South African rapper Cassper Nyovest has become the first local artist to sell out the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some 20 000 tickets were sold even before the event on Saturday 31 October, suitably billed ‘Fill Up The Dome’.
With artists around the world finding it increasingly difficult to make a living from album sales alone, Nyovest is proof that live performances remain a valuable income stream for musicians. The success of his ambitious project was thanks largely to a groundswell of support for the rapper, both from the general public as well as other musicians (such as Black Coffee, Black Motion, L-Tido, Riky Rick and Khuli Chana), celebs and even politicians.
After the sold-out gig, the rapper took to his social media on Sunday morning to celebrate. “So much history was made last night! So much peace was in the building! It's bigger than me!” he wrote on his Twitter page, adding: “Shout out to every single musician that worked on #FillUpTheDome, backstage and otherwise. Thank you ma niggas. We made history! Shout out to everybody who bought tickets. Thank you.”
Shortly before the concert, he announced on his Facebook to prevent comparisons with overseas acts: “I'm not SA's Kanye West or Micheal Jackson. I am Africa's Cassper Nyovest! I wrote my name in the history books! Nyovest - the best!”
The event also drew a flood of social media messages of support, thanks and praise for the musician, who is still aged only 24. The success of his #FillUpTheDome campaign now seems to have spurred the rapper to greater heights: he apparently has his sights set on filling Orlando Stadium in Soweto next year, which can take crowds of up to 40 000!
The sold-out Dome gig is the latest step in the rapper’s rapid rise to African hip-hop royalty. A few days earlier, on 22 October, Nyovest signed what was reported as a record ‘six-figure’ endorsement deal with telecommunications giant MTN. Though missing out at this year’s SA Music Awards, he nabbed the Best Hip-Hop award at the MTV Africa Music Awards in Durban in July. In the process he’s found a local fanbase across Africa, including visiting schoolkids in Malawi in March and voicing his views on Nigerian hip-hop. He’s also making inroads overseas, a few months ago featuring on the title track of American rapper Talib Kweli’s new album.
At the beginning on October he released a video for ‘Mama I Made It’, celebrating his journey from humble roots in Mahikeng. The day before the Dome concert, he dropped this video for the new single ‘No Worries’.