The Zim producer behind Cassper Nyovest's rise

HARARE - Zimbabwe-born Almonte “Alie Keyz” Mthombeni (27) is little known in his country of birth despite the fact that he has been a key factor in the award-winning South African hip hop star Cassper Nyovest’s rise to the top.

Alie Keyz, who has produced many of the Doc Shebeleza singer’s hits, was recently elevated to the position of music director; a role which put him at the centre stage of Cassper Nyovest’s historic ‘Fill Up’ events.

Casper Nyovest

Cassper Nyovest

Cassper Nyovest has successfully filled up The Dome, The Orlando Stadium as well as the iconic FNB Stadium in Soweto.

In addition to Cassper Nyovest, Alie Keyz has also worked with many top South African artistes including the legendary Soul Brothers.

Alie Keyz, who was in Harare for a few days, believes he is now better-placed to assist fellow Zimbabwean artistes achieve international standards.

“I think I have achieved what I wanted to in showbiz. I have worked with big names in South Africa including Cassper Nyovest, Soul Brothers and Mzwakhe Mbuli among others and I feel it’s high time I impart my skills to fellow countrymen,” Alie Keyz told the Daily News.

As part of his mission of assisting local artistes, the Bulawayo-bred Alie Keyz is currently grooming hip hop artiste Ngonie Dondo-son of Impala Car Rental director Thompson Dondo.

“The guy has potential and I will link him up with South African hip hop artistes such as Nasty C as well as to make him collaborate with Jah Prayzah who is doing very well in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Like many other Zimbabweans, the-27-year-old-artiste, who was born in Beit Bridge, left Bulawayo’s Bellevue area to embark on the great trek down south in search of a better life six years ago.

Before heading to South Africa with his own band, Alie Keyz had previously worked with songstress Sandra Ndebele and Jeys Marabini in Zimbabwe.

“Though I had my own band then, I also doubled up as a session artiste in South Africa and I got to work with the likes of Soul Brothers and Mzwake Mbuli first. Then five years ago I met Cassper Nyovest.

“He wasn’t the big star he has become now then. He identified me while I was playing with my own band. The way I was playing the instruments on stage impressed him. He then asked me to help his band,” he said.

That was the beginning of his relationship with the popular South African star who commands a huge following in Zimbabwe.

“I have produced a number of his singles including his third and latest album Thuto and I am happy the project went Gold on the day of release and within a few weeks it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa,” he said.

Alie Keyz, who has received several best producer nominations, regards Cassper Nyovest’s historic ‘Fill up’ events from the Dome, Orlando Stadium to FNB stadium as some of the major highlights of his career.

“That was very challenging. The pressure was too much for us,” he said.