Zulu Man in Japan, a documentary that follows multi-award-winning rapper Nasty C on his trip to Japan, was released on Netflix at the end of September. The documentary was followed by the Durban born rapper’s highly anticipated album Zulu Man With Some Power.
The documentary follows Nasty C on his trip to Japan where we see him create new music and enjoy the Japanese culture. The film shows that the artist enjoyed a more authentic version of Japan than other celebrities that take similar trips to the country. The rapper is honest from the beginning of the documentary about how humbling of an experience it is to be in a country where no one knows who you are, but also what a creative experience it can be. Nasty C shares that he feels like he can redo his ‘come up’ without all of the mistakes in the countries where he is relatively unknown. The documentary also allows audiences to see the rapper flex his creative muscles as he lays down ‘7 tracks… in 8 days’. The film also lets audiences see the local favourite work with Japanese artists such as JP the Wavey, Ricky and Yoshi. One of the highlights of the film is when Nasty C talks about his love of fashion and explores some Japanese styles.
The documentary does, however, leave some things to be desired. The film is definitely more for the artist’s fanbase than someone trying to get to know the rapper as the film seems to advertise him rather than try to show an interesting side of him. There are so many interesting people that he meets on his journey but very little time is spent on speaking to them and asking them what they think of the rapper and his music. This seems like a missed opportunity in the film as not many South African musicians try to break into the Japanese market. Although Nasty C shares his thoughts on what it is like to be able to do things he cannot in Africa, because he is so well known, and his thoughts on what it means to be a ‘Zulu man in Japan’, the documentary still feels like it needs more pivotal moments and revelations. The film was made possible by Red Bull, but the constant product placement becomes exhausting and it takes away from the visual experience of film as a whole. The documentary only has a running time of 44 minutes and it feels as though it needs to be extended a lot more for it to really say something important.
Nasty C’s personality, constant optimism and honesty draws viewers in and keeps them invested which makes the film a fun experience for fans of the iconic rapper.