Welcome, Nasty C. Congrats on your new project, ‘Zulu Man with Some Power‘. Within 24 hours of its release, it was number one in the world. Album Charts? Number One. Single Charts? Numbers one and two. How you feeling?
Amazing. It was great.
You’re the Coolest Kid in Africa. Clearly, Mr. Iverson, but, why is it ‘Zulu Man with Some Power‘. As a Zulu man, I feel like you should be having all the power.
Well, I mean, you could do that. But like, my whole thing is making sure my fans know that I know that I’m not perfect. I’m still figuring a lot of stuff out. I feel like that lets them know that I’m relatable. And that I’m not trying to portray this super life; untouchable.
Okay, but you’re pretty untouchable! You’re a BET Award nominee, South African Hip Hop Award winner, Metro FM Music Award winner…the list goes on. What else can you do right now because you’re literally killing the game?
You know what I have? I have a goal..a specific goal. I want to hit platinum. RIAA status platinum. So you know like how here in South Africa, the status for platinum is different from the States; just because of my population, how behind we are with like the DSLs and all that stuff. It has to make sense. So they shrunk our numbers meaning it doesn’t take that much to get to do that…so it’s like 30-35K. Where [as] platinum in the states is a million.
Come on, and you’re gonna get it! Manifest it. I love that. Now, if we’re talking about the US, take me back to being nine years old, and listening to TI for the very first time.
So I was in this car, right, this car used to take me to school every day and bring me back home. And he had a screen on, where he used to play a lot of music videos. He used to play a lot of Mariah Carey, a lot of Charlie Wilson…like a lot of slow jams, right, most of the time. And this one day, he just started playing like hip hop – lots of bangers, and I guess that’s what caught my attention. And when I looked up at the screen, TI was on there with the Top Back Remix. I’m seeing all these girls, I’m seeing all these fly clothes, jewellery, the cars, the aesthetics! I’m just looking at everything like “man, what is that?” Like, it was my first time seeing it. I’m like, “What the hell is going on right now? What is that? What are they doing?” When I saw it, I was like, “I want to sound like that. I want to look like that. I want to do that.” So I just…I started. I started rapping then; my brother already had a computer and he knew how to make beats. As soon as I got home, I was like, “aight, teach me how to make this!” I would find a song be like “teach me how to make that!” And then I started just like learning and as time went on, I started to, like, teach myself a bunch of stuff like watching YouTube tutorials and stuff. Recorded myself. I just never stopped.
That’s crazy. Now fast forward, just over a decade to TI DMing you via Instagram. Like That must have been an amazing feeling.
Yes, full circle. Full Circle.
What did he say to you?
So he hit me. He was like, “Yo, I’m riding around in Cape Town. Listening to your shit right now. Shit’s hard. If you want to work. I’m down like whenever. Let’s lock in.” And I didn’t waste no time was like, “Give me your email. Give me an email or number right now. I’m gonna send you something.” I already had that one in the bag. And I already felt like, it was perfect. All In was the first song we did, it kind of reminded me of that song he did with Rihanna…[sings] “so just Live Your Life.” You know, I mean, that feel good, mature motivational song. And I was like, “this is perfect” so I sent him that one. Within two weeks or so, three weeks, he sent it back.
Now rumour has it you were on set in Portugal, when his bars came in. Did you really stop the recording of this music video?
Yes! What?!! Like, it was it was my turn. I think I was doing my verse in the video. I was like “Yo! Time out. I need a second.” I didn’t even have earphones with me. I didn’t like have a speaker, I just listened to it on my phone. I just kept rewinding, and just like going back, right. And I did that a couple times as he was finishing his verse because like, I was like catching some lines very late. And then the last time when I was like letting it play, I realised he had this long ass outro and he was just like vibing. And just like “damn, that shit make me wanna cry!” I was going crazy. I was like, “yo, he must have really liked this song.” And it must have really spoke to him for him to do that. You know a lot of artists will just do a verse and leave it as that.
