The genesis of Cassper Nyovest and AKA’s beef
SABC is a stated owned television and radio network, started in 1936 as a radio monopoly, SABC got to be a television network in 1976. After the 1994 democratic elections, the SABC was now under ANC rule, since then, we’ve received programming aimed at the South African black community with shows like Jam Alley.
SABC 1 was aimed at the black youth with Friday late nights being dedicated to shows resembling party entertainment and nightlife with the production being held by Urban Brew studios. “Castle Loud” was the first show to take the time slot with the nightlife format and after being cancelled in 2003, “ONE” presented by Andile Ncube took over until 2007 when it was rebranded to “LIVE”, then later renamed to “Live Amp”. Andile was still the host but super sub-African megastar to be was introduced, Bonang Matheba. After going through a myriad of presenters like Sizwe Dhlomo, Minnie Dlamini, Lerato Kganyago to mention but a few, for the purposes of this article, we’ll stop in 2014 where the eventual hosts were DJ Warras, Pearl Thusi and Luthando Shosha also known as Loot Love.
Live Amp is a run down of entertainment moments and news, it showcases groundbreaking artists by providing interviews, event reviews and live performances. On the 15th of August 2014, two particular hip hop artists were booked to perform, longtime favourite and South African megastar, AKA and new hot commodity, Cassper Nyovest. On this day, there was an incident in which Cassper Nyovest had a gun pointed in his face, this would cement the rivalry between these two artists.
Born on the 28th of January 1988 in Cape Town, western Cape, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes grew up in Johannesburg’s North side. At the age of fifteen he received his first taste of fame after forming the group “Entity” with friends Vice Verse and Greyhound. They released their first single “First Gear” but really rose to South African hip hop prominence after the release of their second single, “Touch And Go”, which had the biggest hip hop group in South Africa at the time in the music video, Skwatta Kamp. The group split in 2006 and AKA ventured into a solo career.
Watch the music video of “Touch And Go” by Entity below;
AKA went on to release his first single “Victory Lap”, this was the first song to really put AKA on the map as it premiered on the new youth oriented Vuzu channel. For the next two years, he would release a slew of hits until his debut album “Altar Ego” was released in August of 2011. The hits on the album included the “Victory Lap (Remix)”, “All I Know”, “I Want It All” and “Bang”, all these songs cemented AKA’s name within the South African media, he became a genre bending superstar after the release of “Jealousy” at the end of 2012.
Watch the music video of “Jealousy” by AKA below;
In 2013 he would announce that he was working on a new album which would incorporate House music and hip hop elements together, starting his ill-fated bromance with Da L.E.S, he released his first single in April of that year which was followed up by Da L.E.S’ return smash featuring AKA, “Heaven”. The video which was shot by AMR Singh and it was the most talked about video within the hip hop South African sphere.
Watch the music video of “Heaven” by Da L.E.S featuring AKA and Maggz below;
Born on the 16th of December 1990, Day of Reconciliation, Refiloe Maele Phoolo was born and raised in Mahikeng, North West. He would alternate between Mahikeng and Promosa, which is where he would ultimately meet Boity. While on the come up, he would meet up with his childhood idol and South African hip hop legend, HHP.
HHP quickly took a liking into the rapper, featuring him on his 2009 hit “Wamo Tseba Mtho”.
Watch the music video of “Wamo Tseba Mtho” by HHP featuring Cassper Nyovest and Thasman below;
I don’t want to go too much into Cassper Nyovest’s come up, I would repeating myself because I wrote about his whole come up in this article right here: How Cassper Nyovest’s album “Tsholofelo” changed the South African music industry.
So Cassper drops the song, “Gusheshe” and the music video is fire. In fact, the song itself is blasting through the airwaves, even AKA in 2020 would admit that Gusheshe was his favourite song by Cassper Nyovest, so much so in fact that Cassper would find himself working with AKA.
From the information that I’ve managed to find, it looks like their friendship started around 2011, Khuli Chana has admitted not knowing who Cassper Nyovest was until AKA put him onto him, and 2011 is the same year that Cassper Nyovest debuted on the Maftown Heights stage – which is a hip hop festivals partly founded and organised by Khuli Chana. I’m not able to find any communication between AKA and Cassper before 2011, which gets me to my next point.
They knew each other before AKA would release his debut album, AKA was buzzing within the mainstream media but hadn’t cemented himself as the SupaMega yet, they met while both of them were actually on the come up. Granted, AKA had “Victory Lap” and a couple of other hits on radio, they were actually close friends, I mean super close, AKA would call Cassper at 4 a.m. in the morning just to scream, “Turn up”.
They were close enough that AKA invited Cassper to his house and cooked for him, they even made a song titled “Siya Groova” as it’s confirmed in Cassper’s tweet below.
Look, at this point if there is one thing that I would love to do in my life before I die, it is listening to AKA and Cassper Nyovest on the same song, I can’t even contain myself.
Friends Become Enemies
In the beginning of 2013, Cassper Nyovest would perform “Gusheshe” at his show, there were rumblings about a song so crazy from a young artist within the industry. In fact, Anatii would tweet this;
AKA would drop his much anticipated “Kontrol” featuring Da L.E.S, and this would be the song to plaster him in the mainstream, Cassper would also tweet out in promotion for AKA as confirmed by the below tweet;
About two weeks later on the 19th of April 2013, Cassper would drop “Gusheshe” featuring Okmalumkoolkat on Data File Host, AKA would stay silent and mize the link. There’s no evidence that AKA had promoted or shared Cassper’s “Gusheshe”, at all to a point that Cassper tweeted this;
I can’t say whether the above tweet was directed to AKA specifically, but it definitely caught his attention. At this point, the communication between AKA and Cassper Nyovest stopped.
