Nasty C along with Tellaman, Gemini Major, Rowlene, Lastee and Zino D. Picture: Supplied/Jono

Award-winning hip hop artist Nasty C is searching for South Africa’s next star for Lift As You Rise, a collaborative project focusing on uplifting artists across South Africa. 

The project includes Nasty C, Tellaman, Gemini Major, Rowlene, Lastee and Zino D. Nasty C says his involvement in the project stems from wanting to help others and give back to the people who assisted him to get into the industry. 

"I wanted to create a platform where I could shine the light on some of the unknown talents who follow me. I decided to partner with Red Bull because what I had in mind was well aligned with the Red Bull music movement." The musicians produced multiple open tracks that incorporate verses from each of them, excluding 16 bars that allow aspiring artists to add their verses to complete the tracks. 

The project calls on individual musicians who can contribute to the songs and add their part. "The idea existed in my head," Nasty C says. "It was something I wanted to do but they came with a plan of how to do it. It’s something that hasn’t been done before but it can really impact on an upcoming artist’s career."

The artist says anyone wanting to submit a bar must be true to themselves and their creativity – he’s looking for substance. 

As for working with artists like Rowlene and Tellaman, the hip hop star found it "dope". "They’re very creative and they’re open to trying out new ideas. And when we’re together in the studio, it’s the perfect type of vibe." The "Hell Naw" hitmaker says he hopes "Lift As You Rise" teaches up-and-coming artists that when they "make it", they too will help others. "I hope it inspires them and gives them the push they need to revive their faith and make them believe in themselves again because I believe in them." 

And when it comes to the significance of "Lift As You Rise," he says it’s good to start to a constructive trend. "If it became a trend for bigger artists to leave a verse open for new talent to hop on, and if the culture of lending a helping hand without expecting anything in return and without any hidden agendas spread, the South African music industry would be more unified and hopefully we’d discover incredible new talent, and make it global."