Nadia Nakai is working towards being the best rapper on the continent - Photography by - Jamal Nxedlana
Photography by Jamal Nxedlana

Nadia Nakai is working towards being the best rapper on the continent

Described as Family Tree‘s first lady, Nadia Nakai‘s guiding vision is to be the best rapper on the continent. All the decisions she makes with regards to her music and business ventures channel the energy that fuels the fruition of that vision. “That’s what I use as my benchmark. That is why I started working with Ice Prince [on the track Saka Wena] very early in my career, which might have been a bit premature. But that is the vision I have always had; being the number one African artist.”

Over time Nadia has realised that achieving this dream will not come to life as fast as she had hoped. “I think I needed to trust my journey, and understand that being the best comes with time. A lot of practice and growing, not only growing in music but growing as an individual in life generally…I have made the right decisions in my career to say that I am on that path. I am ready to embrace it once it is bestowed upon me.”

Nadia continues to make waves by sharing content that keeps fans on their toes. This includes her latest video for her hit track Naaa Meaan. Having received a lot of love since releasing the single last year, the video feeds fans a badass dose of Nadia. A bright yellow 4 door Audi with pink smoke coming out of the windows, Bacardi in a pool and Nadia in every kind of hair colour you can imagine, this video adds weight to her title as the first lady of Family Tree.

Expressing her femininity and sexuality is an important part of how Nadia wants people to understand her as an artist. “I think that people think that it is a strategy that my record label put on me or I am just trying to get attention, but it is really not. I have grown up to be the woman that I am. I am very comfortable with the stuff that I wear, and I am very comfortable with my body, and I don’t get derailed by people’s opinions of it because I am very sure of myself and who I am.”

Outside of her music, there has been a tendency for people to focus on her relationship and her appearance. Although this comes with the territory, I asked her how she feels about this. “You know what I have always said about the music industry? I have always said that it has to be more than the music,” Nadia responds. This outlook has made her view attention outside of her music positively. She interprets this as people having an interest in multiple aspects of who she is and what she does. “They [fans] are interested in what I have to say. They are interested in what I am wearing, who I am speaking to, who am I spending my time with…I have planted a seed in your heart and you think about me, not just when I am on the radio, not just when you see me on TV.” She expressed that this is what she wants as an artist, for people to embrace her “whole being as an artist… You want them to focus on a lot more than just the music.”

Practicing her philosophy of being more than just the music, Nadia started her own company called Bragga Holdings, and she shared that she thinks of herself as a brand. Bragga Holdings takes care of the merchandise which is available at the Family Tree store at Work Shop New Town in Johannesburg. Nadia’s team is expanding and she is determined to build a legacy for herself, and so the parameters for Bragga Holdings may widen pretty soon.

Armed with her degree in Marketing, Communications and Media Studies, as well as with the help from her team, Nadia operates with a calculated strategy. This directs her energy towards opportunities that will contribute to the longevity of her career.  Her collaborations and partnerships with brands are also guided by her vision for longevity, and so she steps into these with the intention of potentially building long-term relationships.

With her musical journey having taken multiple turns, from her initial interest in electro, to trap and dancehall, she reminds me that hip hop will always have her heart. “I am the first lady”.

Credits:

Photography & Styling: Jamal Nxedlana
Assistants: Themba Konela & Shannon Daniels

Look 1: Nadia wears blazer by Pringle, sports bra by Puma

Look 2: All clothing stylists own, shoes by Puma

Look 3: Nadia wears blouse by Topshop, Leggings by H&M

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