The year is 2004, a group of high school friends, AKA, Vice Versa & Greyhound form a hip hop group called Entity. The group had a good, but short-live two-year run which saw them release an album called Royal School of Hip-hop.
This might be news to some of you, as you were probably too young or did not have access to the Internet as we do today. Don’t fret, watch the video bellow for more context.
The Entity that was
The group parted ways in 2006 as members went their different paths. Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh stage name Vice versa pursued his studies at the University of Cape Town and later became the president of students Representative council. Sizwe is also the son of the prominent South African politician and activist Adv Dali Mpofu, it’s no surprise that he would be interested in following in his father’s footsteps in politics. Second member Nhlanhla Makenna stage name Greyhound also studied law at the University of the Witwatersrand. Nhlanhla is now a qualified attorney and business person. However, AKA stuck to his guns and embarked on his solo music career. Which saw him going to school to study Sound Engineering, which has proven to be a brilliant investment.
And then there was IV League
2009; the year one would say AKA reintroduced himself. From there we got to see a much grown, aggressive and creative artist. Kiernan co-founded IV League, a music production trio made up of AKA, Buks and Kamza. IV League made production credits for artists such as the late Linda Pro Kid, Khuli Chana JR, just to mention a few. It was here that we saw a much grown version and more creative with bars going off the roof. Who can forget the highly acclaimed “I want it all” from his debut album, Alter Ego? I think it’s safe to say this is where AKA’s career was taking shape.
AKA vs the Industry
AKA has had his fair share of drama and famous public spats with fellow rappers L-Tido & Blaklez. Both rappers happen to be household names in the rap game. This saw diss tracks being exchanged from Blaklez releasing a track called Goodnight and AKA’s rebuttal with See Me Coming.
See Me Coming
AKA as we know him
AKA has won many awards in his career, including Best Male Artist at the 18th South African Music Awards back in 2012 for his album Alta Ego. He also bagged Most Gifted Hip Hop Artist at the Channel O Music Video Awards the following year. This was just the beginning of his award-winning journey.
Kiernan Forbes has made it easy for his fans to win arguments on who the hottest rapper in the continent is over the past decade. Every time you think they have backed him up into a corner, he always knows just how to come back swinging. With so many musicians coming and going, it has been very difficult to keep up and remain relevant.
More than just a rapper
South African music’s rich diversity lends itself to the introduction of new genres. In recent years, emerging genres such as Gqom Trap, Gqom and Amapiano have stood their ground and shifted industry attention in a whole different direction.
Through all this and the constant transitioning of the industry, AKA has managed to hold his own and solidify his name on top of the charts every season and – “Nobody can stop my confidence, I look you straight up and down”.
From raping on relevant topics influenced by the political state of the nation or business, he takes the bold step of even comparing his craft to that of Tony Stark or Play Boy’s Hugh Hefner. His pen game is of the highest calibre, with every lyric delivered with confidence.
But just like the rest of us, Covid-19 and the unexpected pandemic has been tough, but as a good rapper his latest offering “Monuments” featuring Yanga Chief shows that anything can inspire a good wordsmith. The song looks at vulnerability in the pandemic and makes the song relatable and current. It is thanks to guys like Kiernan who developed the local rap game, keeping other rappers on their toes and staying inspired with whatever is happening around the globe.