2018, now six weeks to its expiration, may be called the year of Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, 30, long famous by his adopted stage name AKA.
The rapper, songwriter, record producer and businessman, who has an abiding love for the bimmer, has apparently made the most leaps of his career this year since he leaped onto the music scene sometime in 2009.
Actually, he has been around since 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he jumped into South Africa’s consciousness, where he has since remained.
The release of singles such as “Problems,” “In My Walk” and “Do It” shot AKA into national prominence and awards poured in for his efforts. He won the Metro FM Music Awards in several categories and was ultimately dubbed the Prince of South African Rap. That was 2009.
AKA has been marching on – collaborating with some of the industry’ finest voices and releasing hits of his own – and has maintained his toga of Mzansi Rap Prince.
AKA released “I Want it All,” featuring Khuli Chana and Pro (also called ProKid) in late July 2010. He followed that up with “Victory Lap” in December and “All I Know” in the middle of 2011 (July 11). He released his debut studio album the same year.
Titled “Alter Ego,” the album, released on the stable of Vth Season, won the Metro FM Music Awards in three categories: Best New Comer, Best Hip Hop Album and Best Produced Album respectively. That was on 26 November 2011 at Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela (Nelspruit), Mpumalanga.
The awards for creativity and excellence have not ceased coming, but AKA, the SupaMega of a 5 million-man city called The Megacy (his social media followers), is becoming wary of awards, like pal and compatriot Stogie T, who he featured on “Starsigns.” Just recently, AKA turned down his nominations at the South Africa Hip Hop Awards.
That notwithstanding, AKA has maintained his rap royal toga. If a list of the most outstanding South African musicians were drawn now, he would certainly make the list – no questions asked. He who has cast a spell of excitement on fans during his feel good session in October has yet got the charm.
That charm has provoked one smash hit after the other, with platinum certifications coming the way of the SupaMega, who has given a footing to some stars in the industry, including Nasty C.
“Levels,” his second studio album, has since earned double platinum certification from the Recording Industry South Africa (RiSA).
So far, though, “Touch My Blood,” AKA’s fourth studio album, released independently via Beam Group (AKA’s company, now defunct), has been his biggest success, with platinum certifications.
Releasing “Touch My Blood” without the backing of the big names was one of AKA’s most ambitious moves ever and a testament to a robust belief in his own powers. Sleepless nights, packs and packs of ciggies and then “Touch My Blood” was done.
But the release date had to be shifted: AKA needed more time to shoot videos and confirm tour dates. Officially released, “Touch My Blood” earned gold certification within a week.
An excited public had scrambled over the album, with some music nuts downloading the album illegally. The SupaMega had some harsh words for those downloading his songs illegally, “thanking” them for stealing from him.
Beam Group may have collapsed, alleged thanks to the purchase of a Maserati by partner Prince “Costinyo” Nyembe, but certainly not AKA’s music future. Already, his name is secure in the universe of South African music. If AKA should stop singing today, he would still remain musically relevant. “Touch My Blood” assures that.
The album is probably his greatest to date, and the one with the most hit tracks. One such hit track is “Fela in Versace,” featuring Kiddominant. The chart-topper has become one of AKA’s greatest hits ever.
A great track and a great album surely belong together. Yes? Fact is, at the time “Touch My Blood” was released, AKA, who Da L.E.S co-opted on “Iced Out” alongside Emtee days ago, had said it might be his last album.
The strain of going it alone must have taken its toll. But there has been a change of heart and AKA, reconciled with Sony Music, and now a partner at Vth Season with whom he severed ties mid 2017, is looking forward to releasing his fifth studio album.
The album, when it drops, might send South Africa’s music universe on fire once again. AKA has got a magical touch, a touch that ignites wonders lyrically.
Mzansi can’t wait to see that touch in 2019. Ignite!