Blaqbonez: Nigeria's Maverick Sex-Evangelist
For years, rapper Blaqbonez made it his mission to convince Africa that mixing quirky humor and great music can power an artist to stardom. He's finally succeeding at it.
“How far bro!” The last time I had a conversation with Blaqbonez in 2020, it was under different circumstances. He lived in a smaller apartment. He was considered an ‘emerging’ artist. His constant promotional comic skits polarized viewers on social media. His quirky brand of humor threatened to eclipse his art. His music was just breaking through, and the Nigerian public didn’t know what to do with his unique brand of creativity and viral marketing.
This time, things are different. His duplex home—tucked in a posh estate in the pricy Lekki suburbs—has staircases that run high into multiple bedrooms. A Mercedes Benz E350 and Lexus cars wait just outside his front door, in the parking lot. On social media, he has become hypervisible, receiving plaudits as a bastion of art, humor and creativity. The previous polarization has progressed to acceptance. Each formerly-pesky skit now elicit genuine laughter and comments from fans who declare Blaqbonez to be “crazy,” rather than desperate. His music now has demonstrable major record label support from Warner Music. Apple Music foregrounds his art and story. Spotify shows him love. His artistry as a rapper and singer is now duly recognized for it’s intrinsic quality, and not lumped as an afterthought to his quirky humor.
“I’ve grown bro,” he tells me. “Now, if I create 5000 pieces of content, it's like this guy is just a marketing genius. He's promoting. It's not like, please. Before, every time I post content most of the comments are, 'please stream. Help this guy.’ But now, the content is more of 'this guy is crazy,' because now you can see the results. So without that DSP support, no matter how dope "Sex Over Love" is, I would not have half of where I am right now on the charts. So that was difficult for me. very difficult,” he tells me, in his expansive living room.
But growth has not changed the core of Blaqbonez. If anything, it’s amplified his personality. Born Emeka Akumefule, Blaqbonez has distinguished himself as a music maverick. A former hardcore battle rapper who joined Hip-hop in protest of weak songwriting, he’s spent years transitioning into a hybrid pop artist with a flair for weaving witty narratives in his records. Signed to Chocolate City—a legacy record label with affiliations to Warner Music—the rapper’s found a functional intersection between art and humor. He’s been playing this hand with skits designed to inspire laughter, as well as promote his records. He says he discovered it by accident and has never looked back.
Blaqbonez’s hold on Nigerian music originates from his self-marketing prowess. Obsessed with manipulating public perception, he’s designed a process of constant creative pursuits to sell his music and advance his brand. These ideas are often outlandish and delivered across platforms for effect. In the build up to the release of his debut album, Sex Over Love, the rapper crafted an elaborate plan to push every song on his album. Blaqbonez drafted in friends, colleagues, enemies, animals and haters, providing them roles in his grand marketing plan. Celebrity friends musicians—Joeboy, Fireboy and Cheque—have appeared in promo skits to push tracks off of the album. Blaqbonez has ceremoniously changed his hairdo in a music video, travelled with a live cock for promo tour, walked long miles in protest for a higher music chart placement, and comically slagged lovers who used his music to soundtrack romantic PDAs.
Why? Sex Over Love isn’t an album for lovers. It is protest art against society’s fixation on love and monogamy. Life, according to Blaqbonez, is to be dedicated to hedonism, and centering the pursuit of coital pleasure over sentimental attachments. “I think generally, we all pick sex over love, whether we like it or not. Whether we know it or not. Let me say you and a girl are in a relationship. You guys have been having sex. You guys love each other, right? If love was so much of a strong factor, if we remove sex completely from the relationship, do you think you can take love and just carry it forever?” he asks.
A line in ‘Okwaraji,’ a popular track on the album answers this question. “Why I go dey chase person? When any day, she fit dey with another person,” he sings over lush production. It’s a guiding principle, refined by years of heartbreak and reflection. “People used to tell me I'd find love one day,” he recalls. “They've been telling me this thing since. It just doesn’t work for me. My longest relationship was two months, and those two months was just me not trying to hurt the next person. So I realised after two weeks that this thing is not meant for me. I was just waiting for a good time to dissolve everything. The thing is, even those two times I've been in a relationship, I showed them so much love. like my ex - one of them. She’s coming to stay with me for the weekend sef.”
