What’s the Deal

We custom built a #NextLevel mobile recording studio, found the dopest artists in five of SA’s biggest cities, and put their bars to the test. The hottest session won the #IAMNEXT competition, and got the opportunity to record a single with Kid X – as voted by you.

Previous Winners

NankOo 2018

The winner of Russian Bear’s 2018 #IAMNEXT competition — Onke Nomangola (NankOo) — had his very own music video screened on MTV Base. The video was for his collaboration single Sosha, which was created in conjunction with award-winning South African rapper Kid X. Khayelitsha-born NankOo was voted by South Africa as the 2018 #IAMNEXT winner out of over 400 contestants from across Mzansi. “I have been trying to make it in the industry for 10 years and it got to the point where I was really tired of not being recognised,” says NankOo. “I felt like it wasn’t worth fighting for anymore, but after winning the Russian Bear #IAMNEXT competition, everything changed and I got the motivation to keep going. I now finally have a chance to break through,” NankOo adds. On Monday, 13 August 2018, the top three artists were announced and, two weeks later, South Africans crowned NankOo as the #IAMNEXT winner. Check out the song here:


“[Sosha] is about who I am and how I got to the stage that I’m at right now. The song also features Kid X’s side of the story. We started rapping back when it wasn’t cool, but it’s now popular, so the song is also a warning, as you will hear the hook says passop to others [and telling them ] not to rap just because everyone else is doing it,” NankOo says.

“It’s dope hearing that your mother and the people you grew up with are proud of seeing you on TV. I felt like the video really portrayed what I was saying and what the song is all about,” adds NankOo.

You can buy or download the song on all digital platforms here.

2017 Winner

In 2017, Caleb Heynes brought the fire and set the bar high. Find out how he made it to the Top3, became the fan favourite and went on the be the winner of #IAMNEXT 2017

Russian Bear is and always will be the champion of giving people the platform and the props they need to take their talent to The Next Level. It’s what we are about and we will always continue to look for, and reward true talent and help our fans take it to The Next Level.

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