…….the creativity in you can’t be stopped by some microorganisms – Bode Blaq
Nigerian alternative/hip-hop musician, self-taught sketch artist and painter, Ogungbemi Olabode Stephen popularlyknown as BODE BLAQ is one of the fastest growing artistes currently in Nigeria with a unique style of music that sets him apart from others.
The Ekiti born musician forayed into music way back from secondary school miming to songs of Tupac, Eminem and lil Wayne.
Describing his style of music, which is a fusion traditional hip-hop sounds with distinctive contemporary elements embellished gracefully with his local influences (the Nigerian pidgin and his local Yoruba dialect). With his masterful melodious low octave, the rapper touches on various social themes including; the yearn for money and success as well as street wisdom. Cornered recently, he spoke with MUTIAT ALLI about the journey so far, leaving Micro Biology for music, crush on singer Niniola, why every musicians is keying into Afro-beat sound as against hip-hop amongst others.
How has your sojourn to the Nigerian music industry been for you?
It started 2017, during service; I met a friend that really believed in me. Femi Akindipupo. So we co owned the label. I have been writing for a long while, but my first time of entering the studio was in the ending of 2016, and I recorded like 3 jams and it took us about 5 6 months to pick the one. I dropped my first single April 2017, we shot a video for that and that came out about August. By September I dropped “Party animal” and since then I have dropped five songs. So the journey has been a buildup. We are just building up.
Towards the time you dropped Party animal, DJ Lambo also dropped her song party animal which she featured about 2/3 people. Where you guys copying yourselves or was it a coincidence?
DJ Lambo has been using the term party animal for her brand for a while now. And I think there have been a couple of songs named party animal like this Jamaican guy. Bit when the idea of party animal came, it came from the chorus. I was sent the verse by Femi;the title wasn’t picked by me. We could have changed the name but with what the songs was, party animal was the name for it and u think I did justice to the name party animal on that song. .
Before anybody can make it, you must have gone through struggles, hustled and all that. What hustles did you go through? Was there ever a time, you wanted to just quit? Was there a time, when people shut the door in your face? Or was it just smooth for you?
I’ve humble beginnings. I have been in this creative aspect of life since way back, from drawing comics back in school, I practiced as a visual artist throughout my university days, I would draw portraits for 10K, 15k. So one thing about creativity is that nobody wants to give you free hand, I could draw a nice big portrait for someone and the person, because he doesn’t have money to pay will say, it’s not fine, he doesn’t like it. So am used to proving myself. I know am good but all the same, I have to prove myself. So when they shut the door, we break it.
What did you study in school?
I studied Micro Biology.
For someone who studied Micro Biology and then you became an artist, which is painting, then you ventured into song writing and now you are an a musician, why in God’s name did you study science to start with?
The problem was that I was blessed with too much. During Common entrance, I got the best result in Epe local government because I did my primary school there. I was quite intelligent and my parents wanted me to study medicine, JAMB jam me, so I found myself in Micro Biology and I never liked the course till like maybe final year. Since all through, I have been a social person, I used to do show even if Oshogbo wasn’t a really big town for entertainment. I finished from Osun state university but did pedigree in LAUTECH. So I have been on the creative side all along. Micro Biology was just a phase. I knew I wasn’t going to go for the lab coat all along. The creativity in you can’t be stopped by some microorganisms.
Look at you, you had the best result in common entrance, did good in sciences’ and then you look at your father and say dad I want to do music, did it go down with them that easy or did you have to run away from home?
Actually I have been a get out sight since university days. I can remember we having six months break in school and I didn’t spend up to two weeks at home. Like ever I schooled in Federal Government College Ikenwo and went to Osun state. It was like I had another family around there. So like I never used to be the type that comes home. I have like three half caste sisters from Germany, one of them got in the paper at age 7 for playing violin, the second one was the Second Runner up in the voice Germany so my whole family has a musical history. It was quite hard for my mum at first but at some point they just had to leave it. There was a video that went viral when I just got my piercing and my mum was mad at me. She brought us up to be well reserved.
Being a reserved guy how well is it working for you?
They brought me up to be reserved but me personally, am a tout on my own.
Why did you dump song writing when you could actually be making money from that and be behind the scene?
My voice particular made me do that. I don’t see anyone that can command the kind of tone that I command. When I spit those bars and kill those lines. They will just be killing my ideas if I keep writing songs for them.
What’s your genre of music?
My genre of music is quite elaborate in the sense that the kind of music I love putting out in particular is Alternate music like the likes of Black magic, Falz. I like communicating with my music. I’m pretty good with rapping too. I rap; I sing buts it’s more of afro pop and alternate music in general.
Do you have an album yet or is it still in progress?
I have more than 100 songs but no album.
You are new on the music scene and you co own a label. Aren’t you biting more than you can chew?
My friend and I co-own the label. He is the only friend that has believed in me all through. Even when I didn’t have a song, he was the one that kept pushing me. It’s like just us against the world. I wanted to be a lecturer at some point but he believed in me all through.
Are you in a relationship?
Yes, with my music.
What are the qualities you think girls see in you?
The voice and then some will say the lips but we still have to beg for kisses.
What do they say about your lips?
The fact that it is pink gets them thinking. My skin color is also one of it.
What’s the hardest breakup that has hit you?
I don’t give them the chance. Once I see the signs I just pull out. I think it happened once in secondary school and since then it’s never happened.
If you are to pick a Nigerian female celebrities crush, who would be on your list?
I think the only person doing it for me is Niniola. Apart from the fact that she has got a body to die for; her physique is damn gorgeous and more importantly she has her own style and she does alternate music too
Don’t you think you can face a relationship and also face your music? Don’t you receive pressure from your parents to get a girlfriend even if you aren’t getting married soon?
The pressure is always there. But you have to make them understand that it will happen when its time. Music is a very jealous career..
These days, even popular music stars are also doing Afrobeats; does that mean that musicians are gradually abandoning Hip-hop?
We don’t own Hip-hop, but we own the Afro music. That’s why many musicians are doing an Infusion of Afro in their songs. We can’t be English more than the English. We add our traditional drums, sounds and African rhythm. They are all trying to spice it up because the market abroad is always demanding. Music fans always look out for something new. So people are trying to putnew elements in songs to give it a new song, at the end of the day, it’s still entertaining. Some people even add Chinese sounds, all to achieve same motive.