Will Cassper fill Orlando Stadium?
“THEY said I couldn’t do it,” Cassper Nyovest says to a crowd of just more than 20 000 revellers. He’s just performed two songs and is catching his breath and the magnitude of the moment.
“They were telling the truth,” he pauses, then says: “I couldn’t do it.”
Then he points from one side of the Ticketpro Dome to the other and emphatically says: “We all did it!” The crowd roars. He’s right. Had it not been for the support of his fans and the sheer belief in himself, the rapper who was born Refiloe Phoolo might not have lived out his dream to Fill Up the Dome (#FUTD).
I relived that scene as I watched the #FUTD DVD which is now in stores. But being at the Dome around this time last year was a feeling that no cameras can accurately capture. Yes, there was a feeling that people had gathered to have fun and watch a few
performances. But it was much bigger than that.
The energy in the venue was electric. People had followed Nyovest’s requests to the T — right down to dressing in all-white. They showed up in their numbers and together, Nyovest and his supporters did it. They filled up the Dome. With a capacity of 20 000, this was a feat that had never been achieved before by a local act. And instead of resting on his laurels, Nyovest chose to chase an even bigger dream: Fill Up Orlando Stadium.
With a capacity of 40 000, the home of the Buccaneers will not serve as a soccer stadium tonight. I t will be a marker of just how far Nyovest can take hip hop. Like last year, Nyovest has hand-picked his friends and some of the country’s biggest artistes to perform ahead of him.
This time, Nyovest’s Family Tree roster — which includes Nadia Nakai, Tshego, Gemini Major and others — will be on stage. So will Mabala Noisemakers, Riky Rick, Nasty C, Major League DJs and Kwesta, Khuli Chana, DJ Tira and Babes Wodumo. It’s interesting that in the past few weeks, this new challenge has become social media fodder because Nyovest said the stage he used at #FUTD — the one that allows him to be suspended above the crowd — is the same one that Kanye West is currently touring with. Maybe the world doesn’t like to see an underdog come out on top. But it seems that from the stage to Nyovest’s appearance on Sway in the Morning in America (where he labelled himself Mzansi’s version of West), there are people who would rather believe that pigs can fly instead of believing the images of Nyovest flying over people’s heads. “The reason why I decided to do the Dome is a funny story,” Nyovest said at his press conference. “When Kanye West came to South Africa — I love Kanye! Yeah, I’m South Africa’s Kanye — I was fighting to open for him.” But Nyovest’s musical arch nemesis, AKA, ended up getting that coveted slot. But Nyovest continues: “At the time, I only had one song that was bubbling and the corporates didn’t know me. And whoever was organising was like: ‘Yeah, whatever’. “And it was so painful to know that I’m going to be the biggest act in the country — I knew it before anybody — and I couldn’t get the chance to perform and open for Kanye. “So I pledged to myself that I’d always give people opportunities. People who might have a crowd that people aren’t looking at. I’d make sure they get the opportunity to be exposed because I know how it feels for people who are talented and have potential to be future leaders in the industry (to be overlooked).” Cassper is doing that with the line-up and in the process, living his dreams. Cassper Nyovest’s Fill Up Orlando Stadium takes place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto today. — Sowetan