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PEACE OR WAR

EEDRIS ABDULKAREEM THE GREATEST RAPPER IN AFRICA

Stairway

"Eedris you promised to marry, see me you left me go Yankee"...That line of song that has become a national anthem of some sort with kids, got this reporter wondering what it would be like, if something revealing about the artiste behind the song, whose rising profile looms larger than his contemporaries could be served his teeming fans.

Sure enough, when we finally met, what he revealed to your soar away and award winning Showtime pages are enough to blow your mind. Taste this sampler: Do you know that Eedris is a full blown Yoruba boy? Do you know that... hey wait a minute, hold your breath, fasten your seat belt, as we take you into the hidden treasures of Mr Lecturer, Eedris Abdulkareem. My real names are Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem Ajenifuja

My dad is from Ijesha, Osun State and my mum is from Ogun state. I was born and breed in Kano and because I lived all my life in Kano and a Muslim, I adopted Kano, as my state of origin.

I'm from a polygamous family where my mother was the first of two wives my daddy had, which means I have a step mother. My mother had ten children originally but lost seven leaving me and two others who are resident in America as survivors.

My father resides in Lagos with the second wife while my mother lives in Kano.

Growing up

I did not grow up in my father's house because my mother left the house heavy with my pregnancy and relocated to Kano and that was where I was born. When I was growing up she told me about my dad, my family and my father's real name, that is Eedris Abdulkareem Ajenifuja.l had my primary and secondary education in Kano, crowning it with a diploma in mass communication from Bayero University. As I grew up, I began to feel some of the frustration of a mother abandoned by a husband who was determined to get married to wives.

Scared that something might happen to her last born, my mother kept knocking it into my head to shun polygamy and to stay away from my father's properties which are all over Lagos. Her fears were natural, as she had buried seven children and figured that what killed her children might kill me too if I went to the family house.

Father

My mother never had problem with her in-laws, instead they loved her.The fact is that because my dad wanted to marry another wife, he abandoned my mother, so she had to suffer, carrying the cross of caring for her children. Although he realised his mistakes and came back to help and send my two brothers abroad, he paid more attention to his new wife. My mother's story was to influence my decision to go into music as I figured that as a musician I will be able to express my feelings.

Growing up was fun. As a student I played table-tennis. I was so good that I adorned the country's colours in the cadet cadre at the 1985 All- Africa Games. I also represented Kano State in the game at several competitions. It was at the Army Day Secondary where I was schooling that I discovered rap music. My original songs were influenced by my stories..

The name

My decision to drop my surname was not born out of hatred for my father, but purely because I fancied the names Eedris Abdulkareem.

Journey into music.

When I was convinced that music was the ultimate business for me and had started writing songs about my family, I went to my mother to get further information about the family. She told me how she had to carry a dead child on her back from Kano to Lagos for burial. Her stories were so touchy that I vowed that I'd take care of her.

So I started writing at a tender age and today, I have over seven hundred and sixty-six songs and most of all the songs are strictly what really happened between my family, friends and things that I encountered in life. This explains why I say, I get my inspiration from the environment.

Botched BMG record deal

I once almost had a deal with the BMG records. Infact I travelled to Spain in 1996 from Kano to hold talks with officials of the record company in that country. Before we could reach an accord, something happened that dashed my hopes. One cold morning, I ran into this young Nigerian who was dying of cold in front of a super market. Since I had a flat all to myself, I decided to help him and that was a mistake.

Twenty-five minutes after I brought him into the apartment the police came calling. My explanation that I was a musician did not convince them and there and then we were given something to drink.

After we had taken the substance, "my friend" vomitted what they alleged was drug. Since the guy was caught in my apartment, the assumption was I knew about it and pronto against the protest of BMG records, I found myself in Kano the next day a victim of a cruel repatriation.

Although I was sent home against the wish of my host BMG, my deal with the record company still stands.

Coming to Lagos

After the death of my first lover Rashidat, I told my mother that it was time to move on, that I wanted to go to Lagos to look for something that can help me take care of her in old age.

She complained , but this time I was determined to have my way. So I told her I have a friend, a DJ in Lagos whom I planned to stay with. So that was how I came to Lagos in 1996.

