The Sunday Mail
COULD this be the making of a superstar?
Well, wonder no more, the verdict will be out this Wednesday, as one of the most hyped musical projects finally hits the market.
It is not your typical “rags-to-riches” fairy-tale story loved by both the media and its audiences — but getting two continental heavyweights to support nascent talent is no walk in the park either. Twenty-one-year-old Ngonidzashe Dondo aka King 98 has achieved the latter, he unleashes “Francesca”, his debut album, at Wingate Golf Club in about 72 hours.
Coming to support the birth of this new rapper on the scene is South African runaway superstar, Nasty C, who is only 22.
Nasty C has already given King 98 a thumbs up by way of a collaboration, which is accompanied by a video. But he is not the only one — Davido has also done the same, and on Wednesday he will perform alongside the débutante as he blesses the young man’s journey.
Davido would relate to King 98’s story. He too has a rich father. In fact, his dad Deji Adeleke, is worth just under a billion United States dollars. Despite some initial resistance from his fellow countrymen, who saw him as a spoiled brat born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Davido soldiered on.
However, the multi award-winning singer, who is now worth about US$16 million of his own money, worked his way up the ladder against the odds to become one of Africa’s favourite sons.
In a chat with The Sunday Mail, King 98 said he too was ready to sweat until he gets to the top, if not for his own satisfaction, then for his parents, who did not only allow him to pursue his dream but went all out in support.
“The faith that has been shown by my parents is tremendous. My dad has spent hours with me at video shoots and sometimes at the studio — it is priceless. I have to repay that faith by working extra hard to ensure that I achieve the success that I have envisioned,” said King 98.
For months, King 98 has been in the studio recording, on set shooting videos or going around universities and schools in Zimbabwe drumming up support for his album. Like his idol, Davido, he has enrolled for a degree in music and intends to graduate and continue with his chosen career path. He has been juggling it all.
His manager, DJ Sims, said for weeks his artiste has been rehearsing, trying to ensure that nothing goes wrong on his big day. “The schedule has been so hectic that if by any chance he had been a pretender he would have quit by now. He is so committed we can go for hours rehearsing. We have been on taxing road trips and the journey has not been smooth at all,” said DJ Sims.
He added that everything was, however, set for Wednesday’s album launch with Davido and Nasty C expected to jet into the country on Tuesday. ExQ, arguably the most sought-after performer in Zimbabwe is also on the line-up as well as the stunning Tamy Moyo who has the voice to match.
The rest of the top-notch entertainers are DJ Silence Dosh — who is fresh from a tour of the United Kingdom, Nadia Nakai, Shashl and Union 5. The album, “Frascesca”, will be launched in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria.
Said DJ Sims: “We are going straight for the African market. These features, which include Laylizz from Mozambique are not just meant to hype the project but to go for the wider continental audience. We have people in Nigeria, South Africa and Mozambique that we have partnered for marketing purposes,” said DJ Sims.
King 98, who roped in top producers Ali Keyz, GT Beats and Gemini Major, says he is inspired by Asap Rocky, Davido, Drake and Cassper Nyovest. His mainstream music debut was with the single, “Defeat”, on MTV Base in July last year. He shared the stage with Nasty C in Harare a few weeks later, leaving many music lovers spellbound with a solid performance of songs like “Man Dem”, “Duce” and “Flex”.