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Research led me to hip-hop music – Lecturer

Can you give a brief introduction of your background? I am known as ‘The Theorist’. It is a name given to me by my students…

Can you give a brief introduction of your background?
I am known as ‘The Theorist’. It is a name given to me by my students based on the fact that we propound theories in class. I had my primary education in Oyo State and my secondary school in Ilorin. I had my first and second degrees at the University of Ilorin. I equally have my doctoral degree in view. I have been an inventor.

How did the journey of music in your life started?
I love to engage into impossibilities. Actually what brings about the issue of hip-hop music was as result of one of the researches I was actually conducting on hip-hop and fuji artists and from there I discovered a lot of gaps in the literature. And given the trend of things at the University of Ilorin, I discovered there has not been a lecturer that happens to be hip-hop artist and even in Africa. I discovered that there is always theory in practice and practice in theory. I notice that this is an area that is trending and we are having issues with our youth in that very area. So if I do a research that actually pointed into a particular gap, then I think it is better to engage that gap practically. So that informed the idea of hip-hop music in the first instance. This is another signal to the whole public that being a musician does not mean you cannot go to school and that going to school does not mean you cannot exhibit your talent. So you can actually have both.

Are you now saying is only research that led you to singing, what about the talent?
I have the talent right from the onset, but I have never seen myself singing. When I saw the opportunity, I try to exercise my potential. I can sing very well. You need to understand that what actually informs a good lyric is good education. If you have good education even if you want to sing, is going to be in form of slang at least that education will still guide you. Singing could come in diverse forms; it could be for love, it could be for the happenings in the society, it could be for advice and so on. But the most important thing is that it is for public consumption and guided by education.

Has any of your family member gone into music before or could it be just talent?
My parents don’t even know how to sing at all. I grew up a ghetto person in the Saw Mill area of Ilorin. Of course, while growing up, we used to have singing competitions from one junction to the other. I participated. I used to wake people up during Ramadan. From there I think the idea actually generated.

Why do some of the great fuji musicians start from waking people during Ramadan just like you stated and why hip-hop and not Islamic music or any other type?
Personally, I don’t dislike any genre of music. It is a thing of interest. I so much love the hip-hop genre of music, but another thing is that while I was researching, I discovered that the fuji artists are always at the receiving end. I don’t know why. People hardly delve into that area and become successful. Incidentally, these fuji musicians have good lyrics but may be because of the way that genre of music sprouted or the lyrics are constructed. Unlike the fuji artists that’ll sing from night till early morning. Another thing is that hip-hop is working with the trend of modernism while the fuji is still in line with the traditionalism. Therefore, people like me being an academic have to do what is convenient for me. I chose hip-hop genre because I can easily pass my message across to the people and get it right. As far as the school rule is concerned, we are entitled to extra curriculum and community services.

As a budding hip-hop artist, what is your unique selling point?
If you remove education from anything, there will be an issue. The way some of these artistes manage their home fronts is because education is lacking. I am not saying they are not educated but the education might not have been properly applied. What will make the difference is that I am representing a crafted and initiated brand. Which means it is another school of thought; a philosophy which others will follow in terms of the choice of lyrics. I am not saying I will not collaborate with other musicians, but the language of the lyrics and import of the message must be very clear. So that brand is another school of thought that is going to be unique.

Can the music take over your academic work?
What actually brought about this is because of my ability to go into different researches and researches into the impossibilities; therefore, I cannot leave education. But we need to understand one thing that in the academic, we have right to sabbatical and leave of absence, fellowship and the rest of that. The problem of the academics is that we dwell on theories. I think it is about time now that we show action. Many of our professors of the performing arts at the University of Ilorin are making millions of Naira through their performance. If I make it big today, I can even be a very good source to my own university and state and to my country; because music is intercontinental. Through this, I’ll be able to empower people through employment generation.

Don’t you think lecturing and music are two separate professions and one may suffer for the other?
Combining academic with music is not easy. The truth is that there is a broad demarcation between talent and being educated. That is why people are making it through their talent without education. Academically, there is an approved pattern of programme. But at least, come what may, academic first because that is the background, but I will always follow legal means before going out for any concert or activity that coincide with my academic calendar. I had been given permission before to visit countries to present papers and so on. So, when the time comes for this too, being an inventor in this line, I will seek for permission.

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