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NASTY C / AFRICA’S MOST STREAMED ARTIST IS ALSO ‘ZULU MAN WITH SOME POWER’

September 23, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Nasty C is the most streamed artist in Africa, and he plans on bringing that same energy to the States. At only 23 years old, real name Nsikayesizwe Ngcobo is changing the stigma attached to African music and impacting the masses on a global scale. Whether he’s rapping conscious lyrics or creating trap bangers, one thing’s for sure: his music is straight vibes.

Dubbed “the coolest kid in Africa,” the singer, songwriter, and rapper produces all his own music. Since he was a child rapping at age 9 under the wings of his older brother, at age 15 he released his debut mixtape titled One Kid, A Thousand Coffins, following it up two years later with his critically acclaimed project Price City. Getting the ultimate remix from Davido and Cassper Nyovest on “Juice Back,” fans couldn’t help but fall in love with his music, his personality, and most importantly, his authenticity.

Fast forward to 2020, he releases his most powerful project to date: On Zulu Man with Some Power. Boasting features from T.I., Ari Lennox, Lil Keed, and Lil Gotit, the 20-track album showcases his growth as both an artist and a man, while weighing in on important topics happening in society today. This follows his sophomore album Strings and Bling that came out in 2018, his debut effort Bad Hair released in 2016.

Flaunt caught up with Nasty C via Instagram Live, who was located in South Africa after a long, busy day. Read below as we discuss the meaning behind the project title, working with Davido, T.I., Ari Lennox, the Ludacris cosign, Top 5 African rappers, and more!

I was bumping Zulu Man With Some Power, “Boohoo Bucks” is a banger!

Appreciate it. That’s a strip club anthem, they’re going crazy to it. I dropped the video too.

How’d that collab with Lil Keed and Lil Gotit happen? 

I found out they wanted to work with me a couple months ago. They heard about me somehow, maybe because I’m cool with the YSL page on Instagram? I be in their DMs, they be in my comments section. We fuck with each other.

How easy was it for them to get in touch with you?

Very easy. I got an A&R on that side, Anthony made that link. He already knew Thug’s one of my biggest inspirations, he knew I mess with the whole YSL camp. When he heard that, he didn’t waste no time. He came straight at me. He was actually there when I made the joint a year ago.

Where’d you guys shoot the video?

I shot my parts here in Joburg, they were in LA when they shot it. I’m supposed to be in LA right now, to get a house.

Is that still happening?

Hell yeah. Our international flights are still shut down so as soon as they open that back up, I’m outta here.

Now that you got Keed and Gotit, the next move is Thug. 

That has to happen. That’s going to happen one day, I’m not rushing that one. That’s one of them ones, it has to be a special one man.

How does it feel to have your album out?

It feels good, my first time having a #1 anything in the world. I’ve had #1’s here in the country and the continent, but I had the #1 album in the world. That’s crazy. You don’t see that where I come from, especially the neighborhood and the city I come from.

What was it like growing up in Durban?

Somebody like me who’s into hip-hop, more specifically the commercial shit like English hip-hop, it wasn’t that easy when I was a kid because hip-hop wasn’t really the prominent genre. Especially in Durban, Durban carries a lot of South Africa’s culture. We have a genre called GQOM, one of our main genres. House music really comes from Durban too. Most of the dances that end up going viral from South Africa, a lot come from between Durban and Joburg. Hip-hop wasn’t that big of a deal when I was growing up. It wasn’t as easy or as cool as I wanted it to be but as time went, artists like AKA changed how African hip-hop was perceived or how it worked. They made it acceptable to be a rapper that raps in English and not in Zulu.

At what point did you realize you could do music for a living?16, when I made my first couple bucks. I made $300. It was a feature, but I recorded the guy. I used to record people, make them beats. Make them skits for their tapes, make them cuts for their dance battles. I was the go-to guy with the computer.

How much you charging for a feature now?

Now it’s $100K, minimum.

How was it working with Davido so early in your career?

