Nadia Nakai

Nadia Nakai
Photo on a preview of MTV Shuga Down South in 2019
Photo on a preview of MTV Shuga Down South in 2019
Background information
Birth nameNadia Nakai Dlamini
Born (1990-05-18) 18 May 1990 (age 32)
South Africa[1]
GenresHip hop, mumble rap
  • Rapper
  • TV personality
Years active2011–present

Nadia Nakai Kandava (née Dlamini; born 18 May 1990),[2][3][a] is a South African rapper and television personality.[4]

Early life and education

Nakai was born in South Africa.[1] Her father is South African and her mother is Zimbabwean.[5] When she was 16 years old, her surname was changed from her father's to her mother's.[6]

Nakai attended Fourways High School in Johannesburg for a year then finished her schooling in Kenya.[6] She later studied a degree in 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".[7] The following year, she was featured on the remix of Riky Rick song, Amantombazane amongst various acts.[8] As for June 2015, Nakai released her third single "Saka Wena" featuring rapper Ice Prince, following her second single, "Whatever" featuring DotCom and Psyfo.[9]

On August 2016, Nakai pre-released her single "The Man" featuring Cassper Nyovest from her EP, Bragga.[10] Bragga was then released on 15 September 2016. In November 2017, Nakai released her critically acclaimed single "Naaa Meaan" featuring Cassper Nyovest.[11] 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.[12]

2017–2020: Nadia Naked, and Def Jam Africa

In 2019, Nakai co-hosted the MTV Base hip hop show, Yo! MTV Raps South Africa alongside television presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi.[13] On 3 May 2019, Nakai confirmed that her debut album Nadia Naked would be released on 28 June 2019.[14] On 18 May 2019, "Imma Boss" was released as the third single accompanied by the album's artwork cover.[15] On 15 October 2020, she released a documentary on Showmax about the making of the album Nadia Naked.[16] In May 2020, she signed a record deal with Def Jam Africa.[17]

At the 6th ceremony of AFRIMA, she took-home Best Female Artist award.[18] She was awarded the most stylish performing artist at the 2020 SA Style Awards.[19]

2021–present: TV shows

In 2021, Nakai hosted the first season of Channel O's Gen-Z South Africa television show.[20][21] In June 2021, she left Family Tree Records to pursue her own label.[22] At the 2021 South African Hip Hop Awards, Nakai received a nomination for Artist of the Decade.[23]

In 2022, Nakai appeared on the Netflix original reality show Young, Famous & African.[24]


Nakai was inspired by a female Kenyan rapper, Nazizi, who she met while she was staying in Kenya. She said that Nazizi influenced her in starting her rapping career.[25]

Personal life

Early in 2022, Nadia posted in her Instagram post that she is dating South African rapper AKA.

Awards and nominations

Award Year Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Category Result Ref.
Zimbabwe Achievers Awards 2016 Herself Music Artist of the Year Won [26]
Metro FM Music Awards 2016 Baddest (Remix) (with AKA, Fifi Cooper, Rouge & Gigi LaMayne) Best Remix Nominated [27]
Do I Like I Do (Remix) (with DJ Sliqe, Riky Rick, Reason, L-Tido, Kwesta & Flabba) Nominated
South African Music Awards 2018 Naa Meaan (feat. Cassper Nyovest) (Directed by Family Tree) Music Video of the Year Nominated [28]
2021 Nadia Naked Best Hip Hop Album Nominated [29][30]
South African Hip Hop Awards 2019 Album of the Year Nominated [31][32]
Herself Best Female Won
MVP/Hustler of the Year Nominated
2020 Nominated [33][34]
40 Bars (featuring Emtee & DJ Capital) Directed by Kaykayribane Best Video Nominated
More Drugs (featuring Tshego) Directed Allesio Bettocchi & Jilten Ramlal Won
2021 Herself Artist of the Decade Nominated [35]
All Africa Music Awards 2019 Nadia Naked Album of the Year in Southern Africa Nominated
Herself Best Female Artiste in Southern Africa Won
Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Hip Hop Won
SA Style Awards 2021 Most Stylish Performing Artist Won


