Hip-Hop fans love making comparisons between artists and albums. So, when Cassper Nyovest and Nasty C dropped their albums on the same day two weeks ago, there was only one way it could go. The debates between which album was better ensued on Twitter which is good for both the game and the artists.
As much as some people felt this was a deliberate move by the rappers, with Cass being a marketing genius and all, it appears it was just a coincidence. “We found out last week while we were talking, we didn’t know,” Cassper Nyovest said during the African Throne tour press conference held at the South African Hip-Hop Museum at the beginning of September.
Solomon loves it here
The conference’s main purpose was for the two rappers to discuss their joint tour, but with just a few weeks before their album drops, they touched a bit on the then-upcoming projects. “For me, I’m not tryna appeal for numbers or anything, I just wanna express myself and find people who feel like me,” Cassper Nyovest said about ‘Solomon’, his seventh studio album. He later said, “This is my attempt at making a classic Hip-Hop album that will play 10 years from now and it will stand the test of time,” on Apple Music’s Africa Now radio show.
‘Solomon’ is a boom bap album that sees Cassper prioritise self-expression over making hits. He reflects on his decade-long run and pens a moving tribute to his late rival AKA. While some fans thought it was a great gesture, The Megacy wasn’t having it.
Cassper chose boom bap beats, that 90s New York sound, no Amapiano. “I got bored with it,” he said about Amapiano, a sound he jumped on around 2018, “and I just wanted to rap, man. Even the music I was listening to just at home on my own was a lot of 90s rap.”
Nasty C’s album, ‘I Love It Here’, is the direct opposite of ‘Solomon’; it’s a sonically adventurous pop-rap album that features the likes of Benny The Butcher, Ami Faku, Manana, Maglera Doe Boy and 25K. “I’m doing the opposite of what he’s doing at the moment,” Nasty C said, referring to Cassper’s approach during the conference. “Sonically, [the album] is all over the place, in a very good way though.”
The two albums’ intersection point is the nature of the content. Both albums are personal and both rappers are comfortable with being vulnerable. From Cassper Nyovest’s tribute to AKA, ‘Candlelight’ where he raps “And all these comments from people who were never involved/ This ain’t the time to be stupid and settle score, nah” to Nasty C’s in-depth revisitation of his mother’s passing, both ‘Solomon’ and ‘I Love It Here’ have poignant moments and a lot of heartwarming ones, too.
“This time around I wanted to make music that was very honest, very truthful,” Nasty C said. “There’s a lot of things that’s been happening in my life since the last album. And all my albums are time capsules of the things that have been happening in between. So, I just wanted to make music that was very direct. Shit that you can understand on first listen. I’m not going too crazy trying to overwhelm you with these bars and flows. I enjoy that type of stuff; I’m a rapper at heart, on radio when I do freestyles and stuff like that. For this album, I just wanted bars that would go straight to your head.”
Nasty C further raps about being a new father and pens a song to his own father who he wasn’t always rapping kindly about in his early mixtapes.
African Throne Tour
The African Throne World Tour kicked off with a stop in Eswatini on the 1st of September. The show was packed. Botswana was reportedly not. Zambia was dope, but was overshined by Nasty C beating up a fan who invaded the stage while he was performing ‘RIP’, a song dedicated to fallen South African Hip-Hop artists. Cape Town was lit.
African Throne is as eventful as one would expect a joint tour by two of Africa’s biggest rapers to be. The ‘African Throne’ name is, of course, a nod to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s super duo Watch The Throne.
While Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest haven’t spoken about dropping a joint album, they are collaborating in a way never seen before in SA Hip-Hop through the tour. After both rappers’ successful countrywide tours Nasty C’s Ivyson Tour and Cassper Nyovest’s iconic Fill Up series, both rappers have hit the ceiling in SA. “I’m at a part of my career where I’d like to do exciting stuff. I’ve never really worked with another rapper,” Cassper Nyovest explained joining forces with Nasty C.
The African Hip-Hop scene is fragmented, it’s very country-centric, and Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest touring different parts of the continent and thinking about the continent as a whole is a step in the right direction.
During the press conference, the rappers stated that they hoped their tour would bring together different people who love their music.
“Now is the perfect time to combine these forces because we’re celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop. Africa is recognised for different sounds, Afrobeats, Kwaito, House, but it’s never really been Hip-Hop like that”, Nasty C said.
“For me, it’s always been a thing to take our shows outside of SA because we have so many fans out there,” Nasty C continued. “If you go onto, like, the Spotify analytics, you see you have a lot of fans in Naija, Kenya, Botswana etc. and they only ever see us when we are booked there which is like once in a blue moon.
“So when we get to do our own shows like this, we not just showing up to perform to a general crowd where we have to do the radio singles now we get to dig deeper into our projects to give the fans what they want.”
You are now watching the African Throne
The Hip-Hop artists share a number of commonalities such as being businessmen and using their craft to monetise off of their other passions and expanding their respective brands through other avenues. Leading up to the release of their albums, Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest were working on campaigns with Coca Cola (Coke Studio) and Sprite (Sprite Limelight) respectively.
Cassper and Nasty C have managed to build a strong catalogues over the years and they are both superstars. The African Throne is a full-circle moment since Cassper Nyovest jumped on the remix for Nasty C’s breakout hit ‘Juice Back’ in 2016. They appeared together on ANATII’s ‘Jump’ in the same year. On Cassper Nyovest’s latest album, Nasty C does the adlibs on ‘After 10’.
More than taking their music to the people with the African Throne Tour, Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest know they will be inspired as they hit different spots on the continent.
“What I was hoping for after this thing here, because there’s gonna be a lot of music made on the back of the African Throne tour, I was kinda hoping that at the end of it, we can kinda come up with our own sound. Not just when it comes to the accent or the language,” Nasty C says.
This follows a discussion between Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest, Lil Frat (who was moderating the press conference) and the audience where it’s agreed that Pretoria’s sound is more linguistic than sonical. Cassper Nyovest chimes in to say our sound is Kwaito. An audience member brings up s’kompo (see Shebeshxt) as a possible “South African Hip-Hop sound”… Time will tell. African Throne is therefore not just a tour but a quest by two kings for a sound. We are led.
Stream Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest’s albums ‘I Love It Here’ and ‘Solomon’ below:
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