K.O (rapper)

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Birth nameNtokozo Mdluli
Also known asSkhanda Gawd
OriginSouth Africa
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, record producer
Years active2005–present
Associated acts
  • Nator

Ntokozo Mdluli (stage name K.O) is a South African hip hop artist, rapper, songwriter and businessman from Mpumalanga. He was a member of Teargas, a hip hop group which released its debut album titled K’shubile K’bovu in 2006, followed by Wafa Wafa in 2008, Dark or Blue in 2009 and Num8er Num8er in 2012. He released his debut album Skhanda Republic in 2014, followed by Skhanda Republic 2 in 2017 under Sony Music Entertainment Africa.

Early life[edit]

K.O was born Ntokozo Mdluli in the Mthatha township of Eastern Cape province of South Africa. He is the son of Thembisile Mdluli and Jabulani Mdluli. He moved to Piet Retief in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa with his family while he was an infant. He completed his matric and went to Vaal University of Technology where he studied a National Diploma in Public Relations Management.

While at Vaal University of Technology, Mdluli met his would be band mates, brothers; Ezee "Ma-E" Hanabe and Bantu "Ntukza" Hanabe. He completed his studies and graduated with a Public Relations (PR)Management National Diploma from Vaal University of Technology. Initially he struggled to find employment, according to a Sowetan article he spent two years unemployed before his mother sent his CV to the South African Police Service but he never followed up. "I was trying to make demos with funding from my parents and they believed in my dream but I eventually started giving up. My mother sent my CV to the SAPS but I didn’t go for the interview. The day of the interview I knew I was struggling but I couldn’t go through with it," K.O was quoted in the Sowetan.[citation needed] He went on to work in the field of his studies with a dream of becoming a musician.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]


In 2005 while employed in the Public Relations, K.O and brothers from Soweto; Ma-E and Ntukza, they decided to form a Hip Hop group called Teargas. "We realised it would be better to join since we were already good friends who knew each other’s rhyming style", K.O was quoted by the City Press. In 2006 Teargas released their debut album, K’shubile K’bovu, the album was a smash hit and a runaway success. The fifteen (15) track album featured a timeless smash hit titled "chance". "Chance", a Hip Hop song chronicling a life of a township gangster seeking redemption, was reminiscent of the early days of Kwaito. In 2008 Teargas released their second studio album titled "Wafa Wafa"; in the sixteen (16) track album the group worked with Bongo Riot on two songs, "Champions" and "Sunshine".

In 2009 they released their third studio album titled "Dark or Blue", in the thirteen (13) track album Teargas collaborated with Tamarsha on the song titled "Life", with DJ Tira and Liesl Penniken on the song called "Party 101", with Hip Hop Pantsula and Pro (formerly Pro Kid) on the song "Goodfellaz" and with Danny K on the song "T.L.C. (Tender, Love and Care)". In 2012 Teargas released their fourth studio album called "Number Number" (stylized "Num8er Num8er"); in the fifteen (15) track album they worked with 2Face "Turning Tables", Lilly Million on "Forgive Me", Toya Delazy on "Paradise" and Ziyon on "Put U On".


Cashtime Life[edit]

In 2013 K.O joined forces with Teargas band mate, Ma-E, and music and marketing executive Thabiso Khati to form an entertainment company, Cashtime Life, which he (K.O) became its first artist. This was followed by the release of the first official single of K.O’s debut solo album, "Mission Statement", which became a critical success and enjoyed massive airplay across South Africa.

In 2014 K.O was featured on AKA‘s hit single, "Run Jozi (Godly)".

In March 2014 he released a second official single off his then upcoming debut album, "Caracara", and it went on to an even bigger success. The song reached one million views on YouTube and broke the record for most views of a South African hip-hop video. "Caracara" was nominated for Best Hit Single, Best Collaboration and Best Music Video at the 14th Annual Metro FM Awards.

K.O later released, "Son of a Gun", a third official single for his then upcoming debut album titled “Skhanda Republic”.

In November 2014 K.O’s debut solo album, Skhanda Republic, was released. In the 11 track album K.O collaborated with Kid X on "Caracara", Nandi Mngoma on "Skhanda Love" and Ma-E, Maggz and Masandi on "One Time". Skhanda Republic was nominated for Best Hip Hop album and Best Male Album at the 14th Annual Metro FM Awards.


In an interview with the Sunday World K.O dismissed claims that Teargas has split. "We have decided to individually try new things just like Mafikizolo did. We are taking a break but it does not mean we are a dead group," K.O was quoted in that interview.

Personal life[edit]

In May 2014, K.O lost a significant amount of weight. This sent social media into a frenzy with rumours that K.O was HIV positive.[1] However, his manager Thabiso Khati denied those rumours stating that K.O had undergone a strict diet plan and was exercising regularly.[2][3] K.O later released a statement regarding his health and posted a picture of his blood test results on his Twitter and Instagram page, showing he was HIV negative.[4]

The Rapper finally released His much awaited song titled Don Dada featuring Okmalumkoolkat on the 14th Of October.

The Rapper Announced A New Single Plus His New Album Coming Up Later This Year.[5]

He Released his latest single called No Feelings On 21 July.[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Channel O Africa Music Video Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2014 "Caracara" Most Gifted Male Nominated [7]
Most Gifted Duo/Group or Featuring Artist Nominated [7]
Most Gifted Hip Hop Nominated [8]
Most Gifted Southern Artist Nominated [8]
Most Gifted Video of the Year Nominated [8]

Discography Year Album Record Label Notes 2006 K’shubile K’bovu Electromode Teargas Debut Studio Album 2008 Wafa Wafa Electromode Teargas Second Studio Album 2009 Dark or Blue Electromode Teargas Second Studio Album 2012 Num8er Num8er Electromode Teargas Second Studio Album 2014 Skhanda Republic Cashtime Life K.O Debut Solo Studio Album


  1. ^ "K.O officially speaks about his HIV rumour". Zkhiphani. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. ^ "'Not HIV positive': K.O from Teargas". Sowetan LIVE. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  3. ^ Venge, Tinashe (22 May 2014). "KO's manager slams AIDS rumours". Zalebs. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  4. ^ Radebe, Palesa (28 May 2014). "SA rapper tests HIV rumour mill". IOL. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  5. ^ "K.O Announces New Single And Talks Album Release Date". Hiphopza.com. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  6. ^ "K.O - No Feelings". Hiphopza.com. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Cassper Nyovest rules the Channel O Music Video Awards nominees". Sunday World. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Cassper Nyovest leads the Channel O awards race! | DRUM". DRUM Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2014.