Admin Seng'shilo: All hail King Cassper
Johannesburg - Evolution is an essential and wonderful thing. The progress we make as humans, from one minor goal to another, often shape not only what we achieve as individuals and as a people, but also goes a long way to determining how others see us.
We saw that in the recent #FeesMustFall protests and again with rapper Cassper Nyovest over the weekend: once humans determine to change their purpose and destiny, they will never be the same again.
When Cassper took to social media back in May to tell us all how he was tired of having American artists come here to try (but often fail) to fill our venues, we were right there in the front row to share in his frustration. The man was right! How could we, as an industry, dig deep into our pockets for American artists while neglecting, and sometimes suppressing, our very own people in the process. There was something that stirred inside of us as, once again, we had been told by hip-hop that we would no longer be satisfied accepting local artists as merely support acts to international artists.
Is it any coincidence that in the months leading up to Cassper revealing his ultimate dream to fill up the dome, the industry experienced two major shockwaves? First it was announced that American rapper Ace Hood would be performing in the country. He would be supported by several local acts, which were supposed to play second fiddle to a rapper many outside of America had never even heard of. This caused a backlash on social media. A few weeks later, rapper iFani would achieve the unimaginable: going gold on his first day of release. It was enough to spark a fire inside a young man's heart showing him, and later all of us, that whatever you dream, can be achieved.
With hip-hop burning a new flame of determination and self-awareness, Cassper let us all in on his dream of filling up the dome.
I've always had a dream to fill up The Dome but I've always postponed it cause it's such a big dream but just decided I am going 2 do it this year!!!
Looking at the numbers and the size of the task, it may have seemed impossible. But the little flicker of hope inside us (the same that had been felt when we heard iFani wanted to go gold on the first day of his album's release) screamed out that it was possible - and that was all that mattered.
The next few days were filled with haters and praisers in nearly equal measure. How could a young a drop out from Mafikeng possibly afford to hire the dome, never mind hope to fill it up with enough people? Surely the hype from his radio-friendly hit, Doc Shebeleza could not fill up one of the country's biggest venues? How could he have the arrogance to try achieve something not even the likes of Chris Brown and Trey Songz had done?
But, like a young fish pushing up stream and against the tide, slowly Cassper gained more and more support. From advertising it on social media to talking about it in every interview, you could hardly speak to Cassper anymore without him mentioning the dome. The enthusiasm was contagious and gradually we all started to believe that it was a matter of when, not if, Cassper would fill the dome.
Cassper had set a date with history, the 31st of October, and he wasn't about to stand her up. As the date drew nearer, his beef with AKA threatened to derail his plans. But testimony to the man that he had become - he turned nearly every conversation about the feud to one of hope and enthusiasm for the dome. Soon the rhetoric had shifted: Cassper's dream had become so much bigger than himself. It moved from feeding Cassper's dream to nurturing the young dreams of every child on the continent.
Fill up the dome started with a dream, and through it I want to inspire the 'African kid' to believe that you can do anything you dream of if you have faith
A week before Cassper was set to park his newly branded bus at the dome, he learnt that the venue had reached capacity. He had done it! Cassper Nyovest had filled the dome! In the process, becoming the first local hip-hop artist to do so.
South Africa had invested in Cassper's dream and now they expected him to repay them with a performance that would not only justify their faith, but also show them why he deserved his place in the history books.
So much was said about the production. All we were told when we met anyone involved with the show was how amazing it was going to be, and it certainly didn't disappoint.
From the moment Cassper pulled up to the dome in a Rolls Royce and was rushed off to his dressing room, we all knew that the pages of history were starting to be written. A show, which started with a young boy rapping to Cassper, evolved (over several costume changes) to include guest features by Black Coffee and L-Tido. From the moment Cassper made his entrance to the moment he ended it in a light-filled levitating box above the stage, Cassper had given the fans exactly what they had asked for... and more.
No local artist, and perhaps, some say, no international artist either, had ever stopped hearts at like this, had caused such a frenzy, had created an atmosphere so electric... it could be seen on every face and heard in every sing-along.
As he stood there, chest out and arms outstretched, and with thousands of his disciples below him with their fists in the air, Cassper knew!
He had evolved! He was no longer King of Maftown but now King of the dome!