AKA admitted that he "never planned... never wanted to be a celebrity" in the first song of his 2011 smash solo album Altar Ego.
The South African, however, who was shot dead in Durban a week ago, was forthright about his abilities.
The award-winning 35-year-old rapper hailed himself as the best producer in his genre a few days before his death, which police believe was the result of a targeted killing.
The musician known by the stage name Supa Mega tweeted: "Statistically speaking, since I've produced 90% of all my music, surely I'm the greatest SA hip-hop producer of all time. ".
However, he stated that he would be "shining like a diamond that's forever, now congratulate me" on Congratulate in 2014, one of the hits that cemented his megastar status.
In order to ensure that he continues to shine, thousands of his admirers, collectively known as "The Megacy," are anticipated to either follow him online or attend his open memorial on Friday in Johannesburg.
Even though he claimed not to want it, he undoubtedly attained that celebrity status.
His life and work were not without controversy, though.
After releasing three solo albums and working with other artists on other projects, AKA, who was born Kiernan Forbes in Cape Town in 1988, became one of the nation's most well-known hip-hop artists.
He grew up with his grandparents in Mitchells Plain, one of Cape Town's most dangerous townships that was notorious for drug use and gang activity.
He later relocated with his mother to Johannesburg, where he attended St John's College, an Anglican school that prides itself on being "among South Africa's preeminent schools.".
There, he started his musical career by forming the Entity hip-hop group with two of his high school friends, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Nhlanhla Makena. Later, they were shortlisted for a KORA All Africa Music Award.
Mpofu-Walsh, who is now a writer and academic, said in a tribute on Twitter that "he was destined for greatness from then.".
Following the breakup of the group, AKA pursued a career in sound engineering, producing hits for artists like ProKid and Kuli Chana.
Later, he collaborated with artists like Da L and Burna Boy, two prominent Nigerian Afrobeats musicians. E. Nasty C, S, and Kwesta.
He had a significant impact, as evidenced by the large number of musicians, producers, politicians, and celebrities who paid tribute.
However, in the past five years, there has been increased public interest in his private life as a result of tabloid news stories about his relationships and public breakups.
Famous people he dated included DJ Zinhle, with whom he had a daughter who is now 7 years old.
He also did not back down from public altercations with other professionals in the field, most notably with Burna Boy and fellow rapper Cassper Nyovest from South Africa.
After the West African artist urged black migrants in South Africa to take precautions against attacks during the country's xenophobic clashes in 2019, AKA and the Nigerian began to argue.
When his 22-year-old fiancée Anele Tembe died in questionable circumstances after falling from a Cape Town hotel's 10th floor in 2021, the rapper's scandals took a dark turn.
It was thought that she had committed suicide. However, her father, renowned businessman Moses Tembe, refuted this and insisted that his daughter was not suicidal during her funeral.
AKA released the song Tears Run Dry as a tribute to her and a remembrance of their romance.
Because you're not by my side, he sang, "When I wake up, I cannot feel sunshine.".
But after the model passed away, when videos of the couple's arguments were leaked on social media, a different side of the musician was revealed, including him slamming doors during one altercation.
A few weeks after his fiancée's passing, AKA fought to repair his damaged reputation. He denied ever being violent or abusive. Prosecutors in South Africa decided not to press charges against him, which was seen as a victory for him.
The South African DJ and recording artist Oscar Mdlongwa, better known by his stage name Oskido, said that Tembe's passing affected AKA.
After paying his respects to the family earlier this week, he said, "When he left this world, he was a changed Kiernan; you could see that he wasn't the Kiernan we knew 10 years ago. .
AKA declared that he had changed.
Being a better person is difficult, but sometimes I crave giving out humble pie like I used to and rubbing it in people's faces.
The police believe that a hired hitman killed him outside a well-known restaurant in Durban on Friday night.
AKA was shot twice in the head, instantly killing him, according to CCTV footage of a man in a white sweater and hat crossing the street and approaching the rapper. Along with Tebello "Tibz" Motsoane, AKA was also murdered. .
When visiting the family on Sunday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said, "From what we know and have seen, it was a hit, AKA was assassinated in broad daylight.".
He questioned, "Why does he deserve to be killed like that? AKA was not a drug lord; he was a musician. We need to figure out why this happened.".
What would happen to a regular dude with extraordinary talent, AKA pondered in the opening track of his solo debut album.
That question had a tragic resolution twelve years later.