To understand the significance of Wizkid you have to look at the changing face of British society.
For many years the Carribbean population outnumbered the African population in the UK, but a 2011 census on Britain’s black communities discovered that there was a significant reversal. Professor Ludi Simpson, of University of Manchester suggested that the African population had doubled due to “Refugees and new migration patterns”, that it could also be that “Those who have settled over the past ten years have now had children.”
Some of these children are now prominent UK artists that are pushing things forward, crossing cultures, rapping with African slang and accents. In addition to this, technology has exposed us to African artistry via social networks, video channels, and streaming services have connected us. We are exposed to new melodies, drum patterns, language, and dialects without even realising it. The Afrobeats wave isn’t a seasonal hype or trend, it’s bigger than merely being tagged as a genre. African music is where it’s at. It always has been, it’s just that the rest of the world didn’t know it, or as Wizkid puts it we’re “finally catching up”.
The Start Of A Starboy
Wiz, it’s finally good to hook up with you man. It’s years in the making.
I know. I’m all excited sitting here man. Sitting with the legend in conversation.
You’re the legend. Come on man.
You’re a legend, trust me man and I respect you a lot and I just want you to know that. I respect everything you do.
‘What I wanted to do today was talk about yourself as an artist, how you got into the game, where you’re taking everything now. This is going to be for a lot of people who maybe haven’t heard of you before. Or maybe have only just found out about you through Drake or what not. So, lets take it back to the beginning, what made you pick up the microphone? What made you realize you was an entertainer?’
I think I was in church when I started making music. I was 11, you know and I started writing raps then. It was really what made me fall in love with music – rap music. Not rap music actually because my parents used to play like Fela and King Sunny Ade in the House but I didn’t love that because you know I wasn’t old enough to understand or enjoy the music. So, it’s like I just liked listening to rap. So, that really made me fall in love with music and that was when I knew – ‘Yo I really want to do this for a long time’.
So what was the first rapper you heard? Who was the rapper that had an impact on you and just made you want to rhyme?
For real? Snoop Dog – deep man. You know just his style, everything. When he came out you know, Snoop was just wavy. I remember then I actually saved up to buy his CD. You know Snoop is what really made me love it cos his style of rap. Not his first album. No, it wasn’t his first album. I’m not like a big hip-hop head. I can’t even remember that album, I think it was a blue cover and he had a jacket, a fur jacket. I’m trying to remember the name.
Was it ‘Paid tha Cost’?
I don’t remember, it’s not ‘Paid the Cost’. But I’ll remember before we end this conversation, I’m sure I’ll remember. So, that was what made me really fall in love with music and I got started listening to G Unit as well, G Unit was buzzing then and Master P was buzzing .. He dropped that ‘The Good and The Bad Side of Master P’ and I remember that I fell in love with the productions on there, and just that whole thing just made me fall in love with music. Then I started growing up and started listening to Bob Marley a lot, then listening to the Fela – the music my parents were listening to and enjoying. I started listening to that a lot.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Surulere, Ojuelegba, Lagos State. The ghetto. The real definition of you know – ghetto!
People who may not know that – is that close to Lagos? In Lagos?
That’s in Lagos, that’s in the middle of everything. You know in the middle of everything. Anyone that grew up in Lagos, or knows Lagos will tell you about Ojuelegba and Surulere. That’s like… you have to know. That’s like saying you’re in California and you don’t know where Compton is.
So, just to help visualize. What was it like growing up? What are the experiences most vivid to you. The craziest experiences you witnessed growing up?
Just waking up and just walking around the streets. Just playing football, just doing stuff, getting into trouble. You know – I started drinking, started smoking, on the street you know, and then I fell in love with music, like making music. That would be my vivid experience that I can remember really vividly.
What was the first track that you put out that made you realise like, “you know what I can do this. This is me, this is what I want to do?”
It was… I didn’t really put out the record. Cos when we used to just rap back in church, I just fell in love with it. But when I put out ‘Fast Money, Fast Cars’ I got featured on a rap album from MI, I got that feature and I did a hook on that. That was when people were like – “Yo, who’s that kid. That boys sounds you know…he has potential you know”. So after I dropped that, I was like whoah… I think this might be it, people might be giving me my chance and I just took it. I just never looked back.
What happened after that?
After that… it was days and years of experiences – good and bad. You know recording, seeing the world and being blessed by god and going through some of the hardest times of my life. You know just like – I’m pulling through and just me to me, being me right now. It’s still a continuous journey.
