'No transparency or credibility': Why rappers K.O, Kid X are not taking part in SA Hip Hop Awards

12 November 2014 - 13:33 By Bernice Maune

As news broke of the South African Hip Hop Award nominees for 2014, debate broke out about why Cashtime Life artists K.O and Kid X had effectively been excluded from the list.

Rappers AKA, Cassper Nyovest and Kwesta were at the forefront of the nominees with eleven, eight and five nods each. The nominees were announced on 12 November at an event attended by media and industry players.

Owned by Ritual Media, which is also the founder of the Back To The City annual Hip Hop event - the awards have been a source of controversy since they started two years ago. The first instalment saw rapper AKA opt to decline nomination because he felt he had not been given enough time to canvass for public votes.

AKA finally reached a consensus with Osmic Menoe, founder and owner of the SA Hip Awards entity and the two made up in a public truce which saw AKA claim his four gongs.

This year, after the nominees list was announced - furore broke out over why Cashtime Life artists K.O and Kid X of CaraCara fame were excluded. It was thought that the duo were snubbed despite their single garnering 1 million views on YouTube and blazing local charts for weeks on end.

However, the SA Hip Hop Awards organisers took to Twitter to set the record straight. They said Cashtime Life asked to be excluded from the nominees and they "kindly obliged".

Thabiso Khati, co-owner of Cashtime Life told Times LIVE that because of the name the awards held, there were broader expectations associated with it.

"I believe they should have named the awards Back to the City or Ritual Media Awards because the title SA Hip Hop Awards carries so much weight, it is representative of the whole industry. The expectations are: Is the auditing done correctly? How are the awards managed and what the level of transparency is. With ceremonies like the South African Music Awards they are held accountable by the Recording Industry of South Africa and they have clear rules and regulations that everyone understands."

Khati adds: "Anyone can start their own awards ceremony but until there are plans to involve more people, right now to us it's only a name."

Menoe went on YFM to clarify the nomination and voting  process of the awards. He said there was a committee of judges made up of music compilers and industry players who would select winners. Forty percent of the vote for certain categories would go to the public, said Menoe.

But Khati said he was not content with that process, saying it lacked "credibility".

"It's the same reason why we had an issue with the Hype Awards, it's not an open process, people can vote for themselves a million times. With MTV and Channel O, those are private entities so we know exactly what we are getting into. There is only one company involved in the SA Hip Hop Awards and because they are not transparent, we cannot co-sign it. We were told that in 2015, the process would change but until then our artists will not be involved."

The awards will be take place on 17 December and are set to be broadcast by eTV.