Saturday, 21 November 2009

B Elect The True Thorobred

B Elect, that’s what everybody calls him. And you wonder what the name has got to do with what he does for a living. Well, I’ve always known him to be a PR practitioner; he’s got good microphone voice, but definitely not a relationship with music. Yes. His voice is so distinct that you could hardly miss it; even when he calls with strange numbers. If you ask me, that voice will serve better purpose in a radio studio.
My first encounter with Andrew Bright Igho has nothing to with his person; he was actually helping a musician friend promote his new work, so, along the line, we got talking. Few months later, I got a call from him, detailing his plans to release an album. For sure, an interview must follow, I had breathed loud when he revealed this.
Though from a family of creative people, B Elect first put his skills to test while on campus, when he joined a rap group, The Thorobred, in 2004.
“It was made up of Ilblis, Obiwon, Elajoe and Amaka; we all went to the University of Nigeria together. At that time, rap music wasn’t really huge, though there were the likes of Ruggedman and others. Thorobred represented people who are really skilled and very crafted in their art.”
Just as it appeared the group was about coming up with an album, everything came crashing; and the members parted ways.
“Ilblis left Nigeria, Obiwon was a banker then and Elajoe did some stuff for Big Brother Nigeria. We actually recorded songs, but due to individual aspirations, we couldn’t come up with an album. But we had a track, Street-Hop, which was a blast then; it was one of the most played songs on MTV Base. Efe of Now Music shot the video.”
What’s the song all about?
“We were just trying to tell people that hip-hop is a street thing; it’s about everyday people. In the video, we had roles; Ilblis was a businessman, Elajoe was a mechanic, Obiwon was a hustler… we were just trying to show that this is us.”
While Ilblis, Obiwon and Elajoe are currently making waves in the music industry, B Elect seems to be on the quiet side. He’s been more visible in the PR sector more than music.
“Basically, I’ve been recording before I met them. I was more into gospel rap in Jos, where I used to do couple of shows in churches. Currently, I work with a PR outfit, contributing to Hip-Hop Magazine and speaking at hip-hop forum; I actually worked on Mode 9’s album.”
Having listened to more of hip-hop tracks as far back as 1984, B Elect was greatly influenced, but traveling abroad on holiday finally shaped his music career.
“My parents used to take us on holiday abroad, so, I had the opportunity of buying all sorts of tapes. What actually changed my life was the tape I bought by a guy called Mr. Magic; he plays all the hit songs in New York. If Mr. Magic plays your song, then you are good. When I listen to that tape, I heard some good artistes such as LL Cool J and others, and I said to myself, ‘this is a different kind of sound.”

From that moment, B Elect resolved to take his act more serious, but not without caution from his parents, especially his dad, who believes that two things are very important in a man’s life — religion and education.
“He doesn’t even care how much he has. My parents used to keep us in the house, so, it was all about watching TV, radio, magazines, comics…things like that. All that got me into hip-hop groove. Education was very important to my father, so, I had to stay in school.”
Funny enough, Bright started out as a Medical Science student, but had to voluntarily drop out after four years.
“My elder brother is a lawyer; he got his master’s at 21. So, my father was like, ‘you must study medicine. I felt it wasn’t me; it was like rebellion. I wasn’t doing badly, but it was my father’s idea. I had wanted to study architecture because I love arts, but I ended up studying Fine Art in UNN.”
Though True Thorobred is officially B Elect’s first album, he had released about 20 songs online. The album, which featured Ilblis, Elajoe and Nigga Raw, with J Martins and Bode Lawal on productions, is likely coming with 21 tracks, which seem too much.
“Yes, it is,” he accepts. “But the truth is that after this album, I will be taking my music to another level; my music is going to get more African; I’m creating a new brand of African rap.”
So, this is like offloading old stuffs?
“Well, I just wanted to get done with all the songs before starting up my new project. Though, my publicists are advising against it, I’m still thinking about the decision; it all depends on the response we receive from the public.”
Already, one single from the album titled Bangings, is already enjoying airplay on radio stations across Lagos, while the video shoot is ongoing.
“It’s not the banging you think,” he says bursting into laughter. “It’s raw hip-hop. We’ve been getting positive comments about the song from people online. Meanwhile, I have other songs coming on air soon.”
As for the album title, which happens to be the name of his defunct group, the fine artist argues, “that we used the name as a group doesn’t mean I cannot use it. On my album, I’m known as B Elect the Clean Rapper and I’m the Thorobred. It’s about me this time around, not Thorobred as a group.”

