When Nasty C first burst onto the scene as a fresh faced teenager with his infectious club banger “Juice Back” back in 2015, it was clear to most that we were witnessing the emergence of a generational talent.
In next to no time, he had AKA trying to sign him, had a massive continental hit with Cassper Nyovest and Davido, and the expectation quickly became that he was destined to be the first local rap star to make a mark on the global music scene.
In the time since, he’s built a stellar resume that includes a huge album release with iconic US hip hop label Def Jam, a Netflix Original documentary that chronicled his trip to Tokyo in support of his recent globally marketed “Zulu Man With Some Power” album, and he’s performed in countless cities across the globe.
With all that he's achieved, it's difficult to comprehend that he only just recently turned 25. It still feels like he’s just getting started.
Currently, Nasty is embarking on the Ivyson Army Tour, a scaled-down version of his popular long-running Ivyson Tour series.
On the current iteration of the tour, which has thus far visited Durban, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, Nasty is joined by American rapper Domani Harris, who is the son of legendary Atlanta rapper, T.I.
“We wanted to do a baby version of the Ivyson Tour,” Nasty explains to me in a boardroom at Sandton’s WeWork, with Domani seated across from him.
“We knew we couldn’t go that big since it’s Covid and stuff, so we kinda had to ease back into the whole thing. And then while we were working on that I remember Domani had told me he wanted to shoot the video for our single ‘Friends’ together in November last year, but that didn’t happen.
“So I thought it’d be dope if I just brought him out here to experience South Africa for the first time and also get a chance to shoot the video while we do this tour thing.”
When we speak, it’s off the back of the sold out Bloemfontein leg of the tour. Domani jumps in to share how that experience was for him.
“It was crazy for my first experience and my first show out here. The crowd was amazing, people were amazing, everybody was dancing and vibing to the song.
“A lot of people didn’t know my music so the fact that they didn’t know it and they were still listening and dancing and screaming at the same time was just a crazy vibe for me.You just had to be there, you can’t really explain it.”
Since Domani landed in SA, the two have been inseparable. “He’s been showing me a couple of restaurants,” says Domani, before turning to Nasty. “What’s the restaurant we went to yesterday?”
“We went to Sakhumzi yesterday, in Soweto,” he responds. “It was really nice, it was actually even my first time yesterday. Isn’t that crazy?”
Domani will be a familiar face for most South Africans having grown up in the spotlight of VH1’s popular “T.I. & Tiny: Family Hustle,” which was his first early exposure to the world of entertainment.
His 2019 debut "Time Will Tell" gave him a good head of steam and gave rise to a tour across the US supporting K.R.I.T.’s “From The South With Love" tour and to Europe, joining J.I.D. on his “Catch Me If You Can” tour.
In his time here, he's been surprised by how similar Joburg is to his home city Atlanta. “We don’t talk about it enough back home. We don’t really talk about it as it actually is out here. It’s really cool here, it’s like an Atlanta or LA.
“We don’t know that back home.” I ask him what he expected when got here. “I expected good vibes because I know I’m with good people," he responds.
"But if it wasn’t for my family coming out here, I don’t know what I would’ve expected. Everyone who I know who’s come out here has great stories to tell me about the dope buildings, the dope parties, the dope clubs. But a lot of my friends don’t even know.”
While he’s been in SA he’s gone out to a few clubs, done the customary game drive and enjoyed visiting a few of the country's top tourist destinations in cities like Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.
The two first met in 2020 during Nasty's visit of Atlanta. “I think it was my second time in Atlanta,” Nasty explains.
“We did some promo for my album ‘Zulu Man With Some Power’, I had the (launch) thing at the Trap Museum in Atlanta. I think that’s where we met the first time actually when T.I and Domani pulled up. I did a whole lot of studio with a bunch of producers, and then I just did some fun stuff like go karting while I was there.”
Of the music they worked on together, only “Friends”, which was part of Domani’s album "SKYDIVE", which was released in September, is out yet.
Nasty and Domani’s work together is the latest in a long list of collaborations between South African artists and their international peers. Nasty himself has worked with US stars T.I., Ari Lennox, Lil Got It, ASAP Ferg and the recently deceased Lil Keed. Cassper Nyovest has worked with the likes of Goapele, The Game and Anthony Hamilton.
In amapiano, Scorpion Kings and Heavy K last year worked with British star Jorja Smith, Kooldrink scored a feature with Ed Sheeran, and Major League have music in the pipeline with Masego and Stefflon Don.
As African music continues to become au fait with global audiences, there's reason to expect that we'll be seeing a lot more of this in the near future.