- Words Blessing Borode
- Creative Direction Bee Diamondhead
- Photography Travys Owen
- Grooming Queen Motlatle
- Assistant Lethabo Motlatle
- Studio SunshineCo
Fresh from his 'Zulu Man With Some Power' album release, Nasty C continues his upward trajectory to global dominance with a new Netflix documentary. We caught up with the man doing it all.
Following his highly anticipated 20-track album release and recent signing to Def Jam Records, we are convinced that everything 23-year-old rapper Nasty C touches turns to gold.
Filmed by Chris Nicols, the Netflix documentary ‘Zulu Man In Japan’ follows Nasty C as he navigates Japanese culture, looking at everything from fashion to music as he connects with creatives across the country. In an understated manner, the documentary reveals Nasty C’s contagious personality and his vision for global dominance, not only with his music but with his free-flowing creativity.
Nominated for countless awards, Nasty C proudly holds his heritage at the forefront of his music and is recognised for transporting the sounds and culture of South Africa across the globe. As the most streamed South African artist on Apple Music for four years in a row, and with his recent signing to Def Jam Records, Nasty C continues to play a crucial part in the crossover of African music to the global stage.
His latest album ‘Zulu Man With Some Power’ is the powerful result of an artist bending different genres to fit their own unique blend of music. Tracks like “Black and White” featuring Ari Lennox tie together sultry elements of R&B with woozy synths, whilst the record also features trap-infused bangers like “La Vida Loca” and “Buckoo Bucks”. It’s clear that Nasty C won’t be boxed into one style or sound, instead, continuing to test the boundaries of his own potential.
Notion caught up with Nasty C about his new album and how he stays true to both himself and his sound in the midst of success.
When was the moment you realised that you had to pursue your passion for music?
Probably when I was 16 years old. I was a teenager and I was starting to go through a lot of stuff as a person and a young man. And when I started speaking about that type of stuff, it resonated with people and some people even started paying me for features. I started to see that I could make a little bit of money.
What inspired the creation of your latest album ‘Zulu Man With Some Power’?
I just wanted to make some good music, but also to have it belong on a project that represents taking pride in your culture. Taking that with you as you expand and grow as an artist. Because now that I’m taking this global leap, I have to take something with me. Something that represents where I come from. That’s very important. Cultural exchange is very important to me.
When making the 20-track album, were there any challenges or creative blocks you faced along the way?
There were no creative blocks. I had like 48 songs. I made a mad amount of songs. There was no block whatsoever.
You are currently signed to a worldwide record label Def Jam Records and are often referred to as a major mainstream crossover artist. How do you make sure that you always stay true to yourself and your sound as your career progresses?
I’ve always been making music that I consider to have international appeal. I don’t see how that could change now. I’m a guy that’s always been experimenting with my music. If you trace it back to when I dropped my first mixtape,‘One Kid, A Thousand Coffins’, you can see the shift in my sound and just like my ear for good music developing and changing every with project I’ve put out.
You have achieved so much at such a young age, how does it feel to be able to carry the sounds and culture of South African music and across the globe?
It feels nice, man. I feel like I’m a team member. You know what I mean? We’re all flying the same flag. I feel like I’m doing my part as somebody that’s responsible for taking our culture to the world at large. I’m getting to play my part in this very important journey.
You have said that you have a great team around you that sees your vision, what advice would you give to artists who are starting out and are looking to find a team as tight and supportive as yours?
I would say just keep grinding; your team will find you. If you don’t have them in the beginning, people that are down for the cause in the beginning, when it’s dark and there’s no fans really, then you shouldn’t be too quick to pick people up on the way. Feel it out. If somebody wants to work with you, let them come close, but don’t let them too close and just like feel it out. Try new things with that person and whatever marketing plans they have. You’ll never really know who’s good for you until the money comes in, unfortunately. Until the money comes in, you won’t be able to tell because that’s when people really start showing their true colours. So, you have to feel it out but don’t let them too close. Keep them at a distance where should shit go south and you feel like they have ill intentions, you can cut them off and that won’t damage you as a person or your business.
You directed the video to “Bookoo Bucks” featuring Lil Keed and Lil Gotit, will we get to see some more of your skills behind the lens?
One of my other videos “Eazy” was directed by me too. “Palm Trees” was directed by me too. Well the basic idea, the final product had a lot of work put into it by Kyle Lewis who is a genius. I direct a lot of stuff that I put out on my own like some of the promo videos. I just dropped the promo video for ‘Win Some, Lose Some” which is like a sketch. I direct a lot of my stuff too, which you’ll be seeing a lot of that coming out from the LOA side. I have a production company called LOA Entertainment.
You have toured across the globe and even founded your own live performance property, the Ivyson. How do you think the live performance industry will change in light of the global pandemic?
Well, things are starting to die out. And it seems as though the world is getting back to normal. But I think that during this little dip in our business, when it comes to performances and live shows, I think artists learned a lesson. They learned how to push even harder and not to be so dependent on just shows – you know what I mean? They learned that they have to create their own property so that the loyal fans come back no matter what. No matter how the performance is structured, whether it’s digital or physical, huge capacity or small capacity, intimate or packed. I think that’s what’s going to happen. Artists are just going to be more creative.
Who are some of your favourite hip-hop artists right now?
Travis Scott. Drake. Future. Young Thug.
So far in your career, you have racked up multiple award nominations and worldwide recognition, what’s next for you in the future?
A lot of stuff. Just going harder, going bigger and going crazy. Putting out more dope content, more videos and more songs. I might even do movies and little sketches.