This messaging has caught on, powering the album to chart success. Sex Over Love has topped every local chart, with lead single, ‘Bling’ already a hit. Other songs including ‘Fendi’ and ‘Don’t Touch’ cracked the Top 20 most listened Nigerian songs on Apple Music. “But asides numbers, something that's very important for the ‘four steps’ thing is cultural impact,” he says. “When I dropped, the fact that so many big guys were posting my project, it means that I've entered a certain space where I'm now important to the culture or something. I'm now the new guy that you should show love to. So like for Wiz, Burna, Phyno, Don Jazzy. I can't even name names 'cause I was barely checking my phone like that. I just saw everybody.”
Blaqbonez says he intends to create a marketing company in the future to provide marketing services to musicians. We talk for hours, about his journey, unique trajectory, and insights into his creative process. As we speak, he occasionally dips bread into a bowl of stew, eating between spell of conversation. Strategy has brought him here. Leveraging on his personality has given him a life, status, and financial benefits. And now, he’s focused on global domination.
Why is it important that you get virality going?
So sometimes streams doesn’t lead to a song blowing. Sometimes, what's important is people being familiar. It might not work today but it will work another day. Let's say you don’t go and stream it today. But you've heard the song on his page. Maybe two days later the song will just come to your mouth, and then you can stream it that day. Or you just singing it would influence somebody else to stream it. Or let's say you want to post a story and you're looking for a song to use. Because you've heard it somewhere, you'd probably use that. And then it influences somebody else to stream. So it's not a direct conversion but it still is worth something. Because also, the illusion of a hit song is important. The feeling that you go here, you hear the song. You go here, you hear the song. So it kind of does that. I've not had a video since March last year. So now, if you go on TV you hear me. If you go on the radio you hear me. If you go on social media you hear me.
Why did you change to this particular look?
I knew I had to change my hair 'cause the pink dye was eating my dreads. My dreads were already very weak. So I knew I had to change it. But then, I decided to change it to when it can fit into my rollout, instead of just changing the hair. I made sure I changed it so it seems like ‘new album, new me.’
You've dropped projects before. What has been different about this one?
One thing that's very important for me is: this one has the same feeling when I dropped "Bad Boy Blaq.”
What’s that feeling?
The feeling of moving forward. In between "Bad Boy Blaq," I dropped "Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up.” I've dropped "Mr Boombastic.” But I did not feel like I've moved forward heavily in that moment.
The growth was horizontal?
Let's say I'm here right? "Bad Boy Blaq,” the moment it dropped, I could feel the eyes of the whole industry kind of like...As at that time I didn’t know any OAPs, I didn’t know anybody. I was just a random guy. People started fucking with me. It was major for me because I could feel like, 'oh my God, dropping with M.I and everything.’ I could feel the growth in that moment. It was my first time on any chart. So when I dropped "Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up," I had already been on the charts. It was the first number one, but the movement wasn’t as iconic to me. I didn’t feel like I was here, and I was boosted to like the next level.
It was a step in the journey. "Bad Boy Blaq" felt like four steps. "Mr Boombastic" also. Dropping 'Shut Up' was a major step. But when I dropped "Mr Boombastic" EP, I was so focused on having a hit song that I didn’t promote the "Mr Boombastic" EP. I only promoted 'Shut Up.’ All my mind was: I wanted this 'Shut Up' song to blow up. So I didn’t let "Mr Boombastic" do what it was supposed to do. So I didn’t feel like I moved forward. I wouldn’t say ‘move forward,’ but I didn’t feel like I took four steps.
Yes, major leap. It was just maybe I took one step forward.
Did 'Shut Up' perform to the expectations you had of it?
When you say you were chasing a hit at the cost of promoting an entire body of work, what does that mean?
It means I asked myself; what would I rather have? An EP that everybody says is one of the best stuff? Or one song that when I perform this song, it shuts down everywhere? At that moment, I cared more about having that one song.
