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Costa Titch: the rising white South African rap star who embraced black hip-hop tradition

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Rising 28-year-old South African dancer and rapper Costa Titch (born Costa Tsobanoglou) died after collapsing on stage on 11 March whereas performing in Johannesburg.

Costa Titch entered the leisure world as a dancer with Cassper Nyovest, one other South African hip-hop mega star, earlier than making an attempt his luck as a rapper, typically dabbling within the nation’s amapiano dance music style. He had an enormous hit along with his observe Huge Flexa and was destined to shine brilliant on the nation’s music scene.

Being white, Nelspruit-born Costa Titch introduced new color and a particular flavour to the music scene along with his use of African languages, earnest experiments in cultural subversion and elaborate city dance routines that challenged the “white males can’t dance” delusion.

There are different the reason why Costa Titch’s function within the nation’s music scene may be seen as both polarising or unifying – relying on one’s standpoint.

As a white man embracing African hip-hop tradition, Costa Titch was an emblem of South Africa’s rainbow nation aspirations – a time period coined by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu to explain totally different ethnic teams dwelling and dealing collectively and transferring on from apartheid’s brutal previous.

Senegalese-American mega-star Akon believed that Costa Titch was destined for greater issues and may very well be a game-changing artist. The younger singer had not too long ago signed with Akon’s label, Konvict Kulture. His dying is one other blow to a scene reeling after a number of high-profile deaths. The newest was AKA (Kiernan Forbes), the hip-hop star with whom he collaborated a number of occasions.

À lire aussi : AKA: slain South African rapper was a once-in-a-generation pop culture sensation

Hip-hop deaths

Excessive profile deaths throughout the hip-hop group over the previous few years have included HHP, Prokid, Flabba, Riky Rick, DJ Dimplez, DJ Citi Lyts, and most not too long ago AKA. Some, like HHP and Riky Rick, took their own lives. Others have been murdered – and, although these sorts of homicides haven’t reached the gory ranges of the US rap scene, they’re changing into a disturbing development.

The South African hip-hop scene achieved mainstream acceptance just a few years in the past. It’s nonetheless comparatively small in contrast with the nation’s different dominant music genres like gospel, home or Maskandi. As such, the lack of a number of revered artists is certain to have vital reverberations.

That’s as a result of their successes gave hope to younger South Africans mired in poverty, violence and uncertainty. The nation’s townships (low-cost housing tasks) created by apartheid spatial planning and casual settlements are plagued by drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment and crime. The rise of figures like HHP and Riky Rick recommended that hip-hop may very well be a means out for younger individuals.

Rainbow rap

Costa Titch personified an altogether totally different sort of hope. Not like many traditionally ill-equipped youth of his technology, he embodied the sort of promise Nelson Mandela would have appreciated South African youth to embrace. Right here was a white rapper who was fluent in African languages, dressed like an city hood dweller, danced just like the son of a Pantsula (a township avenue dance characterised by unimaginable bodily flexibility) knowledgeable and shot most of his movies drawing closely on ghetto scenes.

Music preferences, as with most different issues in South Africa, have been outlined by race. White audiences sometimes choose totally different sorts of rock and people music. And black audiences patronise every thing from home and Maskandi to rap and soul. However there are artists who defy this inflexible rule – as we’ve got seen in nations, such because the US.

On this means he falls throughout the bracket of white South Africans who enthusiastically embrace native cultural norms in forging their creative identities. Others embody the late Johnny Clegg, PJ “Thandeka” Powers, Claire Johnston the lead vocalist of the band Mango Groove, and David “Qadasi” Jenkins, a Maskandi musician.

In traversing these apparently inflexible racial and cultural divides, these artists are in a position to maintain aloft the flame and promise of a “rainbow nation” and its accompanying multiculturalism. This creed brings a lot optimism in occasions of nationwide despair and despondency. That is evident in Costa Titch’s adoption of the city township life-style and the ebullience that radiates from his ghetto-themed movies.

Costa Titch had all of the alternatives to stay sequestrated throughout the comforts offered by white energy and privilege. As an alternative he selected to embrace South Africa’s variety in unambiguous racial, socio-economic and cultural phrases. He appeared at house in a number of settings and didn’t seem apologetic about this oddity. Now his promising future won’t ever be realised.