Nigeria’s prom queen of music, Aituaje Iruobe, popularly known as WAJE (Words Aren’t Just Enough), has kicked off her ‘Mountain Project’ shortly after releasing the video to her latest single dubbed ‘Mountain’ featuring popular South African singer, Lira.
Speaking about the project to HipTv in an exclusive interview, the singer said; “This project is aimed at encouraging everyone to celebrate and embrace the concept of victory through trials in life. Everyone has a story but the underlying idea of this project is to make people see their stories as that of persistence and determination, of the will to keep striving even amid struggles.
This demonstrates the fact that as individuals, no matter what life throws at us, we can climb any mountain’’ The song ‘Mountain’ in itself, amplifies the celebration of resilient spirit of the African individual especially the women in our society.
WAJE who performed ‘Mountain’ alongside Lira for the first time on stage at the 2017 AMVCAs, took to her Instagram to announce the project by taking on the persona of different Nigerian women who have distinct struggles but are persistent and resilient to keep on striving through it all. She urges the audience to share a story about a mountain in their lives and how they have been able to keep climbing it.
VECTOR THA VIPER: MI wrong to publicly criticise nigerian rappers
Olanrewaju Ogunmefun known by the showbiz moniker, Vector tha Viper, is a Nigerian hip hop act with three successful albums, State of Surprise, The Second Coming and Lafiaji. Not many are aware that he was the voice behind the Sprite commercial that has aired on most radio stations across Nigeria since 2009. The versatile rapper spoke with LANRE ODUKOYA.
Why do you sing more recently instead of rapping?
While I was growing up, the experience I had was helpful because I didn’t grow up listening to rap music alone. I was a proper choir boy. And at a point, I thought it was time I exhibited that other part of me. When I wanted to make tribute music for the people and place I grew up, I knew I needed to do what they would understand and relate to better. The truth is that most people living in Lafiaji, Lagos Island, are more interested in highlife, fuji and juju music. So, it was only right for me to make music they would understand since the album was dedicated to them.
But certain people said you left rap music because it wasn’t lucrative for you…
I need to be honest with you here. I have responsibilities to cater for; so, if I want to get money from someone, I may have to do what the person likes. As an intelligent musician, if you need to adjust your music to reach out to the target audience at a point, I don’t think anyone will blame you for doing so. But I still don’t put out materials that are short of quality or depth.
All I did with my last album was to infuse what people were already used to with my own style. So, if you have listened well to the songs on the album, the messages were still original to me and represented who I am. If I were making music for the Lafaiji people, I couldn’t have given them the hip-hop you hear on the streets of New York. I must give them things they can relate to.
So, I didn’t try to abandon who I am by doing the ‘Lafiaji’ album; I just wanted to relate to people who stood by me all through my trying times.
What do you still wish to achieve in music?
People are yet to see my best because I improve every day. I just left the gym now. When you see me next year, you will see a new look.
Though I am known as a rapper, I believe I am actually a better singer than a lot of singers in Nigeria. I was part of the Celestial Church of Christ choir for years and I went through all the rudiments.
Don’t you think you deserve more credit than you get in showbiz?
The fact that you think I deserve more credit is satisfactory for me and I am excited about that. People hardly tell artistes the truth; they tell them what they want to hear. When the reality hits these artistes and they know they’ve been telling them lies, it may be too late. Whatever God has given me, I am content with it. At least, I am certain I don’t need to introduce myself before people know me.
Why did you stop rapping like Jay-Z?
I didn’t stop sounding like him. People need to understand that I was very young when I started out. At a time, that was the highest pitch my voice could attain. I couldn’t sing in a certain way because I was very young. If you remember well, everyone rapping when I came into the industry was older than me. For you to hear me clearly, I had to rap in high pitch. But as I grew older, my voice became mature.
I didn’t intentionally try to sound like Jay-Z like many people thought. But I cannot blame people for seeing things that way.
My next album, TESLIM, will be a huge revelation. Teslim is my father’s name and I plan to drop it next year. For me, TESLIM means The Energy Still Leaves In Me. I will release a lot of energy on the album.
How do you develop your songs?
I get my inspiration from everything I experience. Speaking to you is an inspiration to me. I can make songs from anything; I can turn anything into creativity. If we were drinking, I could be inspired from the moment.
Do you think M.I was referring to you in You Rappers Should Fix Your Lives?
When I reacted to the song, I was yet to listen to it, but I heard he had released a song that didn’t project Nigerian rappers well. Our parents dealt with us a lot while growing up, but there was no time they went to the public and said we were stupid children. He didn’t have to say it publicly that South African rappers were ‘killing’ Nigerian rappers. I have never said this before, but we shouldn’t wash our dirty linen in public. It is fine to discipline people at home and I support that. If your children mess up, you can discipline them.
When Jay-Z released the Death of Auto-Tune, he addressed everyone, saying they should all go back to rap music. He didn’t say a group of rappers was better than one group. I didn’t like the fact that he called out Nigerian rappers openly and was comparing us with SA rappers.
Why have you not collaborated with M.I on a song?
