Nadia Nakai

Rapper - Johannesburg
Nadia Nakai


Nadia was born on May 18, 1990. The 29-year-old has achieved a lot at a young age, and she has big plans for her future. She hopes to one day fill up the Dome like her mentor Cassper Nyovest – hopefully before she turns 30!

Nadia burst onto the music scene in the early 2000s. She appeared on’s hip-hop show, Shiz Niz, and became the first female rapper to win the show’s Mixtape 101 competition.

She released her debut single, Like Me, in 2013 under Sid Records – a label owned by fellow musician Psyfo (now known as Sidwell).

Nadia released two more songs under the label before signing with Cassper Nyovest’s Family Tree. Cassper helped Nadia drop her biggest hit to date, Naaa Mean in 2017.

She has collaborated with artists such as Riky Rick, Gemini Major and Ice Prince.

Six years after releasing her first single, Nadia finally dropped her highly anticipated debut album, Nadia Naked in June 2019. The offering features some of the biggest names in Africa including Khuli Chana, Ycee, Lady Zamar, Tshego, Sio and of course Casper Nyovest. English rapper Stefflon Don also makes an appearance.

Nadia is often compared to Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj but she is adamant that she is not trying to imitate the American rappers, and instead is forging her own unique path in the industry.

Nadia Nakai’s real name is, well, a bit complicated. She was born Nadia Nakai Dlamini. When she was 16, she changed her surname to Kandava, which is her mother’s maiden name. Her legal name is now Nadia Nakai Kandava.

Nadia’s middle name, Nakai, causes a bit of confusion for her South African fans. It’s a popular girl’s name in Zimbabwe and many of her fans in Mzansi had not heard of the name until Nadia came along. Nakai means “be beautiful” in Shona.

Nadia is also known as Bragga, which is the title of her 2016 EP. She got the inspiration for the name from a character in one of the Fast & Furious movies.


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