Last week Friday, scrolling through my feed as one does, a particular post caught my interest. This was something more than an apathetic like with no real engagement. The post announced that AKA would be performing the following day and the first thought which came to head was that some local band called AKA would be performing. The confusion came as a result of the venue which the event was scheduled to take place: Rumours Lounge.
Rumours Lounge is a venue I would have never imagined the ‘Supa Mega’ to perform at, but after some research, I confirmed that this was no hoax. The event was a showcase hosted by The Only Music Shop, who I believe host the event in light of their recent partnership with Rumours Lounge; inviting artists they sponsored to perform that evening. All proceeds would go to a charity and a hundred rand later, my plans for Saturday were confirmed.
Due to the fact that it was not my original plan to go out that evening, I went to Rumours Lounge just before AKA’s performance and left shortly thereafter. Below are five things I learned the first time I saw AKA perform.
A small part of me bought the tickets so I could witness AKA flop. There was hardly any promotion for the event and Rumours Lounge was not a venue suited to hosting one of the biggest South African artists. It was an away game for AKA and he took all three points. Not at all perturbed by the size of the audience, AKA was composed and gave a performance that would be suited for filling up Orlando Stadium.-an outright professional.
NOTHING BUT THE HITS
There were absolutely no lulls in his performance and the energy exchange between him and the audience was in constant flux. This was made all the more easier by the extensive catalogue of hits he has under his belt. Every single song he performed had at some stage received a great deal of rotation on national radio and I found myself performing along with him – singing lyrics I had no idea I knew. When watching artists perform, there is always that one song you’re waiting to hear. I found that every single song AKA performed was that one song I was waiting to hear.
There is no I in team. That small part of me that wanted to see AKA flop was driven by my assumption that AKA was an egomaniac. It’s quite ignorant to make such a judgement without ever having met the person. I didn’t meet Kiernan Forbes that evening, but it became clear that AKA uses his stature to put others on. He recently released a remix of “Baddest” exposing some of the best femcees in South Africa to his big audience. The exposure they received is immeasurable and the same can be said of his bassist and his keyboardist, who don’t look much older than 21.
WAY BEYOND DRAKE AND MEEK MILL SHIT
One day, I will write an article about AKA without mentioning Cassper Nyovest. Today is not that day. I believe the beef between Drake and Meek Mill had substance as Meek was calling Drake out on having a ghost-writer. The beef between AKA and Cassper is quite different and somewhat superficial. Ultimately, the beef amongst them is caused by wanting that number one position (A position which arguably, does not exist). The two will be inseparable for quite some time and I feel their beef was well calculated in adding more weight to both their claims at holding the hidden number one spot. You only have to take a look at this article – which claims that the online publicity from their ‘diss’ tracks was worth over R 20 million – to understand where I’m coming from.
At the end of his performance, with a great smile on my face, I found myself waiting patiently to catch a glimpse of AKA and possibly meet him. I had already envisaged the amount of likes and engagement I’d receive from my photo with him. After a couple of minutes passed, it became clear that I would not meet AKA. Word got out that he had already left the venue and was on his way to his next show that evening. What also became clear was that the small part of me which wanted to see him flop was jealousy.
I’m not the greatest fan of local hip-hop, but I have found it within me to respect and appreciate AKA and his trade. I’m the first to cringe when I see anyone hating on local artists as I’m a firm believer that the energy could be better used in sharing in local artists you do appreciate.
Ultimately, regardless of the manner, it is great to see South African musicians reaching the levels of success both AKA and Cassper have.