What started as a deal signed in his pyjamas has culminated in the next big step in his career: South African rapper Cassper Nyovest has launched his own cellphone.
After signing a six-figure deal with telecommunications giant MTN in October 2015, the hip-hop star and AG Mobile have just launched the AG #Hashtag, a 4G LTE mobile device available exclusively through MTN.
This is the first time that AG Mobile has collaborated on the design aspects, colour of the device with a celebrity. Cassper explained: “To put it simply, the #Hashtag is dope! It was designed for someone who loves music, being in the mix, and socialising with their crew. Basically it has everything I would want in a phone, so I’m giving a shout-out to all my fans to check out the #Hashtag’s quality features and design, and then to change over to AG. They have my word that they’ll be getting great value!”
According to AG Mobile’s CEO, Anthony Goodman, the new phone represents is the next step in the company’s ongoing brand partnership with the celebrated musician. "Our synergy is grounded on shared brand characteristics and objectives – we’re proudly local brands, working at something we’re passionate and successful at," said Goodman. "We're sure South Africans will get behind us and support the innovation and collaboration by two strong local brands. The offering is just as good as our global competitors have to offer, that we can guarantee."
"The AG#Hashtag isn’t just inspired by Cassper - he actually played an integral part in the development, design and specifications of the device over the nine months it took to bring it to market. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve created – in fact it now stands as AG Mobile’s flagship device," he added.
Recognised as the first mobile technology company to launch its own brand of phone in 2007, to date AG Mobile has released more than 60 devices. Goodman continued: "The AG#Hashtag aligns with our goals of producing quality, affordable devices and meeting the needs of the market – in this case Cassper’s growing fanbase. The excellent user experience is due to the inclusion of a MediaTek 1.5GHz OctaCore processor and as with all our other devices, our efficient customer care centre will ensure excellent after-sales support for our customers."
Some of the high-end features specified by Cassper include 4G LTE for faster data speeds for internet browsing, a 13MP back camera and 5MP front camera for awesome selfies, increased battery power, and a 5.5” Corning® Gorilla®3 glass screen for watching music videos in high definition. It also boasts exclusive Cassper wallpapers and comes pre-installed with his app.
Available in a funky red - Cassper’s own design specification and favourite colour - the AG#Hashtag will be available exclusively through MTN retail outlets and call centres. The device will cost R229 monthly (over 24 months) on an MTN MyChoice contract and retails at R3 499 on pre-paid. The phone is available on pre-order from 19 April until 10 May via the MTN website. Customers who pre-order and purchase a device on contract or pre-paid will receive a limited edition Cassper autographed back cover for their AG#Hashtag (terms & conditions apply). For more information visit the AG Mobile website.
Larry Annetts, Chief Consumer Officer at MTN SA, said: "MTN is pleased to be part of this exciting initiative to launch an LTE smartphone with our brand ambassador, Casper Nyovest. The launch of this handset gives expression to our strategy of providing our customers with a wide bouquet of smart devices to enable them to access our ubiquitous digital offerings and the rich world of data. This is one of the ways that MTN is leading the delivery of a bold new digital world to its customers."
The latest announcement will help repair MTN’s reputation in the music sector following accusations earlier this year that it failed to pay music royalties for two years. The company quickly settled most of its outstanding debt before signing a 'landmark' deal with Sony Music.
No stranger to big bucks in recent times, the ‘Mama I Made It’ star made headlines this month when he splashed out on a Bentley Continental GT worth R3,7 million (US$260 000) as well as a limited-edition Rolex watch worth R450 000 ($31000). Nyovest is currently on tour in the USA and will perform in Zambia at the end of April.