Refiloe Maele Phoolo (born 16 December 1990 in Mafikeng), also known as Cassper Nyovest, he is a South African recording artist and record producer. His debut album Tsholofelo was released on 18 July 2014. He is currently signed to his own independent label and media company, Family Tree.
Nyovest grew up in Montshiwa in Mafikeng, the capital city of the North West province. He attended high school at Sol Plaatje Secondary School. In school, he was athletic as he partook in various sports activities including football, cricket and basketball. He started rapping when he was in grade 6, at the age of 12.
In grade 10, Nyovest failed In his exams, and moved to his grandmother’s house in Potchefstroom. Then the following year, at age 16, he decided to drop out of high school: “I told my parents that I’d rather chase my dream, which I believe is going to work out, rather than keeping it safe and regret it my whole life.” He relocated to Johannesburg the following year to pursue a career in music as a rapper.
In 2004 he was a member of a group called Childhood Gangsters (CHG), which disbanded. He then joined an eight-member group, Slow Motion, which included the production team, Ganja Beatz.
Nyovest dropped out of high school in 2006, left home and moved to Johannesburg. The following year, still at the age of 16, he was signed by the Motswako label “Impact Sounds”. After two years without a release, he left to start a label of his own to no avail — he moved back home.
Months later, Motswako rapper HHP spotted Nyovest at a performance. HHP was impressed and featured him on “Wamo Tseba Mtho” on his album Dumela. Nyovest embarked on international tours with HHP where he gained exposure as an artist. He has also shared stages with international acts such as Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Talib Kweli and Wiz Khalifa.
In 2013, he released “Gusheshe” as the first official single from his debut album, Tsholofelo. The single was well received and playlisted across various radio stations in South Africa. It was accompanied by a music video which premiered on Vuzu’s V-Entertainment.
After “Gusheshe”, he released his second single titled “Doc Shebeleza” which saw him gain major success. The song peaked at number 4 on South Africa’s official music chart. The song received positive reviews from the public and other South African acts including Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
His debut release, Tsholofelo, was released on 18 July 2014. It was number 1 on the iTunes South African albums chart for 2 consecutive months before being knocked off by Duncan’s Street Government.
In October 2014, Nyovest was ranked number 1 on “The Hottest MC in Africa” list by MTV Base. Nyovest was also ranked number 2 on MTV Base’s “SA’s Hottest MC” list with K.O at number 1. Nyovest criticized the list because of DJ Vigilante’s close affiliation with Cashtime Life rapper K.O. He stated that Vigilante should not have been on the ranking panel and showed his discontentment with the list by releasing a song titled “Beef” in which he disses DJ Vigilante, AKA and K.O. It quickly sparked controversy after the rapper later apologized to K.O for a line on the song.
Birth Name: Refiloe Maelele Phoolo
Born: December 16, 1990
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap, Motswako
2015–present: Tsholofelo Platinum Edition, Fill Up the Dome & Refiloe
After the release of Tsholofelo, Nyovest hinted that he was in studio recording new music, presumably for his second album. He was pictured working with Casey Veggies, DJ Drama, Wizkid, and frequent collaborator Anatii. However, it would later be revealed that the songs were for the platinum edition of Tsholofelo. The platinum edition was released in April 17, 2015 with only 10,000 copies printed out. Nyovest announced that he was planning to headline a concert on the 31 October 2015 at the Ticket Pro Dome billed as “Fill Up the Dome” and release his sophomore album at the venue on the same day. He revealed the title of the album as Refiloe on July 13, 2015. He mentioned that he wanted to fill the dome – which currently accommodates up to 20,000 people – to its full capacity. In a Twitter post, he explained that a ticket bought meant a free album and that if he managed to fill the dome, Refiloe would go gold in a day. The album cover was released on August 10 via Nyovest’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
On August 14, 2015 the album’s first single titled “Mama I Made It (#MIMI)” was released for purchase on iTunes and as a free download for 24 hours only. Shortly after its release, it peaked at number 1 on iTunes South Africa chart, across all genres. It was also playlisted across various radio stations in South Africa, most notably on DJ Fresh’s “Fresh at 5” show on 5FM. It was produced by Ganja Beatz, which Nyovest has worked with for a long time. On the same day, the American rapper Talib Kweli whom Nyovest had previously collaborated with on the “Doc Shebeleza” remix released his lead single off his album entitled “Fuck The Money” which features a guest verse by Nyovest. On September 17, 2015 AKA released a diss track aimed at Cassper Nyovest titled “Composure”. The song is a reply to Cassper’s initial diss song “Beef”, released almost a year before. While touring the UK, Nyovest released a song titled “Ashes 2 Ashes” which the public assumed was the official response. However, Nyovest would later mention that the reply was on it’s way. The response titled “#Dust2Dust” was released on October 2, 2015. On the song, Nyovest also takes a jab at South African comedian Loyiso Gola.
On October 25, 2015, Nyovest announced on his official Twitter account that tickets to Fill Up The Dome sold out. Each purchased ticket to the upcoming concert comes with a complimentary copy of his much anticipated upcoming sophomore album Refiloe, which each concert goer will receive on October 31, 2015. Refiloe is expected to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa for shipments of 20,000 copies on its opening weekend.