“Kontrol” would have the initial hype because AKA was the bigger artist, however “Gusheshe” would ravish the streets once its music video was dropped. The moment of truth would arrive on the 20th of November 2013 at the South African hip hop awards. Cassper Nyovest would go on to win four SA hip hop awards including record of the year and video of the year, beating out both Da L.E.S’ “Heaven” and AKA’s “Kontrol”. At the same award ceremony, AKA would receive one award for MVP of the year, the public wasn’t yet privy to the fact that AKA and Cassper were having a friendship battle.
AKA had to redeem himself in 2014, so he decided to switch up his strategy. Cassper Nyovest would release his next single, “Doc Shebeleza” on free to host platform, Data File Host. Capitalizing on his mainstream popularity, AKA would release his next song “Congratulate” on iTunes, this would put him at the top of the charts for weeks and months. “Congratulate” would stay at the top of the charts but Cassper Nyovest’s song, “Doc Shebeleza” would also have its own marketing strategy when it amassed 100,000 downloads on Data File Host. This would start a cold war between the friends of who had the better song – which brings us to the 29th of April 2014 when AKA tweeted this;
1 on iTunes… Not Zippyshare… Know the difference!
At the time, the above tweet seemed to come from left field, it was more than abvious who the tweet was directed at, prompting a response from Cassper Nyovest who put out three tweets;
You’re lying nigga!!! #DocShebeleza is the biggest record out!!! That’s not an opinion !!!! That’s a fact!!! You’ve got Napolean Complex!!!
The #CaraCara and #DocShebeleza videos had more hype than the #SAMA20 . Am I lying?
We must be happy for you when you win but we must morn when we win against you? Fack Daht!!
Following Cassper’s above tweets, the lines were drawn and the friendship died that day.
On Sunday 25 May 2014, AKA tweeted;
There’s a rapper running around saying he got the biggest song in the country… I challenge you to find his song in the iTunes Top 100.
AKA further tweeted the below photo mocking Cassper Nyovest;
At this point on AKA’s part, it wasn’t sub-tweeting anymore, Cassper Nyovest actually had to reply with this;
Fokof wena !! You not part of this game “@akaworldwide: #UhmThanks
AKA has deleted all tweets dated before 2018 probably because of the situation that involves the sadden passing of his fiancee, Anele Nellie Tembe, so I’m not able to find tweets or Instagram posts by him before 2018. However, I can safely say that AKA was trolling Cassper Nyovest on a regular basis, Cassper would always take it in stride online.
We skip to the 2nd of July 2014 when Cassper released his next single on radio before releasing online, “Phumakim”.
Watch the music video of “Phumakim” by Cassper Nyovest below;
AKA would quickly go online and start tweeting in response to hearing the song, the tweets were meant to seem indifferent to the lines that were dedicated to him. AKA made the below two tweets;
You made a fortune? Oh? …
Fans … Please don’t perpetuate this thing. Don’t even defend me … just keep pushing the MUSIC. Love y’all!
Cassper was interviewed on radio the next day with the show host saying this;
I think you are taking it to a new level, I mean back in the old days you’d normally just take it to the streets and throw a few punches, and now it’s getting handled over Twitter and on your album.
To which Cassper responded with;
I mean I’m from the hood, so it’s possible. I hope it doesn’t get to that point because it’s just music now, you know egos are egos and you don’t know what might happen, and people forget that I’m actually from a rough neighbourhood, I’m actually a thug. I’m from the most dangerous part of Mahikeng and I grew up with thugs, so now when someone tests me and disrepects me like this, you never know what can happen.
Cassper and AKA wouldn’t see each other or be booked to perform at the same venue until the 15th of August 2014.
On the 13th of August 2014, Live Amp would release a promo out to the public informing them about Cassper Nyovest and AKA’s scheduled performances on the show later on that week on Friday 15 August 2014. We’ll only focus on the four people who are important to the story right now, Cassper Nyovest, AKA, Spike who was Cassper’s road manager at the time and Prince Nyembe who was AKA’s friend at the time.
A little back story on Prince Nyembe, he started out as a friend of Da L.E.S, being one of the organisers of the “Fresh 2 Def” all white party. From the information online, organizing events was his come up, he’s clearly from the same Johannesburg North circles judging from his chest tattoo – indicating he had a priveledged lifestyle growing up.
AKA and Prince, along with a few other people arrived at the Urban Brew studios in Randburg first, Cassper and Spike would arrive soon after. AKA would be set to perform “Run Jozi” while Cassper would perform “Phumakim” right after.
Back stage, Cassper would go to the bathroom, AKA would walk in with Prince Nyembe right behind him, AKA looked over at Spike and asked him; “where’s he? what’s with that shit your boy was talking?”. Cassper who’s now walking back from the bathroom meets up with Prince first, Prince says; “Oh! so you are a thug?” while pushing him. Cassper moves Prince’s hand replying with “Don’t push me”. Prince would retaliate by drawing a gun and pointing it in Cassper’s face, the mood then got very serious in the building, Cassper would look at everyone present at the scene and calmly walk out. He would immediately go online and post the below statement;
DJ Zinhle who was dating AKA at the time would tweet this;
Some people really don’t understand the power of their tweets… Watch what you tweet. #COMPOSURE!
Riky Rick who was Cassper Nyovest’s friend at the time would also tweet this;
I honestly can’t stand AKA and his entourage. Punks.
From that day, Cassper Nyovest and AKA have always been rivals but if there is one thing we would love them to do, is to release the song they made together, “Siya Groova”.