We tried to work together on two different occasions in the past, but it just didn’t happen. There was a time when he sent me a beat to work on and the other time I was supposed to feature him on the remix of my song, King Kong. Classiq later took his verse and did very well. We can still do something together later in the future. It is music; it is nothing serious.
What was the experience growing up in the barracks and as a policeman’s son?
So far, my late father remains the most disciplined person I have ever met. He had punched me before. Despite being a no-nonsense man, he was surprisingly quiet. I still cannot explain why they named him the king of boys in my area. You would hardly see him in talking in public.
I had fun growing up, but living in the barracks is totally different from the regular street. In the barracks, you must be disciplined to survive. We like peace, but we don’t run away from war when it comes. I don’t think there is a perfect place in Lagos, but while I was growing up you would hardly see us fighting in a dirty, way killing each other. There were rules and people kept to them.
Didn’t you nurse the fear that your police father could be killed on duty?
It was not easy. Yes, we were aware that our father could go to work in the morning and it would be the last we heard of him. But there was little we could do than being hopeful that he would not clash with armed robbers that had military backgrounds. We have some armed robbers who are well trained. If your father meets people like that, it may be his end. For us living in the barracks, it was even better for our father to come back home with injuries than dying on duty.
Did you get to express your fear to him?
There was no time to tell him that. In the first place, how do you want to talk to a man who just came back from a dangerous assignment? All my mother did then was to pray. My father’s men would send in messages, explaining the total danger of a situation and he would just reply with ‘I am on my way.’ My mother would remind him that he was not a superman, but it didn’t stop him from doing his work. Ask about Tubosun Teslim Ogunmefun from anyone who knew him when he was alive, I am certain they would say he was a good policeman.
When a celebrity friend was apprehended by the police after a robbery attack at Ajah, Lagos, it was my father that came to the rescue. He called and informed them that if he was detained and anything bad happened to him, God would not forgive them and he would make sure they didn’t go unpunished. They quickly released him; that was the kind of police he was.
Did you ever think of becoming a policeman at some point?
Being in the police force has never been my dream, but I have always thought of how to make things better for them. Unlike me, my elder brother was interested in joining the police force. When we were younger, he would challenge police officers on the road for wearing wrong uniforms or misbehaving. We got into mess many times and there was no time my father found this funny. He would come bail us whenever we were detained. My father didn’t like us disrespecting policemen and always told us that it was not in our position to correct them until we became one someday.
I saw many good things he did before he passed on this year. He was buried three-month ago. He didn’t take missing church services calmly. You can ask anyone who worked directly with my father. Before they do anything on Sundays, they must attend church together.
How do you feel when you sight a policeman collecting bribe?
Since I once lived in the barrack, I know what they go through. It takes a lot to swear an oath to lay your life down for your people; so, I believe they should be well appreciated. Of course, to whom much is given, much is required. Since you are expecting much from them, do you give them a lot?
I do not say what they are doing is right, but the government needs to do the right thing as well. For instance, look at the Libya slave trade issue. Those Nigerians left home because life was hard for them. We thank God they are bringing them back now. But what do we plan to do to ensure they don’t run from home again? This is where I stand.
Policemen live like rats. Have you ever visited any police barracks before? We shouldn’t forget that these people protect us.
Orezi aims higher, unveils Gehn Gehn Music
Orezi is set to break new grounds this year and he has made that clear with the unveiling of his company, Gehn Gehn Music, which he has said is an all-around entertainment company aimed at changing the business of music in Nigeria.
Orezi, whose pace and consistency in the Nigerian music scene have sustained his relevance and growing net worth, said he would be using his company as a platform to create better opportunities for up and coming music talents in Nigeria.
“This company is for me and every upcoming artiste out there, Gehn Gehn Music will be signing artistes in the nearest future,” Orezi, who has carved a niche for himself with a successful music career of almost a decade, said. But unlike most who only reserve harsh words for former labels and associates, Orezi appreciates the opportunity he got from his former record label, saying: “Thanks to Sprisal Entertainment and Culbeed Music which helped in shaping me over the years to who I am today.”
Monalisa Chinda second marriage in crisis
The marriage of Nollywood actress, Monalisa Chinda, 43 and Victor Tonye Coker, 52 may be in crisis. There are allegations that Monalisa Chinda is the second wife of her Germany based hubby. Though the actress had earlier claimed that they met in 2015, insiders insist that they’d been in and out of romance for at least five years.
Though Monalisa Chinda has only a child in her previous marriage, close source revealed that her husband has kids with another woman before they married. The source stated categorically that Monalisa’s desperation for a man and Mr. Coker’s perceived kindness forced her to give in to the man and walked the aisle in 2015.
The distance in their relation is blamed for the woes they’re both shielding from the prying eyes of the public. And they’re unable to reach a pleasant compromise with Coker asking Monalisa to Germany while the mother of one insists the land is green in Nigeria. According to people in the know, Coker and Monalisa grew up in the same neighbourhood in Port Harcourt, Rivers State before he relocated to Germany. But it’s uncertain whether Coker had called it quits legally with the lady with whom he’s had children.
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