Aminu Abdul Umar, popularly known as NomisG, is a multi-award-winning Hausa hip-pop artist from Kano. He is also popular as the host of Arewa24’s hip-pop show ‘Zafafa’.
In this interview, the BUK Mass Communication graduate talks about his success as a rapper, TV presenter, among other issues. Excerpts:
- #EndSARS: Oluwo Seeks Inclusion Of Traditional Rulers In Panel Of Inquiry
- We’re Reinventing Northern Nigeria’s Rich Heritage- Director, Arewa House
Weekend Magazine: How early did you develop interest in music and how far would you say you have gone?
NomisG: I believe I started when I was 16 or 18 years old. I wrote and sang and have never stopped since.
I think I have gone far because I have achieved a lot. I have won many awards from the P-Man Nigerian performing artist and MTN Kannywood awards where I was best artiste of the year. There was also the AMA award and several more from Niger Republic, Chad, Ghana, and Cameroon. To cut a long story short, I have worldwide recognition because people are following my show from England, the United States of America, Saudi Arabia and other countries. People are watching my music videos and my show. I think this is a big achievement for me.
WM: Hip-hop is strange to Hausa culture. How were you able to gain acceptance from Hausa audience?
NomisG: To me it isn’t strange, but it may be to others.
But I will agree with you to some extent because about seven to eight years ago we found it difficult to convince people to accept it but now I think everybody has come to embrace hip-hop music because they know it’s for the black people and we are Africans and black.
WM: You have said you were drawn to hip-hop music because it serves as a medium for sending messages to the society. What kind of messages do you send?
NomisG: We use hip-hop music to send messages to society in many ways. I talk about peaceful coexistence and many other issues concerning social life. You can also use a love song to send a message. Hip-hop music can be used to disseminate information. Presently we have many songs talking about the way Nigeria is.
WM: Most times musicians sing for their loved ones, including girlfriends. Do you do the same?
NomisG: Even now I have a song written for my wife, Fatima. It’s a love song and many people love it. But the beginning of my career started with a song for my alma-mata, that is Bayero University Kano, titled ‘BUK town’.
WM: At some point popular artists in the state were having issues with the state censorship board. Can you tell us your experience with them?
NomisG: I never have issues with them because I am not under them. As a hip-hop artist you are supposed to register yourself with CUSON and P-MAN. Once you do this, I think that’s all.
Normally hip-hop artists don’t sing for politicians, insult or tarnish somebody’s image. We are not after that.
WM: What challenges will you say musicians are facing today in Nigeria?
NomisG: Musicians face many challenges and copyright infringement is number one. You may have a song or an album set to be in the market, then people download and you don’t gain anything. I think it’s a big challenge for an artiste like me in Nigeria.
In the south some record labels sign you up and if perchance you didn’t read the contract well enough, they end up using you. At the end of the day you may be getting 20 percent out of what they get. This is what artistes face in Nigeria and everyone knows that. But we don’t have big record labels in the north that can sign artistes. I think any artiste in the northern part of the country is an independent artiste.
WM: So, how do they fare?
NomisG: It’s not easy. They don’t have a sponsor that is why they are independent. It is now that we are making the way for others to come onboard.
WM: Do you think having record labels in the north will be ideal?
NomisG: If northern artistes should have such a platform, they must learn to read their contract thoroughly. They should also get a lawyer and should not rush in signing anything.