Cast an eye in the direction of the celebrity gossip space and you’ll find a ton of stories filled with shenanigans involving musicians on social media.
Headlines are awash with stories about clapbacks on fans, celebrity feuds and the pearls of wisdom South Africa’s stars drop into the Twittersphere.
In fact, there are so many stories about celebrity Twitter it’s sometimes hard to remember that people used to be famous for making… well, art.
And this brings us neatly to the case of Nasty C (Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo) who seems to stand resolutely apart from the nonsense on social media.
While many of his fellow musicians (Cassper we’re looking at you, AKA your ears are burning) make headlines for their spiky online personas, Nasty C seems to be getting the lion’s share of his attention for (shock!), putting out a very good album and performing amazing shows in front of his fans.
But then, Nasty C doesn’t really ‘do’ the whole ‘celebrity thing’. He says he finds the whole concept weird.
“I don’t like it. There’s a lot of fake stuff that goes on with that and there’s way too much drama!” he says. “I rather hang with the same people I grew up with.”
“I’m a human. Treat me like a human. Don’t look at me like a celebrity or something ‘other’. It’s tough, though, because that’s the way the industry is. But I don’t like that so I stay apart from it.”
Nasty C treated fans to a great show just this last Wednesday, when the rapper burned up the stage at the AXE Party Of The Year at Fox Junction in Newtown. Taking to the stage in a mask and flak jacket, Nasty banged through some of the choicest cuts from his new album Strings And Bling, sending the crowd into a bouncing frenzy.
His lyrics find the sweetspot between the personal and the universal, with the MC spitting lyrics about the hard-bitten ghetto landscape in one song (‘Jungle’) and then celebrating both old school values and millennial aspirations (on album’s title track).
Nasty C seems comfortable in any mode, whether he’s laying claim to hip hop’s crown in the swaggering track ‘Legend’, or letting his guard down and admits to some weaknesses on the introspective ‘Another One Down’.
The mix between the music’s balance of hardcore rap and light-hearted bravado connects instantly with fans – as evidenced by the cheering faces at Wednesday’s gig. But it’s also a personal document for Nasty C, who sees his art as both his own voice and the voice of his fans.
“[The album] is kind of like an update of what’s going on in my head,” he says. “As a human, as a young kid I’m going through a lot of things – heart-breaks, betrayal, back-stabbing and victories too – so I wanted to balance it out so it’s not one-note.”
“I’ve got some hardcore tracks, but I’ve got vibey songs and feel-good songs where I’m not even rapping, I’m just singing. I wanted different moods throughout.”
“I wanted it to be super-relatable. I didn’t want it to be too personal to a point where people feel like they’re just listening to me vent. I wanted to be able to speak to people and speak for them.”
Off the back of Strings And Bling and his formidable performing skills, Nasty C seems poised for bigger things. He speaks with such conviction that it’s hard not to be swept up in the moment. This week, Nasty C announced he plans to be a billionaire by the time he’s thirty years old. After spending some time in his company, I’m pretty much ready to believe him.