While mainstream hip hop continues to drone on about money and power, an emerging rap duo have captured the fear and anger that much of the country is experiencing at the moment.
Stiff Pap, made up of rapper Ayema Problem and producer Jakinda, have just released their latest album, TUFF TIME$, on London-based record label Cotch International.
The music explores the anger which arose out of the daily struggle of South Africans amidst the global pandemic, almost predicting the riots and looting.
The album’s music video is set in the daytime streets of Johannesburg and a darkened junkyard lit by burning oil drums. The video contains inserts of media reports of protests.
With track names like “Tuff Time$”, “Broke Boy Theory”, and “SASSA”, it is clear that economic anxiety is a central theme of the album. This ties in with the history of the group as they moved from Cape Town to pursue success in the music industry hub of Johannesburg only to be held back by the lockdowns.
Stiff Pap made a name for themselves in Cape Town with their upbeat party-focused style. They won acclaim for their appearances on international platforms like Afropunk and Boiler Room. But it wasn’t clear how they would define themselves as artists. With TUFF TIME$, it is clear that they want to stamp their identity on their music.
Timing, in music, is every bit as important as the quality of the music. This project captures the rebellious spirit of South Africa as it exists right now.
While Stiff Pap may be venting about how tough times are at the moment their own timing may just be perfect.
Image source: @StiffPap
Video source: YouTube