The Hip Hop fraternity has described artist Jabulani Tsambo, popularly known as ‘HHP’, as a pioneer of local hip hop, who paved the way for young artists.
The 38-year-old died on Wednesday at his home in Randpark Ridge, west of Johannesburg. The cause of his death has not been officially disclosed.
However his battle with depression and suicide attempts is well-documented. During his extensive music career, the man known also as Jabba, was nominated for numerous awards including a Black Entertainment Television (BET) Award for ‘Best International Act in 2010.
HHP released 10 albums during his 18-year career in the music industry.
Whichever name you use to refer to him – Double H-P – Jabba – “the King of Maff-Town” – has been described a pioneer by his peers and fans.
Born on the 14th of September 38 years ago, HHP grew up in a township in Mafikeng, North West. His success in the Hip Hop music genre saw him release 10 albums including – Maftown, YBA 2 NW and Acceptance Speech.
To Hip Hop fans and his peers, Jabba is considered a legend in the industry. Hip hop artist Stilo Magolide says HHP has left behind an eternal legacy.
“More than anything the legacy that HHP is leaving behind is the love he had for his family and the love he gave to the nation, the amazing music, the catalogue that he’s given us throughout the years, the inspiration and this whole new wave of artists came of the backbone of HHP, the sacrifices they had to endure for us to be here, the challenges they had to face for us to be here.”
Speaking on the SABC’s METRO FM’s afternoon drive show with DJ MoFlava two weeks ago, Jabba spoke about how far he has come personally and as a musician. He indicated that he was in a good place and gave his thoughts on legacy.
“What is your idea of a legacy for someone like you? … I think legacy is something that you do even throughout time way past your time. It will be carved in stone as something you have played a part in discovering and keeping big.”
Prominent Hip Hop group, Skwatta Kamp, says they will always remember “the king of Hip Hop,” for his humility and approachable character. Skwatta Kamp’s Siyabonga Metane says HHP always put his heart and soul into everything he did.
“The difference with all of us though and everyone else is that he was approachable. He would sit and literally sit with guys in the banks, he would sit with kids in the choir. He would literally be like approachable enough and put his heart into those things that some of us would be like… never comes through with that. That is a little bit foreign to me as a creative. As a creative he was never uncomfortable to stretch himself to things outside Hip Hop, you know, and outside the genre to a point that he did so well – he almost created a new genre. Hence there is a thing called Motswako.”
Jabba’s family has been the hardest hit by his death. Thabiso “Thasman” Tsotesti, says his wife Larato Sengadi is battling to come to terms with the loss of her husband.
“His wife is definitely not okay. His wife can’t stand, can’t walk, can’t eat, and can’t even drink water. She is in a shock of note. The family they have accepted it but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are okay with it. I mean the situation is a shocker to almost everybody so as it is the family is still as shocked as ever but what can we do, what can we say, we just have to accept what has just happened.”
Details of his funeral are yet to be made public.