BY CHUKS NWANNE
You recall the prestigious O2 Arena in London? Yes, the same venue where the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, had planned to stage his This Is It concert before his painful exit? That was where Nigeria’s comedy merchant, Bright Okpocha, otherwise known as Basket Mouth, staged the maiden edition of his comedy show, Lord Of The Ribs.
The Abia State native was not alone on the trip to the Queen’s territory; Mr. Capable, Banky W, Eldee, 116, JJC, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz joined him in the concert that attracted hundreds of guests - mostly black - to the venue, which had in the past hosted concerts by superstars such as Madonna, Spice Girls, Kanye West, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Celine Dion, Steve Wonder and others. Aside for the 500 spaces mandatorily reserved in case of emergency - in line with the agreement in the insurance policy he bought for the show — the 2500 capacity hall was filled to the brim.
The stage came alive with 116 Squad, who opened the show with their captivating performance, followed by the popular JJC group, before Big Boy crooner, Eldee took over the stage. Eldee was at his best, belting out songs from his repertoire, but it was his hit track, Bosi Gban Gba, that caught the fancy of the audience.
Hip-hop/R&B singer, Banky W gave good account of his rating as he rocked the large crowd with some of his popular tracks. Strong Thing, one of Banky’s latest works, is currently enjoying massive airplay on radio and TV stations across the country. No doubt, the returnee artiste has succeeded in winning the hearts of most young Nigerians, which is slightly different from the usual hip beat. His brand of music has earned him several awards within his short period of playing in the industry.
Rave of the moment, MI took over the big stage after Banky W. The black, short boy from the crisis-torn Jos led the audience through his usual interactive session with his unique rap lines. The petit rapper proved to whoever cares, that Nigeria could hold it’s ground even outside her shores. MI got several rounds of applause for his rap, which is not too far from Sage’s spoken word; both men sound alike in most cases.
Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz also got their slots to gig the audience, but comedian Basket Mouth was the center of attraction for the evening. The crowd went wild in excitement at the appearance of the dreadlocks-wearing comedian; of course, he was impressive. His jokes were fresh, most times painting a picture of the real life situations in the country.
To cap the colourful night, Basketmouth teamed up with MI, Banky W, Eldee the Don, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz in a rap track that got him a standing ovation from the excited crowd. For the host comedian, who started his entertainment sojourn with rap music, it was a nostalgic moment that almost brought him to tears.
“After resting Basket Mouth Uncensored, starting bigger and upping the ante is the best way to start Lord of the Rib. The show was big, successful and profitable, which is very rare in the history of comedy show. The show meets every parameters one uses to measure successful shows. I thank God and my team for the success story,” the Globacom Ambassador boasts.
ONE-ON-ONE... with EL-BLAZE
CHRISTENED Lawrence Agbo at birth, but known as El-Blaze in the music industry, the Benue State native is a delight to talk with. El-Blaze, who holds a National Diploma in Accounting from the Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, began his romance with music at an early age, but cut his proverbial teeth in the industry, when he won talent hunt show, Public Delight Musical Show in Zaria. From there, his interest in music was bolstered. He tells DANIEL ANAZIA his plans for the future and his upcoming album.
How was growing up like?
It was fun, loving and memorable. I’m from a family of three, two boys and a girl, who we lost when she was eight years. My father is a farmer and my mother now late, was a petty trader. My brother and I are jolly good fellows; though sometimes, we disagree on some issues.
Why the name EL-BLAZE?
The word blaze means fire, brightness and brilliance. Looking at all these, I told myself, ‘Lawrence you are like fire, set the world aflame with your lyrics and beats through your style and shine like a diamond.’
How did you get into music?
I have always loved music from my childhood; I always loved watching musical videos. Basically, I started writing songs in my secondary school days. Every Friday, during free class periods and after school hours, I entertained my friends with my songs. I’ve been involved in some musical groups and I’m a member of my church choir.
What brand of music do you play?
I play hip-pop, R&B with native flavours.
When I say native flavour, it doesn’t mean I don’t do songs in English. What I’m saying is, if you look at the Nigerian music industry now, you will see that those making waves now are artiste with native flavours in the style of music. Look at 9ice, Tuface Idibia, Nigga Raw, MC Loph, Sound Sultan and host of others, they have remained relevant and their songs still maintaining a place in the chart. One good thing about this is that, it has helped to bring out the originality and creativity in us.
Your track, The Guy is Mine, what’s it all about?
It’s about the fights among ladies over the male folks; I wrote the song after witnessing one of such fights sometime ago. It’s like an advice to them to desist from that show of shame.
What’s the title of your upcoming album?
No title yet, but it is a call to patriotism, change and unity among the people. It’s a 10-track album and I’m hoping to collaborate some top artiste. I’m currently discussing with my big brothers, Tuface, Blackface and Da Natives on the album. If things work out the way I expect, I hope to have Sound Sultan, Mode 9, Ruggedman and Jona Da Monarch.
Who are your Influences?
I’m fascinated by good lyrics and beats. Tuface Idibia inspires me more; each time I see him, I reassure myself of making it to the top someday.
Any major performance/concert so far?
I hope to be in some of the mega concerts like Star Trek, Star Mega Jamz, MTN Music Fiesta and others very soon. This is the main reason I’m working very hard for the album and with the right people.
What would you wan to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as the guy that made impact in peoples’ lives, especially the youths.