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Music

Rising Music Sensation, Dark Ruby Reveals Career Scoops

Following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the creative industry has been left to evolve into a survival nature and style of operation, whereby Artists have had to depend heavily on generating revenue as well as reach to their audience via online music streaming and purchasing platforms. Thus, ensuring digitalisation emerging as the new order of the day for content distribution and consumption due to the lockdown which has hindered Artists from the avenue to perform their Art live on stage, at shows, in front of cheering fanatics.  Many have had to resort to live performances via their social media pages. Although, everyone can tell it doesn’t come close to the feeling and energy both sides let off at live shows. 

Meanwhile, in the Nigerian music industry, Lagos based singer and song writer, Dark Ruby’s case is as peculiar, as she is confident and gives off an energetic vibe. For a Female indie Artist, she had the ability to express herself, thus portraying an underlying intelligence.

Also, anyone who understands the game knows becoming and sustaining a career as an independent music Artist is no piece of cake. To begin with, self-determination to push one’s career without any major label/corporation’s financial backing with contracts, or a long network of marketing and promotional strategies is a journey for only those who dare. 

 

Speaking to her exclusively for theparakeetshow.com was as interesting as it was eye opening, as she let us into her personal life, how covid-19 affected her career as a musician and what she thinks of Afro beat’s evolution in Nigeria.

According to her, “ Wizkid, Burnaboy and other Afro beat Artists opened an avenue for the Afro beat Sound to the world”. Damilola Fakomi presents the excerpts. 

Dark Ruby

Hi, can we meet you? 

Hi, I am Dark Ruby, a musician and a song writer. I started singing professionally in 2019 with my first single titled,  ‘Girl’ and then dropped my second single, ‘On You’ this year. 

What first got you into music? 

I will say I have always loved writing music from way back Primary school, which was when I started writing music and composing songs. Also, I come from a family of music, and my dad was a musician, my sisters love music, so I basically just got into music.

Which Artists would you love to collaborate with internationally and locally?

 Internationally I’ll love to collaborate with Kali Uchis, Kanye West, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu, Teyana Taylor, Rihanna, The Weekend ; whilst Locally, the likes of Burnaboy, Odunsi, Wande Coal, Niniola, Tiwa Savage 

If you could go open a show for any Artist who would it be, and why?

Rihanna, Rihanna because she gives us a good time and shows us that she is having fun on stage. Her energy is amazing.

Dark Ruby

What kind of songs do you sing in the shower if you do sing in there?

Singing in the shower is like a ritual for me, I sing soothing songs like Kali Uchis, Erykah Badu  and The Weekend

What would you have loved to do if not music?

I will be an Arts Teacher, as I love performing Arts. If it’s not music, it’s definitely something related to that, if I’m not dancing, I’m painting or doing something art related, a teacher or an OAP because I love conversing with people

At what events have you performed your music?

Medfest, at Freedom Park and Chums and friends

How would you describe and evaluate the emergence of Afro beat in Nigeria?

For a very long time Afro beat has been underrated. But, then with the arrival of Fela unto the scene, he shed more light on the sound. Wizkid, Burnaboy and other Afro beat Artists opened an avenue for the Sound to the world. And now international acts want to collaborate with us and want to work with the African Sound.

Dark Ruby, Lagos, August, 2020

What is your greatest motivation towards creating music?

I will say ‘feelings’’, it all depends on my mood, and experiences I have had with people generally.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an indie Artist?

Promotion, promoting music is a completely different thing. It is one thing to make music, it is another thing to promote the music as you have to push and make people listen to your music.

How has Covid-19 affected your career, negatively and positively?

 Negatively with the fact that I can’t produce my own music as I don’t have a home studio. Trust me, it is very frustrating when beats are available and you can’t get out to produce with the beats. 

Positively, it helped my writings as a song writer, I improved. I spent enough time in my room to compose and wrote a lot of songs while at home; Covid-19 showed me that I am really ready to do this music.

Dark Ruby

What legacy do you tend to leave behind for music?

My legacy is not to follow the crowd, I want people to listen to my music and know that this is something different; this is Dark Ruby from the moment they listen to the beats of my songs. I want to take people on a journey with my music.

How effective has social media been towards boosting your creativity and reach?

Social media has been positively effective as you can now promote your music yourself, and all you need is just to make the music, post it on different platforms and use social media to promote it for certain amount of money, and then friends help by reposting.

How responsible has the society been towards your latest single; “On You”?

The society has surprised me as right now I am seeing a star on my song and it is really overwhelming and I don’t expect my songs to be popular the way they are now as I have my doubts because RnB in Nigeria is somehow. The love and stream has been overwhelming. 

What message would you love to send across to your fans?

To my fans, no matter how absurd your dreams are even if it sounds crazy to you and others just do it, because our dreams are valid and we were brought into this world for a purpose , so no matter how crazy or scary it is, do it. Believe in yourself chase your dreams and don’t stop for anyone no matter what. For days when you feel down pick up from where you left and re-evaluate yourself.

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Music

The Emergence of a Vibrant Generation Z Tribe of Abuja Based Hip-hop Artists

As an expressive Art and one of the fastest growing youth driven popular cultures in the globe, Hip-hop has been able to influence a modern vibration and energy into the music space and lifestyle of listeners.

The Nigerian Hip-hop scene over the past couple of decades has witnessed immense growth, as its vibrancy has kept Fans appetite wet and clamoring for more. The emergence of a generation z set of Artists upon the scene gave it the diversity and pop it needed to captivate listeners. Asides the regular household acts; the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, Abuja can boast of a vibrant cluster of generation z Hip-hop Artists with the likes of Tochukwu Gbubemi Ojogwu, aka Odumodu Blvck, Psycho YP, Reeplay, Hotyce, Zilla Oaks, Pretty boy D-o have emerged upon the niches territory within the , with what feels and sounds like an unstoppable unique energy.

