AKA says 2.8 million of his fans are “full of dog shit” — he owes them all a proper apology

We need to hold our rappers and celebrities accountable and AKA is no exception

Do me a favour: won’t you go have a look at the top 10 albums streaming on Apple Music right now? As of this writing, AKA’s Touch My Blood is sitting at No. 3, only behind Drake’s Scorpion and Nasty C’s Strings and Bling. I remember when the album was released on 15 June. I remember because I listened to it and I also remember because I saw it debut at No. 1.

Now, unfortunately we don’t really have a Forbes equivalent in South Africa to monitor the wealth of our celebrities but I think it’s plausible to say that AKA is millionaire. How did he become a millionaire? Well, he has a job. And that job is rapping. And that job’s a job because he makes money off of everything that people buy from him that he makes.

On Wednesday (25 July), AKA tweeted this: “I have 3.3 million followers, why don’t I sell at least a million??? …. let me tell you why …. coz like, 500k of you are like ACTUAL fans, the rest of y’all full of dog shit, walking round like I owe you something.”

Later, he followed up with this: “Thank You for this awesome session. This was a drill to see how guilty I could get you to feel about not buying my album, while making those who have, feel special about it. Thanks for playing, #TouchMyblood in stores now. Have an awesome day.”

Well, thanks for the well wish, Kiernan but non-apology not accepted. After being in the industry for more than a decade, an artist of this calibre should know that music sells when it’s good. Touch My Blood is good — and it’s selling. Perhaps not to AKA’s expectation but it is. He celebrated this himself not too long ago.

Beyond it being simply the height of disrespect telling 2.8 million of your fans that they’re “full of dog shit” and that they’re “walking round like I owe you something,” it just makes it very apparent that AKA doesn’t understand what support means or looks like.

First of all, you can’t tell anyone how to support you. Some people drive to work every day and listen to your songs on the radio. The radio charges advertisers for ads that play around AKA songs so that his fans can listen to them. Therefore, a fan like that paid for AKA’s music. Every weekend and indeed, even on days during the week, someone, somewhere is drinking Cruz Watermelon at club where an AKA song is playing. AKA gets a cut from every Cruz Watermelon bottle sold and every club pays royalties for songs played so the fan who drinks AKA’s vodka while dancing to his tracks in the club paid for his music. Even the fan who thinks Apple, Spotify and Google will sell their credit card details and so opts to stream AKA tracks on YouTube instead is paying for the music (same model as the radio stations).

So why does AKA think it’s appropriate to say people who aren’t making traditional purchases of or streaming Touch My Blood:

1. Are “fucking around.”

2. Are not fans.

3. Shouldn’t “dare call yourself a supporter, a fan, fam, part of the legacy or anything close.”

4. And should kiss the asses of those who traditionally bought or streamed the album.

According to the Recording Industry of South Africa, it is numerically impossible for AKA to sell a million records, even if he had 10 million followers. Here’s what the South African music landscape looks like: In 2015, 4 605 753 local records were sold. In 2016, that number dropped to 3 323 367 and last year, it plummeted to 1 716 221. Million record sales aren’t an AKA problem, they’re a local music industry problem. In simpler terms, they’re impossible for a South African artist to achieve. That’s why RISA dropped platinum certification from 40 000 to 30 000 units and gold from 20 000 to 15 000.

With less than 2 million local records being sold in the country, as great as AKA’s music truly is, there’s just no way that a million of those would be his sales.

Because Touch My Blood went gold, AKA estimates that he only has “50k hardcore fans.” If we assume, by his standards, that “hardcore” means fans who go out and buy every album when it drops, then that’s probably true. But no matter what he says, what he doesn’t want is a situation like this: “I’d rather have 50k hardcore fans than have 3.2 million fake ones.”

The truth is, not everyone who buys Cruz Watermelon has bought Touch My Blood. Not everyone who’s bought a ticket to an AKA show or festival featuring AKA has bought Touch My Blood. Not everyone who buys the AKA branded Reebok sneakers has bought Touch My Blood. Not everyone who requests an AKA track from their favourite radio DJ or video from MTV has bought Touch My Blood. And they are the remaining 2.8 million which he claims are “full of dog shit” when in fact they’re full of money which they’ve been spending on AKA for years. That’s why he can get up in the morning and play video games all day. The remaining 2.8 million paid for his mansion, his electricity, his game console, his TV and the luxury of having a day off — whether it was their last money or not.

Real talk, AKA: you are because of the strength of the 2.8 million. South African artists make R8.33 per R99 album sale, which is what Touch My Blood is retailing for. Sure, you’d have R8.3 million if a million people bought your album but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s how much money you already have anyway. Why be greedy for more? What was “Practice” about then? Didn’t you rap, How many ways to get this paper / No other breaks, No vacations / My daughter’s face is motivation / Do you got what it takes to be a great one? And what about, It was dark days / Now I’m busy living like Scarface / Now I’m looking for a house with way more garage space? And can we forget, I was made for this shit / Can you believe I get paid for this shit? / I might just need a parade for this shit / It’s time to call it a day with this shit?

To be clear, yes, it is about losing fans and no, it’s not and will never be about how hard you work. Hard work entitles you to nothing. Good work is where the harvest lies. And your attack on 2.8 million of your fans unprovoked is terrible work. And if they won’t hold you accountable, it’s my duty as a writer to do so for them.

One comment Add yours
  1. I actually never realised the structural scope of our music industry in terms of what is and isn’t possible for sales which now has made me twice as angry that this man dared to fix the side of his face like this! And I also think it’s incredibly classist for him to expect all of his fans to be able to afford or be prepared to break themselves financially for his music.

Well, what do you think?