When I arrived Lagos, I lived under the CMS bridges for two months and survived by begging flashy car owners money. My style was simple, I told them that I am a musician in need of help to record an album. I told them I'm not a lazy man, nor am I a drug addict, rather I'm a musician who needs help.

My desire to succeed in life saw me trekking from CMS to Alagbado to try to see Kenny Ogungbe which never materialised. Fight with bus conductors was a regular thing for I usually had no money to pay for fares, but I never cared.

The making of the Remedies

One day I met someone who took me to DJ Shina's place at Akoka..

I had to go through these pains because I believed in what I wanted to do, I didn't beg because I wanted to, but I wanted to prove a point. After all, I would have lived in Kano and nobody would have known me and I would not have been be able to express myself to the world, nobody would have known Eedris today, or even the group Remedies.

The name Remedies was coined from the stage name I was known with in Kano, Mr Remedy. I owned the group Remedies but I never boasted about it, I didn't need to.

I cut my first teeth as a rap artist at a show DJ Shina took me to. The impression that I left on the crowd was such that they were asking if I was from America and when I told them I was from T- town (Kano), they wondered where the town is.

It was at a show in Kwara State that I met Tony Awoniyi (Tetuila). After my performance, he approached me and wanted to know if he could join me . Even though I found that he could not sing, his determination endeared him to me and that was how we became friends. That determination is what has taken Tony to where he is today and I am happy for him.

I think it's about time things are put right. For the records, I wrote virtually all the songs for the group, even the part Eddy performed on stage I wrote.

I met Eddy after a performance at Yaba Tech. He approached me and suggested we get together and I agreed on the condition that my friend Tony joined the group and that I was free to go solo after a time. We also agreed to adopt the name Remedies after my own stage name.

One thing led to the other and a Demo was to be made and that was when Tony suggested the idea of going to his sister to help the group secure a loan .

Funding

Contrary to what Nigerians were made to believe, the money we got from Tony's sister was a loan and as soon as we made our first money, we quickly returned it but she asked that we kept it for all that we had done for her brother. No, there is no truth in what Tony said, he never funded the Remedies

Breakthrough.

We went to Ray power to see Steve Kadiri, who took us to Kenny and D-One. In our possession was our first Demo containing what was soon to become a hit song Shakomo, which I wrote for the group.

After listening to the Demo, Kenny took a wild shot, slammed the record on air and blam, the bubble burst and as you know, the rest is history.

Breakup

As the group made progress, I discovered that my partners didn't share my dream as they seemed only interested in the fame that came their way. Matters took a turn for the worse when we were contracted to play in 32 states of the federation by Rothmans. This act of unseriousness led to the group breaking up. I mean how do you expect your partners to feel when they do all the work and you just walk around and at the end expect that the same respect be accorded you? This was what one of the partners did and another voiced his resentment and this was where I made a mistake. I shouldn't have allowed things to get to that point.

Solo

As one who is determined to get a Grammy, I decided to get on with my career, the problem of Remedies swept behind me. When my first album hit the street, people didn't understand that it was long over due . Although I worked hard at keeping the Remedies together, what happened was inevitable, something one could not stop.

My debut album titled P.A..S.S. on Kennis Music soon established me as a force to reckon with. The album contained tracks like Oko Ashawo, PlayerMeji and Wakawiki MC.

The "P" in PASS means "Pains" because I'd experienced plenty of it while the "SS" means "Stress" and "Success".

So my first album was to make a point. I have a lot of places I'm going to, this is not where I belong, I don't belong here and I just want you all to know that I'm a Prophet.

I have a lot of messages, I've not even moved, not even one inch, I've not even started with my own story line.

Inspite of my success, some people sneared and mocked me ."Let's wait for his second album and see how good he is"

And in less than one year, I dropped another one, Mr Lecturer and today, they've all come to accept that... okay we know who the real Remedy is. The respect that was long overdue is back and every where I go people say complimentary things about my latest work.

Stage performance

My kind of music you may describe as lyrical movies. You see every time I go into the studio to record my song, I try to listen to the message and at the same time visualise how best to perform the song on stage. I try to make sure that everything is dramatised .My performance should not be seen as an attempt at corrupting the kids. I know what I am doing. I do not care what people think about my stage performance.