However, despite such boom there still exists an underpinning argument as to whether there is a music industry in Nigeria that caters for the myriads of the Hip-hop niches talents. If there is such an industry it is apparent that there is still a lot to be done in terms of quality control, based on the concerns and expressions of listeners and stakeholders.

According to Odumodu Blvck, a talented inspirational musician whose lyrics are quite different from other music Artists, as he is on the verge of pioneering Afro-Grime into the music space; during an interview with theparakeetshow.com, “There are so many problems facing the Nigerian music industry. But, I’ll settle for 3. First being the KABALS. Like my friend Pretty boy d-o says “THE INDUSTRY KABALS”. These people control almost everything and you know what happens when you give people so much power to control a particular sector or section of life.

“For example, take a look at the Nigerian government, due to their incompetence the poor suffers a whole lot. Look at the police force, both here and abroad, Police brutality is constant. Regardless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all bad people because there are a lot of good people in these KABALS. The ones I am referring to are the ones who get drunk on power and influence. The ones who feel that if they don’t like or understand you then your chances of making it out the jungle becomes slimmer. The ones who feel that you must bow to their ways of going about things. It doesn’t happen only in the music industry but also in every aspect of life where there’s an organization. They go out of their way to make life difficult for you but what they do not understand is the GOD facto. When God says yes then no man made of flesh can stop you. The solution for this particular problem is for the Artist to work harder till his or her enemies becomes his or her assistant like my mother says, and this can be done with the help of prayers. Citing Joseph in the Bible as an example; destiny can only be delayed not denied.  The same people who will condemn you will assist you. That was some long talk innit? HAHAHAHAHA!”

Oluwateniola Ruth Obilade presents the excerpts:

 How’s life going?

I thank God for life. This Pandemic hasn’t really affected me. I have been able to go about my business as usual. Thank God for the Internet I have been able to complete the final stages of my Mix tape which drops soon titled (VLADIMIR). I just really pity the people who have to feed from hand to mouth, the individuals who have to come out every day to earn a living for their family and themselves. It’s really a mess for them.

What is your aspiration in life?

To say that I wanna be one of the greatest Artist of all time would be stale cause I am already one of the Greatest. Time will tell. My main aspiration is to liberate my people (AFRICANS) from mental slavery, both men and women. Then let the world know that there is a God cause nowadays people feel they can do what they wanna do at their own will.

Confusing freewill for freedom, winning souls for the Devil all in the name of woke. This is what the Bible calls wisdom of the world also known as FOOLISHNESS. That’s why you see people say “ITS MY BODY SO THEREFORE I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT WITH IT” whereas in actual sense it’s not their body. The body is for God. It’s like your friend giving you his car to cater for but because you are driving it you start claiming ownership. Please abeg, when caretaker turn to owner?  So I aspire to get myself to the point whereby I can speak and be considered. I said considered not accepted because even Jesus wasn’t fully accepted. I’m more than an artist so I plan on establishing myself through my music till I achieve what I mapped out at the beginning for this Journey which is to LIBERATE THE PEOPLE.

How did you start music career?

Omo I was meant to manage my guy o. AGUNNA BU EZE (co-founder) BLVCKSHEEP music, big shout out to our Manager Gustavo, also part of the founders. We went to the studio and my mans was like “Guy I don tell you make you dey write raps, you fit run am o, run am now, jump in this tune” And that was it o. Before the music I was an activist. So God just used this music to help me speak my mind to a larger audience. Naso e start o.

How do you get your inspiration to write lyrics of your song?

I get inspired by my surroundings, the realities of life. If you listen closely you’ll find out that you can literally picture my lyrics playing out. That’s why it’s hard for me to write a love song because I’m not in love and if I eventually do write a love song and it sounds nice I won’t really feel it because I’m not feeling it. You feel me?! Hahahaha!!

Secondly, GOD, he inspires me so much in the Sense that a lot of times I’m speaking from an ideology that’s based on his word. Abeg no vex. God comes first. Reality comes after.

How do you combine being a producer, content creator and a music Artist together? 

If I tell you it’s not stressful then I’ll be lying. It is, but, since it’s what I have decided to do I have embraced the stress. I love the stress. If I am to be stressed out then it should be from doing all these things I have decided to do. To add to these things I am also an activist, which makes it more than music for me. It’s a journey that I enjoy so much so combining it is not a problem because they go hand in hand. It’s not like I am trynna fly a plane and open a bakery at the same time. So at the end of the day it’s a beautiful experience that God has blessed me with.

Odumodu Blvck, Photographed by:Igbokwe Visuals

 

What do you think are the major challenges the music industry is facing recently and what are the solutions you would proffer?

 Hmmmm!! This one go long o.

Secondly, a lot of Artist does not believe in themselves. They look up to other people’s achievements. They look up to people for validation when the only validation they should seek is from the most high and within. I mean, why should you try to seek validation from someone who doesn’t understand you or someone who doesn’t fuck with your sound and vision. It’s your vision, God gave you not them. Imagine meeting a two year old to explain to you the concept of metabolism? Will you ever get what you’re seeking? Never, so believe in yourself immensely.

Finally, the numbers game. A lot of Artists think that their greatness is based on numbers. Like SKEPTA Will say “QUIT TALKING NUMBERS”. I know a lot of nice songs from underground artist that do not even have up to 500 plays. Whereas there are songs that are not better than these songs that have over 500,000 thousand plays. The ones with 500 plays now tend to feel like they are not doing enough with their sound whereas it’s in their promotion.

I personally don’t post up my numbers because I have figured that it does more harm and fucks with their mentality. They might feel I am doing better and be pressured to sound like me cause they think “O! If I don’t sound like ODUMODUBLVCK I won’t get listeners” whereas that’s not the case. Solution? They should focus on improving their sound like every other artist and promote it well with the help of social media which is now the most instrumental tool for promotion in this digital age. Saying this with my chest because I’m a graduate of mass communication from the University of Lagos.

Who do you see yourself collaborating with in the next few years to come?