Sounds of Nigeria
A lot of artists, especially rap artists in the UK for instance, rap immediately about what’s going on in the UK. You know in London, a lot of them don’t even take into account what goes on outside of London. In America, a West coast rapper would rap about their experience and their ends, and their hood, where they’re from and everything else. It might spread out across America or take some kind of influence. But you’re in Nigeria… Lagos Nigeria where you’ve got the influence of Fela and what he achieved and what he did as an artist. But you’re also surrounded by a lot of other countries, it’s kind of crazy because it’s like a massive continent and different languages – it’s not like America. So how do you break through as an artist in Africa alone, let alone anywhere else?
To be honest that’s why for me I feel totally ready. Like, I’m like not even second-guessing when I make a record. When I know a hit, I know a hit when I hear one. Africa is a big continent and I’ve toured around almost all of the countries in Africa. Doing shows around stadiums and being able to make music that people can relate to even without really understanding what you say. But if you have a clue and been able to go there and give them good vibes and that energy everywhere, that’s hard work. So, if you’re able to conquer that, I think there’s no artist that I think is not ready for the world after going through all that, all that. You understand, just you’re ready, you’re super ready, unless you’re a stupid period and you don’t what your doing or you don’t know what you stand for – you don’t stand for anything. That’s the truth.
You know what, this is for the world, I’m not joking. This isn’t just for Africa – it’s bigger than that.
What was the record when you were like “I need to think bigger than just recording for people in Lagos or Nigeria”. What was that transition?
From the first one. The first one like I never really wanted to be just an African Star. From when I made music I was like “Yo..I wanna be a global star man”. Because the people that influenced me weren’t just young stars who were just famous in their own communities. There was nothing like the internet then and so for music to get to Africa, it had to be big. So I was influenced by rap, reggae, Bob Marley, Fela… like good music, some big names. So, I was always like, you know what, this is for the world, I’m not joking. This isn’t just for Africa – it’s bigger than that.
D’ Banj– he put me onto you. Like when he was coming out..
Yes, big bro! You know a lot of people don’t even know, I grew up around D’Banj a lot. You know that era, I was around them, like I was in the house, they didn’t even know that I was in the house! I was even living with them and they didn’t know that I was living with them [laughs]. That’s how crazy it was. Cos we were just a family man, so big shout to D’Banj – Mo’hits, Wande Coal, Don Jazzy, Dr Sid, D’Prince, god bless you guys that was a big… That was a very very strong team that did a lot for African music.
Nigerians are everywhere in the world you know… we’re hustlers man! So, you know, the Nigerians definitely loved me, they loved me.
So I was working with him [D’Banj] and he was like “Yo, Semtex WizKid you know, you need to know about Wizkid”. I was like ok, I’m always eager to learn about new artists, so he put me onto you properly. I had heard of you before, but he was like.. “nah nah nah nah – Wizkid”. So, the first track I heard was ‘Holla At Your Boy’, and then I saw that and I was like, whoa! Cos I didn’t even know the scene was going on out there until I met D’Banj. So, what was the point when you were like, you had a contact where you could get your music played outside of Africa? What was that turning point for you when you started infiltrating everywhere else around the globe?
For me, I blew up when the internet was just popping off basically. So the internet had a big role to play in my shit too. Sorry.. I don’t mean to cuss, I don’t ever cuss! Not when I’m [laughs] that’s a lie. You know I don’t like to cuss for real. But the internet played a big role, I didn’t even know, I just joined. My manager then opened a Twitter account for me and I was even into that cos I was just about my music. I wanna make music for the world to hear. So, you know the kids started listening to me and London started showing me love a lot. Then, outside of that… Europe, then America. So, I was like, ok yeah – so they’re finally listening to us. So, even that alone, made me go back in the studio and work on my sounds and just push my producers to get it right. Push my mixers to get it right. Push my video directors to understand the dream and the vision. So, I think the internet did a lot too.. I’m not going to say… and the people, the Nigerians. Cos Nigerians are everywhere in the world you know… we’re hustlers man! So, you know, the Nigerians definitely loved me, they loved me. So everywhere they go, they’ll tell you Nigerians love me, I love them. Too much! I’ll do anything for my Nigerian people man.
I went to Tokyo one time…
They’re everywhere – trust me!
But that’s the once place you can go, if you don’t speak the language over there, you’re in trouble, because there’s no English signs, there’s nothing. English people are lazy they don’t really do other languages. The only people that we saw there that spoke English – Nigerians! [laughs] They’re there on the block man! They were like “Yo ma man what can we do for you?!!” I was like, ok.
Nigerians we’re everywhere! [laughs] Big shout-out to my Naija people..like I love them like too much. That’s why I do a lot back home. Sometime I do free shows, just pull-up “hey Wizkid free shows” or sometimes I charge like a dollar for a show. Sometimes I take a thousand naira, or sometimes when I do shows at the Fela shrine, back with Femi and all that you know. I love Nigeria man.
International Star Rising: Skepta, Disturbing London & UK Scene
You’ve got an international scene. When did you hook up with Disturbing London? What was that point?