Though the rap music circle is gradually swelling up, with new rappers springing up almost on a daily basis, B Elect is very sure of excelling.
“I have an advantage already because the level of my rap is definitely above average; I’m funny, I’m topical, I’m witty, I’m serious,” he boasts. “I think there are people who want to listen to good music. I like o call myself the Asa music of rap because, my rap and beat are different; my personality and goodwill will work for.”
He continues: “If you have something different to put on the table, people will definitely look at you. Yes, it’s been difficult because money, time and efforts went into it, but the bottom line is that everything came out well. Don’t forget I have a 9am to 5pm job, which I love and I have a studio with my cousin and that is opening a lot of ways for me.”
How do you cope with your hands filled with activities?
“Well, I have my little cousin running the studio, so, I have time to work on other things. My work has a lot to do with intellect; I need to be mentally alert. I believe in targeting a particular task and getting it done as against trying to do a lot of things at the same time. I’m basically that intellectual rapper you would love to listen to.”
What exactly makes your music different?
“I’m more poetically inclined; that’s why I call myself the Clean Rapper. Rap doesn’t mean that you must use ghetto language; you don’t need to use words like ‘fuck you’ and so on. I love a lot of jazz music, so, it reflects in my music. I try not to do hard rap, though it comes sometimes because I cannot avoid it. My lyrics are topical; when I choose a topic, I deal with it.”
Could you give an instance?
“I have a track, Hard Listeners; you really need to listen hard to get the message. The track is about what’s going on in this country. Why don’t we have light? Why don’t we have good roads? Why are things not working…these are some of the issues I raised in the song. We can’t just be dancing all the time; there are big issues waiting for our attention and we need to address them now.”
Even as a rap artiste, the dreadlocks-wearing artiste is very spiritual, which is evident in his songs.
“When I want to talk about God, I do that very deep. Meanwhile, I survived a surgery earlier this year; I stopped breathing and I came back again. I think God just gave me a second chance to live. I lost my mother few months ago, so, I have a track dedicated to her.”
You surely miss her?
“Yes; she really inspired me in my music career. She used to tell me, ‘my son, just do your album let’s see. I used to see your friends Elajoe, Ilblis on TV.’ It’s unfortunate she’s not here to see what his son has finally done. I’m from a very creative family and I think I have what it takes to just be that different guy.”
As far as the rapper is concerned, Nigeria has lost its collection culture.
“When we were growing up, our parents had record collections, book collections…everything was about library. Now, things have gone very compact; you have your laptops, USB, I-pods and yet people just carry less chunks on them.”