Omooooo! A lot oooo but let me just stick to these three. Number one, Skepta. Cause he’s my Icon and role model. He has taught me how to navigate through the jungle, there’s no Skepta interview I haven’t watched. He says it how it is.

Burna Boy, because his sound is out of this world and he has a coconut head, hahahahaha ….that guy head too strong I swear. He has this BLVCKSHEEP mentality within his soul.

Finally, the Kuti family. Be it Femi Seun or Made. Cause they represent the struggle.

Who are your top 5 favorite Artists of all time?

Yekparikpa! This one go tough o.

Make I just talk my top three first before I talk the remaining two.

Fela. Skepta. Kendrick Lamar.

OYAAAA time for the remaining two. Hmmmmmmmmm! Burna Boy. Would have said Tupac But he’s already living through Kendrick so I’ll just go for ODUMODUBLVCK.

Odumodu Blvck, Photographed by: @amazingklef

 

When you eventually settle down and have your own family, do you think you would still go on with music?

Nobody knows tomorrow but left to me I’ll drop tunes till I die. You get me!

 

Odumodu Blvck, Photographed by: Amazingklef

 

When are you dropping a new song?

This question don cause plenty wahala for street o. My first solo Project titled VLADIMIR Meaning (ruler of the world) (ruler of peace) drops soon. This is after 3 previous projects from 2017 (TABS) meaning (TO ALL BLVCKSHEEP) with AGUNNA by eze. ANTIWORLDGANGSTARS 2018 with Reeplay. And GANG BUSINESS with the ANTIWORLDGANGSTARS. I have no specific date cause I don’t want to rush it since it’s the only project I’m dropping this year. It is a Grime and Drill tape. Something that’s not really common in Africa. I see myself as a pioneer of that particular genre here in Africa. In addition to that I infused a lot of Africanism into the sound so it doesn’t complete sound like the man dem in the UK. It has the street sound mashed up in it. To everyone who has waited patiently, trust me it’s worth the wait.

What are your advice to young upcoming artistes and how can they promote their music?

First of all if they do not believe there’s a God they should start believing right now cause he is the only one that guarantees success without sorrows. So if they are smart they should stay close to him through prayers. Then hard work. Then back to prayers cause trust me you need that bit of luck to breakthrough. As I said earlier there are a lot of talented people that will never get exposed unless God intervenes. So you gotta keep disturbing him and that can only be done with hard work, working smart, faith and prayers. To promote their stuff they gotta use social media. We are in a digital age. That’s the first step. The rest can come after that. Stage performances, radio and TV tours. Much love to everyone. ODUMODUBLVCK IS HERE TO STAY FOREVER. I AM UNSTOPPABLE. BLVCKSHEEP FOREVER BLVCKSHEEP FOR LIFE. IZGAJUU TILL WE KPEME. TWI TWI TWI KPO!!

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Music

An Afro Hip-hop Discuss with Nigerian Rap Artist, Hotyce

Finding its way within African shores during the 1980’s, Hip-hop music has been a viable medium for self expression amongst youths in the society; considering how over a period of decades the Nigerian music scene has welcomed and experienced this genre synthesize into one of the most influential and catchy genre of music in the country. It evolving into what is called Afro Hip-hop set the pathway for Nigerian youths to best express themselves, as well as enabling indigenes to be able to vibe to and be moved by its sound. The socio economical and socio political factors which was battling the countries economy and Lifestyle as at the era of the military regime birth a generation that creatively took to this genre of music, thereby making it an entertaining and influential medium of expression.

As at the 21st century the Nigerian Afro Hip-hop scene has seen the likes of Olarewaju Ogunmefun, 35 ( Vector), Jesse Garba Abaga,35( Jesse jagz ), Jude Abaga, 38 ( MI Abaga ) ,Micheal Ugochukwu , 44 ( Ruggedman ), Tobechukwu Melvin Ejiofor, 40 ( iLLBliss ),

Folarin Falana, 29 ( Falz ) Babatunde Olusegun Adewale, 44 ( Modenine ), Elohor Eva Alordiah, 31 ( Eva ), Olamide Adedeji, 31 ( Olamide ), Wale Davies & Olumide Ayeni, 36 ( Show Dem Camp ), Terry Terhemba, 44 ( Terry Tha Rapman ) emerge with their own sensational unique sound.

Also, these past couple of years has seen a younger generation of Afro Hip-hop artists like, Emeka Eyechi, 26 (Hotyce), Aboriomo Feminist Raymond, 26 (Dremo), Adewale Mayowa Emmanuel, 22 (Mayorkun), Nicholas ihua Maduenyi, 21 (Psycho-Yp), Olumilade Martin Alejo, 27 (Ycee) not just emerging unto the mix. But, also going as far as disrupting it.

Thus; taking a peak at the hip-hop project, RedHotyceCold from Nigerian label, K2O entertainment’s signee, Hotyce, it is definitely a breath of fresh air into the Nigerian hip-hop scene as it features hip-hop industry heavyweights like M.I, Jesse Jagz and Waje.

On the album, he delivers classical hip-hop, no mumble jumble rap, giving it refreshing, lyrical, bouncy flows, honest content and little or no vulnerability.

“My eldest brother introduced me to Hiphop and the one experience that stuck with me was seeing the “nuttin but a G thang” video by Dr Dre and snoop Dogg. It was life changing, Hotyce explains, during an interview with Theparakeetshow.com. Seun Osho presents the excerpts:

How is life going?

Not bad at all…taking it a day at a time

How does it feel getting nominated for the headies off your first project?

I feel fantastic. I mean it’s never been about the awards for me but getting the nomination was really Dope.

Redhotycecold made a splash on the hiphop scene, but were you pleased with the numbers?

I feel like we would have done more numbers but i see “RedHOTYCEcold vol1” as my “illmatic” in terms of raising the stakes for lyrical techniques and overall artistic ambition.

Who are your top 5 rappers of all time?

