Categories
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!!

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.

Categories
Poetry

Love Struck

H.

Her lips were as red as the roses decorated on her white garment.

Struck by her beauty and scent I followed as she ran towards the sunset above the sea.

Each step I took was a moment closer to a young Garden, where Love and Peace gets its deserved credit.

Each smile and gaze at me was a detox freeing me from the wicked old witch’s spell.

Light or darkness I could still see and feel her face and touch, thus I knew in her garden my seeds shall flourish.

How ever, I was neutral until your ever burning sensation sunk into my senses thereby, creating an energy I want, which was as pure and powerful as light.

My Love, i have been captured by your firm hold over my body and mind, leaving me seeking nothing less than freedom from the moonlight up until the sunrise.