Richest hip-hop artist in South Africa

The richest hip-hop artists in South Africa include leading rappers, AKA, Cassper Nyovest, and Nasty C, who are also currently the most popular hip-hop acts.


The Golden Age of hip-hop in South Africa, additionally to providing a catalogue of hits and artists that have since become legends in their own right, was also cited for commercialising the genre. It was during this time that hip-hop artists began to capitalise on their success through brand endorsements and, most recently, starting their own businesses.

As such, this not only made the genre popular locally, but it also meant that hip-hop artists were making large amounts of money. Below, we share a list of the three richest hip-hop artists in South Africa.

Problematising celebrity financial rankings in South Africa

Before sharing this list, it is important that we highlight the missing gap in most celebrity wealth rankings in South Africa, meaning that they are quite unreliable when it comes to accurate financial estimations.

This is largely a result of the fact that unlike in entertainment industries of the west where ballpark estimates for sales, brand work, and rates are shared with the public, this is not the case locally. Therefore, most estimations locally are projections, hence it becomes difficult to ballpark the actual net worth of an artist.

That being said, it is advised that the public always take the shared net worth of local celebrities with a pinch of salt.

Richest hip-hop artist in South Africa

Technically, the richest hip-hop artist in South Africa is not a singular artist but a hip-hop duo known as Die Antwoord. The alternative hip-hop act was established in 2008, and the duo comprises male rapper, Ninja and female rapper and vocalist, Yolandi Visser.

The two created a niche for themselves in the hip-hop industry by blending what they call ‘Ninja’s swagger’ with hip-hop. The duo was credited by Forbes Africa as the richest in 2018. At the time they were estimated to have a net worth of $10 million each.

This was accrued through their music, international headlining tours, and merchandise. The group took an indefinite hiatus creating music in 2020, as they were working on two films and a special live show for their Zef fan base.

With Die Antwoord technically being the richest hip-hop act in South Africa, below we will share the list of richest solo artists in South Africa in the year 2022.

1. AKA

AKA, real name Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, is regarded the richest South African hip-hop artist currently. Since breaking into the music industry formally in 2011, in the past 10 years, AKA has become the most awarded South African rapper in history.

Moreover, he is touted for being a pioneer in commercialising hip-hop as he was at the forefront of the phenomenon where hip-hop artists started working with brands.

AKA was the first South African artist to release his own sneaker with Adidas, and was one of the first to have his own alcohol range through his partnership with Cruz Vodka, as he has profits from sales of the Watermelon and Banana flavours.

2. Cassper Nyovest

Cassper Nyovest, real name Refiloe Maele Phoolo, is regarded as the second richest hip-hop artist in South Africa. Rising to fame in 2014, in his eight years as one of the leading names in the genre and music as a whole, Nyovest has asserted himself more as a brilliant business mind than an artist.

He created the Fill Up The Dome performances, which are stadium headlining performances that he and his management team spearhead. He also had a long-standing brand endorsement with Samsung and released his own version of a cell phone with AG Mobile in 2016.

However, it is his most recent feats that might soon make Nyovest the richest rapper in South Africa. In 2021, he released his own alcohol tequila brand, Don Billiato and established his own merchandise line with Root of Fame.

Furthermore, in 2022, he is diversifying with a boxing promotion with his Celebrity Boxing Matches.

3. Nasty C

Nasty C, real name Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, asserted himself in 2015 as a professional and leading hip-hop artist. In his seven years in the industry, Nasty C has pushed the boundaries of the reach of South African hip-hop.

This is since in 2020, the rapper made history by becoming the first South African hip-hop artist to sign with the internationally recognised leading urban record label, Def Jam.

He went on to work with Ari Lennox, releasing Black and White, which featured on the soundtrack of Coming 2 America. In the two years since his signing with the label, Nasty C has worked hard to establish himself in the United States market.

In 2021, he also partnered with alcohol brand, Johnnie Walker, becoming the new face of the brand.

Final thoughts

Financial rankings of celebrities in South Africa mostly hinge on acclaim and records, rather than on their actual net worth estimations. This is primarily because unlike in entertainment industries like Hollywood, Bollywood, or even Nollywood, financial details are not shared as openly in South Africa.

Therefore, when considering the rankings of South African artists, always take the above into consideration, even more so if the list has the net worth shared as projections, which are mostly based on hearsay, rather than official and accurate records or ballpark figures given by insiders.