Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
13 Jan 2022
5:00 pm

Jolly B: The ‘godfather’ of Spitori and UK drill rap

Sandisiwe Mbhele

SA-born rapper Jolly B is gaining a strong following for his effortless flow of Spitori and UK drill rap.

Rapper Jolly B in his music video for 'Patience.' Picture: Supplied

The nature of the music game recently is that all it takes is to have one viral moment. This couldn’t been more true for Jolly B.

The South African-born, England-based rapper has taken social media, fellow celebrities and the web by storm. It’s his authenticity and lyrical flow that’s grabbing the most attention. 

The 26-year-old’s real name is Kabelo Monyebudi and he is from Mamelodi, Pretoria. He has an interesting background that kicked off after his mom moved to the United Kingdom in 2005 and a year later, he joined her with the rest of his family. 

When The Citizen had a chat with the rising artist, we took note of how impeccably he switched between a number of South African languages despite his surprising English accent.

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This is demonstrated so well in his viral song Patience, and it explains why his music stands out from the rest. The self-proclaimed godfather of Spitori (mix slang of Setswana and Sepedi) and UK Drill‘s rap skills are effortless. 

However, the move to the UK and into hip-hop wasn’t easy. “I wanted to come back immediately, but I was 11 years old. If I had the money I would have returned straight home,” he says.  

But Jolly B says the decision changed his life and impacted his musical and cultural switch. 

“In grade 4, my streetwear used to be inspired by pantsula and kwaito. It then changed to hip-hop when I was in England and I never thought of hip-hop like that.”

Jolly B’s nickname is a bit sinister and funny in nature. “I am always a happy person, ‘jolly’, and the B used to stand for black bastard.” He adds he was making light of the dynamics in the UK but he was told by a businessman that this name wouldn’t work for his professional career as it has a negative connotation and sensitivity that comes with that nickname which would hold him back. 

So he dropped it and that is how the rise of Jolly B began. 

South Africa-born and UK-based rapper Jolly B. Picture: Supplied

He never foresaw a rap career for himself but was told by his family that he loved music from a young age. “But I only took it seriously in 2017 back in South Africa.”

The first time he was in the studio was in 2011 but would only return to music in 2017, adding he got caught up in the street life and self-doubt.

“But I was learning how to rap, would run a beat then write, I would also write on my laptop.” He adds that he was also freestyling when he was away and dabbled in rap-singing. 

Jolly B is heavily influenced by kwaito and South African music. His favourites include Kabelo Mabalane and Pitch Black Afro. He admits he would dabble in kwaito, but with an evolved and new sound. 

Patience was released at the beginning of January and was written during his time in prison. “I would write so much inside that I would be scared to share it and was scared of my own sound.” 

Jolly B was concerned about how his rap style and how the vernac would be received in Britain and in SA.

However, when he got out of prison, and worked on himself, he felt it was time to release Patience to the public. 

“When Patience was written I was going through a rough time. I had been out for over a year and I was dodging something for a long time and had to deal with it.” He doesn’t go into further detail about his past but the rapper says he’s in a much better place right now. 

The success of Patience has led to him getting a management team.

His dream collaboration includes artists such as 25k, Cassper Nyovest and Focalistic. 

Jolly B concludes there is more music to come, including an anticipated Patience remix.