For me it’s really tough answering this type of question but 5 in no particular order Nas Dre/snoop Game, Black thought, Fabolous

Can you share your best moments so far in your career?

One that will always stand out for me is getting a call from Seun Kuti about my music.

How does it feel rapping on the songs with Artists you watched growing up?

In one word, it is “Inspiring”.

By how much do you feel the hiphop industry has grown using streaming numbers and show turnouts as parameters?

It’s easier to put out music these days while watching the back end of everything.

Do you think there’s an international market for African Hip-hop music?

Why not if not. We are as good as it gets.

What infrastructure would facilitate the growth of hiphop in Africa in your opinion?

In my opinion, I would say simply speaking your truth.

How profitable is rap music in Nigeria and what’s your advice for young rappers seeking financial sustainability through music?

Rap in Nigeria could be profitable especially with consistency, banging content and overall proper presentation. But my advice to the younger rappers tryna make a living through their music will be if you’re sure you got it go for it. I mean you have to know that you’re doing the right thing and be all hands on and it’s easier when you have something Lil on the side

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Five years from now i see myself performing in front of larger audiences with everyone chanting the lyrics, and I have built a crazy discography already solidified as one of the greatest to ever do it out of Africa.

When’s your next project set to drop and what are we to expect this year?

Sometime this month we should get an EP…God willing we should get an album this year.

What’s your dream collaboration?

My dream collaboration would be with Dr Dre.

What would be your crowning achievement as a man and as a rapper?

I’ll say the ultimate achievement will be to keep affecting lives positively with my music.
Categories
Music

A Review of RedHOTYCECold vol. 1

Seun Osho


The hip-hop project, RedHotyceCold from Nigerian label, K2O entertainment’s front runner, Hotyce is definitely a breath of fresh air to the Nigerian hip-hop scene. The album features hip-hop industry heavyweights like M.I, Jesse Jagz and Waje.

Since Hotyce’s early attempts at more conventional Naija hip-hop with Kilofoshi, Alhaji and the more successful lean towards a more comfortable niche for the rapper on songs like; The man and 10 o’clock in VGC, to his Friday Night Massacre releases, his career has been on a steady incline with his album being sort of more grease to his elbows.

However, the album is really for hip-hop lovers; so, it might not be an easy listen for music lovers of alternative genres. His hooks are mostly simple rap verses synchronized into catchy rhythmic melodies with repetitions which make it easy for the audience to sing along or banter.

On the album, he delivered classical hip-hop, no mumble jumble rap, giving it refreshing, lyrical, bouncy flows, honest content and little or no vulnerability.

The first track, say something remarkable, a Joe Budden skit introduces you to the temperament of most of the project. The intro communicates the crux of the song itself and sets the tone of the entire project perfectly. The production carries a very nice bounce, with its catchy melody, chant like rap hook, hard eloquent flow and strong lyrics makes the song difficult to ignore as it commands a head bump whenever it comes on. Hotyce’s confrontational energy throughout the album and this song contains shots at his peers and forerunners, challenging them to bring their A-game and to keep the hip-hop game lyrical, whereby saying something remarkable.

In an interview with Ehis Ohunyon for pulse.ng, when asked about the idea behind the song, Hotyce was quoted, ”there is no much thought put behind their lyrics. I just believe it is a funny time and if I have to pay attention to you then you have to say something remarkable.”

The next song on the feisty album, Red light features a melodic Jesse Jagz on the hook. On this body of work, he also provides a bridge after the second verse. This 6 minute, 22 seconds long track sounds like a cautionary public service announcement to the hip-hop industry. Hotyce introduces himself and what he stands for on this track whilst keeping his confrontational energy as he flaunts his confidence and his capacity as a rapper and character as a man, with lines like, “I don’t see myself as a person, cursing in a room where the ladies in
or rehearsing what I could do to look urban. Let me be me, I can never be you. Rule number one, you can never be two. Be diligent in whatever you do if you wanna be better than pops at 72.”

In the first verse, he places himself on a high moral pedestal, expresses his dreams and hopes, pays tribute to the men who shaped his ideologies, addresses social anomalies, insists on his Midas touch, gives life and finance advice among other things. However, in the second verse, he expresses his humanity and admits to being flawed, acknowledging God but also admitting to his vanity through lyrics like;

“All we need is a word from the savior
to save us, you don’t really need a church to save yuh.”

This is the first time Jagz is on a hook of someone else’s song and he definitely lives up to expectations. Maybe correct me in the comments section, but if I am right, this song is probably a historical marker in Nigerian hip-hop.

via @iamhotyce

For the Capital is definitely a city anthem with Emmeno outdoing himself on this. While the very lyrical MC manages to touch most of the geographical lifestyle and cultural talking points of the city, for instance; referencing what used to be a creative hub in the city called, Sueno which birthed or in some cases contributed to the careers, exposure and network of a good number of Abuja based creatives. However, the spot was shut down in January, 2018 by law enforcement agents.

Hotyce also highlights the bougie nature of Abuja side by side with the dangers and betrayal the streets tell tales about. It is a wholesome tribute, all sentiments acknowledged.

Pull up with MI Abaga addresses fake people and their fake hate. Unlike the haters referenced, this song holds the same confrontational and confident energy as the first two songs. M.I’s delivery was so precise and exciting.

An interview skit intro by Phlow cues Hotyce, on the jam titled, Purpose. The song connotes wisdom, growth and a coming to or realization of what life’s really about and reevaluating your personal values and circle. The message of the song is spot on and the little bridge sung by Maka really adds to the sermon feel of it. It is a real story that an average listener should be able to relate to and if he can’t, he should take a cue from this fire jam and take the lessons and lyrics with him wherever he goes!

Photo Credit: @nobodyshotit

No song on the project showcases Hotyce’s confrontational attitude more than track 6, “I dey tell you oh” (aka Ghetto). I really love the bounce on the production once again, this time, The gentle bounce and calm flow in the verses of this piece of work produced by Ciq, provides an excellent melodic contrast which is taken a step further with a deep, pidgin chorus.