From early you know. From like 2010. That’s when me and Dumi [from Disturbing London] linked up, when they came to Nigeria. They they just heard me in the club and I remember Dum’s was trying to meet me. I was young then and I was crazy… [laughs] but when we linked up it was like real brothers. You know they’re from Nigeria too, so it’s just been real. We’ve been real with each other from the first time we met. So, it’s beyond contract, it’s beyond… Disturbing London – it’s like a family relationship, that’s what it is.
I think a lot of African Artists, there’s a lot coming through that are popping off, but I don’t think they realize the need to have that UK team that can be like “Yo, do this over here. Don’t do that….”
That’s why I’m the smartest! [laughs loudly] Nah, I’m just joking….. I was just joking… I’m a joker! I’m a joker! Don’t take me serious man! But you know me, to be honest, I’m a big believer of team work and hard work. I believe in… I’m open minded to meeting people and just knowing that we can work with each other and we can collaborate. Whatever field you’re at, you never know how we will need each other. So, it’s like, I just keep an open mind man.
Ojuelegba? How real is that track?
Too real. That’s why it’s like an evergreen record, it will always be there. You know, cos in a less than a five minute track I was able to express different emotions in one track. Like speaking about the hustle, the grind, then me being so thankful to God, then me telling in the record, passing a message in the record, like “Yo – when I was like younger my Mama told me, yo when god blesses you, you should be smart enough to know that you should take more, you should be more cautious. That’s when you should get more cautious of what you say, what you do and how you move.” So it’s like, in one track I was able to do that. To me, without even knowing that I was doing that, making a real track and that’s just the real thing about me, I love to make real music. Anything I say in my music is what I do. I don’t say nothing that I don’t do. I don’t sell dreams to people. I didn’t start talking about getting cars, or you know driving a Range Rover, until I could afford to buy jewellery and talk about it. So I just make real music man. So that’s a real record for me.
That’s why forever and ever I am always thankful to my brother Skepta man. He’s the realest artist, one of the realest artists I’ve ever met.
How did it feel when you heard Skepta’s verse on that?
Amazing. I felt, like to me, I remember I was outside The Metropolitan Hotel, Dumi called me and was like “Yo, Skep wants to come and play something for you real quick”. And I was like “yo, cool cool”. So, they came. And in my head, I kind of thought about it and was like “I think he did a verse”. But I never knew Drake was on it. So, when he came he played me that… I was like “yo.. this is going to take the record to another level bro. I was like, Yo, the world is listening. This is going to bring attention to African music”. That’s why forever and ever I am always thankful to my brother Skepta man. He’s the realest artist, one of the realest artists I’ve ever met. And that’s why we meet up everywhere, link up in the solo dolo ting, just have fun, just anywhere in the world man, that’s my brother. And that did a lot for African music too. As a whole.
I think that’s one if his best verses as well.
Oh man umm… I don’t agree cos I’ve heard like a lot of new crazy new stuff Skep is working on. But that’s like an iconic verse. I would say.
What do you make of Grime? Because you come from a totally different musical background. Your approach to making music is very different. What’s your take on the genre, the culture that is Grime music in the UK?
I’m a big fan of Grime man.
How would you class your style of music?
Class my style? Hmmm… World music. Important music. Important music, you know it’s music that just makes you feel good you know. Basically African music in general is like that. So, I would say happy music. I don’t have a word for it. I just call it a lot. I can go on and on…
I saw D’Banj do a show at Wireless Festival and he was like “Yo Sem I’m bringing on an 18 piece band’”and I was like “why do you need an 18 piece band?” But when I saw the show I was like ‘woah’ he went in, that show was one of the best shows London had seen from an African artist. Your music, I’m sure would be the same thing. So what’s your take on Grime cos it’s kind of almost like the opposite, it’s programmed music, its synthetic, total opposite…
Yes but to me, I listen to everything, music first of all, cos I’m open minded. I’m not naïve to just listen to African music or just listen to a certain type of music. I’m open minded, so I might not follow it, or know too much, but I think I know a couple of records, and they’re cool man. It’s nice to me, if anyone that sounds good to me, I listen to it again, I’m cool and open minded about records.
Over here we’ve got Grime, we’ve got UK rap, there’s a sound some people calling ‘Afrobashment’ or ‘Afrorap’ ..
That’s why I don’t… that one there… that one there… I don’t understand. That’s why I say lets not call it ‘Afrobashment’, let’s not call it UK Afrobeats 2, I don’t know what to call it, but I don’t like to classify it like that, cos it’s music too.
The fact that Africa is influencing the sound or Bashment is influencing the sound, and they’re creating their own sound, it’s a great thing for music
But what do think of some of the MC’s coming through right now? Which have got a lot more African influence in the music than before, putting it into the slang, the lyrics and everything else.
