Sotunde Isaac Ayomipo better known as Base One is Nigeria’s lyrical rap machine as he distinguishes himself from other rappers setting a trend for budding rappers to emulate. He is a specialised indigenous rapper who has shared stage with the big names in the industry and still standing firm in the game he understands better. His stage name Base One makes a clear indication which means ‘Best at street Entertainment’ that he represents the street to the fullest. Signed to Aquila record owned by king of night club, Shina Peller, a house to other talented acts that includes Q-Peller and Tilla Man. Despite his street representation, Base One is a God fearing act who never jokes with his religion. Cornered at Quilox club, Base One in an exclusive chat with MUTIAT ALLI, shared his experience working with Fuji legend, K1 De Ultimate, his love for rap music and dumping Banking and Finance for music. Enjoy…
Your songs titles usually comes with weird names; from Werey Re now it’s Skon Skon?
Actually I am just promoting my alter ego and the mad man in me but it’s not literal, it’s something that is lyrical. It’s something figurative, that’s what it is, and it is all about madness.
So what is Skon Skon all about?
When I dropped “Werey Re” people were like it is too hip hop even though I had the likes of Phyno and Olamide on it and people started clamouring for something they can actually dance to. So with this, it is just a danceable version of Werey Re and people are liking it. Currently the video is trending on YouTube and Instagram as people are easy to connect to the dance step.
Your lyrical arrangement is what amazes me; how long does it take you to put up your lyrical content?
(Smiles)!! Amazing is always the right word; most time, it does not really take me time to put up my lyrics. I write my lyrics and a times there are moments when these verses just come like a breeze in your head and all you need do is to head to the studio to drop the lines. For instance, at a time when I finished recording Werey Re, I had also recorded Skon Skon on the same day. Consistency matters and that has got me connected always.
Your lyrics rhyming at all-time are they deliberate or that’s the real Base One vibing?
It’s called rhyming, let’s say rap. When you say a word that has meaning and you end it with another word that has meaning and they both rhyme at the end and it still makes sense that means you are a dope rapper. It’s not deliberate, that’s the real me.
Having been in the industry for quite some time, when should we expect an EP from your end?
Like one of my rhyme I said ” I feel my flow is too dope for a mixed tape or an EP and when my album drops, you all gonna thank me like GP “. If you understand the rhymes, you know GP is a kind of strong water tank; So what I’m saying is for me, I think my lyrics are too dope for an EP or mix tapes because people don’t really take it serious, they just take it like a body of work that just need to be tossed out there that shouldn’t be given so much attention. No, I feel if I’m going to do something, it’s either you do it big or you don’t do it at all. I’d rather do an album, I’d rather be in the studio, have a lot of songs and pick out the best; like my target is to record like fifty songs and pick out like the best twelve or the best thirteen and release it as an album, so I prefer that. I prefer to work that way that for me to just be dropping body of works and wouldn’t even get to its maximum potential. It doesn’t make any sense to me although people have been disturbing me but I keep turning deaf ears to it.
A lot of people say rap music is dead in Nigeria, do you also believe in this school of thought?
No, I don’t believe rap is dead, it’s just that everything is evolving, you have to be flexible to whatever comes your way with respect to rap. Like in the 80s, the kind of rap people listened to were boom raps, in the 90’s, it changed, now we are in the 20’s. We have different kinds of rap music, we have the hip hop, afro beat, trap music and hard core. There are so many genres, so it now depends on which one you want to do. If I’m going to judge from the Nigerian perspective, our kind of rap is the afro beat kind of rap. If you listen to the likes of Olamide and Phyno, they are both rappers but when they are doing songs, they sound as if they are singing; so they tend to do danceable songs and still infusing their rap into it. So if you can do that, it’s not that rap is completely dead, I won’t say that. What I feel that is dead in Nigeria is the hard core kind of rap because people really don’t have time for it, people just want to be happy, people are already sad so they need something that will just make them happy. Once they listen to you, you will just make them happy. I think that’s what is working. It’s not that rap is completely dead, rap is not dead. If you tell all these people to do hard core rap, it’s not that they can’t do it, they can do it but they know it’s not making money. Even corporate brands are not investing in that, they rather give it to the singers who are doing danceable songs, so why don’t you just imbibe your own kind of talent, like your rap into that kind of thing too so that you can be headlining shows. So for me, I don’t think rap is dead.
Your stage delivery usually comes with this grieving hard face?