So amazing is a thanksgiving jam more or less as Hotyce alludes his success to God’s grace on this song, with dope unadulterated hip-hop melodies and a flow that just threads the beat very nicely. Best part is he doesn’t sound like anyone else. On the song all he does is basically tell his tale of how hard it’s been to get here and thanks God for where he’s at.

Give it to ya is a dance-hall style jam. I believe this song was added to showcase diversity or range of the Artist’s skill.

Meanwhile, we don’t do that over here is the only single that was released prior to the project and boy was it a great alley-hoop for the rest of the project to make a slam dunk! The way Hotyce alternates between dance-hall flows and deep hip-hop flows, it’s hard to believe he had no features on this song because both deliveries were so well done. The beat, the attitude and the crip walk associated with the song adds to its appeal. If this song comes on in the club and you know how to crip walk, trust me you will feel like a king up in tha’ club! Gray Jones produced this one.

On home again, another interesting skit preceded the flow of heavy bars, while Waje’s vocals on the hook and in the ad lib throughout the song project’s the pain that Hotyce summarized in the last line of his second verse; “I’m proud of my country, my country’s never made me proud”. It’s a beautiful song and gentle reminder of Waje’s prowess as a singer. This song might be the most lyrical throughout the project.

Ride for me featuring MAJ is a bonus track. And I wasn’t too impressed by the feature. It’s probably the only time on the album that you might sense the music is by a new cat. I didn’t enjoy the work on MAJ’s vocals and I personally believe that if you’re going to sing in proper English, your diction delivery is something to be particular about. The lyrical content was generally up to par as usual. But, honestly not the ending I hoped for.

Hotyce’s old minded wise words and youthful references keep the songs intellectual. The production and engineering was almost perfect all through with Emmeno exhibiting some versatility on this album looking back at all the tracks he produced and how diverse the production styles are, of which, would have played a crucial role towards earning it a nomination at the 2019 “Hip-Hop world awards”. Thus, I would say the body of work is a strong statement and a nice way to introduce an Artist to a larger audience as a rapper.

Rating: 7.9

Categories
Music

Zilla Oaks Shares Insight on the Nigerian Hip hop Scene, Foreign Influence

Hip hop, since its emergence to the Nigerian music scene about two decades ago has contributed its own fair share of impact in the music space, through creative storytelling techniques, word plays and metaphors used in creating such content. Thus, it is no doubt the Nigerian hip-hop scene is in a state of resurgence as a result of what some describe as a stereotyped rap scene.

Meanwhile, amidst all of these, Abuja based Artist, Zilla Oaks (Rodnee Okafor) has proven to be a force to reckon with in the new age hip-hop world as he is a part of the Abuja movement called, apex village.

His first project titled, NEG:RO (NEW EAST GOD: RODNEE OKAFOR) which was released in 2015 talked about his journey and emergence unto the music scene as a rapper and his indigenous roots, Imo State, Nigeria.

Born and raised in the United States of America, before heading to his mother and fatherland, Nigeria to further his secondary education and eventually pursuit a musical career.

Zilla Oaks love for hip-hop is really evident in his music with his work ethic, lyricism and attention to his craft thereby, paving the way for a portfolio of personal projects and features.

In view of this, we caught up with him to discuss his musical journey thus far. Emmanuel Obokoh presents the excerpts.

What would you say has been your contribution so far towards promoting true rap culture in Nigeria through your music?

I feel like it is hard to put out just rap music in Nigeria and get the recognition you want especially being an independent artist, but the journey I have taken so far has allowed me to drop two major rap/ hip hop projects titled, NEG:RO and NO ZZZZ while releasing fusion and Afro beats music in between at a comfortable level. These two great hip hop projects I put out stand the test of time for our culture when things are all said and done.

Your music style is peculiar to the usual Nigerian rap music, I think there’s a familiar sound to your music, relating to American artiste Travis Scott, would you say he has had an influence in your style of music?

I grew up in Texas, Houston. So anyone who ever brings up Travis, I see the reason why. First off he is one of my music idols and I have been listening to him since when he started doing music properly.

I gain a lot of influence from Travis but that is just on certain levels of music. I however have other artists I try to listen to and tap into because I feel it is no crime to be inspired. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and Jay Z are also great examples.

What is your motivation and ambition for your music?

God is my motivation. Asides God the fact that I gotta make this money and take care of my family in the nearest future is all I need. My guys at Apex are a big motivation also, so I thank God for those brethrens.

You lived in the U.S for a long while before you came back to Nigeria, how were you able to settle with your music, and how much do you think the western culture has influenced your music?

It has a lot. It is a part of me I cannot take away because I lived there for so long. I feel like I have that Houston Vibe embedded in me and I take that mentality to the studio every time and blend it with whichever vibes I can get to make a jam.

You put out an album titled No ZZZ (no sleep), what has the reception been like so far?

It has been great; I have performed songs from the new project over 40 various times and 20 venues round Nigeria and gotten enough awareness from the project.

Early this year I had interviews at Wazobia, Cool Fm, Sound city as well and other Major radio stations across Nigeria from Lagos to Imo. They really picked up my songs and have been giving me constant air play.

I got to perform in Lagos during the summer off my tape No Zzzz which was a blessing because I had a great show there at the Lemon Curd. The receptions in general for the projects have been really blessed.

via @zilla__oaks

What would you say has been a really strong positive contributing factor to the growth of your music so far?

My current music label, Apex Village which is a collective of creatives who basically push each other since our inception in late 2017. It has been an avenue for encouraging all our careers as we support each other whenever we need to in terms of music production, promotion, marketing etc

Talking about the growth of African hip hop, there has been recent comparisons between the Nigerian rap industry and the South African rap industry over superiority, what is your take on this?

