Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
THE death of South African hip hop rapper ProKid has shocked not only Mzansi fans and artistes, but also Zimbabweans who described him as a major influence for them taking up hip hop music.
ProKid, real name Linda Mkhize, died at the age of 37 in South Africa after he suffered a seizure at a friend’s home in Johannesburg, Wednesday evening, according to a family statement.
Condolence messages poured in all throughout Wednesday night as news of his death spread through social media.
ProKid took rapping in African languages to great heights producing hits such as Ghetto Science, Woz’uzobabona and many other songs that celebrated township life. The most influential song by ProKid is Uthini Ngo Pro, Bhampa and Ungaphel’ Moya Son.
Guluva Se7en said ProKid made him believe hip hop could be done in vernacular.
“He was one of the pioneers of rapping in vernac. I remember back in the day spitting in English was the it thing in hip-hop and we who used vernac would be bunched up as kwaito. When Pro came through he made me see that it’s possible to kill in vernac on these hip-hop beats,” he said.
Originally a kwaito artiste, Guluva Se7en said ProKid made his mind for him to be a hip hop artiste and change his name from Gluvexera.
“ProKid is the one who inspired me to develop myself from a kwaito head to a hip-hop head. Pro is the first rapper to fuse (hip-hop and kwaito beat) in one track on his single eMakasana. I even changed my name from Gluvexera to Guluva Se7en.”
For Cal_Vin news about the death of ProKid shocked him to the core as he inspired him to take up rap music using isiNdebele.
“Waking up to the saddest news ever, the passing of the dude Guluva Se7en and I looked up to when we were starting our vernacular rap. This is a huge loss to kids like us, but thank u for making us believe that rapping in vernac was beautiful,” said Cal_vin adding that his best song from ProKid was the 2009 hit Uthini ngo Pro. Zim hip hop award winning rapper, Floppy X, described ProKid as a legend in Kasi rap.
“One can’t call himself a vernac emcee if he didn’t listen to Pro. He is one of the pioneers of Kasi rap which nowadays has grown to be wide n’ broad. My respect for Pro leaves me where I am today because I won’t lie listening to him gave me skill and ideas, somehow ProKid falls under my list of emcees that built Floppy X to be the dopest vernac emcee,” he said.
Germany based Awa said ProKid paved way for ghetto based rappers into the mainstream.
Another hip hop artiste POY said ProKid was one of the biggest pioneers of hip hop in Africa and his use of vernacular in his music elevated hip hop from being a mostly underground genre to becoming a mainstream genre.
“Guys like Pro made me realise mixing languages is a big key to having mainstream success and mass appeal. There are things you can never really express in English that you can express in isiNdebele and people will relate to your message better. ProKid will be sorely missed may his music live forever,” said POY.
Zimbabwe’s new rap king ASAPH said although he does not rap in vernacular ProKid inspired him.
“I don’t rap in vernac but the first time I saw ProKid I was really inspired because I was one of the very few rappers that were pushing the culture. At that time hip hop hadn’t yet found its place on the continent and I believe for the South African Hip Hop scene it took guys like Pro to pioneer and lead the culture in a time when it wasn’t cool to be a rapper,” said ASAPH.