Because I feel like people would call you for shows, and you'd make so much money off of one song. It's hard to win an argument if people cannot mention your song that everybody knows.
'Blaqbonez is fire'.
'Which song e get?'
'Go and hear the Boombastic EP'.
It's not going to get you the recognition that you need in my opinion. So I thought all I need, is to be able to go anywhere in Nigeria for any show. And step on stage and perform one song that I know that people would sing. That everybody would sing it in that space. That was my priority.
And we can track your growth from the last time we had a conversation to this point. How does it feel to be successful? Do you feel justified or vindicated in showing the world this quirky artistry?
So it was never really a situation of being justified or vindicated for me. It was just me enjoying myself. I never felt like, 'oh, you said I should stop but look at the results.' I never cared for anybody that said I should stop, so I never thought about it in that way. I had my own goals; I want 'Haba' to blow up, I'm going to do everything in my power to make it happen. So after I had 'Shut Up' right, that did well. I was like, ‘I don't want to be a one-hit-wonder.’ I don’t like it when artists have to go perform their old songs as the only song that the crowd would really get hyped for. Loose (Kaynon) used to say one thing: You know you have a successful year when you close your show with the song you dropped in that year. So I wanted to make sure that this 'Haba' song, I must be able to step on stage and perform this song, and not feel like 'Shut Up' is the only reason I'm on stage. So every day I wake up, I'm like, ‘what can I do today to make this song move forward?’ And I just kept doing it.
This is pretty much second nature to you. When you're about to drop a record, what elements do you consider when marketing, pushing the record and creating content? What guides you?
I feel like my subconscious is very strong. I feel like something is working without me knowing. So it formulates these things, then it's dropped in my head. Then I just write it down. So it's not really a thing of me thinking too much on some particular things. These things formulate themselves before I even have to think about it. All I do is just write it down. So at every time, I have a bunch of things I can possibly do. I've already written all of them down. So if I wake up and I feel like I have to post something today, I have a list of things that I can pick from.
How does that fit into your record label plans?
They have their plans, but their plans are all orthodox. They are all normal. Like every label would have. Like distribution, DSPs, we need to get positioning here and there. We need to get radio plays. They are the normal plans everybody would have. So if they say we are supposed to post this on so so day, I would find a way because I'm the one that's posting. So I'd know I'm posting this in the morning, so I have content for the morning. So I post that and post whatever I want to post at a different time. So I just try to arrange everything and position everything right. So it aligns, because it's not like they are sitting there creating unorthodox ideas like that. Everybody just does the normal stuff, so it barely clashes.
Do you really believe in sex over love?
I think generally, we all pick sex over love, whether we like it or not. Whether we know it or not. Let me say you and a girl are in a relationship. You guys have been having sex. You guys love each other, right? If love was so much of a strong factor, if we remove sex completely from the relationship, do you think you can take love and just carry it forever?
Of course not.
That's why I feel like, if at worst—worst-case scenario—sex is as important as love, because without the sex, you are not going to carry on for long. And then why I now feel like sex over love, is the fact that cheating is such a big thing right now. It happens regularly. Cheating simply means that you chose sex over the person that you love. It means, so many people, more people are choosing sex over love. But they would not care to accept that fact. That even though this love that you said you have for this person, you’re still chasing sex.
Asides, even people that eventually cheat, unlike us celebrities, that maybe it's easier to get babes. We get babes, easily. The normal man, I feel like if they could get babes as easy, they would all be cheating even way more. Because so many people in relationships are supposedly loyal because cheating is a little bit difficult. Because the work it takes for them to get a babe is so much that they don’t even bother. Maybe they have to chat chat chat chat. They have to call call call. So at the end of the day, they just stay with their babe. Or sometimes a lot of these guys even get into relationships because they need somebody that they can constantly be having sex with whenever they feel like. So I feel like a lot of times, the people that are supposedly loyal and everything is probably because of lack of opportunities. And some other people, it's just stress for them generally. They always say the most loyal people statistics-wise are the elderly people. From like 40, 50 years. Those are the men that would not really cheat on you because generally, they are tired. So I personally think people choose sex over love every day. Every small decision. But nobody would say it with their chest. That's what I think.
