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AKA – born Kiernan Forbes on January 28, 1988, in Cape Town, South Africa – was a rapper and producer who has been acknowledged as the best-selling South African hip hop artist of all-time. His musical career began in 2002 when he co-founded the hip hop group Entity. After the group’s split in 2006, AKA went on to form the production collective the I.V. League. After producing several artists, he pursued a solo career, which led to his debut album Altar Ego (2010) and the hit singles “All I Know” and “Victory Lap.” The album was a commercial success and was honored with the Best Hip Hop Album award at the 2011 Metro FM Awards. He also won the South African Music Awards’ Best Male Artist of the Year award in 2012. His 2014 sophomore album Levels continued his successful streak, going double platinum in the process. The album featured seven singles including “Jealousy,” “Kontrol,” “Congratulate,” “All Eyes On Me,” and “Slim Dope.” Levels is now acknowledged as the first South African hip hop album sung in English to go platinum. He followed that success with the albums Be Careful What You Wish For (2016) and Touch My Blood (2018), both of which were critical and commercially successful. In 2021, he released the Extended Play release, which included the singles “Energy,”, “Monuments,” “Cross My Heart,” and “Python.” In February 2023, AKA began promoting his fourth album, Mass Country, but was shot and killed on February 10, 2023, outside of a nightclub. The album was released posthumously two weeks later.

©Copyright Music Story Stephen Schnee 2023


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