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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Is 9ice the Next Fela?


A self proclaimed “artist, poet and custodian of tradition and the Nigerian culture,” 9ice, like the great African musical icon-Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is dynamic, authentic and uncompromising, especially when it comes to his decision to sing in his native language. Influenced by the communication style of his now 75 year old step-mother who raised him, 9ice's signature is the ability to serve a healthy dose of musical proverbial sayings with deep layers of interpretation.

Born January 17th, 1980 as Abolore Akande, 9ice received his stage name because he became the go to “hook man” who would not go nine [9] days without working on a new song. At fourteen years old, the artist who had aspirations of being an attorney was already preparing for an inevitable music career with writing, composing, and singing his own songs. While he would later form boy bands/groups and even release a demo, it wasn’t until 2000, when he embarked on a solo career and released his Freshman album “The Certificate,” that most began paying attention to him.

Today, he is the hottest artist on Nigeria's music scene and is gaining momentum across Africa and internationally, winning numerous awards on his way up. With the release of his album “Gongo Aso” which drops May 1st 2008 and has been dubbed the most highly anticpated album in 2008, 9ice plugs into LADYBRILLE.com for a brief chat about his music, hits and upcoming wedding!

LADYBRILLE.com:Little Money, Talent Dey Waste, Gongo Aso, where do I begin? Your songs are the hottest hits all over Nigeria! To our audience who have never heard of you, introduce yourself and describe your music style?
9ICE: My names are Abolore, Adegbola, A'adigun Alapomeji Akande. I am from Oyo State, Ogbomosho, Ogbomosho North L.G.A. I am from a polygamous family of nine children and five wives. [I am] the eight child. I grew up with my step [mother] and I have lived days of my life in and every corner of Lagos state [Lagos State was the former capital of Nigeria. It has a population of approximately 20 million people].

My kind of music is Nigerian. And I call it World Fusion because it comprises of all kinds of music. I attended Abule Okuta Primary School [like elementary school], C.M.S Grammar School, Nigerian Opportunities Industrialization Center for Computer Studies, A' Level Program at Universal Basic College . . . and Lagos State University [LASU] Law but left LASU to pursue my music career.

LADYBRILLE.com: I think one of the things your fans love is that you rap and sing in your native language, Yoruba, but your beats are so universal. Some have even said it has a reggaeton feel to it. Even if you don't understand the language, you get the instruments and beats. Why did you choose to stick with singing in your native tongue?
9ICE: My language I believe is my culture, my future and my way of life. It embodies my tradition and custom which suggest the person I am, the way I relate to other people and my background. Music doesn’t have a language. So, my language is not a barrier [and] it instead gets me closer to my audience. [I]t is the best way to pass my message across to my people.

LADYBRILLE.com: What are your songs mostly about?
9ICE:My songs mostly talk about love, life, issues that bothers us and the way forward.

LADYBRILLE.com:One of your songs on your album is "Talent Dey Waste." It is my favorite especially where you say, "you want to sound like Wyclef and you can't sound like me." Classic![laughs] Share with our audience the point you are trying to get across?
9ice: I am simply saying you can only be yourself. Be original, be creative in your own way even though you have people that influence your kind of music. . . through listening to their songs you will or can develop your own style that fits your immediate environment.

LADYBRILLE.com:I am impressed with what you have done with fashion merchandising of your hit song, "Gongo Aso." It is common here in the West to see a hit movie have baseball caps, T-shirts e.t.c. but that is not really as common in Nigeria/Africa. How did that come about?
9ice: It was an idea brought to [reality] by my fiancée [Toni Payne]. . .she thought about the concept herself and she [executed] it. . .

LADYBRILLE.com: That explains it! [laughs] Most of our readers are familiar with your soon to be serial entrepreneur wifey Toni Payne. Tell us briefly how you knew she was THE one?
9ICE: We met at Gbenga Adeyinka [Top Nigerian Comedian] the 1st 10years anniversary at motherland 2006. . .and from there one thing led to the other and as days passed by things got better and now we are together. . .

LADYBRILLE.com: When is the wedding date and where will it be held?
9ICE: We are working towards that and as soon as we have a date you guys will be the first to know.

