Sporting a wide-brimmed hat, a bright floral jacket, red Timberland boots and a bedazzled pharoah’s head swinging on his chest, Priddy Ugly turns heads as he walks into the restaurant.

It’s also probably because by his side, choreographer and TV personality, Bontle Modiselle, swaggers in with matching tan Timbs and an outfit that can only be described as #croptopgoals.

I am reminded of the genius of his EP’s title, You Don’t Know Me Yet, which clocked more than 60 000 downloads in the first two weeks. Because it’s clear that the people in the room don’t know him… yet… but that’s not going to be for too long because they are definitely watching.

It’s like how the industry was watching when his rap collective, Blaque, was signed to Vusi Leuw’s H.U.G.E Entertainment between 2006 and 2011. Or how they kinda took note of who was on the chorus of the Channel O Award-nominated Hit Em Up by Kenyan rapper, Xtatic, who featured AKA on the same track.

Although the ultra catchy Bula Boot, which has a chorus that’s a nod to the Thebe classic, made waves, Priddy Ugly was starting to come off as the perpetual best man, but never the groom. And then he put out the video for Cocaine Ghost featuring producer and frequent collaborator, Wichi 1080, the song sees Priddy Ugly rap in a choppy style, almost languid, but still coherent.

“We spent about six or seven months working on that song,” he tells me. “It was cinematic. I wanted it to sound like a score, not a hip hop song. I wanted to rap and be one with the beat. I wanted to make sure I’m saying four lines and stopping so you can hear the 808 kick in. I’ll sound out a word. Is it onomatopoeia,” he looks at Modiselle for confirmation. “Yeah, I wanted the word to sound like the bass underneath me.”

But the video – of scenarios varying from lonely opulence to a skorokoro stuck on the road and even what’s closer to his real life: dancing alongside a moving Polo while his girlfriend sticks her leg out the window – is what really made people sit up and take note.

“I’d started writing the script for the video before we’d even come up with the song,” he smiles. “This is not a song, it’s a soundtrack.”

This rapper, whose mother is Angolan and father is South African, has had older, more conservative gatekeepers in the industry take umbrage with the song title, but as he explains: “My dad has this cool car that we call the Cocaine Ghost. Every time I’m in it, I feel cool. Our songs sound so epic in the car.”

You Don’t Know Me Yet is a great EP to ride around to. There’s Ambition – on which he breaks down the story of how his high-school sweetheart’s passing helped him gain his confidence in rapping. And him repping his hood (Kempton Park) on Come to My Kasi, featuring Youngsta, and Nobody, featuring Bigstar Johnson, and the title track featuring Refi Sings.

This EP gives a layered insight into Priddy Ugly’s life. And the best part about it is that he’s really rapping and through quirky ad libs and the dynamic of having female vocals under his raps he really pushes the boundaries of the copycat culture of contemporary local rap.

The EP cover is deep, too. It’s a Medusa head drawing that looks like both his mother and his little sister. “She’s also beautiful and ugly at the same time and my name is Priddy Ugly,” he adds. “Plus, we read about the theory that Medusa’s snakes were actually dreadlocks and the Greeks supposedly tried to change that fact because she was African. And my woman has dreads.”

I caught up with the rapper who was born Richardo Moloi shortly after the deluxe version of his EP was released on his 25th birthday last month. It has guest appearances by HHP, A-Reece and Shane Eagle. Leading this version’s outing is a song called Tlala on which he raps: Sign a deal for what? For you to cut my money in half? I ask about his hunger for independence.

“Since I first dropped the EP, a lot of deals have been coming, but I’ve been signed before and I know what that entails,” he admits. “It hasn’t been beneficial for me at all. Half of the guys who are trying to sign me now knew of my existence a long time ago and never tried to acknowledge me at all. All of a sudden you’ve been fans of mine?! As an artist, it’s always been about being heard and being acknowledged for the work I’m putting in.”