Nadia Nakai

Nadia Nakai
on a preview of MTV Shuga Down South in 2019
on a preview of MTV Shuga Down South in 2019
Background information
Birth nameNadia Nakai Kandava
BornSouth Africa[1]
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • TV Personality
Years active2011–present
Associated acts

Nadia Nakai Kandava is a South African rapper, songwriter and television personality.[2]

Early life and education

Nakai was born in South Africa.[1] Her father is South African and her mother is Zimbabwean.[3] She studied Marketing, Communication, and Media Studies at Monash University, Johannesburg.[1]


2013–2017: Beginnings and Bragga

Nakai made her first television appearance on the hip hop show Shiz Niz where she won the Mixtape 101 competition, making her the first female to win the competition. She then rose to prominence in September 2013, when she released her debut single "Like Me".[4] The following year, she was featured on the remix of Riky Rick song, Amantombazane amongst various acts.[5] As for June 2015, Nakai released her third single "Saka Wena" featuring rapper Ice Prince, following her second single, "Whatever" featuring DotCom and Psyfo.[6]

On August 2016, Nakai pre-released her single "The Man" featuring Cassper Nyovest from her EP, Bragga.[7] Bragga was then released on 15 September 2016. In November 2017, Nakai released her critically acclaimed single "Naaa Meaan" featuring Cassper Nyovest.[8] The song topped charts in several radio stations in South Africa. On 4 November 2016, she hosted the red carpet special for MTV Africa at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.[9]

2017–present: Nadia Naked

In 2019, Nakai co-host MTV Base hip hop show, Yo! MTV Raps South Africa alongside television presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi.[10] On 3 May 2019, Nakai confirmed that her debut album Nadia Naked would be released on 28 June 2019.[11] On 18 May 2019, "Imma Boss" was released as the third single accompanied by the album's artwork cover.[12] On 15 October 2020, she released a documentary on Showmax about the making of the album Nadia Naked.[13] At the 6th ceremony of AFRIMA, she took-home Best Female Artist award.[14]

She was awarded the most stylish performing artist of 2020 at the 2020 SA Style Awards.[15]

On June 15, 2021, she announce departure from Family Tree Records.[16]



Nakai was inspired by a Kenyan rapper, Nazizi, who she met while she was staying in Kenya. She said that Nazizi influenced her in starting her rapping career.[17]

Awards and nominations

Nakai has received several awards nomination inside and outside the music industry. She won two South African Hip Hop Awards, two and received two nominations for the South African Music Awards.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
15th Metro FM Music Awards Baddest (Remix) (feat. Fifi Cooper, Rouge (Rapper), Nadia Nakai & Gigi LaMayne Best Remix Nominated
15th Metro FM Music Awards Do I Like I Do (Remix) (DJ Sliqe feat. Riky Rick, Reason, L-Tido, Kwesta, Nadia Nakai & Flabba Best Remix Nominated
24th South African Music Awards Naa Meaan (feat. Cassper Nyovest) Music Video of the Year Nominated
Zimbabwe Music Awards 2018 Herself Artist of the Year Won
South African Hip Hop Awards 2019 Herself Best Female Won
Nadia Naked Album of the Year Nominated
Herself MVP/Hustler of the Year Nominated
All African Music Awards 2019 Nadia Naked Album of the Year in Southern Africa Nominated
Imma Boss Best Female Artiste in Southern Africa Won
Herself Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Hip Hop Won
South African Hip Hop Awards 2020 Herself MVP/Hustler of the Year Nominated[18]
40 Bars Best Video Nominated
More Drugs Best Video Won[19]
SA Style Awards Herself Most Stylish Performing Artist Won
27th South African Music Awards Nadia Naked Best Hip Hop Album Nominated[20]