LADYBRILLE.com:
Finally, let's talk about your collabo with Ruggedman, another respected artist in Nigeria. I love how you both reach in to Yoruba fashions with your Aso Okes designed in Agbadas and the accessories used. Tell us who did the styling for that video and the video concept?

9ice:The costumer was arranged by ruggedman. But the concept of the video was arrived at between ruggedman and the director. . . and to the best of my knowledge, I think the idea was not bad and the whole experience with ruggedman and the video was worth it.

LADYBRILLE.com: Yes. The concept was not bad, at all! Thanks 9ice for the interview.
9ice: God bless . . .it's my pleasure to grant this interview.

~Interview by Uduak Oduok

LITTLE MONEY


RUGGEDY BABA FEATURING 9ice

7 comments:

shop liquorice said...

LOVE his music! fabulous interview, ladybrille. i'm addicted to 'gongo aso' :)

tankojjetty said...

NO...he isnt...
and dont hate...i like his originality o but one hit single and u compare him to "abami eda"?
u want to kill the guy by making he's head swell too much...
and pls when moderating madam...
remember i said NO...

plastiQ said...

Haba, 9ice is ok. he is making a great effort and will grow as an artiste. Did you have to insult the great legend (Fela)by doing this comparison?. Let 9ice grow and prove his mettle, but relax on the fela bit ok? Nice one sha.
http://www.werunthings.com

Ladybrille said...

"A self proclaimed “artist, poet and custodian of tradition and the Nigerian culture,” 9ice, like the great African musical icon-Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is dynamic, authentic and uncompromising, especially when it comes to his decision to sing in his native language."

Key words: Like Fela he is "dynamic" [as in energetic & forceful and I'd argue while not as political as Fela, he certainly questions the socio-economic situations prevalent in Naija], authentic as in "orginal" and like Fela did when he made a decision to begin singing in Pidgin, 9ice makes it clear and has no qualms about speaking in his native language in this instance "Yoruba."

Finally, his music has global appeal and fits neatly into the category of World music that non-Nigerians,Africans and the West are interested in. Indeed, until Fela's death, some have argued Fela did not even have global appeal,musically, and that his music was confined to the continent of Africa. What made him have global appeal, they argue, which then shone a psotlight on his music, was his political activism and humanitarian efforts.

While obviously 9ice is still an emerging artist with a music legacy to build, his core principles/philosophy when it comes to his brand and image to Africans, not just Nigerians, and non-Africans is that he is who he is, take it or leave it. Plus, he comes with a heavy dose of Yoruba and deep proverbial sayings infusing, like Fela did, Western beats into his own Afro-hip hop creation or World Fusion as he calls it.

Therefore, it makes sense, logically, that we ask "Is 9ice the Next Fela?" Plus, it creates room for an interesting dialogue where we can all agree or disagree.

plastiQ said...

Hmmn. Lovely insight, and I like the way you lay your points down without turning it into an argument (I should learn how to do that). I could question your points, I actually should questions your points about drawing parallels between Fela Anikulapo Kuti and 9ice; in even going further to ask if he's the next Fela...and all these based loosely on 9ice's dynamism,language of delivery and 'cos he questions the socio-economic situations prevalent in Naija.

Going by your comment above, we could say if Asa were a man, she would be the next Fela!. She infuses the Yoruba language, context and even content (not just some cryptic proverbs) into her music better than anyone I've been fortunate to listen to. Thid could go on and on, you know.

I'll rest my case here, 9ice is nice (lol), but I still feel he is in his teething stage.


Thanks for the reply to my comment (I actually think I'll get more Naija bloggers involved in this talk, hope you are ready for the traffic).

Cheers
http://www.werunthings.com

Anonymous said...

9ice is really good,like he says 'music has no language',very few musicians know that,that is why he feels comfortable singing in yoruba and still be widely accepted,Fela was as much a political activist as he was a musician,9ice is being likened to him in the music arena, not necessarily comparisms as in, if he is as good.we should not make issues out of nothing,every nigerian has great respect for fela,no body is asking to even to think of giving such respect to 9ice,just appreciating his concepts of music

eric said...

9ice is no Fela. there can be no other Baba, not even Femi or Seun- they can't even get along together. Only Baba was Baba and he watches over us now. It pains me to see this comparison. No disrespect to 9ice.

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