A-list comedian, Basketmouth is outstanding for his masterpieces on stage as he delivers his comedy lines but now his teeming fans are in for a surprise as the dreadlocked humour merchant says he is equally good as a rapper.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to him in the United Kingdom, where he is preparing for his latest comedy show.
How true is it that you have a rap song?
Yes, it is true.
Tell us more about it.
It is a single entitled, Where you dey? I really can’t say what inspired the song, maybe it was the beat, Sarz, the producer killed that beat. Anyway, we were in the studio that night, Eldee and Wizkid started playing around with it and before we knew what was going on, the hook and the song was given birth to. Myself and my elder brother then came on board to take our piece of the action.
Why your incursion into music?
The part of me most people don’t know is that I was into rap music five years before I started comedy. I have been into rap music for 17 years today, but rap music was my passion and comedy is my life. I had to choose one at a point and comedy was my choice but it wasn’t my first love. Back then the acceptance of rap music was low so it was an easy choice. So, this is no incursion, this is just an unfinished journey I started 17 years ago.
Is this your first formal attempt?
It is not my first attempt, we did songs with Faze of Plantashun Boyz and Darey Art Alade, those singles never came out but it should be out now that I have taken the bold step to do this. Quite frankly, I have been a little selfish with the whole rap thing as I have been delaying most of our effort due to the fact that I didn’t want to mislead the followers I had built myself over time in comedy. Anyway, we can say it is my first attempt taking it this far.
Do you intend to juxtapose music with comedy?
The truth is I really don’t know what will become of what I am trying to do. 17 years ago, myself, Godwin (my elder brother), Dominic Umeri, Emeka Morka, Fred, Kenneth Oliver Tutu, formed a group called The Psychopaths, barely three years after we were separated by university admissions. Our dream was to become one of the tightest rap groups in Nigeria and beyond. That dream still lives in each and every one of us. There is a possibility that both talents will eventually run side by side, but for now, comedy is still my driving force. It is my way of life and I don’t see anything taking over that part of me for now.
We all know of your standard in comedy, how do you think you would perform in music?
I don’t see me going on stage as a rap artist, so I can’t say or imagine what it will be for me on stage as a rapper. But when push comes to shove, I guess I will have to bring out the me I left in box 12 years ago.
Who are your idols in music in Nigeria and outside?
I don’t have an idol in the Nigerian rap genre but I have people I admire. The likes of Ice Prince, MI, Modenine, Jesse Jagz, Terry da Rapman, OD and Eldee de Don. I love their works and I would love to work with them.
Do you write your lyrics?
Yes, I write my own lyrics.
Are you signed on any record label?
I am not signed to a record label and I won’t be signed to any. I intend to start my own record label in three months, Barons World Records, and I don’t know if it is normal for someone to sign himself but if it’s okay, well that means I will be signed by my own record label.
How soon do you intend to go public with your new song?
The first single will be launched in February 2012 and more will be released accordingly.
We heard you are in the United Kingdom, what is going on there?
I am putting up my annual event, this year’s event is tagged, The Nigerian Kings of Comedy Live at the Indigo2, featuring I go Dye, Bovi, Buchi, Senator I go Save, Dan d Humorous, Davido and Flavour. I will be the host of the show as well. The show is in two weeks and it is probably going to be one of the biggest I have done in the UK, this is why I am here to make sure everything is put in place and also tidy up the loose ends with publicity and administration.
How can you describe the acceptance of Nigerian entertainment in the UK?
Comedy and good music are extremely universal. The Nigerian entertainment has managed to sustain and improve on its elements and substance and that’s why our form of art has managed to break into the UK social scene. Wizkid had a concert at the HMV Apollo, a 5,000 capacity venue and it was packed to capacity with not just Africans but beyond. I have been invited to feature at the Choice FM comedy club which is predominantly British and I was well accepted. If there is one thing that has managed to save the Nigerian image abroad, it is our art/entertainment strength and uniqueness. So, I would say that the Nigerian entertainment is well accepted in the UK.
Would you say being multi-talented is the surest way to breakthrough in Nigerian entertainment industry?
Being talented alone works, being multi-talented is a bonus. If played out well your breakthrough is 100 per cent guaranteed.
Which music artists have you worked with and which ones do you intend to work with?
I have worked with Eldee and Wizkid which is the single we are launching this month. In the past like I said earlier, I have worked with Dare and Faze. I and my brother (D ODDZ), that is the name of our group, an affiliate of the Psychopaths, will do a remix of the songs we did with Dare and Faze soon. In the coming album which will be released in April, it will feature Timaya, 2Face, MI, Flavour, Ice Prince, Brymo, Jesse Jagz and Davido. Let’s say it’s a star packed album, reason why we are doing this is because over the years, we have listened to these talented artists and we feel the urge to marry their strength and talents with ours to come out with a good song.
What other things are we likely to see Basketmouth do in the future?
I am not sure what I will or will not come up with in the future. I will maintain my randomness and spontaneity in my plans and actions, it is more fun.
- ABIODUN YAKUBU
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, January 17, 2012