With a steady income no longer guaranteed by album sales or downloads, large corporates are continuing to step in to support both up-and-coming talent and established stars. Following recent news that Nigerian telephone retail company SLOT had named D’Banj as its brand ambassador, it’s now the turn of South African rapper Cassper Nyovest to cash in.
The rapper (real name Refiloe Maele Phoolo) this week signed a six-figure deal with telecommunications giant MTN on the afternoon of Thursday 22 October. Cassper will now be the new brand ambassador for the mobile telecommunications company and will represent a major branding coup in the marketing industry.
Breaking the news via his Twitter account, he announced: "Just signed the biggest endorsement deal in South African Music history! I’m talking BIG numbers baby!"
A few minutes later, MTN confirmed on their own social media: “Welcoming @CassperNyovest to the MTN family! He's officially our new brand ambassador! Fun times ahead!”
“The partnership with MTN is a natural progression in my career. I’ve always sought to associate myself and the Cassper Nyovest brand with organisations and initiatives that unashamedly champion the development of music. I have found a home at MTN and I wish to make this partnership worthwhile for MTN customers,” said Cassper.
It’s the latest step in the rapper's meteoric rise to fame and fortune in recent years. His ambitious one-man show Fill Up The Dome on 31 October aims to make him the first local hip-hop artist to fill up Johannesburg’s 20 000-seater Ticketpro Dome. Though missing out at the local 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.
Afro-pop duo Mafikizolo were MTN's previous brand ambassadors.