It is May, called springtime, the season of newness and regeneration in Europe and North America. Likewise here in Nigeria, it is the season of change, of a new government come May 29. However, for popular music producer, Olumide Ogunade a.k.a. ID Cabasa and his musical goons like 9ice, Olamide, Lord of Ajasa, Ruggedman, Banky W and Don Jazzy, to mention a few, it is a season of reunion! Come Sunday, May 10, 2015 at the prestigious Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, these stars will stage a talk-of-the-town, reunion concert, the Coded Tunes Live-in-Concert themed Our Story. On Thursday, April 30, 2015, ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered ID Cabasa, at the FAB Lounge, Ikeja GRA, Lagos where he opened up on the concert…
To say it in brief, the concert is to showcase all the artistes Coded Tunes ever brought out or that we have worked with. It is also to unveil some of the new ones we have been grooming and working with all the while that many people don’t know about. Also, the concert is meant to be a platform to mend all the lies, rumours and well, some truths about Coded Tunes.
Taking it one after the other, who really are the artistes Coded Tunes have worked with or brought out, and why showcase them now?
The artistes are many. They include 9ice, Olamide, Lord of Ajasa, 2Baba, Banky W, Ruggedman, 2Phat, Jahbless, Reminisce, Kayefi, so many of them. You’ll see them all at the concert. One of the promises of the concert is that it will help the fans of Coded Tunes see how far we have come with our focus in showcasing the beauty and melody of our indigenous music. Most of the artistes I’m talking about are today the champions of our indigenous music and we feel quite honoured to be a part of this noble revolution. I was the first producer to work with Banky W in Nigeria. And you all know our story with 9ice. Olamide’s first album, Rapsodi, was released by Coded Tunes. Coded Tunes is like a great grandfather that gave birth to champions like Alapomeji, YBNL, Otipoju, ati bee bee lo.
Most of the artistes you brought out or worked with are Yoruba. But one of the two you are unveiling now is Igbo. What has changed? Why this new direction?
Yes, there was a time people said Coded Tunes was only signing up Yoruba artistes. But now we have signed on an Igbo artiste. This was not deliberate though. Truth is music is universal and ours is original, indigenous music. Signing on Chineke Boy is a part of our story that indeed, Coded Tunes can work creatively and excellently if it has to do with our indigenous stuff regardless of the language of the artiste. We have to be proud of our indigenous music because that is what music lovers outside of Nigeria love to hear. Nigerians can’t produce and sell American songs or style better than the Americans. That’s the common belief among most or all of us who are going to perform at the Reunion Concert. That’s why we are keeping it real.
Tell us a little about the two new artistes on your label you are unveiling at the concert?
Gaise Baba and Chineke Boy. Gaise Baba is an Afro fusion artiste quite new on our label though not new in the industry. He is Yoruba. His contract with his former label expired and he decided to pitch his tent with us in Coded Tunes. The second, Chineke Boy, is an indigenous fine rapper. He fuses Igbo, English and pidgin into his energetic, easy-flowing brand of rap. As we do with all our artistes, they have undergone and still undergoing training. At the May 10 Reunion Concert, Nigerians will see what wonderful stuff they are made of. And towards the end of this year, we will release their albums separately.
Now, talking about the lies and rumours, which of them are the most regrettable or painful to you?
So many lies and rumours have really gone on the social media. Some said Cabasa has dumped music to become a pastor. Some even said Coded Tunes is defunct in their screaming banner headlines. Rumours of uncountable disputes between Coded Tunes and several artistes. All these baseless rumours are another reason it’s a Reunion Concert so they may see that Coded Tunes is not dead and not in dispute with our artistes and friends who have worked with us. The fact that we don’t get in the media all the time to talk about our works while the works are really going on is the major springboard for these lies and rumours. That I am still responsible at church, especially in the music department is not anything new to those who are really close to me. I’ve been doing that before Coded Tunes began and by the grace of God, I will still do that for as long as I live. Some said it’s the exit of 9ice and Olamide that ended Coded Tunes’ game. They said the dispute between I and 9ice is the major problem. But they never understood that at the right time, these artistes had to move onto their next levels. They cannot be under Coded Tunes forever. For instance, 9ice is not signed onto Coded Tunes as an artiste now though we still work with him. I still work with him. Or can anyone sign on a football club onto another football club? There is Coded Tunes where 9ice was a signed on artiste. Now there is Alapomeji where 9ice has other artistes signed on the label. They never left Coded Tunes or stopped working with us in the manner as circulated. That is why the theme of the concert is so chosen. It’s for us to tell our story. Now, Coded Tunes has been going through restructuring and a new head of business has come on board in the person of Ben who has been doing a great job as the managing director of the entire business end, while I remain the Creative Director and CEO.
Talking of disputes and reunion, will this concert present the reunion of 9ice and Ruggedman, since the two of them are headliners of the concert?
That is beyond my knowledge as I sit with you here now. That I cannot say.
Why is it difficult for the dispute to be settled and for them to reunite?
I’ve really tried a lot. Look, these guys are adults and you have to respect their respective perspectives. Ruggedman and I lived together in Akoka. We both attended UNILAG though he was my junior at the university. He’s still close to me. I and 9ice are also close till date. All those trying to scratch wounds that are already healed, the whole of that episode was full of lies. I’m talking especially about the story of Ruggedman sleeping with Toni Payne. Please, I don’t want us to go there.
Maybe a little…
Do you know that the controversial song was actually Toni Payne’s favourite in that album? I remember one day we all sat together in 9ice’s house and Toni was serving us rice that she personally cooked for us while she listened and danced and sang along with that very song. All these issues are quite deep and emotional. I mean how could 9ice have written such a song about his wife and the wife would love the song so much as her favourite. I mean, the song was not about Toni. 9ice is a very deep and emotional song writer. Naturally his lyrics usually carry heavy weight. I can boldly tell you that 9ice is one of the greatest songwriters in this part of the world. Do you know that the song, Anytime The Rain Is Falling was actually recorded in 9ice’s house? I remember that while I was recording him, at a stage, he wept with tears dropping, talking of how deep and emotional he could be. So, please let us not go again to this matter.
If eventually this Reunion Concert cannot reunite these two friends of yours who are headliners of the concert, would you say the concert failed in that aspect?
No! This concert is already a success. This concert is not headlined by any individual artiste. It is being headlined by Coded Tunes alongside our artistes and friends. It is not basically about 9ice and Ruggedman alone.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt from this whole saga?
That is not to allow gaps or serious break in the communication between you and those you are very close to. Such gaps allow unnecessary and avoidable hazards that may eventually degenerate the breakage into a complete wreckage. The lesson is that even when there are disputes among people who are meant to be close, the disputes should not be allowed to degenerate into disaster before they are resolved. They should be dealt with immediately.