Every lifetime there are but a few pivotal creative minds who truly shape their generation. Needless to say, Riky Rick, whose given name was, Rikhado Makhado, was one of them.
On Wednesday, Makhado’s family confirmed that the young artist had passed away, by suicide.
The remarkable artist will be remembered by his fans, not only for his electrifying and exhilarating music sets, but for his big heart, his kindness and his overwhelming consideration and care for upcoming talent. He epitomised brotherhood.
His legacy will live on through some of the acts that he helped shape such as rapper, Emtee (given name Mthembeni Ndevu), who said that Makhado was a big inspiration for his fashion sense and Frank Casino, whose raw talent speaks volumes about Makhado’s astounding ear for music.
Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Makhado got an early introduction to the world of music and was able to craft his talent in the township of KwaMashu in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. Growing up with the assurance of his artistic mind, his talent soon helped shape an entire subculture.
Here’s a look back at some of the most pivotal moments in the life of the man also known as Boss Zonke:
1. August 2014: Riky Rick’s big blowup
The music industry was changed forever with the formal introduction to Makhado, the Master of Energy. After working in the industry for many years, he blew up with a song called Nafukwa. It was a hook that had just the right amount of attitude for anyone to vibe along to it and feel indestructible. His rise to fame was almost godlike in the wake of the Nafukwa buzz.
Makhado released the music video for Boss Zonke and ultimately gave South Africa a new fashion icon to adore. Through his ability to combine rap music and fashion style with an authentic African identity, he fully solidified himself as a new-age rapper, where fashion was a part of the music and the brand really mattered.
While not new to the game, this would be the first time the rapper was nominated for a whopping seven awards at the SA Hip Hop Awards.
Makhado walked away with two gongs – Album of the Year for Family Values as well as Best Male Artist. This put him on track to being one of the greatest South African hip-hop acts who would represent our country worldwide.
4. June 2016: Riky Rick releases Sidlukotini
The release of Sidlukotini saw him receive an abundance of love and appreciation from his fans. Up until that point, “moshpitting” was primarily seen through American rap music acts such as Travis Scott.
Moshpitting is a dance usually at live concerts, it consists of audience members jumping and head-banging to the music, in a circle. Finally, audiences had a South African song to moshpit to.
The legacy of this song lives on through musical acts such as Yex4 hitmaker, Blxckie (Sihle Sithole) whose musical prowess gives him that same flair.
Makhado made his controversial speech at the Metro FM Music Awards, after winning the Best Hit Single Award. He stepped onto the stage and shocked the audience.
In this speech, he bashed the record label he was signed to, Mabala Noise, for the awards its artists won. Rumour had it that the label had shelled a whooping R10 million to sponsor the awards.
Makhado became the talk of the town. While this was scandalous, Makhado’s passion for giving other artists was clear to see, He wanted to give everyone a chance to make a name for themselves.
Knitwear brand MaXhosa, luxurious, artisanal handmade leather goods brand Okapi and Makhado collaborated for their Capsule collection of luxury bags, belts and pouches made out of ostrich leather. The collection was absolutely stunning but the visual campaign was the best part. As the king of street fashion, the visuals screamed Riky Rick, reminiscent of the street culture that made him famous.
7. February 2019: A festival to remember
Then Boss Zonke brought us the Cotton Fest. With three stages to choose from, the festival became a cultural reset, breaking new ground for upcoming acts.
The festival was also monumental because it brought together the avant-garde with the mainstream in a way that almost seemed effortless, and unheard of at this large scale.
True to his nature, he brought a plethora of sub-cultures and people together.
Puma announced its collaboration with Makhado for exclusive Cotton Fest merchandise. This collaboration was definitely meant for the culture, two perfect brands aligning to give the people what they wanted. This merchandise was definitely the right legacy for Makhado, truly bringing together what we have known and loved him for all these years.
Makhado’s life was about living out his purpose, with so many industry nods and achievements in his short life. His legacy will live on through the young minds and hearts he never got tired of uplifting and inspiring.
Sadly, we must say goodbye to yet another hip-hop icon that will be missed for many lifetimes. He is survived by his wife Bianca Naidoo and two children. May the legacy of the Master of Energy never die.