I feel like it is very true as Nigeria could possibly have a bigger market for rap and hip hop but some major labels are not ready for the growth of indigenous grown rappers. They rather pay rappers from outside the country to perform at shows. But in S.A, they have proper rap platforms and a recognizable underground scene. We have a proper underground scene in Nigeria but nobody seems to give us structure so this year we are making that for ourselves. We cannot continue to wait for anyone to notice us.

What are your favorite songs on the No ZZZ project?

Wow . . . that is a tough one. Okay… Zoomin, Nu Thang, Zizou, Jungle, Hail Mary, Calm Down, They Don’t Even Know, Famous 2, Famous, OTFTBG, Zzzzillintro, and All Night.

What is your favorite collaboration so far?

That would be Zizou featuring Ayüü and Marv.

What is next for Zilla?

Watch out for my next project . . . I might just name it Oakszilliary.

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Music

OᒪÉᗰᗩ: A Cameroonian Artist Showcasing African Virtuosity with her Music

Birth in Bafoussam Cameroon and growing up in a coastal South Western city of Cameroon, Douala, before eventually moving to Paris, France, Donkeng Gompo Marlène Eurika Élodie, who goes by artistic name, OᒪÉᗰᗩ has been graced with a pretty normal upbringing in a stable household with decent education, whilst starting her artistic journey really early, as she began creating melodies, writing songs from a really young age prior to pursuing a professional career in music 4 years ago.

“It felt like a revelation to me, as a child my life was basically from home to school, from school to home. I didn’t get to do a lot beside that. I grew up a really reserved little girl, I always felt like the strange one (LMAO). Between my sisters and brothers, I was reflecting on things a child shouldn’t at that age. I still don’t know why I was bothering myself soo muchhh. . . haaaaa!

“This is what you were born for ! So, I just started executing covers, more composition, working on my skills as a musician, did a music challenge on a digital Cameroonian platform called the, Bimstrchallenge which got some recognition. Thereon, I started doing live shows, meeting people, writing and recording music, and now I am just going on with the process of being an artist I would have loved to listen to,” OᒪÉᗰᗩ narrates.

Hamid Ayodeji presents the excerpts:

Have you tried infusing your culture into the style of music you create?

Oh that is kind of my obsession! unfortunately I am from a generation that grew up mostly on foreign culture influences, the music I have been exposed to was rarely Cameroonian and when I say rarely I mean the root music that is typically ours etc…I kinda think a big part of my journey is to restore a culture that history took away from me. I feel like it is a duty for us young people to go out there and get that culture back by studying the ones who came before us and never had the opportunity to be in the spotlight. There has never been a better time than now to showcase African virtuosity. Our culture is so rich and I am ecstatic by just thinking about how many things it is possible to do with it since I have started learning more on the subject. Of course it is not simple but I keep on experimenting so watch out cause when I find the perfect balance it is going be crazy.

Do you foresee a home coming whereby you perform in front of a large audience back home, Cameroon?

Oh that would be Huge!! I absolutely foresee a show back home; I don’t exactly know if it will be possible. But I am working on making it so as soon as I can, as it is going to be super emotional and gratifying for me.

How would you describe your type of music?

I used to answer to that question and never felt satisfied with the answer. I feel like to give a fix answer to this somehow puts some limit to my creation, so now I would answer that I do music of the heart and the spirit, one day it might be soul music, the other pop music, the next day Afro music I give myself that freedom.

Via : @iamolema

What has been your greatest inspiration thus far to create music?

That’s a hard one, I consider music as a weapon, one of the greatest to get to the human heart, I recently read somewhere that, “An artist is the one who unearths what you have chosen to bury for ages.” I felt so liberated, understood, comforted just by listening to some of my favorite artists. So this is my greatest inspiration, to do the same for others.

What’s your take on the recent positive reception Afro beats and African music have received over the last decade?

I am really excited and happy to see that African music is starting to have the echo it deserves. We need to build an environment where Afro rhythms become common, as well known as those of pop music, so we can help future generations to recognize their identity in the music they love and listen to. I am really enthusiastic about this expansion. It is the beginning of a real revolution and of an increased acceptance of who we are as Africans.

Are there any African artists you will like to collaborate with, and why if any? (Includes producers)

I would love to collaborate with Wizzy the Star boy. I already gave him a nickname you seee loll!!! His music sounds so effortless and it is so catchy, Ojuelegba is forever one of my favorite African songs, so yeahh, I would love to share some flow with the Star boy. There is a Cameroonian producer too, called PaP, I am such a fan of his work he does those amazing fusion between Cameroonian rhythms and modern music, it is so intelligent damn PaP if you read this please let us work together do a beat for me I beg!

How has the reception towards your debut single Kiss of the Sun been since its release?

That was a big milestone knowing I worked on that single for almost a year, so much setbacks for that one it was crazy! I have collaborated with people I really admire, the artist who did the cover of the song really pictured my state of my mind when I was writing it, and the beat maker too is a bad ass. So far I have been really happy with the response; having people I don’t know share the song, study to it, comment on it, asking for lyrics (this means a lot to me) it is such an amazing feeling. I am already working on the next one coming really soon and it’s going to be bigger and better!!!

What project are you currently working on, any EP or Album on the way?

Sooo I am currently working on some new music in fact. An EP is coming this year. I cannot tell much about it but you guys gonna listen to the depths of my heart, expect some Afro sound, some acoustic sounds, and some olémaaaa sounds (this other one comes from cosmos only). I am so excited; the project will drop middle of the year, June probably, in between a lot of live sessions, new singles and collaborations.

Do you know how to play any musical instrument?

I am a guitarist, as guitar is my second passion after singing and writing. I am a big fan of guitarists like John Mayer, Steevy Ray Vaughan , BB King and so on. I play the piano too; my favorite pianist FOREVER is Ludovic Einaudi his sound is simple and eternal.

Are you signed to a record label?

No I am an independent artist Babyy !

Via: @iamolema

What is your perception of music?

This goes on with something I have already said, for me music is a healer, music is a companion, we speak through music, we listen through music, we let go with the help of music, we over joy with music. To sum up one more time, music is one of the most powerful weapons to get to the human heart even the toughest one!

