Cassper Nyovest: New Album & One Africa Music Fest!
Last year’s MTV Africa Best Live Act Award winner Cassper Nyovest is set to be one of the stand out performers of the night. The friendly ghost because it “…describes my personality. I’m the opposite of what you’d expect from a rapper. I’m chilled and a people’s person and I loved the animation when I was a kid so I related to it a lot.” dropped his highly anticipated third studio album Thuto last week which reached a million streams on Youtube, shot to number one on the S.A iTunes charts knocking the likes of Kendrick Lamar’s Damn off the number one spot.
“It’s my best album, my best work. The way it was written, how I approached it, how much time I had and how it was executed. People were like you’re the biggest but where’s the hits? All that pressure developed into this body of work that represents where I am and you can hear that I’m not trying to compete with anybody but myself and I’m very comfortable. I’m telling stories nobody expected me to tell and I’m very honest about them as well. I think a lot of music is written from a perspective of a victim. We like making ourselves victims. Why did you do this to me and you broke my heart? People love songs like that but people also know the truth like this time it was actually me. I don’t know where I got the balls to say I f****d up. It’s very honest. I’m not ashamed of when I was wrong and I’m not ashamed of when I was right, I say it as it is. Where I’m from, we don’t celebrate each other’s success, it’s difficult to say I’m a millionaire and not offend anybody but it’s a very honest album.”
From performing in small clubs, followed by a small tour during his first two trips to the UK, One Africa Music Fest will be Cassper’s first major performance in London which he is both excited and nervous about.
“I feel like I’m the alien on the line up because everybody is coming on some Afrobeats. I said it three years ago, South African hip hop has become African hip hop just like Afrobeats went from being Nigerian music to Afrobeats. We don’t even know where the songs are coming from, it’s just Afrobeats and we love the sound. South African music is becoming African hip hop so me being on that line up, it gives me an opportunity to pioneer new movement of African hip hop. I’ve got an opportunity to create a new image for us, Africa is not a jungle. We have a lot of dope kids out here doing dope stuff so I’m looking forward to it.”
Having broken records with his headline shows, most notably Johannesburg’s Orlando stadium, one of his biggest hits ‘Mama I Made It’ collates with his most significant mama I made it moment thus far. “I saw a clip of my mum at the dome the day before we did it and she was walking around saying, I never used to afford tickets to go and see her favourite artists live but tomorrow night, my son is doing a show here. I think that’s probably it.”
The Joburg rapper prides himself on coming up with creative performances.
“We did an elevating stage and Kanye did the same thing the next year so there was this whole commotion in American blogs apparently, I stole his idea and I did it the year before him so winning the best live award act was in line with what was about to happen the following week, they were really keen to see that so it was a very exciting time in the country.”
Dubbed ‘the king’, Cassper’s connection to youth culture is second to none which most can articulate plays a huge role in his journey to success and musical stardom. Seeing himself as a pillar of the community, his message to young people is encouraging.
“It’s the most important thing after God. It’s simple, just dreams come true. It’s not complicated, dreams come true. Same way I was inspired by the people I was inspired by when I was a kid, like Kanye’s one of them. I left everything and I dropped out of school. I believed that I would make something of myself and when I look back, I was sixteen when I left my mum’s house. When I look at sixteen year olds now, I think man, I was crazy! I don’t know what I was thinking but I really believed it at that point and now I’m probably gonna go down as one of the greatest South African rappers of all time so that’s the same influence I want to have on people. You don’t have to be a rapper, you can want to be a president or whatever. You can have a crazy dream but if you don’t have anybody that motivates you or shows you where they’re from and is a living testimony, you kind of lose steam and I had people before me. My message is simple, I need to do the same to all the kids out there and show how powerful God is and prayer and dreams.”
With our own home grown talent making international waves, South Africa’s finest is feeling the U.K vibes.
“I like Skepta. Not because he’s popular, the independent thing is the first thing, I’m independent as well 100%. Also, when he got the opportunity, he didn’t go out alone. I like Krept and Konan… I wouldn’t want to work with Wretch 32, he’s amazing. I don’t think I’d be able to be on the same song as him, he’s an amazing writer. I’d be very intimated. In my opinion, he’s the greatest. I think Stormzy is good, what he’s doing for grime right now is great.”
Despite all the success he has achieved, Cassper Nyovest isn’t fazed by his American counterparts yet remains grounded, humble and ready to take on the world.
“Going to festivals like One Africa Music Fest are opportunities not just to go and perform but to learn about the different cultures, the different markets and to network. I’m not a small-minded person. I don’t think everything I have is enough. I just think it’s building blocks. Some people get to this point where I am and some people haven’t but I’m like the bench mark but even where I am I feel very uncomfortable because I still look at Kanye, Drake and all of them and I don’t see them as superheroes. I think they’re human beings. I have potential to write one of the greatest stories of the world coming from a place where we admire American so much that we mimic them but I have the potential or the opportunity to go to the other side and tell our story and be as big as a Drake or Kanye and have African kids change their minds as well, you know. You don’t have to come from America or all these people that we admire. You can come from anywhere in the world and make our mark on the world.”
With a string of hits under his belt and a charged up performance to come alongside a line up of some of the biggest names to come out of Africa, Cassper is sure to bring it when he hits the stage.
“I think my performance is probably my strongest point. Rappers are known to be cool so when they’re on stage, they walk around and grab their balls… I was a big fan of Michael Jackson so I couldn’t let that element of entertainment performance fall back even though I was a rapper, I saw the full picture. Even when I write the song, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do on stage so I think it really does make stand out. Londoners can expect a lot of energy! I’m one of the greatest hip hop performers of all time and that’s what they’re going to see. Even if they don’t know the songs, I’ve never performed for a big crowd in my life that and I didn’t rock so if the arena is full, then it’s gonna be a jump. Definitely going to be one of the highlights.”
On top of the world with his new album success and a U.K festival debut, London can certainly expect a spectacular show at One Africa Music Fest from South Africa’s finest.
Download Thuto here.
Catch Cassper live at London’s edition of One Africa Music Fest.
Words: Fanta Jarjussey