Abia State born  rapper, Ruggedman, who was a guest artiste at Deejay Saquo’s Star Nite in Owerri, Imo State spoke to CHINEDU HARDY NWADIKE, of www.otowngist at the event.
Ruggedman who has been at the top of many controversies in the music industry talked about the past in his career, the new future he has embraced as well as how he plans to stay relevant in the industry where younger artistes seems to be the ones on point.
Bringing you to Star Nite
I and Deejay Saquo follow each other on twitter. This is one of the positive things the social network has actually made possible. A lot of people misuse it, but this is one of the advantages.
We met on twitter he told me about Star Nite and what it is all about. I liked the idea and I decided to support the event by coming with my artiste, Mbryo.
How you see Star Nite
The event has been fun, I have seen Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and another Jackson on stage but the group Scatter and Sons, actually scattered the place with whole acrobatic thing. That’s some raw talent and it’s really good.
My anger is that they have failed to give me ugba and abacha (Breadfruit and tapioca)
From hardcore rap to dance-hall
Anybody who says what’s pushing Ruggedman to dancehall, probably doesn’t know me well, because in the beginning after ‘what if’, there was ‘kwo kwo’ and ‘Baraje’. I call myself a musician. I do hardcore rap and at the same time I do commercial music. I’ve always mixed it up, that’s how I’ve always been.
I did ‘Push’ with Terry G, because I wanted to experiment a little with singing, not because I don’t rap anymore or because I don’t like rap music anymore or I don’t believe in rap music but because I just wanted to do something a bit different.
Ruggedman has been Ruggedman since 2003 and this is 2013, so if I keep doing the same thing over again, people will get bored.
The glories
 I was celebrated then as a new artiste, or better say an upcoming artiste with good music, then the next step was as someone who dropped a song that revolutionized the Nigerian music industry and the way I’m being celebrated now, a lot of artistes actually call me ‘Father’.
They have gone from seeing me as an upcoming artiste to a role model. Some say legendary Ruggedman and blab la bla.
I’ve moved from upcoming to established artiste and artiste to be looked up to and it is appreciated because I did something positive for the industry.
As legend from the past
Before Ruggedman there were artistes; while there was Ruggedman, there were still artistes and after Ruggedman, there would still be artistes.
I’ve made a mark which no one can actually remove, which is revolutionalizing the music industry and that can never be done again, that’s what I hold on to.
Anyone that comes out today is actually enjoying what I have fought for. I’m not asking for any body’s respect because I know it’s already there.
Anyone reigning at the moment will be looked up to, but when he stops reigning, what would you be remembered for?
Right now I am not where I was when I first started, but the likes of Wizkid, Davido and others just came out, let’s see where they’ll be when new artistes will come out.
They have not been in the industry for four years, but I have been here for ten years, there are artistes that came out before me that no one even talks about. I thank God for everything.
Artistes that backed out
It is a thing of choice. Music is not prison; it is not something one must do forever. Everything has a time frame, no artiste reigns forever which is why I said that it is the impression you leave that matters.
Some are there running a label, trying to push other artistes, some are still trying to do music.
No smart artiste will try to compete with today’s new artiste because things have changed.
I said so because I have an artiste I’m working on and I also have a new song with Tuface, Wande Coal, Wizboy, Vector and others.
This September which is my birthday, I’ll release one of those songs.
Freestyle was the best rapper from Tribesmen, but Eldee was the more commercial member of the group and Freestyle opting out to do something else is not because he can’t rap anymore, but because he wants to do something else.
The beef era   
People just concluded that I am a beef artiste, but I don’t beef anyone.
When I came into the industry, all I did was constructive criticism because I love music.
It was either I fought for the music I loved, or I go and get a job. Being an outspoken person made people thinks its pride or beef whichever one they choose to call it.
I don’t look for trouble, but when you bring trouble my way, I don’t run from it. So people just take it that I am controversial.
If anyone thinks I am controversial because I am being confrontational, so be it.
Today’s beef artistes
Everything in life is about choice. If Kelly Hansom chooses to go the beef way to get attention, it’s his choice, but things like that have a way they bounce back on the artiste.
For me, most of the times I did that, especially the 9ice issue, that was a personal thing and has nothing to do with hip-hop. 9ice is not a rapper so I can’t be beefing him for any reason, I just had to clear my name off something and I went all out to do it.
There is always a reason for everything I do. When I did ‘Ehe’, it was because a lot of mediocrity was being celebrated in the music industry. When I did ‘big bros’, it was because some ‘sick’ people in the industry were trying to stop radio stations from playing my songs. Some will do their own for show, but mine was never for show.
Helping Abia State
I am a musician and there’s a limit to what I can do for my state. If my state does not support me, I cannot help the industry in my state.
I cannot go to Abia State and start signing artistes because I am down here doing something on my own.
Abia State government  don’t support us that much. There is so much money in government, but what do they do for indigenous artistes?
No one has ever called me from the government to do anything for Abia people, instead it is the people that call me to come and do something for the state.
I am working on a tour with Mbryo and I think Abia State is one of the places I can go to.
I will bring some artistes from the state on board and give them all exposures I can afford, but I cannot just take Abians and just blow them up.
We have our Commissioners for Tourism, Youths, Arts and Culture, what are they doing for the artistes.
The question of how to help Abia artistes shouldn’t be for me, it should be for the commissioners.
Music in Imo State
It is doing fine and I’ve seen a lot of creativity. But I keep telling artistes that there is nothing like Lagos or Owerri artistes. One doesn’t have to come to Lagos before he can make it. Anyone can make it from Owerri.
A lot of people back then were saying Ruggedman go to USA and I said no. I rather become  a king in my country because one day kings of different countries will meet and I’ll be the one representing my country. This is why I went all the way to make Ruggedman a brand in Nigeria and it got me awards and nominations as well.
Timaya, PSquare and others were never in Lagos, but there music came to Lagos from other parts of the country before they came down to further it.

Mbryo and Ruggedman

Reflex, Ruggedman, Mbryo

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