- Created on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 14:49
- Written by Chinedu Hardy Nwadike
Gabriel Soprinye Halliday was born on April 11, 1988 in Essex. When he was two, Gabriel returned to Nigeria along with his family. The Halliday household settled in Port Harcourt. They lived in Trans Amadi and Eligbam before moving to D-Line in 1995. Gabriel would spend the remainder of his childhood and teenage years there. He was brought up in the Christian faith; the first of three siblings in a family mostly made up of girls, including a step sister named Francoise who is older by nine years.
Halliday was educated at Tantua International High School and Ompadec Science College. He took an interest in playing soccer while a student at the latter and was recognized particularly for his heading skills. His mother, Patience Rizi (nee Owhondah) hailed from the Ikwerre tribe and was a business woman.
His father Ezekiel Tamuno Halliday was a General Manager at NTA Port Harcourt and former commissioner of works who died (aged 73) when he was 19.
Halliday's family were avid music listeners which contributed to an early childhood surrounded by popular records of singers such as Tracy Chapman, Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson and Keith Sweat. Although their styles didn't quite fascinate him, his love of music manifested itself when he discovered hip hop through the likes of Tupac Shakur, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Shaggy, Dmx, Eminem, Cypress Hill, Wu-Tang Clan, and Ruff Ryders. Naturally, it wasn't long before he started putting words together and making them rhyme. Halliday became a regular participant in freestyle rap battles around the city. He also spearheaded a rap group known as Lil' Thugs while in high school.
His stage name, Slim Burna which meant the "slim bone that burns" was given to him by a couple of friends he grew up with in Port Harcourt. As of 2002, Burna was frequenting various gaming lounges around the neighborhood. It was at this time that he came into contact with P Jaydino, a fellow high school student and music enthusiast.
Upon discovering themselves, Burna and P Jay became rhyme partners. And with their combined knowledge of music, they emerged as Jay-Burna, a group that subsequently gained support from producers Zubillionaire, Duncan Daniels and Frank D Nero.
Following in the footsteps of the aforementioned persons, Burna graduated from high school and further broadened his musical education to include record production. His longtime colleague Neebuen Roarhillz from Ogoni linked him with M-Trill, who was then a Grafton Records' artist. Recalling those moments, Burna reminisced: "I got a call from Roarhillz that M-Trill wanted to see me. The next day I went over to meet M and he said he had a production job for me at Grafton, after I had agreed to work with him I was interviewed by Tony the manager and I had to let them know that I don't work alone, so I brought P Jay along and we began working there." Throughout that period, Burna lent his touch to recordings by artists such as Lamili and Lilyjean until his depature, which was fueled by that he had stolen from the company. After parting ways with Grafton in late 2008, Burna founded Street Rhymes, on which he began crafting beats and songs. Some of his own works from the past include “Whatz ur name”, “Is 4 u”, “I like to move it”, “Kpasima” and “Highness Madness”.
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