Why’s there an aversion to not stating it as plainly as you've done? Why wouldn’t people use their chest to say it?
Because of movies. I don't know if it's movies that shaped society or it just looks like this is how it's supposed to be. So if you come out to say it with your chest, people might look at you like you're crazy or you're talking nonsense. So people just go with the flow of society. Okay, you're supposed to find one babe, marry. If you don't do that you're going to be lonely at the end of your life. So that message has been passed across so many people are thinking, 'ha, if I don't marry by this age.’ A girl is finishing school, her main priority is getting married because society, your friends are getting married. Sometimes you're not even doing it for love or doing it for what not. Society has taught us so many of these things that we just carry them along and move forward without questioning.
Even when you question it, you feel like people would still laugh at you. I feel like sometimes, a woman no matter how successful you are in life, with all your money and everything, a poor person can still look down on you because you're not married. So all these things, people would not say it with their chest because of how people would look at them. But me, I don't care. I feel like I've seen enough for me to make my own decision.
You've had some opposition to preaching this sex gospel.
Yeah, a lot.
What forms do they take?
So when I say sex over love is our natural nature, that's how human beings are created. They would now say that we as human beings should be able to control all our impulses. And if you choose somebody, you should be able to work towards being dedicated to that person. That exclusivity is a choice. If you love the person enough, you should be able to be exclusive to the person. And a lot of things like that that they say. That love is a beautiful thing blah blah blah and all this stuff.
For me, I’d rather not spend my whole life fighting nature right? I'd rather not try to get married to one person and say for 50 years or whatnot, I'm going to be fighting everyday impulses. Like every time I see a fine babe on IG, I'm fighting like, let me not send a dm. Every day. Do you know the work it takes to be able to do that for the rest of your life? Like 50 years, 100. Why should I spend my whole life fighting nature?
Some people would say that the benefits of monogamy...
What's the benefit?
You already mentioned earlier. You said companionship.
So you don’t have companions if you are not in a relationship? As I am in this house and I live with Morin and DJ Xquisite, is that not companionship?
Yes it is. But there's certain companionship types that...
I don't think there's any girl that can be in a relationship with me, and be closer to me than Morin and Xquisite. How do you want to do it? Are you going to move in here? The only chance is moving in here. Anything else, you cannot be closer to me than these two people. But when people are in relationships, they almost always believe that automatically, they are the closest person in your life. It can't be. You cannot force yourself into a circle. I always wonder how people come from nowhere and try to create those kinds of situations. When we know at the back of our minds, most of the time, these other people will still be there. And this new person will come and go. Many new people will come and go. So every time, I'm changing my priorities. E no make sense.
Have you always been like this?
Yes. People used to tell me I'd find love one day. They've been telling me this thing since. It just doesn’t work for me. My longest relationship was two months, and those two months was just me not trying to hurt the next person. So I realised after two weeks that this thing is not meant for me. I was just waiting for a good time to dissolve everything. The thing is, even those two times I've been in a relationship, I showed them so much love. like my ex - one of them. She’s coming to stay with me for the weekend sef. I’m a good person to everybody because I would tell you my truth. I'm not going to lie to you and I would always be there for you. Break up or not. If you need anything you can call me. I would be there, available.
But I cannot give you and you alone what you're asking for. That's my bone of contention. Love should be a thing that can be spread around easily. A parent can love their children even if they are eight or ten. You can love your husband, you can love your colleague. You can love so many people at once. Girls would fight that, ‘don't be talking to this female friend.’ This female friend that was my friend before you came, all of a sudden... A lot of these things don't make sense to me and I cannot uphold them. So I'd rather not be in any relationship than somebody telling me to check my phone or something like that.
That puts you at odds with society. How does this view play out in familial spaces? Like you've got a mother. She would want to see...
My mum didn’t get married, so she can’t tell me anything about that. So anytime she brings it up, I'd say 'you didn’t get married'. So it's simple. That conversation is easy. For my aunt and every other person, I'm too grown and too big to have to worry about those conversations. This is not 1942 when one old person would sit me down and say, ‘ýou must bring us a wife soon'. So any conversation, I just dead it, two seconds. I don't have time.
