Cassper Nyovest is continually cementing his case as to why he’s not only one of the most important musicians of this era but also one of the savviest public figures in South Africa. The ground-breaking artist is continually underestimated despite showcasing his various talents; and one of his greatest talents is using that underestimation as a weapon to engage and grow his audience.
The marketing of his latest music video, see his Twitter war with Pearl Thusi on the 26th April, was a masterclass in purposeful engagement. 26th April started off like almost any other day with Pearl Thusi sharing an anecdote about one of her previous shoots where she injured herself riding a horse. The inspirational #blackgirlmagic tweet was distastefully and misogynistically mocked by Nyovest questioning why black women are on horses, racializing it as something that is intrinsically white. This then devolved into an all-out Twitter war, with most people coming to Thusi’s defense. Nyovest, Thusi and #Fillupwithknowledge became trending topics.
Nyovest and Thusi started a wide-spread conversation which at the crux was whether horse-riding, an activity heavily associated with people who own great acres of land, is something that black women, and by proxy black people, should be associated with. A conversation with which he positioned himself as a villain, knowing how viral the topic would get if he did, amidst the promotional cycle for his latest single. This discussion however was left unresolved until the release of his music video.
An amazing bait-and-switch came with the release of Ksazobalit’s music video, a vision of agricultural black excellence starring Pearl Thusi. The video is a progressive statement on land expropriation, showcasing black people not only owning land but the means of distribution as well. Cassper’s statement on agricultural black excellence continues to push his brand as more than just a hip-hop artist, but a progressively motivated agent of change. Ksazobalit is a refreshing take on the turn-up video, we see images of a joyous Nyovest dancing, handling distribution of what he makes on his land and celebrating the fruits of his labour with his friends. We also see Pearl Thusi gracefully riding across great acres of land, which with added context of their manufactured twitter war becomes a powerful endorsement and acknowledgement of Black Girl Magic. The music video also spreads a message of inclusion as seen through the addition of the white people, see the white farmer who joins Cassper’s party in the end, as well as the white dancer in overalls. Music videos like these have the power to amplify the ongoing conversation of land-expropriation as well as providing more paths to what success can look like. Directed by prolific director, Thabang Moleya, Ksazobalit is Cassper Nyovest’s greatest music video yet and an immediate classic.
If anyone still questions how brilliant Cassper Nyovest is at marketing and public perception, let this week be one of the many case studies of his brilliance. Cassper Nyovest used his public perception and understanding of social media’s savage viral culture as a means to expertly engage with us on topics which, in his own words, are ‘’deeper than rap”; land expropriation, the different facets of ownership and feminism. Cassper Nyovest, a man constantly ridiculed for not finishing his education, is one of the people we need to be studying as he constantly shows us visions of a way forward.