Monday, 18 May 2009

My name is … I-k-e-e-e-e Chukwu

HE might not be the most loved hip-hop artiste in the country, but he is certainly one of its most popular. For many, Ikechukwu is one of the finest things to happen to the industry. Weeks after the release of his second album, which has left many of his critics dumbfounded, he opened up to the Young & Nigerian crew on his music, style, among other issues.
Your second album took a long time to come out, could it be because of the reception the first album got?
First and foremost, I am the leader of WFA (World Famous Akademy) and since we operate as a unit, it is not in my best interest, but that of the brand to push the album as a whole. Secondly, we needed to do some work from the first album since a lot of people were stuck on “my name is Ikechukwu” single only. I sang in my first album, but like I said, “my name is” was too overwhelming, now, we are pushing the other aspects of Ikechukwu, so, the people can get it. I am not a singer but I can tell a good note from a bad one.
You said part of what people do not understand about your music then was that you were angry – are you still angry now?
I am still angry, though it is now under control. The story must be known before the actions could be understood and judged.
Is My name is Ikechukwu the problem?
I am very proud of the attention the work, My name is Ikechukwu, has created. I produced it, and co-directed the video; it is okay to score oneself good marks because of its acceptability not just across the nation, but the continent. So, I do not regret anything, but to now have a follow up as big as ‘u know my p’ and then the monster of ‘wind am well’ is the main thing. No one can call me a-one hit wonder, so, I would leave it as it is.
The new album is autobiographical – why?
I felt the need to give them a personal piece of my life because of the missing connection. People know me from my singles, but they do not know how I went from being a mad man to happy lucky one. Even (dance song) Wind am well is autobiographical because it dealt on some part of my life, too. People don’t understand that. I felt it was necessary to let them know where I was coming from, so that, they can follow me without hesitation, on the journey I am trying to take them on.
What drives you?
One word, “ emotion” or “passion” to me they literally mean the same thing and I am filled to the brim with both.
And your music?
I have passed the test of whether it is credible or not, I do what I choose. I like dancing, so, it isn’t hard to make dance tracks. But the truth of the matter is, I like serious substances that say something. Even in Wind am well, I was still saying something; though it may not mean something.
Tell us about this album
Life and times of Killz Vol.1, the beginning of the trilogy summarises certain trials and tribulations of Ikechukwu. Don Jazzy, Myx, Xela, Tymix, Ikon, V.C, Perez and I produced this abum in collaboration with Alaye, D’banj, Wande Coal, Thembi (artiste from Zimbabwe), Naeto-C, M.I, and Ekene, a Nollywood actress.
How come we’ve never heard of any relationship gossip or seen you with any girl?
Let’s leave that alone. I have been under the radar and if I am above it; there will be nothing to write about. I have always had a relationship; even when I was single, I still managed to keep it to myself and that’s it. I don’t tell people that or show it.
You are one of the most consistent artistes with Storm Music – what’s the deal?
You have to weigh options in decision making. I have had good rapport with Obi Asika (CEO, Storm Music) since day one, and business concerns come first in our relationship. When you make decisions based on emotion you don’t always get the best. I am happy where I am because of the treatment I get and having said that, I believe WFA and Storm are married to the game.
Speaking about the WFA — that’s something between you and Naeto — both of you are stuck together!
Naeto-C is like my younger brother. My younger brother introduced him to me between 1999/2000. We have come a long way. There was a time it used to be, “Nah do it like this “ or “ you need to make that sound like this, open up a little “, all coming from me since I was the seasoned vet; but now there is a partnership and we both contribute to make things work.
What would you say is the major difference between the two of you, because almost all your works are done together?
Our lifestyles. We have seen different things and have different swag; even our flows are different though some people may think otherwise because there are somewhat similar things in us.
Your album launch was a huge success – how did it happen?
It was incredible and I am elated.
Then you guys are going round town on a tour kind of?
Calabar at this point has been done and it was a great success. We’re making the rounds across the nation because for a person like me, who has been confined to Lagos and outside the country, it will be nice for my fans to see me.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this more than once, where does music start with you?
Well, a long time ago, I realised I love entertaining people doing break-dance, singing and acting. At a point, I was overwhelmed with hip-hop though you may say I make music because hip-hop found me. I live it, breathe it, and grow through it. I explore life through it and now, I feed on it. If I have all from a source, what else is there to life?
Define your music
It is hip-hop, Rap R&B, Shapeshifting, Morphing and others.
You do other stuff apart from music?
Yes. Outside the entertainment industry I do consulting jobs for banks, oil, media, and telecoms companies. I am also involved in agriculture, so, I could be described as jack of all trades and master of many.
The ‘baffs’, the ‘rides’ – it’s all coming together for you man!
Life is getting better. Finally. But the wardrobe has always been on.
Your parents
I like the privacy they are currently enjoying and I don’t want to interrupt it. They were at my first album launch till it about 5am.
Channel O and MTV awards?
Well, I won both. At Channel O, it was for the best male artiste while MTV was for the best video. They made me happy.
So, what’s the future like for you?
Well, the plan was that by this time, I would have been back to the US for my acting career.
What would you want to be remembered for?
I would want to be remembered as the guy that changed the rap music scene in Nigeria and as one of its greatest exports.

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