That was dope, he showed me so much love. I remember I only had one single out, one song playing on the radio and on TV. “Juice Back” was my blow up single. He jumped on the remix, came down to South Africa. He made the shoot happen instantly. He showed all the love. He even booked me in Nigeria. One of my biggest shows in Nigeria was his show, when he was doing his tour. He definitely turnt them up, he was going crazy. Nigeria loves Davido.

How did you get your name? 

I hate the story. It was a dude I used to look up to, he didn’t even know he was giving me the name. He was talking about me to his other friends, I was 9 years old. He’s in his 20’s, if not late teens. I really looked up to him. He’s the only person I knew who had a proper microphone, speakers, all that. When he said it, I took it. He said “yo you have to check this lil kid out, he’s from dadadada. He’s a nasty cat.”

I feel like some people might think you’re trying to be ratchet.

That too, I am. That’s part of why he called me that. At the time, only people I Iistened to was T.I. and Wayne. Wayne raps about pussy all the time, every second song is about pussy so I was rapping about shit like that. I was 9, he’s like “what do you even know about that?”

You said you grew up listening to T.I., talk about full circle.

T.I. is definitely OG, he’s actually the reason that I started rapping. First time I paid attention to music period was him. Music was music to me. I was a kid going to school. On the bus, they had the drop screen like an upside-down laptop. They played a lot of videos, most of the time a lot of Mariah Carey. One day, they started playing hip-hop. I remember “Top Back” by Tip came on,d it caught my attention. I already had a computer at the time and my big brother had FL Studios, so he taught me how to use it. I started making beats and never stopped.

How did you end up linking up with him on “They Don’t”?

It was here in South Africa, he reached out. He’s in Cape Town and said “yo I keep hearing your name come up, I’m riding around in Cape Town right now listening to your shit. If you want to work, I’m down. I fuck with it.” That was crazy.

That’s such a powerful record, so beautiful and touching.

That’s definitely my intention. I’m trying to branch out and make it in the States. I have to come up again, it’s like my second come up. Trying to break into that market. Now that we’re making that happen, I want to represent where I come from. People have to know what I’m about by reading my album title. You know immediately “okay, where are Zulus from? Zulus are from South Africa, oh shit.” You start doing your own research, I teach you about my culture.

Talk about adding the With Some Power. What was your intention with that?

I believe I’ve got power. I’ve got internal power to deal with all the shit I deal with, especially for somebody at my age taking care of all the family. Dealing with all the hardships that come with this shit. Moving out of home at such a young age to a whole other city even, not even moving out the house. Ending up becoming the breadwinner. My whole family situation changed because of my powers: believing in God, believing in myself that I could do this. That’s true power. I inspire everybody from where I’m from. Everybody’s starting to pick up something. If it’s not music, they’re doing photography or merch, this and that. Before, we used to really chill and not do shit. I try and get to it, that’s power.

How big is your family?Big family. My father’s side, I have about 6 siblings. My mother’s side, I have about 4 to 5 sisters. My other brother’s side, my brother’s mothers, altogether we’re probably about 20.

How proud are they?

Very proud, I keep them close to me. My brother’s my manager, he pretty much raised me. I made him my manager.

I was bumping “Eazy,” you say “stress-free I’m moving.” How do you keep such a positive mindset?

I’m aware that I’m blessed. I’m aware of my situation and what it could’ve been, what it used to be. Where we come from, I used to dream of the life I live today. Used to live so far-fetched, thinking it’s damn near impossible to live like that. Keeping that at the top of my mind. Being able to take care of my family, there’s no stress when it comes to money or family. That’s got to make you happy and keep you in a good space.

Are they going to be moving out to LA with you?

For now, I’m going to be 3 months that side, 3 months back here at home. If I move permanently, it depends if my father wants to move. He’s a very cultural man. He doesn’t like moving around, he wants to be closer to where he grew up and where his mother is. He’s like that. If he wants to, shit I’d love to. My brothers and sisters are definitely coming with me though.

Being so young at 23, what do you like to do for fun?

I like to go paintballing. I’m good. I’m one of those guys who’s trying to get hits. I go go-karting. I like painting, I paint a lot. I draw a lot. I edit videos and pictures. I like making new apps and websites.