From the US, Omoba Elijah thinks Naija
Years after he left the shores of Nigeria to pursue his music career in the United States, fuji-gospel artiste, Omoba Elijah Thompson is beginning to realise that there’s no place like home. The artiste is already dreaming huge homecoming show with which he plans to compensate his fans that have been longing to see him perform live.
Omoba’s interest in music started at a very tender age: “My parents, brothers and sisters are all singers but in the church; my dad used to be a choirmaster in our church. In fact, at a point, the whole family joined the choir.”
From being just a choirboy, Omoba grew up to lead the choir in the 80s, which actually paved way for his professional music career after his graduation from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesha.
“I taught music as a student teacher in Ilesa Methodist High School and as full teacher after my graduation in Camp David Academy, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos; Queens Land, Okota Lagos.”
However, before heading for the US, Omoba led his own band Ope Oluwa Musical Band, which gave birth to his debut album in 1993 titled Fona Han Mi (Show me the way).
“We got the third place at the 1993 choral competition Organised by LTV 8, Lagos and also performed for different schools during their end of the year parties before I left home.”
Presently the choirmaster of Mount of Salvation C&S Church, Oke Igbala, Hyattsville, Maryland, US, where he performs every Sunday, he composed, arranged Church’s CD, The Good Father (Baba Rere), which earned him performances at weddings and special occasions.
Leader of Excellence International Band, US, Omoba’s fans in the US are not just Nigerians; they include Africans and Americans, despite the language barrier.
“They don’t understand every thing I sing but they love my beat; music is a universal language.”
His brand of music, which he tagged Jugospel, is fusion gospel and sociable songs, with a blend of juju rhythm.
The artiste is billed to arrive Nigeria by mouth end in preparation for the concert billed for December. Details of the show will soon be made public.

Trybson sings Dudukoko

Though he lost his father just a few months after his birth, today, Oladimeji Imoru Ganiyu has proved that childhood setback is not enough to hold one back from destiny.
After years of musical apprenticeship with his campus friends where they formed D Funkt, and performing at musical concerts both as a solo act and as backup singer to various music al stars, Trybeson as he’s called in the music circle, has finally carved a niche for himself.
Meeting producer Da Piano (who made his name producing chart-sting songs for stars such Sasha, Black Tribe, M.I, and Righteousman among others), during one of his performing tours, gave a lifeline to Trybeson’s music career; Da Piano had his hands in the production of some of the tracks in his new work such as Ko Ye Mi, The Reason Song, U Gat It, and E Tele Mi.Now.
Since signing for Stingomania Records, Trybeson has finally launched into musical industry with his own brand of music, Fuji-Hop, a unique and innovative blend of Rap, Hip-Hop and Fuji.
A 12-track album, Dudukoko featured other songs such as Gimme Your Love, Gbe Sun Mobi, U Gat It, Alepo, Koyemi and the title track, Dudukoko. With his single, Ko Ye Mi, gradually climbing on music charts, Trybesone is confident that his album would surely find a space in the already stuffed music market.
To crown it all, Ope Banwo’s Stingomania Record has finally opted for Trybeson among all its artistes, as face of label. The elevated artiste will be performing live, alongside other artistes on the label, at a classy VIP album Launch for celebrities and top players in the entertainment industry. The event is scheduled for Decmber 6, at the Aqua 27 Club (Chaase Mall), Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ovation Red Carol on CD
Following the successes of the last edition of the yearly Ovation Red Carol, the publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, has promised to step up the show this year.
In line with the repackaging of the carol billed for December 18, the magazine gathered notable Nigerian celebrities to record the theme song for the show, Christmas In Lagos, with proceeds from the CD going to the less privileged.
The list of artistes in the project includes Wande Coal, Olu Maintain, Omawumi, Zaaki, Jazzman Olofin, Dekunle Fuji, and Niyola. Others are Essence, Kefee, Kenny St. Brown, Davina, Artquake, OJB Jazreel, Foluke Daramola, Segun Arinze, Jedi, Gbenga Adeyinka and others.
In the words of Momodu, “Ovation Red Carol party is one of the largest Pan-African party that has gone beyond the shores of Nigeria. This year’s edition is bent on thrilling fun lovers.”
Speaking on behalf of the artistes billed to gig the event, OJB Jezreel, who also featured in the theme song, informed that, “virtually all the artistes saw this as an opportunity to partner with Ovation International, and the idea is to create an avenue whereby Lagosians get the feel of what Christmas entails. The carol will create a platform for us to share love to people around us. Since the yuletide season is around the corner, everyone is sure of having a nice time.”
On the theme song, OJB noted that, “ this is another way of taking care of the less privileged in the society as well as creating a Christmas atmosphere for them too.”

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