I have heard what people have been saying about my performance at the last AMEN Awards, that I brought students who were not properly dressed on stage. So what exactly is the song Mr Lecturer supposed to teach if I may ask? The song tells the story of what goes on our campuses and the real story is that it is the way our female students dress up for lectures on the campus that pushes our lecturers into what we accuse them of committing. This is what I call the real sexual harrassement.

I have to play out every thing live on stage for people to really see and understand where I am coming from and where I am heading to. That is why the part two of Mr Lecturer is coming out.People should wait for that part two and that's when we'll know who really is guilty of sexual harassment.

Love life

I won't lie to you, after the death of my first love Rashidat , I turned away from loving another girl. Right now, I am married to my music. If I see the same girl everyday and become friends, I always pray to God to help me so that I don't fall in love again at least for now.

But I know that one day I will get married and my prayer is for God to give me my own wife.

I'm a Muslim and I believe so much in my Quran and in what Allah says, and that is the best thing to do. I want to get married to a nice Muslim girl, have children and keep my head up.

But if I meet a nice Christian girl who will not discriminate against my religion, no problem, I will marry her.

His Music

Let me break something down for you, everybody says rap music is an American thing, let me tell you something, that is a lie. Let's look at it like this, black people are the ones doing the rap music and who are the black people?

They are the Africans that were taken away during the slave trade era back then, the only whiteman rapper is Eminem and that is because of Dr Dre. Rap music is strictly for the black people and who is black, black is Africa, Africa is Nigeria and Nigeria is Lagos and Lagos is Eedris Abdulkareem and any body who does not believe... it's their problem.

Fela rapped because he talked, when you talk you rap and this is my stand.visit his wesite @http://www.eedrisabdulkareem.com



RUGGED THE BEEF MASTER

Bio

Born Michael Ugochukwu Stephens on the 20th of September in Ebem Ohafia, Abia state, all levels of schooling were done in Lagos state. I am a graduate of Political Science Lagos State University Ojo. I started loving rap music from around 1989 when I was learning the words in rap tracks I liked and rapping along to their instrumentals - until I decided that I could do mine, then I started writing my own lyrics. 1999 was when I put out my first cd for air play. The cd contained two tracks: 1, What If? - which was produced by and also featured Paul Play Dairo; and 2, "Gwo-gwo". These two tracks got massive airplay. Then in 2002 I decided to do a track criticizing a couple of Nigerian rappers and the track titled Ehen Part 1 has blown sky high nation wide.

My two new songs “BIG BROS” (in which I took on a so-called music mogul in Nigeria for trying to stop my song getting played on radio stations 'cos I talked about him) and “WHAT YOU GOT” (which is a dance track for people who said all I can do is diss) are both getting mega air play in Nigeria and abroad. My dance track is a favourite in a couple of Clubs in London and Ireland.

RUGGEDMAN is a no-nonsense, speak-my-mind type of nigga that stands up for the improvement and promotion of good Nigerian music no matter how much big men try to hold him down.

THE NAME:
The name came when I was in high school and fresh into the rap game proper.
Every one wanted a name that didn’t sound weak and Ruggedman was the one I came up with, after I thought Rugged Soul was a bit too deep and the tag 'Mc' a bit over flogged.

INFLUENCES:
My early influences came from NWA, KRS One, Poor Righteous Teachers, Leaders Of The New School, King Sun… etc. Now they are Nas, DMX, Eminem, Dr. Dre and especially all the wack rappers in Nigeria.

