#TrendingAwards2016 – We spend hours debating which brilliant young thing, legendary artist, fresh lifestyle trend or pressing cultural debate should be on the cover of #Trending each week, so you can imagine how difficult it was to choose a cover star of the year.
This was the year that South African hip-hop smashed all the local sales and chart records while our house producers continued to rock the world’s dance floors and kwaito came back to remind us of how this thing all got started.
Some thought it was a no-brainer: music legend Mandoza’s untimely death – which made the cover on September 25 in a story where we remembered him through the eyes of his long-time friend Mdu Masilela – brought back a flood of memories of the birth of kwaito, and how township kids rose to fame in the dawn of democracy to shake up the local music scene, birthing a generation of house music producers that would topple the dominance of multinational record labels in the local music sector.
Two of the bands that rose to huge prominence with kwaito were Bongo Maffin and Boom Shaka and their enduring lead vocalists Thandiswa Mazwai and Lebo Mathosa.
Twenty years later we are only now really understanding how major their impact was on pop culture, so King Tha Mazwai (on the cover on November 20 with a way overdue and exquisite new album Belede) and Lebo Mathosa (on the cover on October 23 to mark 10 years since her death in a car accident) were our runners-up.
Eventually, we decided to give the award to the next phase of the kwaito project, the rise and rise of our hip-hop stars and the most anticipated debut of the year.
In the spirit of youth culture and of #Trending’s support for new artists, Nasty C, breakout artist of the year, gets our cover star award for his October 16 cover all about his album Bad Hair.