‘My booty got em tweeting from ebsuku to emini’– If you don’t know who these infamous lines come from Stop…Drop it’s Bragga.
Nadia Nakai Kandava is a one of the best Hip-Hop rappers to hit SA. Her musical journey was influenced and started when she met Kenyan rapper Nazizi. She made her first television appearance when she won the Mix tape 101 competition on ‘Shiz Niz’.
8 years in the game Nadia has rapped for Sway Calloway to even hosting the Red Carpet for MTV Africa Awards held in Bilboa Spain. This businesswoman is definitely someone the world has to watch because she’s coming for everything and you guys better recognize..Naa mean.
Where did Nadia’s musical journey begin?
“I started music in Kenya funny enough! I went to high school in Kenya and that’s where I explored making music. I used to record myself in the garage at home and would take it to school for my friends to listen or perform at events at school such as Cultural Day.
When I moved back to South Africa, I started becoming more active with it: recording in varsity, at res and then I started sending out my songs to radio stations. I knew then that this is exactly what I want to do,” she says.
Where are you originally from?
“I am originally from South Africa, but I have Zimbabwean heritage. I relocated to Kenya because of my mother’s work which made her move there”.
There is a lot of things that happen in South Africa with regards to Xenophobia. How does this affect you personally?
“It is heart-breaking because when I started my music career back then I used to call myself the ‘African Rap Queen’. I already had the vision of being completely Pan African. I always felt like we would succeed if Africa wasn’t a continent with various countries and borders -If we were all just one country like America, we would be so powerful.
I’m all about unity and learning about other cultures and diversity. When I moved to Kenya, I was so celebrated for being South African so it’s saddening when foreigners come into our country and they are not celebrated too,” she shares.
Tell me one thing about yourself that people don’t really know about you?
“I’m very thoughtful of others. The misconception about me is that I don’t give a FUDGE about people and I just look out for myself. I’m considerate and I think a lot about how my things might affect other people, it really weighs down on my heart.
It gets to a point where I realize people will not like you no matter what you do, and you can’t defend yourself to everybody and the decisions they make. So, you end up doing what’s best for you but being open hearted is one of my major detriments in my life”.
What’s your favourite colour and why?
“Purple. It was my mothers favourite colour, so she always dressed me in purple and I always enjoyed it. It’s a very royal and strong yet deep and thoughtful colour. You don’t just wear purple; you must think about how that’s going to happen, and I think about everything that has to do with me, “she says.
How did you and Cassper Nyovest meet?
“I’ve known Cassper for over 10 years. Cassper dated a girl that went to the same varsity as myself, so he was on campus most of the time. I used to record at a studio called Ganja beats back then and he used to record at the same studio so we used to bump into each other a lot. I remember I was in one of his first music videos called ‘Wahala’ and so I guess I’ve always just known him, ” she explains.
The ‘Amantombazane Remix’ was one of the biggest tracks to ever drop in SA, would you say that was your breakout feature?
Yes, that was definitely my breakout feature! Before that I released ‘Like Me’ which was my first official single then I did a song with Kid X and DJ Capital called ‘Money’ but it never became big. I think ‘Saka Wena’ with Ice Prince was one of the big songs I had back then. Being featured on ‘Amantombazane remix’ was so monumental for me because I was on a song with so many other heavy weights not just Ricky Rick. This song is what broke me into the market of This is Nadia Nakia and you better recognise” she laughs.
Beyoncé has her ‘Beehive’ and Nicki Minaj has her ‘Barbz’. What do you call your squad?
“The Bragga Brigade”.
What sparked up the idea of wanting to start a clothing line?
“I started making custom pieces long ago and I would get people asking for things I wore at certain performances at the Family Tree store which has always been around. They really influenced me in using the little money I had to create a few t-shirts and hats that said Bragga on them and sell them at the Family Tree store.
I’d make about 250 pieces and they would sell out. People started talking about it a lot then SportsScene approached me about a collaboration. I took it with both hands and it’s been doing very well, “she says.
Being an Artist is not just about the music, it also entails business ethics. Which musicians within the industry potray such characteristics for you?
I look up to Kwesta, Reason, Cassper, Lira, Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade just to name a few and all for a lot of different things. I look up to a lot of African musicians.
Stefflon Don is also a major person I look up to and I’m happy I was able to get her on my album. She’s done so much in such a short period of time, she focused so much on her debut project – ‘Real Tings’ that it opened so many doors for her. That’s how I looked at my album. I wanted my album to speak for me for the times I can’t speak for myself, push myself and sell myself to people. That is one of the reasons I knew this album has to be amazing”.
You recently dropped Nadia Naked, how has the reception been?
“It’s doing great; people are receiving it well. It’s been 8 years coming so it’s been amazing to see people I work with in the industry calling me to congratulate me about how far I’ve come and how proud they are of me.
Sometimes when you moving you feel like people aren’t paying attention to you or don’t see what you are doing but they’re cognisant of what you are doing and what you have done to impact the culture.
When I got to a point where I could release my album and get those kinds of well-dones it made it all worth it, “says Nadia.