Zulu Man in Japan
Available on Netflix SA
In this 44-minute-long documentary, we are taken back to last year, when rapper Nasty C went to Tokyo, Japan, on a creative pilgrimage.
Shots of Nasty and his team wandering the city’s streets are inserted between an interview with the man himself, who explains his thoughts and feelings around the cutaway imagery.
The main focus is on his studio session with Japanese rapper JP The Wavy.
The two met via social media and, within eight days, created seven songs together, one of which is Chotanoshi (a little fun), for which there is a colourful video.
The entire package has the gritty and cool feel we have come to expect from Red Bull, which facilitated this visit.
The camerawork in the studio as the pair performs the song is enterprising, to say the least and, despite the questionable raps, it has a pristine sheen to it.
We know rap is essentially lyrical wrestling, but some of us are actually listening. Nasty raps: “22/ With a 22 beside me ... ” He was 22 at the time, but as for the 22 beside him ... You got a gun we don’t know about, son? Is JP also 22?
Zulu Man in Japan is mostly for die-hard fans and it’s too short to unearth any actual gems. It plays out like one large stunt or a behind-the-scenes clip.
We see him engaging with the Japanese culture, enjoying the cuisine and functioning transport system, but how much of our essence does he take over there?
What can’t be denied is that Nasty is on a tear with his deal and international appeal.
It is getting to the point where we should demand he does more than twang about his life in Durban and actually put the culture on his back – the culture of our streets, not Lil Wayne’s or TI’s.
It’s applaudable to watch an artist journey out of their comfort zone in an attempt to grow. He was even bold enough to perform. He referred to it as reliving his come-up; being more confident out the gate.
There is one frame of an intoxicated dude giving Nasty respect for his set. Shame he looked a bit uneasy in that moment, but the love seemed genuine and the song that emerged is interesting.
The beat sounds very Japanese, but the raps unfortunately sound American.
A solid takeaway is that the movement in Tokyo looks electric. Hip-hop is alive the world over, and whenever heads from different countries come together, it’s a good time.