Grieving Ke!! Well, I will say most of my performances comes with the picture that I personally feel my pain from my inner thoughts. I have not started making cash I prayed to earn. Maybe by the time I start earning cool cash like starting off with one million dollars, maybe I can begin to calm down in the deliveries.
What distinguishes Base One from other rappers?
What distinguishes me from other rappers is because I’m versatile and I do rap that makes people laugh. When you listen to my rap, it’s not that I’m bragging or blowing my horns but when you listen to my rap, you have to pause and play. You pause it and you be like “what is this guy saying again’ and that is where the Werey Re title comes from because when people listen to my song, they will be like, ‘it seems this boy is completely mad’ because I think a lot and I use things that makes me laugh, then I try to transform them and put it in form of lyrics so that I can also make you laugh also. That’s what distinguishes me from every other rapper.
What was the experience like working with Fuji legend, K1 De Ultimate?
I feel blessed working with him and for me that’s like a major one for me and the song is really making buzz across because I infused my rap skills into one of his old songs and made it look fresh. The song title is ‘Better Dey Come’. With me on the song, we were able to create a bridge that connects both the old people and the new school. All the experience gathered during the recording is worth the positive response it’s getting across the country.
Did you actually set out to be a musician?
While growing up, I used to admire the 9 to 5 job most especially the bankers who are usually decked in nice fitted suits, fancy cars and all that; that prompted me to study Banking and Finance in the university hoping that when I graduate, I will also be working in the banking environment but things did not go as planned because I realised that you don’t live life the way it is; I later discovered that most bankers live their lives on loan and I don’t want my life to tow that path too. I equally realised that being a banker, I might never have time for myself as the job requires me to wake up early and close late and even my weekends are not guaranteed. I had also envisaged working a good company with good pay but as God wants it, music got me covered now.
How did your parents take it when you told them that you are dropping Banking and Finance for music?
Actually, my mum detests music a lot like she does not support the music at all, so when I told her that I wanted to do music, she was like it’s Ok but the most important thing is that you have to finish school but I did not listen to her. I had to juggle both together because I graduated in 2012 and already I had learnt few tips in the music industry before I became a part of it fully. For my mum, even if we are in the same car together driving down to church and I play my CD in the car, she will just eject it and throw it out of the window. Even though she is not in total support of my music career but you know there’s this natural love that mums always have for their children and she knows that it’s something legit, it’s not something that is illegal and it’s not that I’m causing any trouble or bringing any problem to the household. So she just loves me naturally, she doesn’t have a choice. If you love me, you’re definitely going to love my music.
A lot of musicians these days start considering movie roles maybe like one or two appearances, do we get to see you too?
Honestly, I suck at acting so much. I don’t know how to act except maybe my real life. You can just put a camera in my real life and let me just be myself and I don’t even know that there’s a camera. You’ll enjoy me acting but provided you put a camera and say action, then there will be a big problem. I could remember back then going to PEFTI owned by Wale Adenuga production for auditioning and I was paired with somebody else. We were given a script to study and after few minutes, we were called to act and was instructed to present what we have read without the script with us. Veteran actor, Antar Laniyan was one of the judges and immediately he shouted action, the other guy I was paired with delivered his line smoothly and when it was my turn, my brain switched off. Right there and then, I knew this is not my calling. I just told the man, “I’m very sorry sir, thank you very much” and I went away.
So will you say you are enjoying your celebrity status now?
I’m not enjoying it, I don’t have jet, I don’t have Benz, I’m comfortable but I’m not where I want to be. I have not gotten to that peak of my career yet.
Do you have plans working with any Nigerian top female act?
For me, the female artiste that I will like to work with in Nigeria is Asa because she’s a legend and a big brand to reckon with.
Which international brand do you look forward to working with?
There are so much because they make us appreciate the rap music so well. I have always dreamed of working with the likes of Jay-Z, Drake and the list is endless because they have so many talented people over there.
Are you designer freak?
Yes, I love to look good at all times. In fact, back then in school, I used my school fee to buy designer wears just to appear nice and receive post commendation.
Considering your tight work flow, how then do you un-wind?
It’s very simple. I’m more of the indoor kind of person. I do three things simultaneously, eat food, and watch film and sleep, all at the same time. This how it works- I break ice, put my drink and then the food and then the movie. After I finish eating, I just doze off. I’m more of an indoor person.
When was the last time you went into the kitchen to cook?
When it comes to pasta and scrambled eggs, come to me, apart from that, you want to eat rubbish.