APPEARANCES:
My very first performance was at a secondary school ceremony in 1992. From
then on it's been performances in clubs and tertiary institutions. Other places of performance are: Mr. Macho - University Of Lagos (UNILAG) - 1994; Nigerian Carnival - National Stadium - 1994; Home movie soundtracks; Lyricist Lounge - held at club 11:45 for the Rap Legend Guru from America, Eve and Kc & Jojo - show (performed alongside Tony Tetuila).
Some others are: part of the opening act for Lagbaja some months back; a bit of acting in a Francis Agu movie, waka pass (movie extra) too because I wanted to know how it’s done; radio jingle; TV music show theme song (did the rap).
I also directed my first music video 2002, which was D’Banj’s “Kiss me again video”. I addition, opening act again for Lagbaja on 31st January 2003, where I started the sales of my “Ehen” singles cd - which is doing quite well now. I also organized a mock celebrity soccer match for The Kanu Heart Foundation, where I got other Nigerian artistes and celebrities like Plantashun Boiz, Paul Ik Dairo, Mr. Kool, Emma Ugolee, Maideena, Trybesmen, Nomoreloss, e.t.c, to play football. It was mad fun.
I've likewise performed at the national stadium at the Guinness stand for Coja All African Games; and have also performed alongside Dance hall sensation Sean Paul. Ruggedman's been performing all over Nigeria right now and is Nigeria's most wanted rap act.

"I am the most featured rap artist in Nigeria and the hottest out right now."

He's been on almost every newspaper, and the radio and tv stations love him being in their place cos he gets calls from the audience like crazy.

My video, Peace Or War is the best video ever done by a Nigerian and was number one for two and a half months on MBI top ten video count down. Ehen has so far spent a year on the MTN top ten count down on Cool fm. My new dance track “WHAT YOU GOT” has been #1 two months running on Star 101.5 fm's World New Flavour chart show and is on all the radio station charts.

I recently just got back from Ireland, Europe where I went to chill out a while and also promote myself and my music. I spread my cds to Near fm 101.6 Dublin - where I was also interviewed, and Today fm 100-102 Dublin. I shot clips for my new song Big Bros and met Raekwon The Chef of Wu Tang Clan.

AWARDS:
I won the Nigerian Fanta Fame Award for best new rap act/group or duo 2003 on the 31st of October. I also added to that, three awards at the just concluded Gbedu music awards for RAP ARTIST OF THE YEAR, BEST VIDEO OF THE YEAR, AND SONG OF THE YEAR. Awards have also been given to me by high schools and tertiary institutions for my contribution to the development of Nigerian rap music.

ARTISTES I HAVE FEATURED ON THEIR SONGS RELEASED & UNRELEASED:
Believe it or not, I am the most featured Nigerian rapper. I have rapped on over 20 tracks for people. Most of these were done before I even released Ehen part 1.

"...meaning my voice is going to be heard for a long time to come in this country and wherever the music is taken to…feel me?"

They are:
Tony Tetuila (2 Tracks on his latest album), Paul Play Dairo, Tony Tonnero, Lexzy Doo - formerly of the group X-Appeal, Sabina Jabari, D’Banj’, Segun Fakeye (Gospel), P-Flow (Gospel), Niyi (Gospel), Shawa, Chi Chi, Artquake, Nutty Pin,
OJB Jezreel, Magnum (London based rapper), George Nathaniel, Slam, Mr. Kool.

ARTISTES I HAVE FEATURED ON MY ALBUM PROJECT SO FAR:
Paul Play Dairo, C-Mion, Abounce, Jaffar, Azadus, Frank Ogbebor, Harmony,
Josh (A Congolese rapper).

PRODUCERS I HAVE WORKED WITH SO FAR:
Paul Play Dairo, Omololu, Ojb, Jezreel, Freestyle and X-Appeal.

TONY TETUILA

 


 








I can’t do without women –Tony Tetuila
By IME OLA
Friday, July,2, 2004

Tony Tetuila
By Sun News Publishing

Whenever Afro hip-hop artiste, Tony Tetuila, reminisced, on the past, he would have every reason to thank his creator. Here was a young man who claimed he was unceremoniously ejected from the hip-hop group, Remedies, following their hit debut, Shako Mo. At a time when his peers would have thought him crest fallen, the young man took everything in its stride

. No sooner than he left the group that fortune smiled on him and he came up with an album, Morning Time,in 1998. His second effort, My Car became an instant hit, just as his latest release; E go Better which is currently enjoying tremendous airplay. Apparently, there has been no looking back for this talented artiste who, within a space of six years, has carted home many awards locally and internationally. A magnanimous Tetuila however declared that he had since forgiven his friends, Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Brown and that at any given opportunity, he would still like to work with them. The musician spoke to Daily Sun on his childhood, early life, career, and reasons why he pulled out of the Remedies.