Certain records on the album that have a lot of energy, like 'Okwaraji.’
That's my favourite song.
I think it's my favourite too. What was 'Okwaraji'?
'Okwaraji' was just me. Before I realised myself, I used to try to be like the way society wanted me to be, and it hurt me in a way. I thought I could own people or control people like the way society expects. Like when you have a girlfriend, the girlfriend is your property now. Like a girl would be chatting with you and say that I'm somebody's property o. Do you feel me? So I tried those things and it just doesn’t work for me. It puts me in a very terrible space where I feel like the world is closing on me so sharply, when I attempt those things. The funny thing is, those babes I mentioned in those stories in the song, I can’t remember what happened. It's been so long ago. But I know that it was a bad experience. But I try to remember, what really happened between me and these people? But I can't. My memory is terrible. But I knew those were bad experiences that shaped me that brought me into my life.
It's the same thing that I say about normal people. For normal people, maybe getting sex and all these things is a lot of work. So I feel like you don't even know your true self. If you know that your chances of getting babes, you only have the chance to get one. You’ll now dedicate all your time and energy on this one. So they might look at you as a loyal person. But you just know that ‘this is really my only chance, so I'm just going to put my all in this chance.’ I think that was the situation. And when you put your all and maybe the person just plays on your.. I think I remember. I used to have money, I think. I used to spend my feeding money or something. I don’t know which of them, I have no idea. But I think it has something to do with money or was I popular? I honestly can't remember. This is over ten years ago that we're talking about. Those girls that I gave energy to, I realised it was not worth it. It was a waste of my time.
So what does love represent to you?
Love is undiluted. Love is what you have for every human being. Love your neighbour as yourself. That's what love is to me. Nobody is going to outrank anybody. Like as you're entering, I'm going to treat you with basic human decency. I'm not one of those guys that when you need something, I would not be there. I'd be there for you. I give it to everybody. I'm available for that. But you can't be the only person that gets that from me.
Imagine a world where everyone subscribes to your proposed way. What do you think of that kind of society? How do you think it would operate?
So at that moment, it would be like the LGBT community. Your sexuality is now accepted. I'm gay. Simple. I'm transgender. Simple. So you just say it and it's accepted. So I believe in the future it would be, 'are you monogamous?' 'No, I'm polygamous.’ 'Oh cool. I don't want a polygamous person'. Do you understand? It's going to be a simple conversation. Nobody is going to judge you for being a polygamous person. Polygamous people are going to link with polygamous people. Monogamous people are going to link with monogamous people.
While creating the project, what guided your sound?
My goal every time I'm trying to work on something is PARTYNEXTDOOR, Drake. Those are my major inspirations. And PARTYNEXTDOOR once said that he has to feel like the moment you play that song from whatever, you should be able to feel like this is this It should be distinct to a certain level. So anytime I'm going forward, I'm thinking, how is this different from the second one? So I'm thinking, what can I evolve into? I'm in the studio trying all sorts of sounds. I'm just recording in different ways until I find the way that I want to go forward with. So that's how. And one thing is, I never thought I could sing at all before "Bad Boy Blaq.” I didn’t think I could sing at all. I used to just rap. So the moment I discovered I had a decent singing voice, I now started feeling like why stop there? Maybe there are so many more things that I can do. I would never know until I try them. So that's how I keep unlocking different things and it's almost like there's no style that I can't do. Eventually, I might be making rock music or something. I don't know.
When you go into all these projects, what does success mean to you?
I set goals before releasing. for instance, one reason I know "Sex Over Love" is successful is at least for the one week that it's been out, I've smashed every goal that I set for myself. Asides even the numbers. Before "Sex Over Love," I had not had a top 10 song. Now, on the first day I had three songs in the top ten. Right now 'Bling' is number 2, 'Fendi' is number 7. So numbers-wise, I've done what I wanted to do there. But asides numbers, something that's very important for the ‘four steps’ thing is cultural impact. When I dropped, the fact that so many big guys were posting my project, it means that I've entered a certain space where I'm now important to the culture or something. I'm now the new guy that you should show love to. So like for Wiz, Burna, Phyno, Don Jazzy. I can't even name names 'cause I was barely checking my phone like that. I just saw everybody, the Broda Shaggis.
