AKA: Love, Loss and a Life of Hip Hop, SA Decides If Has the Rapper Come Out on Top?

Musician AKA, or Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, has spent more than a decade captivating local hip-hop lovers with his quintessential afro-fusion rap. The MC, record producer and entrepreneur has come a long way since his high school days writing raps with friends.

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While AKA’s music made him famous, his love life and tumultuous relationships have always made the rapper a trending topic with Mzansi.

In celebration of the musicians 34th birthday, on the 28th of January Briefly News takes a look at some of the highs and lows of AKA’s career and personal life.

Rapper AKA is celebrating his 34th birthday this week. To mark the occasion, Briefly News takes a closer look at some of the ups and downs of the musician’s life. Images: @akaworldwide/Instagram
Source: Instagram

AKA’s parents, where he was born and raised and his early life

The self-proclaimed “Supa Mega” was born in The City of Cape Town on 28 January, 1988 to parents Lynn and Tony Forbes.

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The rapper spent many of his formative years on the gritty streets of Mitchell’s Plain near the Cape Flats and grew up under the watchful eye of his grandmother before moving to Johannesburg in 1995 to stay with his mom. Lynn and Tony Forbes enjoyed 20 years of marriage before divorcing when AKA was already an adult.

AKA’s adolescent life was quite the 360-turnaround compared to his upbringing in Mithcell’s Plain. The future rapper spent his high school years at St John’s College near the affluent Houghton Estate.

AKA’s break in local hip-hop music

In high school, the young prodigy formed a rap trio with musician friends Vice Versa and Greyhound. The group, known as Entity, was founded in 2002 and disbanded in 2006. Although they weren’t in the game very long, the new group managed to secure themselves a KORA Award nomination in the Best African Hip Hop category.

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Building on this foundation, Forbes went off to study sound engineering in 2006 and worked behind the scenes as a producer for many up and coming artists at the time.

His production collective, The I.V League, made music for the likes Khuli Chana, JR and ProKid.

Victory Lap: AKA finds his sound and finally breaks into commercial music

Having gained some crucial experience, it was not long before AKA made it his mission to work on his own music. In August 2010 the rapper dropped his debut studio album, Altar Ego to critical acclaim.

South Africans could not get enough of hits like I Want It All, All I Know and Victory Lap.

The album was certified gold by RiSA for its commercial success.

AKA’s nominations, awards and international collaborations

Since breaking onto the scene the rapper has been no stranger to award nominations receiving multiple South African Music Awards, an MTV Music Award for best collaboration. AKA even won a 2019 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award for “Best South African Star.”

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He’s also been nominated for multiple BET Awards, a Channel O Africa Music Video Award and made waves in the UK with an MTV Europe Music Award nomination.

AKA vs Cassper Nyovest: What’s the longstanding beef about?

While the rapper has always gripped Mzansi with his quintessential sounds, many of his relationships have also caught SA’s attention- most notably his ongoing beef with fellow rapper Cassper Nyovest.

Explaining where the animosity all started back in 2015, AKA told MTV that the roots of their feud were really quite “lame”.

“He was coming up, I think it was around the Gusheshe time, and I’ve always looked out for new artists. We had even started to work on music together,” the rapper revealed.

However, it seems Forbes did not take too well to a later Twitter rant by the Doc Shebeleza hitmaker. According to AKA, Cassper put out a series of tweets soon after they got into the studio that just rubbed the rapper the wrong way:

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“One day I think he had put his video out, and the next day he went off about ‘I don’t have the support, no one is really holding me down, and I’m going to put this song out and show everybody.’

“I think we kind of fell out, maybe because of things he said on Twitter as people do,” the rapper added.

From there, their feud escalated with Forbes admitting to the back and forth on both parts. Their feud culminated in multiple diss tracks and many viral Twitter rants which have definitely not been forgotten by South Africans.

In 2017 both rappers seemed eager to bury the hatchet with a friendly boxing match that never took place.

Although Cass and AKA haven’t thrown any major shots at one another in recent months, it’s still not super clear where things stand between the two.

Infamous love affairs- DJ Zintle & Bonang Matheba’s baby mama drama & the untimely death of Nelli Tembe

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The musicians messy entanglement with baby mama DJ Zintle and ex-girlfriend Bonang Matheba had us all biting our nails back in 2015.

Drum reports that AKA and DJ Zintle split that same year after the 34-year-old cheated with TV personality, Bonang Matheba. Zintle was pregnant with the couples first and only child together, Kairo Forbes, at the time of the infidelity.

Still speaking with the publication, AKA admitted his faults and issued an apology to his baby mama:

“Zinhle was… is a great woman, a strong woman, (and) a great mother. I was too stupid and too young to even recognise that and even see that.”

Referring to his relationship with Bonang, Forbes added that it was never about stealing joy from Zintle but that he and Matheba simply “found each other.”

However, that relationship soon ended after 2 years and in characteristic style, AKA took to the Twitter streets to make the big announcement:

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In January 2020 the rapper’s personal life made headlines once again after he was spotted out and about with a fresh-faced beauty named Anele “Nelli” Tembe.

Towards the end of January AKA finally let the cat out of the bag, posting the 22-year-old bombshell on his Instagram feed and confessing his love for the very private Anele.

Their relationship was a whirlwind as we soon came to learn but the couples first few months in lockdown together seemed to have solidified their love. The South African reports that Anele even took care of AKA when he contracted COVID-19.

In February 2021 the couple announced their engagement with an extravagant social media post. It seemed the pair would go on to have a happy future together.

However, things took a turn for the worst when on April 11, 2021 the news of Anele’s passing made headlines. It’s understood the 22-year-old fell to her death from the penthouse on the 10th floor of the five-star Pepperclub Hotel, in the CBD of Cape Town.

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Many videos circulating on social media show the pair out and about the Saturday before her tragic passing.

Since then allegations of drug abuse and gender based violence have been flung the rappers way. The investigation to Anele “Nellie” Tembe’s passing is still on going.

Mzansi weighs in, Is AKA the Godfather of modern SA rap music?

It’s been over a decade of highs and lows for one of the most successful rap artist to ever come out of Mzansi. Taking to the social media streets we asked you, the Briefly News readers to share what you felt were AKA’s greatest contributions to the SA hip-hop scene.

Briefly News also needed you to answer this very important question: Is AKA the Godfather of modern SA rap music?

Take a look at some of your very mixed reactions:

Brighten Bacela said:

“Best hip hop selling artist of all times, he’s not Godfather but GOAT.”

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Flex McBur said:

“Aka’s contribution towards sa Hip hop will forever be outstanding.”

Sanele Nonjiko said:

“For me yes he is the godfather.”

Dorcas Mofokeng said:

“He is the Drake of Africa”

Some other peeps, however, did not agree:

Ťha Great Moshothi said:

“No Admin, AKA Is Too Wack To be a Hip Hop Godfather.”

Bulelani Nelson Ross said:

“Admin don’t put words on people mouth godfather of hip hop you said that not us.”

Mansana Ntsana said:

“He’s not Cassper wiped the floor with him it so long ago.”

Source: Briefly News


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