to one genre. I am rapping more in Zulu now. My EP is a nice introduction to the upcoming album.”