These are people that I look at them like they are not Alte. They are not underground. They are not people that only a certain group of people know. These names are household names everywhere. These are legends. So I wanted to drop and have those people recognise the music. I didn’t just want to drop it and it's only the young kids excited about my music. I just wanted that feeling of, ‘Welcome. You've done well.’ So that happening just made me know that I've moved. Like the same "Bad Boy Blaq" feeling. This year, in the last three months, everybody can feel that Blaqbonez is so much bigger than he was last year. You can feel it. Whether you check the chart or you check anything, you just know that Blaqbonez has become so much bigger. That's the feeling that I've been looking for. That's why I took so long to work on the project. I did everything to make sure that that feeling must not be missing.
What's the big picture goal when you create your marketing plans?
You see Don Jazzy right? Don Jazzy is so big that when you create content to support his music, you get more for supporting his music than he gets for you supporting his music. It's like you can make content for Don Jazzy. If Don Jazzy posts it, it most likely does more numbers on his page than you. So you get followership, you get all these things. I want to become that person on social media, that I don’t need to ask for favours too much. I don’t need to beg in private. I need you to feel like there's something for you to get by supporting my music. I want you to feel like, ‘if I support Blaqbonez music, people are going to love me for it. Blaqbonez is going to love me for it. And I want Blaqbonez to love me and fuck with me.’ So social media-wise, that's my goal. That's my bigger picture on the backend. Also, I won’t be an artist forever. So I want to set it up so that I can say, ‘this is a new artist,’ and everybody is going to gravitate to this new artist because Blaqbonez said this is a new artist.
How does your friendship with Fireboy, Oxlade, Cheque power the music? How does having that community support your art?
I think it gives you this sort of confidence that there are people behind you and there are people who won't let you fall. Like I know that the worst-case scenario, I have my bro Fireboy, I have my bro Cheque, I have my bro Oxlade. I have all these people that would always just be there for me. If I drop something I know if nobody posts it, these people would post it. If I feel like my career needs a feature that would...it's almost impossible for all these names you just mentioned for all of us to be dead at the same time. There would always be one of us that would be hot, and would be able to carry the next person. Those are real friendships. I don't have real friendships with a lot of people in the industry. I just have the ones that we came up with together. And those ones, I just know that because of these people around me, I'm going to survive somehow. I'm going to be here.
In a manner of speaking, they are also an insurance?
Kind of. Yeah. And asides that, musically, before I release music they are the ones that make me know that this is the right song to put out. It's very important. If my guys have said this is fire, then this is fire. I don’t care what any human being tells me. Because those are my guys from way back. Like if 1000 people say this is fire and Cheque says it's not fire, then it's not fire. That's how my mind reasons. Because those 1000 people can lie. They don't really know me like that. They are just going to say what they should say. If you look at my run, music-wise, I've dropped dope jams back to back. From 'Shut Up', 'Haba', to 'BBC' to 'Bling', now to the project. Because every time before it comes out, the amount of times that me and my guys go back and forth to pick a song that we drop. I don’t just wake up and say this is the song that I like. I want this one to come out. No. My guys have to feel like this song is a jam before it comes out.
This is really valuable. We are in an industry where it's hard to find real relationships.
You have to use the relationships that came organically. That came before the fame.
You're a celebrity now. How has this success affected you as a person? What has changed within you? What have you learned?
Hmmmm. Honestly, I still feel like I'm still the same guy. So because I have specific goals, one of my most important goals is to have a smash hit. So until I have it. You know there are some songs nobody is going to argue with you. Like 'Infinity', there's no sane person that would tell you that it's not a hit song. So that has been one of my profound goals. and until I get that, I still feel like I'm an upcoming or I'm not a celebrity or whatnot. That's very important to me. So I still feel like I'm the same guy. If I would say I've learnt something, it's you're really only as good as your last song. That's the way everybody looks at things. People would try to ride your wave in that moment, and when you don’t have a wave to ride, they are going to be somewhere else. So at least, I learnt that really early because I remember when I dropped "Bad Boy Blaq." In that moment, so many people were dm-ing me blah blah blah. Then after some months, it seemed like all those people were nowhere to be found. Then I dropped 'Best Rapper In Africa' and 'Shut Up' and it now seemed these people reappeared again. That kind of thing.
