Cassper Nyovest

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About Cassper Nyovest

In South African hip-hop, Cassper Nyovest is an institution unto himself. A rapper, label owner, and entrepreneur, he has vaulted to stunning success since the early 2010s, packing the biggest stadiums in the country and garnering fans across the continent with his combination of glorious trap braggadocio and open-hearted rhymes. Raised in the city of Mahikeng, Cassper (born Refiloe Maele Phoolo in 1990) got his start in hip-hop after dropping out of high school at the age of 16. Under the tutelage of celebrated rapper HHP, he made a splash in the late 2000s on a couple of singles guided by the regional styles of kwaito and motswako. His career really took off with his 2014 hit “Doc Shebeleza,” a tribute to a kwaito legend delivered over a monstrous 808 beat. In more recent years, his savvy mix of South African and American sounds has served to highlight his sensitivity and rootedness: Two of his albums are named after his siblings, and he nods to his mom in vulnerable moments. But even at his most humble, Cassper projects a larger-than-life persona. As he once boasted in an interview with Apple Music, “When you speak about hip-hop in Africa, you have to start with me.”

Mafikeng, Northwest Province, South Africa
December 16, 1990
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