Kanyi Mavi is a fire-spitting emcee from the township Gugulethu, in the mother city, Cape Town who raps in her native tongue, isiXhosa. She entered the scene in 2002 rapping in local open mic sets.
Since then, she has shared the stage with international hip-hop artist Bahamadia, legendary producer 9th Wonder and lyricist, Rhapsody. She also opened for Mos Def at the 2009 Cape Town International Jazz Festival, who also listed her as one of his favorite rappers in South Africa. On the launch of her 2012 debut album called Intombi Zifikile (The girls have arrived), she performed on stage with special guest, Lauryn Hill.
You don’t have to understand her lyrics, which are mostly delivered in IsiXhosa, to catch the Holy Ghost when she raps
In 2013, Kanyi was nominated for Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer and Best Female Awards (which she won) at the South African Hip Hop Awards. Kanyi, along with a number of South African and Swedish artists recorded, released and toured Sweden with a collaboration project called Kwaai- which won the 2014 Manifesto Award for Best Rhythm. In 2016, Kanyi Mavi’s single, ‘Andizenzi ft Yakumbe’ was picked up by Hip Hop legend Chuck D’s radio show called, And You Don’t Stop.
The release of her 2017 single, ‘Ngqangqa’ once again has South African audiences on their toes and critics hailing her as one of the best rappers in South Africa. ‘
Apart from dropping dope bars, the young lyricist from Cape Town is highly conceptual. Kanyi is one of the most prominent South African lyricists. Her guest verses alone put her in a league of her own. Sabelo Mkhambela for LiveMag.co.za Kanyi Mavi’s music focuses on social issues while her rhyme delivery, wordplay, and killer flow make her a skilled emcee.
In 2018, Kanyi spent the year as part of a Swedish production by Medborgabandet working with artists such as Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Thomas Oberg( Bob Hund), Kristin Amparo and many other prominent musical and theatre performers on a political cabaret directed by Hugo Hansen. The highly successful production took over all main theatre stages around Sweden from Malmo and Stockholm to as far north as Lulea. You don’t have to understand her lyrics, which are mostly delivered in IsiXhosa, to catch the Holy Ghost when she raps
“There have always been women in SA hip – hop. I’m talking from way back in the ’80s when hip – hop first got to this country.” – Kanyi Mavi
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