"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.
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.
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..
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
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
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 .
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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