The Hustle is back but it seems like a boys only club

SHOW: The Hustle

AIRS: Mondays at 19:30


The Hustle, one of the most important talent search shows on television, has returned for a second season.

On the show, rapper hopefuls battle it out to join the ranks of hip-hop royalty – judged by AKA (who’s also an executive producer this season), Khuli Chana and Stogie T. The show’s new host is Siyabonga “Scoop” Ngwekazi, replacing Sammy Sosa.

A little stricter this year and AKA more relaxed, the judges have raised the bar when it comes to who makes it to the next round.

While perhaps not during the first two episodes, but as the season continues, expect harsher and more candid feedback within a contemporary war of hip-hop genres like trap, boom bap, motswako, and trap gqom.

From season one there were contestants who became rap stars, such as Shane Eagle who actually is a top-notch TV presenter.

The show follows a group of 20 undiscovered hip-hop contestants who hope to be the last MC standing.

But only two of the 20 are women. What I find problematic and a little too glaring is that The Hustle continues to portray the rap scene as a male-dominated industry.

Now, while there might have been fewer women auditioning this year (as I’ve been told by the producers) compared with the first season, by not having a woman’s voice as a permanent fixture on the panel there is nothing inviting or aspirational for women who might be interested in the rap movement, but who need that encouragement and nudge only a female judge could offer them from the panel seat.

The absence of women on the judging panel is something that the producers have been publicly criticised for this year.

Criticism intensified when a female hip-hop hopeful was told on the show by judges that she did not have “the right image”. And what would that be, coming from three men?

In response to the criticism, VUZU has said that it is sticking with its judging panel, insisting that the individuals were selected on merit and not on gender.

As an “alternative”, they have maintained that there is no bias and that viewers can expect “an amazing line-up of female guest judges throughout the season”. Oh wow, thanks!

Those judges include the likes of publicist extraordinaire Farah Fortune and rapper Nadia Nakai.

Do I have any favourites this season? Not yet… one can only really make that decision during the last four episodes.


A R250 000 cash prize, an Opel Corsa Sport, a record deal with Vth Season and a PR contract with African Star Communications for being crowned the princess or prince of the hip-hop world.