That’s nuts. Now he is one of many collabs that you have on the album including Lil Keed, Ari Lennox, Lil Gotit, T.I, Tellaman and Rowlene. How was the process of putting a project together, especially being in the middle of a pandemic?
I guess by the time the pandemic hit, I think I was like 70%, if not 80%, done with the album. It was just like it was more of me picking the songs that made it to the album. I had, I think 80% confirmed songs that were going to be on album. Then I managed to add like a couple more and obviously like structure it properly…like final tracklist blah blah. And yeah, by the time the pandemic hit, I already had the songs in it, I just added two more songs and I set the order and that was it really. It didn’t really affect me. It actually gave me some more time to zone in because I had to this project in my face day after day after day after day, you know. It just made me focus on the nitty gritty stuff that separates a song from being a song to a song that is different – one that stands out. I got the chance to fine tune stuff.
I love that 20 songs on the project. How many songs were recorded in total before you got to this golden 20?
48? 48 songs…yeah.
Mad mad. And is there a deluxe edition of ‘Zulu Man with Some Power’ coming with a few of these additional songs? Could there be a secret leak?
I was thinking about it. I was in studio yesterday…I made something so hard. It is so hard! When we made it and we were playing it, we were like “this song is the most disrespectful song I’ve ever heard. This is gonna be hitting.” And I was like… starting to think about the whole deluxe thing. I’ve never really been a person that does that. I’ve done that like once. I’ve done that twice actually, but it’s only ever been my idea once. So yeah, I was thinking about it yesterday. So I actually might, I might!
That may or may not be an exclusive. We will see – I’m so excited. We’re about to get into a game. Just because, you know, when we speak to celebs, we like to get to know you a little bit better. So your name is Nasty C. I’m gonna say five items. You just have to tell me whether you find them nasty or nice. Got it?
Okay, okay. Nasty or nice. Okay. All right. Got It. Peas: are they nasty? Or are they nice?
Interesting. I have to give you a breakdown of this, right? I know you want one word, but I have to give you a breakdown. So my whole life I hated vegetables. Like they used to literally make me wretch. My stepmothers and my father, they had to really stare at me and give me like a, like a death stare for me to actually eat my vegetables. But now, I make vegetables. Like, I will make my own. I could have a whole plate with just greens, no meat. No nothing. So, used to be nasty, but now it’s nice.
This one is a trick question because I know the answer, but I don’t think all our readers do. I’m from Nigeria, based in the UK… Plantain: is it nasty? Or is it nice?
Okay, nasty! For me? Nasty. Yeah.
That’s a sin.
I’m sorry, man. Are you a big fan of plantain?
Yes! I’m Nigerian – it’s a staple
That shit is garbage. Why would you cook banana, bro? What’s wrong with you? Hell nah! I don’t like plantain.
The thing is, I saw an interview where you said this and I thought ‘You must be kidding’, but it looks like you’re serious. So I’m still gonna love you but from a distance. You know what I mean… [laughs]
[laughs] I’m dead serious. I tried it again. I tried it again. I was like, maybe…because the first time I had it, but I was actually in Kenya but Runtown made it for me, because we were doing this thing like a culture exchange. I got him some biltong and he got me some plantain. So I mean, like, when I had it the first time, I was like, “why would I eat this? Like ever in my life?” I was like, “okay, maybe maybe it’s because I got it in Kenya. Maybe it’s not a Kenyan thing”. So then I tried it again. I think I tried it in Nigeria, and I was like, “Nah, like, I’m done. That’s it.” I’m sorry.
Um, I don’t know what to say about my fanship here. And yeah, I mean, we’re just gonna have to move on because you’ve broken my heart but its okay…
[When] people ask you if you like me, you’ll say “Plantain aside, he’s alright” [laughs] Is that what you’re gonna say?
Yeah, literally. [laughs] Alright, up next… Heights: are they nasty? Or are they nice?
