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.
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.
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!
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!!
Photographers: Igbokwe Visuals