The annual Metro FM Awards took place on Saturday night at the Durban International Conference Centre in what was supposed to be a celebration of the South African music industry.

But shit got real right away, as rappers like Riky Rick stole the spotlight to accuse Metro of rigging the ceremony.

“Shout out to the kids that can’t get their songs played on radio because they don’t have enough money,” Rick said after winning the award for Best Single.

He continued: “90 percent of the stuff that I hear on radio is garbage, the stuff is living on the Internet. Forget radio”, but was cut off shortly after.

The heat came after Nasty C won four of the night’s top categories, including Best Hip Hop Album, Best New Artist, Best Male Album, and Song of The Year. Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Julius Malema claimed via twitter during the ceremony that Nasty’s label Mabala Noise owned by the national treasurer of the ANC Youth League Reggie Nkabinde, corrupted the awards.

“If n**gaz can pay for these f**king awards, then my nigga, I don’t want them,” a clearly still frustrated Rick tweeted after the awards. “Stop playing with the people… we not stupid …” he continued.

Black Coffee followed up with his thoughts on the night: “Just watched the #MMA16....maybe it's time @METROFMSA do what they do best and remain a Radio Station?”

Rapper L Tido also tweeted: “Babes Wodumo and Kwesta killed throughout 2016 it's really sad they didn't win nothing. This music industry is so corrupt”

The South African music industry is no stranger to accusations of corruption. Last week, Ambitiouz Entertainment were accused of buying votes for the awards, and it was only last year that Malema claimed Mabala Noise was being used for money laundering, helping clean millions in cash made through through water and sanitation tenders.

So while it’s hardly surprising that so much alleged cheating plagued this year’s Metro, the outright brazenness of Nasty C’s four wins is certainly shocking, and demands further investigation.

In the meantime, it’s heartening to see the community rally behind Riky Rick’s comments. Hopefully the weekend’s events signal a turning point for our industry as a whole. We need far more focus on undiscovered talent, and much less pay-for-play fame. 

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