In August, Missy Elliott retweeted a video of a South African artist rapping about wrestler John Cena with the comment “SUPA” and a fire emoji. By doing so, she introduced her 6.7 million followers to Sho Madjozi, a 27-year-old from the Limpopo province who has won two South African Music Awards and the BET Awards’ Viewers’ Choice for best international act. Now, with a catchy track about a cultural figure in the United States, she’s cementing her crossover success.
Known for rapping in a combination of her first language, Xitsonga, as well as English and Swahili -- and for pairing the traditional xibelani skirt with Air Force Ones -- Madjozi has unabashedly embraced her Tsonga heritage. She started rapping on Instagram three years ago and in 2018 independently released her debut, Limpopo Champions League, a mix of pop production and gqom music (a subgenre of house popular in South African townships).