Human Capital Development

Study shows AKA is SA hip hop King


The way we produce, distribute and consume information has been vastly altered by the internet. According to famed economist, Jeremy Rifkin, we are now living in a near-zero marginal cost society. The cost of producing and consuming information has been reduced such that everyone can participate in the information economy.

This means that our models have to be changed to fit the new reality otherwise we would irrelevant in this new world order. Africa is still lagging behind but has a chance to catch up or even leapfrog the “developed nations” of this world.

Whatever we are doing is now being recoreded and archived in some servers somewhere in the world. The way we measure success should also change. Key to this transformation are journalists. They have an important role of informing us using relevant formats. I am always surprised when I meet journalists who cannot interrogate data in its basic form. I always wonder how they do their research considering the proliferation of analytics technologies that are open-source and there for the taking.

As a small illustration, I attempted to compare Cassper Nyovest and AKA to see who is more popular. Nasty C and Kwesta are close followers in terms of popularity as defined in this context and were included to give comparative perspective. As a disclaimer, this research is pseudo-scientific and solely uses data generated by Google through its Google Trends platform.

The reason for writing the post is to encourage journalists to write evidence-driven stories. Below is the quick study I did.

Please note:

  1. Only Google data was used, there are other search engines and platforms that offer the same service but are out scope for this study.
  2. The comparisons between Cassper Nyovest and AKA have been limited to South Africa and Worldwide.
  3. The time period used was 12 Months: From 16-04-2018 to today (15-04-2019)
  4. The analysis was done on five dimensions, namely: (i) Web Search (ii) Image Search (iii) News Search (iv) Youtube Search (v) Google Shopping
  5. The statistics displayed do not have any link with their income from music sales.
  6. This research is being done as an illustration of data-driven journalism. MathsGee has created a course for journalists to learn how to interrogate data on

    Introduction to Data-driven Journalism

  7. Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means that there was not enough data for this term.
  8. The 4 rappers used in the study have been colour-coded as follows: (i) BLUE – Cassper Nyovest (ii) AKA – Green (iii) RED – Kwesta (iv) YELLOW – Nasty C
  9. Care has been taken to make sure that the data was filtered for AKA the rapper and not people searchng for “aka – also known as”.
  10. Please take note that Google Trends is a real-time data visualization tool so results will be dynamic and will be updated to the day you access the visualization.

First Category – Web Search (12 months)

South Africa

The rapper web search timeline below shows that AKA and Cassper Nyovest generally have the same popularity levels with respect to South African based web search. Both have a peak on the timeline, AKA dominated web search during the week of 27 May – 2 Jun 2018, whilst Cassper Nyovest dominated web search during the week of 2 Dec – 8 Dec 2018.

Can you find events that happened during these weeks that could explain the peak for each of the artists?

AKA has an avergae of 29 whilst Cassper has 28, Nasty C has 27 and Kwesta has 19.



AKA is a more global hip hop artist than any of his competitiors. Google even categorises him as “Rapper” implying a global presence,  as opposed to the other artists who are classified as “South African Rapper”. The graph below shows that AKA is way above the rest of the rappers in global interest over time. AKA has an avergae of 65 whilst Cassper has 21, Nasty C has 30 and Kwesta has 14.

Second Category – Image Search (12 months)

South Africa

Nasty C has the highest average in terms of image search in South Africa. Can you explain why this is the case? There was a sharp spike in his image search during the week 2 Sep – 8 Sep 2018. I wonder what happened to trigger the search.

AKA has an avergae of 34 whilst Cassper has 33, Nasty C has 46 and Kwesta has 18.


Given AKA worldwide influence it is no surprise that he has the highest global image serch and is in a league of his own. He is consistently followed by Nasty C then Cassper and finally Kwesta.

AKA has an avergae of 76 whilst Cassper has 16, Nasty C has 30 and Kwesta has 9.

Third Category – News Search (12 months)

South Africa

Cassper Nyovest has marginally more News Search glory compared to AKA. Cassper is buoyed by the spike in news search during the week of 2 Dec -8 Dec 2018. Fill Up some stadium and Global Citizen come to mind.

AKA has an avergae of 26 whilst Cassper has 28, Nasty C has 19 and Kwesta has 16.


Despite Cassper Nyovest peaking during the week of the Global Citizen event held AKA manatined his global presence and on average is way above Nyovest.

AKA also had a significant global news search peak during the week of 3 Jun – 9 Jun 2018. What happened?

AKA has an avergae of 42 whilst Cassper has 27, Nasty C has 23 and Kwesta has 13.

Fourth Category – Youtube Search (12 months)

South Africa

Nasty C wins the South Africa Youtube search in the last 12 months. AKA has an average of 31 whilst Cassper has 21, Nasty C has 41 and Kwesta has 25.

Seems there is a peak of interest in the last 12 months with respect to each artist. May-Jun 2018 for AKA, Dec 2018 for Cassper Nyovest and March 2019 for Nasty C.



Again none of the artists compare to AKA when it comes to global search. Clearly AKA is the most serched South AFrican rapper on the global stage.

AKA has an avergae of 76 whilst Cassper has 25, Nasty C has 40 and Kwesta has 17.

Fifth Category – Google Shopping (12 months)

South Africa

The same peaks for each artists have influence on the average search frequaency in terms of Googl Shopping.

Nasty C wins with an average of 41, AKA had 31, Cassper Nyovest had 34 and Kwesta had 25.


AKA once again solidifies his international influence with a runaway average of 76, whilst Cassper has 25, Nasty C has 40 and Kwesta has 17.


We can use data to tell stories and there are no bounds to what we cn report on. This illustration shows that AKA’s international strategy is paying off and Cassper’s local influence is consistent although marginally more than AKA they are definitely in the same league.

It can also be seen from dat that Nasty C is on the rise and will soon rule the roost.

Data-driven journalism is as important as democracy.


Edzai Conilias Zvobwo is passionate about empowering Africans through mathematics, problem-solving techniques and media. As such, he founded MathsGee. Through this organisation, he has helped create an ecosystem for disseminating information, training, and supporting STEM education to all African people. A maths evangelist who teaches mathematical thinking as a life skill, Edzai’s quest has seen him being named the SABC Ambassador for STEM; he has been invited to address Fortune 500 C-suite executives at the Mobile 360 North America; was nominated to represent Southern Africa at the inaugural United Nations Youth Skills Day in New York; was invited to be a contributor to the World Bank Group Youth Summit in 2016; has won the 2014 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development award for his contribution to women’s empowerment in education; and has partnered with local and global firms in STEM interventions.

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