In an interview with DRUM, Nasty told us where it all began.
Growing up in the township of Illovo in KwaZulu-Natal, Nasty learnt the basics of producing music from his brother, Siyabonga Ngcobo, and a friend called Whisper when he was nine years old.
“If I wasn’t as confident as I am, I would’ve quit a long time ago,” Nasty C, whose real name is Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, admits. “I had a lot of people bashing me, telling me I sound like I’m from the [United] States. They used to say I was fake.”
He’s also been criticised for rapping in English and not in the vernacular but Nasty is unapologetic. He’s always had his sights on the global music scene and he did what it takes to make sure he’s on the right track. Before signing for Universal, Nasty worked with US rapper French Montana – who features on his track Allow – as well as R&B singer and actor Omari Hardwick, with whom he recorded two singles with in 2016.
When chilling out, his friends call him Junior and his family calls him Nsika. He and Siyabonga (31) were raised by their human resources manager father, David Ngcobo (53), after their mother died in a car crash when Nasty was 11 months old. “My dad is very proud of me and of what I’ve accomplished at such a young age,” Nasty shares. “He’s happy I followed my dream even though he was against it in the beginning.”
But the name we all know him for came from Nasty’s antics as a kid. A big fan of rappers Lil Wayne and TI, he would rap their songs complete with all the swear words – which is how he got his name. “I didn’t even know half the stuff I was rapping about,” he says. “Whisper used to call me Nasty Cat because of it and I just dropped the last bit to make it Nasty C.”
And things haven’t been the same for the rapper since. “One of the things I really wish I could experience again is being in a taxi,” he told us. He’s too famous for that now – he just gets swamped by fans.
One thing’s for sure: nobody could say Nasty C doesn’t dream big. And he proves it when we ask what he’d like to achieve in the next five years. “I’d like to win at least one Grammy.”
Just four years left, Nasty Cat!