Background
My name is Tony Tetuila. But my real name is Anthony Olarewaju Awosanya. I am from Oro Town in Kwara State. I am the last of my mother’s children. My father married two wives and my mother happens to be the first wife. We were eight from my mum. Two have died and I’m still the last born. We are six males and two females. A male and a female are dead, so we are now six.
I attended St Catherine Model School, Yaba for my primary school and later St Finbarr’s College, Akoka. I also attended Kwara State Polytechnic in Ilorin where I obtained my Ordinary National Diploma in 1997.

Childhood
Growing up was fun because being my mother’s last child everyone dotted on me. They showered love and attention on me. But the music thing has been with me right from childhood. Then as a child, my mum used to buy musical toys for me, such as piano, guitar, and drums. And now everything has turned into reality, just like a dream. My mum knew quite well that I would have something to do with music in future because she had seen the talent in me.
As a young boy my ambition was to be a musician. Almost every one around me then knew I had talents in music.

Early days
After obtaining my OND, the thought of travelling abroad to study music came to me but that was also the time that I met Eedris Abdulkareem in Ilorin. When I was at Kwara Polytechnic, I used to organise shows then. The DJ Shina was the one that introduced Eedris to me. When we met, we discovered that we had one or two things in common.
I told him about my plans concerning music and he said okay, when we get to Lagos we will talk. He had come from Kano to see DJ Shina who was his friend. So when we got to Lagos, we started working together.

Then Eddy Brown joined us when we were about entering the studio.
Eddy and Idris had known each other long before I met them. That was how The Remedies came about and together we came out with a single Shako Mo in 1998, which became an instant hit.

Why we broke up
Breaking up was inevitable when you consider the way the entertainment industry in Nigeria is. When we were together, the returns were quite small and considering that we were three, we were not really happy with what we were getting. Each of us believed we could do something independently. So I was the first to leave. When I left, I prayed to God that if playing music was the profession he chose for me, then ‘Thy will be done.’ If not, let me just go back to school to complete my studies.

Albums
God answered my prayers and I came out with my first solo album, Morning Time, which had the hit song Omode Meta Nshere in 1999. It was released in 2001 also on Kennis Music label with eight tracks. In fact, God surprised me with the success of that album. The song My Car was the last track that we needed to just fill the album.

Luckily, the album My Car fetched me many awards. This was how that particular song came about: On two occasions, motorists hit my car in a manner that left me dazed because the second one happened just about two days after the first incident. And it was at a time I had no money and I just went out in search of people to bail me out when suddenly I heard a bang. When we both came out, the other guy started speaking grammar and I said ‘Ah Oyinbo repete o, you have to fix my car.’ I told him we should share it 50-50. So we went to fix the car. Just then the chorus started bugging in my head. I got it down in my midget, got home and started working on it immediately.

The Tinubu part came in when I was writing the lyrics. I just thought of a good way to end the story after being hit by my friend and not having money. That was why I brought in Tinubu to bail us out of the problem.

Tinubu and my car
It was rumoured that the governor gave me some money after the release of that album. All I can say is that for now, the governor has not given me any money but promised to support my career. He liked the song and said he would support me and I believe he is going to do it because now he is very busy trying to give Lagosians a good life.
My third album E go Better was released about four weeks ago. It has eight tracks, E Go Better, Call My Name, E Wa Bamijo, No One Like U, Na U Sabi Lagbaja, A.I.D.S, and Fefe na Efe.

My music
I play Afro hip-hop. That is hip-hop from the African perspective. Why I play this type of music is because it is the music of my own generation. The only way our own kind of hip-hop can be accepted here is by infusing our own culture into it. That is why some times you hear us singing in Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa, so that people here can understand what we are saying. That is why we call it Afro – hip-hop.
Young artistes and hip-hop
Yes, we are so many because hip-hop music is changing the face of entertainment in Nigeria. In my new album, E Go Better, I did a song Fefe Na Efe in which I feature a Ghanaian artiste Tic Tac. Fefe Na Efe has to do with hip-life and hop-life is from Ghana. We entered into a collaboration; it is in my own album, as well as in his own album. It’s like taking hip-hop to another level.
I
nspiration
My inspiration comes from God. Without God, nothing is possible. With Him, all things are possible. It also comes from things I live with; things I see, eat or drink as well as people around me. How I write my songs? Where ever I go, I always have my midget with me. And whenever I want to write a song, the chorus is the first thing I deal with. When I have the chorus, I can keep it in my midget until I get home.