Heights, heights heights! Nah. I’m not afraid of heights. Heights are nice. Feels like… iono…. the world just looks so much bigger and you don’t feel so closed in or caged in. Like whenever I get on, like, rooftops. It’s my favourite shit.
See, I’m 5”3 so I don’t know what that life is like. Well, there we go. All right. Marmite: is nasty? Or is it nice?
I think I only had it in my childhood. And I never hated it so I’m gonna say nice. I only had it when I was a kid. I’m gonna say nice. I don’t remember eating it.
Again, something else we’re not agreed on but it’s okay. That’s fine [laugh]
[laughs] In my defence, maybe if I tried it again now. I would hate it.
Maybe, maybe. All right, last one. Tattoos: are they nasty? Or are they nice?
Nice. Whatchu mean? Nice, nice. I used to draw tattoos, like when I was still in primary school. All the [Lil] Wayne tattoos. Teardrops. I used to draw all of that shit.
Damn! Doesn’t a tear drop mean you’ve killed somebody… You know what? I’m not even gonna ask that question [laughs]
[Laughs] I didn’t know. I didn’t. I had no idea. I had no idea at the time. I was just like, “Man Wayne, really likes crying. Okay, I guess it’s cool, too.”
It’s okay. This is a safe space – we’re not judging you! [laughs] A little birdie told me that there are two books coming from you. One table top and one autobiography. Can you tell us any more?
Yes. Um, so the autobiography is basically that…and it’s an extended version of the documentary I recently put out called ‘Origins’; if ‘Origin’s had to be a chapter [of my life], it would just be one chapter in the book. So the book is more in depth and the erm…the tabletop book is not really about myself. It’s about all the young people that are putting in work and really making a difference; whether it’s in your school, your community, your church, whatever, in Africa, I’m calling it ‘The Coolest Kids In Africa’. I don’t care if you’re photographer, you’re a dancer or you’re this and that; if you’re a person that people look at, and they’re like, “Damn, that is such a good person. He gives back to his neighbourhood or whatever. He’s respectful and he’s inspiring.” He makes people want to go, “I want to do that too, and be that successful and be that good at something”; anybody that has that effect on people, I’m putting him on there. Just like shining a light on them, I think is very important.
Last thing! You touched on ‘Origins’ your documentary on Apple Music. You went back to Durban, you really broke down the story of how you got into the game. One of the messages that I really got from it was, “it’s okay to fail but don’t give up.” Would you say that this was the core message that you were trying to portray, and is that what you’re all about in life?
Yeah, that’s definitely part of it. That’s a huge chunk of it. But it’s also just like, I’m letting people know that the harder the journey is, the more rewarding the outcome, or the trophy or whatever it is, that you’re gunning for is gonna be. It’s gonna feel like it’s more than just that thing. You’re gonna appreciate it way more because you know what it took for you to get to it. So you know, it wasn’t by luck. Like you’re you’re tough, you’re a badass, you’re a tough motherfucker for getting that shit. That’s my thing. A lot of us come from places where there’s so many obstacles in front of us, we end up not even being able to see our goals. You’re like, “Man, that’s crazy that I’m even thinking like I can become that I’m stupid. I should probably just go become a nurse and become a doctor. This and that. You know what I mean?” And I’m just letting people know man, if you power through it, I’m telling you just like, keep your head down, even if it takes you 10 years, it took me a long time for me to get the recognition I wanted. You know what I mean? Even if it takes you 10 years, like at the end of it, the other side’s gonna be beautiful. It’s gonna be beautiful. It’s like we’re born in these cages… in these prisons and if you break the walls, you’re free. Life changes…completely!
Shoot for your goals, aim for the stars and you never know what happened. Thank you so much for spending some time with us. “Zulu Man With Some Power” is out now. Stream it. Share it. Download it. If we want to know your best angle for a selfie, what you have for breakfast or anything else? Where can we find you online?
@nasty_csa. does everything Triller, Tik Tok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, all that. @nasty_csa
Love that. Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you. I appreciate you!