Nasty C is vibrational, not just because of the energy that emanates from his music, his quick word play or effortless rhythm riding. It’s because beyond music, there is a real desire to share something other than just sound. Whether it be his journey, his principles or his commitment to self empowerment, there’s a legacy to be had by Nasty C. A legacy that vibrates beyond the sonic…
You are a self proclaimed Hip hop head; there is a lot of power in Hip hop because of the stories told and the voices you hear. Were you impacted by this?
You see a lot of artists that come from nothing, trying to figure out what to eat and stuff like that. I went through something similar, as a family, not just by myself. So, I resonated with a lot of stories like Young Thug, Lil Wayne, Future, those guys. To being something your whole community can look up to, someone who is on to something and to represent them. Teach them those ways, how to think big, dream big, how to not let your circumstances determine where you go in life.
What about the visual element of the genre, how has that saturated what you create?
With me, the artistic side of Hip Hop, including the fashion and the style of music videos and rapping that really had an effect on my career. At the time I was deep, deep in love with Hip hop, that was Lil Wayne’s era. All those years, I was all Wayne. Whatever Wayne was wearing, I was wearing. The super skinny jeans, the leopard print, the snapbacks, they were very iconic, everyone wanted one of those. That’s when people really started dressing up in a lot of colour. Where I’m from, Hip hop was looked at in this one dimensional way, where you guys have to dress like thugs or whatever, when Wayne changed everything, the young kids, that’s the person we looked up to. This whole generation right now, this whole wave that are running the game right now, we are all students of Lil Wayne.
Are there any other genres of music that trigger inspiration for you?
Definitely, Rock does. I think I first heard Young Thug mention something about Marilyn Manson, I really started listening to his music. It was dark and scary but it was very inspiring in a way. Just looking at how you can express yourself in so many ways. When the rock stuff started crossing over to Hip hop and you started seeing Lil Uzi and Juice World and those kids embracing that side of it. I started listening to Marilyn Manson, to see what I could get out of it…
Was it the emotion of Rock that you got something from? Or the lyrics and how raw they are?
Everything, not being afraid to say the darkest stuff going on in your head. Allowing yourself to lift a weight off your shoulders. The fashion was crazy, they were dressing up, how they felt inside. You don’t really see that in the Hip Hop game, everybody dresses to fit in. But with Rock, they really dress to show how they feel.
You’ve spoken previously about your investment in your own self development. What was it that you learnt from this?
I just learned a lot about myself, I discovered parts of myself, that I was so shy to expose. I started having a lot more self confidence. As I started learning more about myself, I started loving myself a bit more. That happened simultaneously around the time I was doing a lot of self empowerment reading and reading things like ‘The 48 laws of power’. When I started finding myself personally, I started finding myself musically.
You’ve also spoken about the power of controlling your mind and of affirmations; what affirmations can you remember focusing on at the start of your career?
‘If you can see it, you can achieve it’: When I was reading a lot, I was really treating it as a bible. So if I felt like at the time, with my career, if I was taking on something new or was about to reach a new height, I would always look for a ‘verse’ in anyone of these books that would help me. Reassure me to instil a little more confidence in myself. A lot of things we take on as artists is nerve-racking, you do something hoping its successful, you know there’s a possibility that you might fail. That you might look like an idiot to everybody. So I really read those books like a bible. I marked chapters that resonated with me, and that I needed at the time. I ended up creating my own quotes.
I wanted to talk to you about the soulfulness in South African music, do you agree there’s an undertone of this in the sounds of South Africa?
Yeah there definitely is, it’s a big thing of having a little soul and a lot of attitude in our music. Not just Hip hop, that’s inspired by things all over the world, but when it comes to indigenous genres like Gqom, and Kwaito and Amapiano. When you look at peoples’ reactions when they’re listening to it, you can tell they are feeling something. There’s something in it, it carries a lot of soul, a lot of culture. There was this one Gqom song, where videos of people in Kenya were throwing chairs in the air, listening to the song, because its so dope. That’s crazy right?
Was it one of the Distruction Boyz tracks?
Yeah! That song drove people nuts!
If you could be the voice or story that reaches back to people through Hip hop, what do you hope that looks like, what do you hope that person hears from you?
I would just hope that I am able to pass on everything I have learnt and soaked up in the game. Including the affirmations and how your state of mind is really important. Everything that looks the best, the lifestyle, the fame, the cars, I would hope that’s not the first thing people get from my music. I don’t want them to get that I’m all about materialistic shit. I hope that they learn all the other gems and that they hear them in my music, like taking care of your family, or reading. That’s one of the things I never really see a lot of rappers encouraging their fans to read, and its very important. The real basic things, and if those important principles stay with you throughout your whole career you become bigger than some artist.
Interview by Anastasia Bruen