Studio album

Studio album
Title Extended play details
Nadia Naked

Extended Play

Extended play
Title Extended play details


As lead artist

List of singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Like Me" 2013
(featuring DotCom and Psyfo)
"Saka Wena"
(featuring Ice Prince)
"Money Back" 2016
"The Man"
(featuring Cassper Nyovest)
"Don't Cut It"
(featuring Gemini Major and Tshego)
"Naaa Meaan"
(featuring Cassper Nyovest)
2017 Nadia Naked
"Money Calling"
(with Frank Casino)
"Yass Bitch" Nadia Naked
"Imma Boss" 2019
(featuring Kwesta & Sio)
"40 Bars"
(featuring Emtee & DJ Capital)
2020 Nadia Naked (Deluxe)

As featured artist

List of featured singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Amantombazane Remix"
(Riky Rick featuring Okmalumkoolkat, Maggz, Kwesta, Ginger Breadman, Kid X, Nadia Nakai and DJ Dimplez)
2014 RiSA: Gold
"Do Like I Do Remix"
(DJ Sliqe featuring Riky Rick, L-Tido, Kwesta, Reason, Flabba and Nadia Nakai)
2015 Injayam, Vol. 1
"Sugar Free"
(Tumi featuring Nadia Nakai)
"Ragga Ragga"
(Gemini Major featuring Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Riky Rick and Major League)
(DJ Milkshake featuring Da L.E.S,Maggz and Nadia Nakai)
(Spectacular and DJ Naves featuring Floda, Nadia Nakai and DJ Tira)
Isaga Lam
(Miss Pru DJ featuring LaSauce, Gigi Lamayne, Nadia Nakai and Londie London)
Uh Huh
(Priddy Ugly featuring Nadia Nakai)


  1. ^ a b c Mmakou, Boitumelo (30 January 2015). "Up Close & Personal With Nadia Nakai". Bona Magazine. Archived from the original on 18 June 2019. Although I have a Zimbabwean heritage, I was born and raised in South Africa.
  2. ^ "Nakai: Rising rap queen". The Zimbabwe Independent.
  3. ^ "9 Interesting Facts About Nadia Nakai". People.
  4. ^ "Nadia Nakai "Like Me" by Sid Records". SoundCloud.
  5. ^ "Track of the Day: Riky Rick – Amantombazane (Remix)". Platform.
  6. ^ "Saka Wena (feat. Ice Prince) – Single by Nadia Nakai". Apple Music.
  7. ^ "New Release: Nadia Nakai – The Man [ft Cassper Nyovest]". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  8. ^ "Twitter gives Nadia Nakai's new track a thumbs up". TimesLive.
  9. ^ "Nadia Nakai served Mzansi sauce at the MTV EMAs". SowetanLIVE.
  10. ^ "Nadia Nakai and Siyabonga Ngwekazi to host Yo! MTV Raps Africa". BONA.
  11. ^ "Nadia Nakai new album: 'Nadia Naked' gets a release date". The South African.
  12. ^ "Nadia Nakai Drops Quotable After Another In Her New Single 'Imma Boss'". OkayAfrica.
  13. ^ Seemela, Masego. "Nadia Nakai's doccie to premiere exclusively on Showmax next week". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  14. ^ Durosomo, Damola (24 November 2019). "Burna Boy, Nasty C, Stonebwoy, Nadia Nakai & More Win 2019 AFRIMA Awards - OkayAfrica". OkayAfrica.
  15. ^ Mabhena, Naledi (23 November 2020). "SA Style Awards 2020: Best and Worst Dressed Plus the Winners". Savanna News. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  16. ^ Adejoy (15 June 2021). "Nadia Nakai exits Family Tree record label | Fakaza News". Fakaza News.
  17. ^ "Interview With African Rap Queen Nadia Nakai". Youth Village Zimbabwe.
  18. ^ "Here are the South African Hip Hop Awards 2020 Nominees". Okay Africa. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Here Are the 2020 South African Hip Hop Awards Winners". Okay Africa. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Samas 27: Nominations are out and men are leading the nods". The Citizen. Retrieved 18 August 2021.