Freestyle is not a new name in Nigerian music industry having made hits in the late 90s as a member of the group ‘Tribes men’ and recording and internationals collabo with TPain as early as that time.
His sudden disappearance from the music scene is still not understood by many owing to the lucrative nature of the industry and the name which he already has.
He made an emotional comeback to the stage with a wonderful performance at the 4th edition of Deejay Saquo’s Star Nite (a version of industry nite) holding in Owerri the capital city of Imo State.
After his performance, www.otowngist.com’s Chinedu Hardy Nwadike and Ugochi Oparanozie hooked up with him in this chat he revealed his feeling on the current state of Nigeria music industry as well as his next move in music.
My performance at Star Nite
It was a crazy rush and lots adrenaline was rushing there too. I have not been on stage for a while because I left the entertainment industry for advertising and media but at the end of the day it’s a wonderful experience.
When I leave Owerri, I think I’m going to get back to the studio.
Nigeria Hip-hop before and today
I think Nigerian hip-hop is evolving at the moment and you can see it that in the clubs that nobody wants to listen to foreign songs again, everyone is dancing to Nigerian songs, which is good for the industry.
The problem now is that everyone is sounding alike and the thing is so crazy. Just because Wizkid and Davido have made it in their style, everybody is trying to do their things that way.
I think the basic difference between then and now is the originality. Right now everybody just wants to make you dance when they are on stage and it’s crazy.
This has made some artistes lose their values, instead of making people value them, they run to promoters begging to perform free of charge and it’s wrong. They need to value themselves before people will value them.
Why I left the music industry
It was quest for knowledge. I like to learn and even though entertainment was more like a passion, I am a smart guy who wants to do so many things with his life.
I’m into software development, I majored in advertising and public relations and I am currently the Head of Production at Dream FM Enugu.
I produce and write, but music is just part of what I want to do with my life because I want to be all I could be.
When people don’t talk about me
Change is the only constant thing in nature. It doesn’t really matter if you are Notorious BIG, Tupac or Jay Z, it’s certain that at some point in your career, the limelight will leave you for someone else and it takes maturity to accept that.
Only an idiot will think he will be in the limelight forever.
In a genre like hip-hop, looking at United States for instance, top artistes like Jay Z can be in limelight for about four years and another artiste takes over. That is growth no one will remain there forever.
When you mention my name, people will say ‘Where that guy de?’, but no one will say I am wack and because it was a decision to walk away, I am great with it.
Regrets after walking away
‘Regret’ is a strong word; I would prefer ‘reconsider’.
If I give up one thing for something else, then I must accomplish that thing. For me I acquired knowledge and I have imparted into people’s life.
Getting back to music will be like ‘let’s do it when we are ready to do it’; it’s not a do or die affair.
Music is fun, music is passion.
Comparing your musical impart with that of the present career
You can never compare anything with music because it is a universal language and it gets to so many people easily but I have affected a lot lives with what I’m doing presently and I am very happy about it and who knows when I get back, if I’d get back, I might just be bigger than I was.
What do you see artistes miss in music as a radio presenter?
I have a fundamental principle which says ‘whatever you do, do it well’ Even though you are the guy wiping tables at McDonalds, you need to be the best at what you do.
As a Head of Productions and presenter, what I try to do for artistes in Enugu is encourage them. I anchor about three programmes and one of them is ‘Break it up’, where I play three songs and ask people to vote.
I also have a music review programme where I play songs and analyze them. This is not about paying radio DJs to play their songs, if the songs are not up to our standards with a good message, no one plays it.
Does message still matter in music today?
Making a name is one thing, but keeping the name is where one needs to put in work.
If you noticed, record labels like Mavin make songs that spread like wild fire, but those songs don’t have a life span of more than three months. As soon as they are released, everyone is rocking to it, the next two, three months it’s gone and people hook up with something else. Unless you are talking about Tuface who fall in the category of artistes who can give you a classic else, anybody can walk into the studio and make noise and pay for airplay.
There were tons of people on the stage tonight, but only few got the crowd moving.
Is hip-hop dead in Nigeria?
Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but I think it is relative because hip-hop isn’t originally ours.
Some people say hip-hop is dead, but it is just evolving from other traditional genres in the country and like I said earlier, change is the only constant thing, so everyone needs to keep up with the trend and move with the time.
Weighing Owerri on Enugu scale
I think the entertainment sector in Owerri is pretty underdeveloped same with Enugu, but Enugu has a step on the scale in relation to Owerri.
Going back to the studio
A lot of people have seen me now but I’m looking at making something different. Personally I love Afro-beat and Highlife but I don’t know why people see me as a rapper.
I’m not trying to ‘send’ anybody; I’ll try to make the kind of music that will make me happy first.
I’m going to work some people who are unique in what they do like Davido and others.
Freestyle on stage at Star Nite Season at Valencia Lounge Owerri, Imo State