Prior to his guest verse on AKA’s hit single ‘Lemons (Lemonade)’ last September, Nasty C was in a weird place.
His mission of breaking into the US appeared to be in limbo, and the pursuit of international success had left him detached from the local audience.
‘Lemons’ saw him break out his funk and unleash one of the most memorable, and important, verses of his career.
Full of proudly South Africa quotables about pepper steak pies and “cool drink”, Mzansi seemed to fall in love with the 26-year-old all over again overnight.
He was once again one of us. In the time since, the Nasty C has found a spring in his step and has regained his spot as one of the country’s most revered rappers.
Beyond his quality musical output, he also seems to be more comfortable in his skin than ever before.
Of late, he’s been more open to showing the world more of himself and allowed himself to be vulnerable with several interviews, which he rarely did in the past.
Early in the year, Nasty C announced that he would finally be releasing his fifth studio album. The album would be his first since 2020’s ‘Zulu Man With Some Power’, which was meant to be the crossover album to set him up for global fame.
That didn’t quite pan out, and many of the questions around this album were centred around what sonic direction he’d take.
Would he pander for the American audience like he did on ‘Zulu Man’ or would he give his local fans something to enjoy?
When the album finally came out in September, it turned out to be a bit of both. Importantly, he curated the music in a way that didn’t alienate SA. It felt full, dynamic and complete.
This time around, the project wasn’t bloated with American features that felt out of place. Every artist felt like they were hand-picked based on merit and how they fit into the sonics of any given song. From Ami Faku to Manana to 25K, it was a well curated line-up.
Beyond the importance of putting out a great album, Nasty also joined forces with Cassper Nyovest for the African Throne tour across the continent, he had a memorable collaboration with Coke Studio and he became a dad.
The latter seemed to play a significant role in his matured sound and his easygoing energy this year.
And if the album title (‘I Love It Here’) is anything to go by, he’s finally content with where he’s at. And so are we.