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. ^ "SEE: Nadia Nakai celebrates 30th birthday". Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  3. ^ Jovaza (18 May 2021). "Nadia Nakai excited to celebrate her 31st birthday today -". Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Nakai: Rising rap queen". The Zimbabwe Independent.
  5. ^ Sekhu, Michael (19 May 2020). "8 fun facts you may not know about Nadia Nakai". The Citizen. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Nadia Nakai joins Cassper's record label". The Chronicle. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Nadia Nakai "Like Me" by Sid Records". SoundCloud.
  8. ^ "Track of the Day: Riky Rick – Amantombazane (Remix)". Platform.
  9. ^ "Saka Wena (feat. Ice Prince) – Single by Nadia Nakai". Apple Music.
  10. ^ "New Release: Nadia Nakai – The Man [ft Cassper Nyovest]". SA Hip Hop Mag.
  11. ^ "Twitter gives Nadia Nakai's new track a thumbs up". TimesLive.
  12. ^ "Nadia Nakai served Mzansi sauce at the MTV EMAs". SowetanLIVE.
  13. ^ "Nadia Nakai and Siyabonga Ngwekazi to host Yo! MTV Raps Africa". BONA.
  14. ^ "Nadia Nakai new album: 'Nadia Naked' gets a release date". The South African.
  15. ^ "Nadia Nakai Drops Quotable After Another In Her New Single 'Imma Boss'". OkayAfrica.
  16. ^ Seemela, Masego. "Nadia Nakai's doccie to premiere exclusively on Showmax next week". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  17. ^ Reporter, Staff. "Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai and Tshego join Def Jam Africa". Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  18. ^ Durosomo, Damola (24 November 2019). "Burna Boy, Nasty C, Stonebwoy, Nadia Nakai & More Win 2019 AFRIMA Awards – OkayAfrica". OkayAfrica.
  19. ^ Mabhena, Naledi (23 November 2020). "SA Style Awards 2020: Best and Worst Dressed Plus the Winners". Savanna News. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  20. ^ Jabulani, John (17 March 2021). "Nadia Nakai Bags Second TV Show In The Same Month". Ubetoo.
  21. ^ Bukola. "Candice Modiselle replaces Nadia Nakai as the new host for Gen Z season 2 | Fakaza News". Fakaza News. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  22. ^ Seemela, Masego (16 July 2021). "'I am working on my own record label': Nadia Nakai on parting ways with Family Tree". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  23. ^ Bukola. "Full list of 2021 SA Hip Hop Awards nominees | Fakaza News". Fakaza News. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  24. ^ Naidoo, Alicia (17 March 2022). "'Young, Famous & African': Exclusive Q&A with Nadia Nakai". The South African. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  25. ^ "Interview With African Rap Queen Nadia Nakai". Youth Village Zimbabwe.
  26. ^ Nyamz, Kuda (12 December 2016). "Nadia Nakai Scoops Her First Award". SA Hip Hop Mag. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  27. ^ "". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  28. ^ "All the winners from SAMA Awards 2018". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  29. ^ Dayile, Qhama. "Here's the full list of the SAMA winners". Drum. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  30. ^ "Samas 27: Nominations are out and men are leading the nods". The Citizen. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  31. ^ "The SA Hip-Hop Awards 2019 Nominees Are Revealed". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  32. ^ "FULL LIST: South African Hip-Hop Awards winners | eNCA". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  33. ^ "Here are the South African Hip Hop Awards 2020 Nominees". OkayAfrica. 16 November 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Here Are the 2020 South African Hip Hop Awards Winners". OkayAfrica. 14 December 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  35. ^ "SA Hip Hop Awards 2021: All the nominees". Music In Africa. 3 November 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.


  1. ^ First source specify that she celebrated her 31st birthday, and the article was published in 2021, the second sources states that she celebrated her 30th birthday and the article was published in 2020, which possibly justify that she was born in 1990

External links