You’re on that tech shit?

Yeah, that’s where we’re moving. That’s the world right now, got to catch up.

Is there going to be a Nasty C app?

Hell yeah, it’s already done. It’s like my website. I made my website myself, has your basic shit like the store, the music page, the videos page, then I added the game page. I’ve got this little Gamify thing, you get to customize these classic games like Snake, Mario. Keep my fans engaged with the site. A native app version of the website, but I haven’t published it yet.

Talk about naming your company after your mother, I see the tattoo on your hand.

Eye, a ‘V’, sun is my name. I took that from my mother’s name. My mother passed away when I was 11 months, so I didn’t get a chance to know her. I grew up as a very quiet kid. I couldn’t talk to people so I had a lot of boxed-in shit. I had to use something as a guardian angel, somebody I could talk to even if it’s not a real person. I’ve always looked at my mother like that, her name is Ivy. My whole company’s named after my mother.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CE80uhaJx6m/

What was it like seeing Ludacris ride around to your song “Black and White”?

That was crazy. I remember listening to Ludacris, he’s one of the guys that I used to listen to for the flows. He inspired a lot of my flows [raps fast like Luda]. I even said it in one of my songs, “in my neighborhood, I’m Lil Wayne and Tip and Drake and Luda.” Definitely one of my influences.

How was working with Ari Lennox? She’s so fire and so sweet.

I haven’t even gotten the chance to meet her yet, but she’s fire. I’m a fan. I’m becoming a fan of her everyday. I’m starting to look up her other music now. I didn’t really know about her that much before. When I found out she wanted to work, I started listening to a lot of her songs to get her vibe before I even sent the song.

So you made a song with her in mind?

No, this is crazy. I made the song and finished it in Atlanta. In the bag, one of those songs where it’s so different and so raw but it was missing something. We’re like “who can we put on it?” They did their research and found out Ari was interested, they’re like “perfect.” When they told me she’s one of the people who wanted to work, I immediately knew it was that song. No other song. When I started listening to her music, bro what? She’s gonna kill this.” She killed it and even surprised me on top of that. She came with that Erykah Badu vibe, that soulful shit.

(fan question) Do you love cars?

Not that much, not going to lie. I don’t even be buying cars really. I like Mercedes. I drive, but not that much. My friend drives me around everywhere. I got my car, my small car, my personal shit, then I bought the bus for the whole gang. He drives that. I never go anywhere by myself anyways, I’m always with them. He drives the big body, that’s how we move around.

How many are in your entourage? When you pull up, how many are with you?

If it’s everybody, not even a lot. 15, that’s everybody though. Rappers move in packs, 30 deep. I got 15 loyal ones. It might not even be 15, that’s a stretch. Probably 10 to be honest.

(fan question) Would you ever dye your hair again?

Definitely. It was white white. It wasn’t blonde, it was white, white, white. I did all white the whole year. I only wore white. Everything was white, from my luggage bag, my bag, some of my jewelry was white. I was rocking curls that year. It made it very hard to shop for outfits. If I was at a video shoot and I tell my boy to get me an outfit, it wouldn’t be easy for them at all. You can never get everything at one mall. I go to one mall to buy a jacket or some T shirts, then I have to go to another one to try to look for pants. Most of my shit I had to buy online so if I wanted an outfit today, I’m stuck for a whole 3 weeks or so.

Top 5 best rappers in Africa?

I got M.I, myself. I’ll try to mention people that I actually listen to… AKA, Cassper, then Proverb. A few are from here, two are from Nigeria.

If you had one wish, what would it be?

To put an end to this COVID shit, I’d wipe that off history. It put a stop to so much, slowed down a lot of business for a lot of people. It sucks. I like staying at home and working, I don’t really hang out too much, but I like feeling like I can go out whenever I want to. I should be able to go to the mall whenever I want to, leave the city or country whenever I want to. I don’t like that I have to stay at home, that fucks me up when I’m being forced to stay at home.

 

 

 

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