How do you think your music has been able to impact listeners?

I describe myself as an hypersensitive lyricist haaa, even when I try to retain myself I cannot help being raw with my words, with my emotions, with my performances and I think that we are all sensitive to sincerity, I guess this is the reason why I have been able to gather fans around me and hopefully will continue. This applies not only to me but to all artists in my opinion.

Asides music is there any other gift | talent you possess?

Oh you would be surprised! Growing up I loved drawing, and I was kind of good at it; I love dancing too, hip-hop, ballroom dancing , participating in Dancing with the Stars is still on my checklist and last but not least I am a full time comedian LMAO don’t be fooled by serious pictures on Instagram.

 

Categories
Music

An African Giant

Hamid Ayodeji

A true legacy dies when it is about to birth a younger tribe, sprung from freedom seeking energy and spirits. As this is the time to be alive as a Nigerian and African, considering how African art is at its peak whilst being exported to the rest of the world for consumption once again, talking about ancient and modern art without looking at what Nigerian artists brought and are still bringing to the artistic world cannot hold much water.

Hence, taking a peek at the booming musical culture of the continent, it can be pointed out that Afro-beat has earned its place on the global stage, anchored by Nigerian artist such as, Fela Anikulapo Kuti whose era of Afro-beat sound spreading like wild fire globally, coupled with powerful sounds and lyrics showed the universe that Africa had a lot to teach and influence using art as the medium of expression.

Show casing a vibe that was not heard of or experienced yet as at that time; with his Instruments, dance, lifestyle, as well as passion he educated the world on the depth of which corruption had eaten its way down to the roots of the country and how the Armed forces harassed civilians who spoke up against the wrong doings of the government, at that time.

The phase of his physical assaults by the Armed Forces is in line with a cruel government that thinks not the social development and well being of its citizens which eventually led to a platoon of soldiers storming his Resident at Ojuelegba, (the first Kalakuta Republic) in order to brutalize the people they met.

This operation by the Nigerian Armed Forces that very day as far as history is concerned, recorded the death of Mrs Funmilayo Ransom Kuti, who leaped to the Heavens after she was thrown from the balcony of the building by soldiers.

“Zombie, oh, zombie, Zombie no go go unless you tell am to go, Zombie no go stop unless you tell am to stop. No brake, no jam, no sense,” he sang on his 1976 song titled, Zombie.

Funmilayo Ransom Kuti

The departure of Mrs Funmilayo Ransom Kuti from our world, during the 1978 military regime, at Felas’s Kalakuta Republic, took a part of him that could never be entirely replaced by any other feeling creating music and illuminating the world with his sound could ever offer.

Officially nobody was held accountable for this gruesome act. However, this did not stop the music god from searching for inner peace and clarity as shortly after, Fela was known to be affiliated with a Ghanaian sorcerer, Professor Hindu, who acted as his spiritual adviser.

According to his son, Femi Kuti, in Veal’s book, “Fela changed when Hindu came into his life. Everyone now got worried because Fela wouldn’t listen to anyone except for Hindu.

“My mother said I should come out of it because it was getting too diabolical and deceitful. But I told her ‘If I leave him now, it is possible he will get killed and we will lose him forever.’

I felt this because Hindu once told Fela that if he wore a special African bulletproof vest, they could shoot him and he wouldn’t die. To prove it, Hindu got a gun and put the jacket on a goat and fired six shots to show it really worked. Later, we found out he had used blanks. But my father thought this was wonderful and he wanted to put the jacket on himself. Luckily, his elder brother said “Let’s try it on another goat, just in case. So they took this double-barreled gun–and the goat died. And Fela cried and cried. Obviously, they were cheating him”

Fela Anikulapo kuti was not just any other musical genius; he always looked for perfection and justice in everything he was conscious of, which birth an evergreen culture that can never leave those it came in contact with.

 

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Music

Goodgirl LA Shares insight on her Music, Passion, Putting her Home Town on the Map

“My greatest motivation to make music so far, has been the passion to be great and different, to do something in a way no one has ever done it, to put my home town, Ebom on the map and to inspire more people, especially girls to be extraordinary, says Goodgirl LA

Regina Ogwuche presents the excerpts:

 

What part of Nigeria are you from?

I am from Cross River State.

How much has the environment you grew up in influenced your style and sound of music?

I grew up listening to a lot of Nigerian and international music, from R&B to Pop, Reggae and Gospel genres. My family lived around Festac/Amuwo Odofin for a while, so I was exposed to music by 2 face, Asa, D’Banj and Psquare, Michael Bolton, Boyz II Men, Britney Spears, Micheal Jackson. Listening to all these sounds, influenced my sound as an artist, that’s why I call it Afro-Fusion. I hear and write music differently, in my own unique way.

For how long have you been pursuing music as a career?

Officially, I have been doing music for about 3 years now.

What is your definition of a perfect day?

A perfect day for me would be that day when I perform to an audience of over 10,000 people, with my band, DJ and dancers. The day I pull off my biggest performance.

Via @Iamgoodgirlla
photographed by” @princemeyson

Do you write all your songs?

For now, yes, I write all the lyrics to my songs. I can’t wait to start co-writing and getting songs written for me, I love to collaborate creatively, share ideas to create great music.

What emotion was going through you when you recorded Far Away?

When I wrote “Faraway”, I was actually as hurt as I sounded. I liked someone and really wanted him to notice me, but he just didn’t get it. I decided to put all that emotion, in a song and make money off it, at least, since that didn’t work out lol. Faraway has received and is still receiving a lot of love and support from all over. It is so amazing to see people listening to your feelings and relate to it, like it was their own experience.

Via @iamgoodgirlla

What has been your greatest motivation to create music?

My greatest motivation to make music so far, has been the passion to be great and different, to do something in a way no one has ever done it, to put my home town, Ebom on the map and to inspire more people, especially girls to be extraordinary.

