Cape Town - Rapper and songwriter Nadia Nakai is in the city to promote her debut album, Nadia Naked. The Imma Boss hitmaker has wowed fans at high schools and was set to perform at Canal Walk today.
Nakai was recently named an ambassador of sportswear brand Reebok in South Africa.
“I can’t explain how amazing it is being the face of such an amazing international brand, especially to think of how it all started. It started off with me doing something small, but something I loved and despite the haters and the negativity, what they saw as my crazy ‘Bragga’ apparel has paid off,” she said.
“I can’t imagine a better partner to join me on this journey.”
Nakai has been in the industry for more than eight years.
“It just happened that this year was the year that I completed my album and felt it was ready to be released for everyone to hear,” she said.
Nakai said the album had been well received. “The album has been profitable and people said they have more than one favourite song on it. It is exciting.”
On May 18, Imma Boss was released as the lead single.
Nakai made her first television appearance on e.tv’s hip hop show Shiz Niz, where she became the first woman to win the Mixtape 101 competition. She has worked with the likes of Riky Rick, Psyfo, Okmalumkoolkat and Cassper Nyovest.
Nakai grew up in Johannesburg and often travelled with her mother to her native Zimbabwe.
“Those were the most memorable moments, spending 12 hours straight in the car with my mom, just the two of us was always amazing,” she said.
“We didn’t have money for flights so we would drive. We would pack the car full of groceries and she would pop her urban cultural music on and we would jam to the likes of Jill Scott, Eryka Badu and UB40 and that is where my love for hip hop stems from. It’s a very emotive and expressive type of music and I feel that one is able to better express themselves through this type of music than any other.”
Nakai said she was now appreciative of her mother’s strict rearing: “I never understood when she refused to allow me to go out with friends at times, but looking back, I am now grateful because if she was not as strict as she was as a single parent, who knows what I may have gotten up to.”
Nakai also dismissed those who have attacked her on social media for her dress-sense.
“I am on a mission to get people to celebrate and appreciate their African bodies. Why is it that when women like Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and the list goes on, do it, it is applauded, but the second a South African woman like myself is daring we are called names?
“It started off with me just being confident and comfortable in my body, but now I have made it my mission to show people that there is nothing wrong with embracing your Africanness, your femininity, your sexuality,” she said.
Nakai also co-hosts MTV Base hip hop show Yo! MTV Raps South Africa with Siyabonga Ngwekazi.
Nakai was scheduled to perform at Cubana in Stellenbosch tonight.