Challenges
There are a lot of challenges. Your contemporaries are there, so you have to push your self real hard because you want to do something that will satisfy your fans and give them something even better than what you have done before. When you play this kind of music with a lot of artistes, you have to thank God that you are among the chosen. When you climb the music ladder, you want to remain there. You don’t want to get down. There are some other challenges in different kinds of ways.
Meeting K. K. Ogungbe (CEO) Kennis Music
I count myself very lucky meeting K. K. Ogungbe because he made everything so easy for me right from the beginning. I did not have this problem of going from one record company to the other looking for deals.

You see I went to Ray Power to give them my song to play on air so I met Kenny Ogungbe and he told me that he plans to start a records company and asked if I was interested. And I said, ‘Ah I don’t mind’. I just count myself lucky meeting him because he has been there for me and up till now, he is still there for me and everything is working.

Message
The message is about things that are happening in Nigeria. It is not as if we are talking bad about it. We are saying that no matter how bad things are now, we should be hopeful that things will get better. I see young people leaving the country to look for greener pastures abroad. So my message is that if we all work together, Nigeria will be better. We have to support the government.
There is also a message that has to do with giving thanks to God for what He has done in our lives. There are some other tracks that urge my fans to enjoy themselves.

Awards
I have won many awards both in Nigeria and abroad. My first album fetched me the FMA Best New Artiste Award in 1999 and in 2000, an award from NISOFEST (Nigerian Song Festival).
Performing Music Award from Grand Hotel, Asaba, Fame Music Award and City People Award, Musician of the year 2002. AMEN’s Best Artiste of the year, Song of the year (My Car )in 2003. I also got awards from different universities; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Ibadan. I also got the REEL Award for the Best African Pop Rock from Channel O in South Africa last year.

Social life
I like going out to meet friends. I don’t smoke. In fact, I have never tasted cigarettes in my life and I will never taste it. That’s the truth. I don’t smoke, but I do drink beer. However, I know my limit. I don’t take anything before going on stage because from the start, I have never gotten myself addicted to such things. I don’t think I have to get inspiration from drinking or smoking before going on stage.

Women and me
The fact is that we can’t do without women because they can make or mar you. If you are dealing with them, you have to be diplomatic. I have them around me, but most of them are my friends. When people see women with me, they think I like women, they are people you have to respect in order to succeed in this business.
Yes. I have a serious relationship. Very soon, we will start sharing the invitation cards.

Most embarrasing moment
We went for a show in Abuja, the show was not well organised and we were stranded in Abuja. We had to enter some clubs to perform so we could raise money for our transport fare back to Lagos. We had to go and stay with a friend that lives in one room. We were nine artistes. That was our first time in Abuja, but it was fun. We even realised more money that we expected. The show was tagged Night of the Shinning Star but that night; the stars did not shine. It was really funny, in fact, that was my most embarrassing moment.

Role models
I like Lagbaja and Femi Kuti. They are my role models because they are talented and have done a lot to promote the music industry in Nigeria.
But my godfathers in entertainment are Mr Kenny Ogungbe and Mr Dayo Adeneye (D-One)

Aspirations
I want to have a recording company where I can help budding artistes. I would like to have a place where I can play once a month.

My hair
My hair has been my identity right from when I was with Remedies and I think it has really helped me. Some people can’t even recognise my face but once they see my hair, then they know it’s me. I take care of it with a good hair product.

Born again
I can’t say I am born-again the way many people say it, but definitely, I knpossible and I think He has been there for me. It doesn’t cost me anything to worship him, that’s why I call His name all the timeow I am closer to God. In everyman’s life, I believe God should be there. With God all things are