How has the journey thus far been as a female artist in Nigeria?

The journey so far has been great and challenging, but I love it every step of the way. My family has been and is still the biggest supporters of my music.

Asides music is there any other thing you would love to do?

Asides music, I don’t really know what I would have done, maybe a career in fashion, hospitality or cosmetics.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Music

SpotLight: Jinmi Abduls Sets the Tone for a Golden Career

Emmanuel Obokoh

Jinmi Abduls is a Nigerian singer- song writer and producer. The self titled Jinmi of Lagos was born in Victoria Island, Lagos on the 27th August 1997. He started his music career by setting up a production and distribution outfit called Chase music. Jinmi Abduls is signed to his own chase music label. His first single, Long distance dropped in late 2016 and was followed by Golden in the following month.

Our correspondent spoke to him about his second single, which he says is a favorite of his. In his words, “Golden is a very personal song, it came as a follow up to long distance, golden is a song of prophecy, the song was about letting my lover know that even though the puzzle of my life might not be fixed at the moment, sooner than later everything would fall in place and be better”.

Also, he expressed that though his golden dreams have not yet been entirely materialized as he feels he has so much more to offer his numerous loyal fans, he is definitely on his way there, and by the grace of God, someday everything is going to be golden.

The singer, who is identified for infusing his core R&B/Pop sound with high life, released his first body of work, “JOLAG” (Jinmi of lagos) in 2017. The greed crooner has grown quite tremendously in such a short time as he has managed to garner a few thousand fans while creatively weaving his stories through music, warming his way into the hearts of listeners. Abduls has a management deal with THE PLUG, who he acknowledges has played a big role in the growth of his music and brand.

Via @jinmiabduls

He says that: “Working with the plug has been so amazing, so far we have done a whole lot within the few months we have been working together and we have a lot in store for everyone”.

The digital distribution platforms have no doubt played a major role towards easing music distribution for young talents like Jinmi. When he was asked about his perspective on the situation of the current music scene compared to what it was like a decade ago. He pointed out piracy as being less of a problem since online buying and streaming is now the mainstream method of music distribution.

According to him, artists are accorded more value now and monetizing music is much easier, also courtesy of the internet.

On his sophomore project, JOLAG 2 released in 2018, Jinmi Abduls explores a unique fusion of genres which paved the way to his sound we are more conversant with today. The EP featured 2018 rookie of the year, Teni on one of the tracks that made the compilation.

Via @jinmiabduls

Whilst explaining how the song came about, he recalled, “Teni… that’s my G from way back, when Teni came back from the U.S we basically made music together all day, we were in the studio like five times a week.

“We have recorded a lot of songs together, so when I was putting out my E.P… l just had to go through the songs we had done and I felt that once twice was the most suitable for the project to give it some sort of variety.”

Briefly after the release of JOLAG 2, Jinmi headlined his first show in Lagos, Jinmi Of Lagos Live! (JOLAG Live) in 2018, which he described as a wonderful experience for his careers and fans.

In his words as he could barely hide his excitement, “It was so fantastic connecting with my fans one-on-one, on my own headline show just after the release of Jinmi of Lagos 2, I am so grateful for everyone that came to support me, it was wonderful.

“It was a paid show and people were ready to pay for regular tickets; VIP tickets; it was packed at the entrance… I’m so grateful”.

In addition to an eventful 2018, Jinmi also got two nominations the same year at the Nigerian Teens Choice Awards for choice fast rising artist and choice male artist.

The title of the greatest story teller is another title Jinmi Abduls bestowed on himself as a pun for the narrative pattern of his music. When our correspondent asked him which was his greatest story ever told, he said he had already made a song about it which would be in his album.

In May 2019, he released an Afro RnB song titled Abena, currently available on all digital platforms for streaming, purchase and download.

“I did some experimenting on Abena , and it turned out good” is his response to how the song is fairing. Jinmi Abdul’s has since added a single, Greed with Oxlade, which is a banger.

Jinmi Abduls is a talent we’re looking forward to hearing from more often this year and in the years to come.

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Music

Artist Spotlight: Reeplay

Seun Osho

Popularly known as Reeplay, Jibril Adeiza Omaki hails from Nasarawa and was born in Ikeja, Lagos in 1991. He is the first child of his parents and an older brother to 2 siblings. Reeplay attended Thomas Adewumi International College, Ilorin in Kwara state for his secondary school education and University of Abuja for tertiary studies in sociology. When asked why music? He replied “Why not music, it is life”. The hip-hop artiste who started to rap in junior secondary class 3, boasts of his undeniable versatility, listing multiple genres; “Hip-hop/grime/pop/afro pop anywhere the spirit leads” when asked about his sound. He attributes his initial musical influences to 50 cent, Lil Wayne initially and more recently, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Skepta to name a few.

Reeplay has earned himself a spot on the roaster of top Abuja based artists gracing some of the biggest stages the capital has ever seen like the ‘Buj concert, Hennessy artistry, Davido’s concert, Choc boys nation tour, the Caribbean Concert and many more

@reeplaysumtin

With a series of singles, three collaborative mix tapes, four music videos and one solo E.P under his belt, Reeplay doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. According to sources, the rapper is currently working on a collective project called GANG BUSINESS. The collective; ANTIWORLD GANGSTERS, is named after his last collaborative mixtape with Odumodublvck, who’s also a member. The collective is made up of Reeplay’s independent label, IZGAAJU and affiliated label BLVCKSHEEP to which Odumodu belongs. Other members include Ekizzy J, Agunnabueze and ace producer, Cross.

I was opportuned to listen to some of the unreleased music at a makeshift studio, and I must say, I’m anxious for the rollout.

Reeplay says his vision for now is to just keep evolving as an artist, continue making great music and by God’s grace headline his own shows for his ever growing loyal fans with a team he is currently pulling together.

Reeplay’s social media handle is the same across all platforms; @reeplaysumtin. Go follow him, and follow us too @theparakeetshow on all social media platforms.