We Need to Let Go of Nasty C
He’s gone now.
I must admit, that title is a little misleading. By “we”, I’m mainly referring to myself and by “let go of”, I should actually say “completely erase from memory”. In 2015 I set out to be the most knowledgeable hip-hop enthusiast in the 031. My good friend Bob and I had knocked a few cold ones back and suggested the idea of me being the go-to-guy on all things rap in Durban and to document my findings, suggestions, and opinions on his popular (at the time) Durban Is Yours blog.
The task ahead was monumental. And not even for the reasons that are probably popping up in your mind right now, ie. Dozens of tracks to rank, loads of events to attend a shit load of artists to interview.
With myself being an absolute nobody, I found it extra difficult to get in touch with the ‘in crowd’. And I know what you’re thinking, “Ah Sthem, you’re so popular and good looking, and we see you at all the jols every weekend..” that’s because I’m at YOUR jol every weekend and everybody at your jol is already my friend. The “in” crowd is not really something I’ve ever fucked with because I don’t really see the point of hanging with pretentious snobs I don’t know, or the disparaging prospect of paying 150 bucks on entrance for ANY jol (*cough* *cough* 47th Avenue). So I said fuck it and did it anyway. About 2 weeks into the aforementioned task, I cracked the entire case and I prepared myself for early retirement.
So the best way of connecting with up and coming or established artists these days is through social media. After a few clicks on Facebook, I came across a written interview with a then 17-year-old Nasty C. Written interview? Yes, the whole thing was typed out word for word. 2015 was a tough time, kids. The interviewer came across as a huge fanboy and seemed to speak with a lot of respect for this person who had barely made it through puberty. So I clicked on the link to his mixtape to find out what the interviewer was fussing about.
Fuck me. Holy Mother of Christ. This was the best mixtape I’d ever heard come out of SA period. And I still say to this day that the only mixtape that can hold a candle to Price City is probably the Off the Books Tape by Proverb. I immediately contacted the kid and organised myself an interview with him since, at the time, he was handing them out as much as he could. His Facebook fan page was only sitting on 1k or so likes and he didn’t even have an Instagram account to speak of.
Regardless of all that, the amount of information I’d absorbed from him was insane. We spoke for about 45 minutes, mainly about the struggles of being an up and coming rapper in a city that doesn’t give a fuck about you ’til you’re already a big deal, then a little bit about the love and support he was receiving from then fellow strugglers- most notably Aewon Wolf and Breeze- and the frustration of having to pay promoters for stage time. A struggle many artists still face today. I legitimately walked out of that interview a changed man and no more than 2 months went by and Nasty dropped Juice Back. The rest, as they say, is history.
But back to me: I’d told myself that I’d learned everything about the hip hop scene in that brief encounter and everything I would do from then onwards would be a waste of my time. If I look back now, that’s probably where I really messed up. Every artist I ever looked at, or listened to or watched perform afterward, I would subconsciously compare to Nasty C. And that, I admit, has been a huge flaw I still make to this day. I stopped listening to messages and individual, unique talent and ended up listening to rap styles and rhyme schemes just to compare them to a kid who has since become the most revered artist in the country. With my “I told you so,” song fading deeper and deeper into the background.
Nasty C is gone now. With his Instagram stories comprising mainly of his different hotel rooms and Table Mountain, his personal friendships with all the biggest artists in the industry and the plethora of ad campaigns he has in the works. We can no longer claim him as a Durban rapper anymore. It’s time for me to move on. It’s time for me and you to stop looking for the next Nasty C and start supporting other artists regardless of whether or not they’re on the radio. We really don’t need suits in Jo’burg boardrooms telling us what we need to be listening to when we ourselves can make a bit more of effort in supporting the talent we have. If you really are a fan of hip-hop or just music in general, you may never ever be part of the “in” crowd and from what I’ve learned, that that is completely okay. But, it would be in your interest to listen out for the next wave of rappers to emerge out of our sleepy little city. Before you’re forced to listen to them, and by then it would be too late.