On: Nasty C

Following the release of Strings and Bling, Nasty C talks to Helen Herimbi about ceilings, scriptures and getting on stage There is a young man power-walking away from the stage. Veteran producer Alexis Faku has just told him to find a few bottles of water – and to make sure they are not too cold – for Nasty C. A keyboardist plays the first few chords of SMA, off Nasty C’s much-anticipated second album Strings and Bling. The rapper has his back to his staff and friends and keeps repeating “hell yeah, hell yeah, hell yeah,” over the music. If he’s excited, he’s not showing it. The artist, whose real name is David Junior Ngcobo, is focused on the way he sounds. He has a major performance coming up – on August 3 at Zone 6 Venue in Soweto – and it’s the first time he’ll be playing Strings and Bling in its entirety. He’ll also be doing it with a four-piece band that includes Faku, who is also the show’s musical director. “This will be my second time performing with a band,” he told me before he started rehearsal. “The first time didn’t work out so well. It was in Cape Town and we didn’t get time to rehearse at the actual venue.” He’s intent on making this time different and has put in place the necessary people to make sure it is. “Everyone is working super hard,” he says. “I heard the visuals guys are turning down other jobs to work on this and the clips they’ve sent me are f****g dope. The lighting guy is also with me on the same page. I met Alexis when we started working on this show and he knows what he’s doing.” Back at rehearsal, there is the sense that everyone is pulling together to make sure the show is a success. Colin Gayle, whose company ACA manages Nasty C, shows me the visual clips, some of which they had to shoot from scratch. Sipho Dlamini, Universal Music South Africa’s managing director, has just suggested the separates (the elements that make Read More …

On: Nasty C

Shortly after his critically acclaimed debut album was released, Nasty C combed through Bad Hair with Helen Herimbi. “How crazy is this,” I ask Nasty C as I hold up my phone so he can see a screen grab of my GPS. “I had to turn into Juice Street on my way here!” I expect him to roll his eyes. It is, after all, ultra cheesy – albeit cosmic – to be directed to turn into a road named that en route to meeting the 19-year-old that broke into the continental music scene with an anthemic ditty called Juice Back. Instead, his small eyes widen and he turns to his road manager to share just how cool that screen grab is. He also isn’t exactly in a position to judge cheesy coincidences as he has paired his dad cap – which is written Bad Hair (the name of his debut album) in bold – with a t-shirt showing Tupac as his Bishop character in the classic film, Juice. It’s a hot Jozi day and we’re walking to the clubhouse at the golf estate where this Durbanite now lives. We settle into an air conditioned room where the images on the big screen TV mounted on the wall mirror the one facing us: old men playing golf over sprawling green. It’s not the typical scene you’d expect to find the South African Hip Hop Award-winning rapper whose real name is David Junior Ngcobo. But then again, Nasty C hasn’t really gone with the expected so far. Much has been written about the young gun and we want to unpack the music so let’s briefly catch you up. Nasty C was rumoured to be headhunted by Jay Z’s Roc Nation but signed with politician and businessman, Reggie Nkabinde’s Mabala Noise instead. His much-anticipated debut is named Bad Hair because: “My hair is the worst! It runs in the family. I wanted to find something my whole family can relate to without having to pick someone’s name [to be the title.]” It also related to others when Pretoria Girls High’s hairgate happened just Read More …

When the Tweets will do

Just some early thoughts. Thanks, Twitter. This is not a review: — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 When my Dude first played me Juice Back, I thought it was ill how a(nother) boy in rap was openly talking about how abortion affected him — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 A few features later, I figured maybe that song would be the only time he tells us who he is/what he’s going through as a young BM in SA. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 You’re not obligated to share all of you in your music. Sharp. But Bad Hair, man. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 That album might be some of his most vulnerable moments IF were willing to hear beyond (not ignore) the big butts, the side baes and clubs. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 Nasty C is literallyyyyy says: “I’ve got problems/What you think I’m smoking for?” And he’s ultra paranoid about people around him. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 Damn near every song points to how his relationship with his father has made him who he is now. (Yes, Neo, I’ll get to writing that book) — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 Good aaaaaand bad. Like most boys and their fathers I suppose. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 “I smoke a lot more&people around me say it’s a bad habit/I wish I could tell u how I let that happen/But what did u expect I’m a black man” — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 Nasty C is spelling out what scores of men (and the world) has taught him about what it means to be a black man. Acquiescing, even. — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 I think a lot of us “met” Nasty C when he was still a kid so for some, he’s like a little brother growing up right in front of our eyes — Helen Herimbi (@uHelenH) September 25, 2016 So in some ways, I feel like us older, grownass hip hop kids failed this generation in some key Read More …