Everyone loves freebies, but just after one listen to Nasty C’s debut studio album Bad Hair – one can’t help but wish it had not been released for free. Surely he deserves a fat pay cheque for all of that?
Still, after an inevitable second listen, all you can think about is how the Hell Naw hitmaker is possibly the best rapper the country currently has to offer. And after a long wait, the product is in. Goodness! it’s good. It’s really good.
Bad Hair is Nasty C’s first full body of work amid his quick ascension to being touted as new King of South African Hip Hop. For many, Nasty C is the undisputed new King of SA Hip Hop. But for others, he is a kid with solid potential to gain sustainable cultural significance. On Bad Hair, Nasty paces beyond all those expectations to declare his own league in the game. In this league, lyricism and mainstream palatability find a comfortable intersection.
That’s not the only noteworthy element that sets Bad Hair apart. At a time when his peers have opted to incorporate African influences in their sound to move away from a Hip Hop that is heavily influenced by American rap, Nasty’s debut is a full English rap record.
Bad Hair has an attitude.
The track Please has ‘Man, fuck you’ echoing halfway into the interlude in a synthesized voice. “Everyday, they try to tell me what I can and cannot do”, he laments. The narrative of breaking free from attempts to control him when really he just wants to rap is a common thread tying the songs in the album seamlessly to create a coherent story.
“I’m here to stay’ is another theme that underlies that story, a befitting message in a debut album from an artist with much promise. Yet, so young.
Doing what he wants does not stray from how Nasty has presented himself in the business. At one point he vowed to never sign to a record label despite multiple lucrative offers flying in. Next thing, he releases the one album people are thirsting for the most, completely free.
Laced with double meanings, bold statements, memorable hooks, nuanced tempos and catchy choruses, the 16 track album consistently showcases Nasty C’s outstanding grasp of a bigger picture that is yet to unravel for many of us who thought we’ve figured out his sound. Many references made about women throughout the album would make a feminist shudder (‘God bless the women of today and how they dress’ but he would tell his bae to cover her breasts), but at no point are we left in doubt about what he is about.
The bold statements are a constant throughout the album. Many references could be interpreted as confrontational challenges to some of the biggest rappers in the country, even though no one lands the proverbial bullet.
On Check, a track in which he enlists the help of former The Hustle contestant Erick Rush, he says “I heard so and so just made it into One Hit Wonder-ville.” Many other such utterances tackling unnamed big names and their thrones are available verse in and verse out.
Nasty C is aware of this stream of consciousness about his role in the game, hence opening the album with an interlude featuring an interview between Slikour and Cassper Nyovest, in which Nyovest refers to Nasty C as “a special breed of an artist.”Other features in the album include Omari Hardwick, Riky Rick and Tshego.
There’s some refreshing sampling and a bit of singing. That’s certainly a case on A Star Is Born, one of our personal favourites from this album. On this one, Nasty gets autobiographical, unleashing a personal dialogue with his father. He should be proud of him. Riky Rick joins him here, as does Omari Hardwick (who was really not needed). Riky also opens up about the death of his father.
The album is packed with jams that revealing themselves to be gems. Depending on the listener, you can either start enjoying it fully the first time you listen to it, or really start getting it as you take one more spin. Either way, there’s no shred to of doubt that many Hip Hop lovers will find pure joy in Bad Hair.
BAD HAIR TRACKLIST
- Please (Interlude)
- Check (ft Erick Rush)
- I Lie (ft Tshego)
- Don’t Do It (ft. Tellaman)
- Squad Goals
- Overload (ft Tellaman)
- A Star Is Born (ft. Omari & Riky Rick)
- Good Girls
- Hell Naw
- Forget (ft Erick Rush)