It's a pattern. Why does the industry move like that?
It's business. That's what I see it as. I don’t concern myself with emotional reaction to it. It's business. 'Oh, this guys is hot. if I'm with him, I get clout points. Or if I feature this person on a song, the song would most likely do numbers.' I don't know if people are thinking about it like that. That this guy no dey hot, he no go be my guy. I think they are thinking about it business-wise. What is this guy bringing to the table? Featuring this guy, what would it do for me? But me personally, I avoid everybody. I'm funny, I'm lively, I support everybody, but I don't involve myself in anybody personally. Because I know you would not be there for long most likely, if anything happens to me. So I just keep the same guys that I came up with and those are the people that I'm fucking with.
Between "Bad Boy Blaq" and now, what has been the most challenging?
I think the one thing I found very hard was getting DSP support. That was hard because for some reason, maybe I would have blown up long before now if I got DSP support. These guys literally control everything that you see. Somebody comes and celebrates his 1 million streams or 2 million on so so platform. All these things, everybody on the internet thinks 'yaay, fans love this guy.’ But 65% of everybody's streams comes from DSPs placing you in the right place. So all this while when I had "Mr Boombastic", "Bad Boy Blaq", "Bad Boy Baq Re-Up", I didn’t get any support from these platforms. So it was difficult for me to get to where I wanted to get to early enough.
Imagine 'Haba' when #StreamHaba was everywhere destroying the whole country, I didn’t get DSP support. So everything I had to do was organic and I had to hustle hustle hustle. That shit was eating me up because I knew that if 'Haba' got to number 20 without DSP and DSP support makes for 65%, imagine what would have happened if I got support for 'Haba'. Same thing that happened with ‘BBC’ too. So all those things drove me crazy. But this year, I made a point, I told my label that I found a guy that does this shit that is dope. He knows how to handle this shit. I'm like, if you people don't hire this guy, I'm not dropping music. You have to bring this guy on board. When I make content now, it slaps a little more. It's nicer knowing that I'm number one on the charts and number two. Imagine Burna creating content. It's not like a struggling guy. The content doesn’t look like I'm struggling. It looks like somebody that just wants to genuinely push his music in a happy way. So the narrative has changed.
You're no longer perceived as desperate.
So if I create 5000 content, it's like this guy is just a marketing genius. He's promoting. It's not like, please. Before, every time I post content most of the comments are, 'please stream. Help this guy.’ But now, the content is more of 'this guy is crazy,' because now you can see the results. So without that DSP support, no matter how dope "Sex Over Love" is, I would not have half of where I am right now on the charts. So that was difficult for me. very difficult.
That’s behind you now. You're on an upward trajectory.
It feels good o. It finally feels like genuinely, I can take it to any level. I'm at the point where after this album, any song I drop is expected to just go up the charts really quick. Now I can sit back and plan, and take everything that there is to take. Now everything is on me. No more no DSP support, or fans or no money or what else people can suffer for. I have everything. I feel like I've sorted out everything. There's a willing fanbase, there's DSP support. There's money to promote. So everything now is on me. How far can I take this music thing to? I can take it really far. I think so.
At this point what's most important to you?
Right now, I have big goals mentally. But I always try to not overthink and go too far. This moment, what is most important to me is getting 'Bling' to number one and having my smash hit. That's the elusive smash hit that I need. That's what's most important to me. Because there's something about a smash hit that it just takes you. These days, when you have a smash hit in Nigeria, it translates to many countries. UK, US, all these places. So what's most important to me right now as you're speaking to me is getting 'Bling' to smash. But I'm not trying to make the same "Mr Boombastic" mistake of focusing on 'Shut Up'. So for everything I do for 'Bling', I have to do something for the other songs.