When it comes to rap, language is everything. Rappers need to find the right words and the perfect flow to captivate their audience. In a country as diverse as South Africa, where languages weave a rich tapestry of culture, it’s no surprise that some local artists find it difficult to rap in their native tongues.
During a recent interview on YFM, Priddy Ugly, the talented hitmaker behind “Ntja’ka,” shed some light on the challenges faced by SA rappers when it comes to rapping in vernacular. When asked about the art of crafting rhymes and maintaining coherence in the vernacular, Priddy Ugly had some interesting insights to share.
According to Priddy Ugly, one of the main reasons why some SA rappers struggle with vernacular rap is the limited vocabulary available in their native languages compared to English. “We don’t have all that jargon in vernac, we don’t know it, I didn’t study it, you know. So it does take practice,” he explained.
However, Priddy Ugly emphasized that rapping in vernacular requires more than just a rich vocabulary. It also demands practice and skill development. “One thing I have noticed about a lot of artists in the game is that, like, when you meet them live, they speak vernac.
But when you hear them in their music, it’s like people don’t feel comfortable enough to put together metaphors and similes in their language. It’s very difficult,” he added.
Priddy Ugly also shared his personal experience during his time at Ambitiouz Entertainment, where there was encouragement for him to incorporate vernacular into his rap. He mentioned that even K.O, a prominent figure in the industry, recognized and appreciated his skill in rapping in his native language.
“I genuinely thank Ambitiouz Entertainment for believing in me. When I was signed to them in 2016, I had a few vernacular songs, and they were interested. K.O himself was trying to sign me back then,” Priddy Ugly revealed.
It’s clear that rapping in vernacular is not as straightforward as it may seem. It requires artists to navigate the complexities of language, cultural nuances, and the expectations of their audience. But why is it so important for SA rappers to embrace their native tongues?
For one, language is a powerful tool for self-expression. It allows artists to connect with their roots, tell their stories, and showcase the unique beauty of their cultures. By rapping in vernacular, artists can create a sense of authenticity and relatability that resonates with their fans on a deeper level.
Furthermore, embracing vernacular rap can contribute to the preservation and celebration of South Africa’s linguistic diversity. It allows for the recognition and appreciation of the different languages spoken in the country, breaking down barriers and promoting inclusivity within the music industry.
So, while rapping in vernacular may present its challenges, it’s a journey worth embarking on. As Priddy Ugly highlighted, it takes practice, dedication, and a willingness to explore the depths of one’s native language. By doing so, SA rappers can unlock a whole new world of creativity and connection with their audience.