Yeah man like I say, music is a universal language first of all, which you don’t need to understand what the person is saying to love the records. So the fact that Africa is influencing the sound, or like Bashment is influencing the sound, and they’re creating their own sound, it’s a great thing for music – it’s a great thing. I’m really just happy where the music is going into right now. Cos now the world is listening to one music. Cos when Drake puts out an album, everyone is listening to Drake’s album. When Travis puts out an album everyone is on that. When Adele puts out an album, everyone will listen to an Adele album. When Beyonce does, everyone would listen to it. So it’s like the world is listening to one music and Africa is really influencing that. You know like the sound, so I’m just happy to where that’s going cos that’s just going to open doors for the music scene out there man. And I’m just happy to where music is at right now, where music going and I’m just blessed to be here, contributing my own to the music that I do.
Young Boss To Young Father
What’s it take to be a boss?
hmm what it takes to be a boss? Huh… That’s a serious question.
You’re a boss?
Yeah blood sweat and tears man, blood sweat and tears. This is not a joke thing. I’ve toured around Africa, I’ve done stadium shows, now if I go back I do stadium shows, I don’t do no club gigs. I used to do that anyway when I was coming up, but I built my brand to a level that I’m confident enough to take it anywhere in the world. “Yo this is what I do and this is what I stand for” So cost of being a boss? Man it’s everything man, it’s everything man. Cos I’ve gone through, shit you gotta be ready for it. You gotta be ready, you can’t be born for it, you have to like decide.
How old are you now?
I’m 26 years old.
Who inspired you to call the shots the way you do?
Myself man and like…
…but there’s gotta be someone, you’ve got to have learnt it from..
C’mon like you know like I said people who inspired me or influenced me are real musicians. Like the Bob Marley’s, the Fela’s – they made decisions that… they made decisions that people thought they were crazy, but it was the right stuff for what they were doing and it brought them respect to their sound, and it took their sound to a whole new level. So that’s the approach I have on my music and what I do. So when I do that, I have in my mind “yo I’m providing for my family”.
… But at 26 you’ve got the confidence and you’ve got the authority, and you got the decisiveness to call shots on a global scale. Most 26 year olds are in the club. Most 26 years olds are trying to…
I’m still in the club…
No no no, but you’re running the club. So I just want to get to the bottom of what inspires you to do that. Because no one’s doing it, it’s like you said there were other artists but you were raised, they weren’t calling the shots like you’re calling the shots…
Well you know, I would say my upbringing and where I’m from and just growing up in Surulere and the streets of Lagos. And just not forgetting where I’m from, or who I’m doing this for. That just keeps me grounded and puts my head in check. This is my life – music is my life. It’s not like I’m drinking, I’m not here messing about. When I make a record I go to the cub to listen to it now back home, with my boys. Like I go ‘DJ here, stick it in there’ let me hear, see how the people react to that. And then I say ‘oh let me go change this’. I take my time making music, it’s a process for me everything, I sit down, I look at things objectively like “what if I’m not Wizkid, would I look at it and go yo that guys actually a smart guy”. So I always think two, three times, or like a hundred times before I make a decision. So everything, everything has helped me, my family, just that, that’s shaped me into who I wanna be and I love it.
I was young and when I had my kid, the media was so harsh on me back home.
You’ve got that Michael Jackson vision, because Michael wanted it all. Has there been any point where you’ve been like ‘this shit might not happen’ or ‘is this really for me’?
Nah, nah there was never a time, even when I went through the craziest stuff.
What crazy stuff?
Like when I had my baby, I was like… I was 21. I blew up when I was 19, I was getting buzz when I was 17, but I blew up when I was like… people saying Wizkid 19. So I was young and when I had my kid, the media was so harsh on me back home.
Saying like look at the headline ‘Wizkid impregnates an undergraduate’! I’m like come on, I didn’t rape the girl, I didn’t do nothing, she loves me. It was like, so it was crazy for me. Just growing up, just being in the media, because I made a lot of mistakes too, I probably said a couple things I wish I didn’t say. I replied to one tweet I wish I didn’t reply to in my life. So there’s all those stuff. I don’t want to talk about that one. But it’s a lot.
You’re 20, you get a phonecall – ‘Yo Wiz, I’m late’ – how did that feel?
Jesus, I felt like I’d disappointed everyone, like I felt like I disappointed myself first of all. Not like that wasn’t … it’s a blessing, my kid is a blessing, like I love my son to death, I have him tatted on me, like I show him so much love. But you know, at that time, I had my vision, I had my goals set and I didn’t want to make no mistakes. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, because it’s a blessing, extra blessing but I’m just happy right now that god has blessed me the way he has for me to be able to look after the boy.
What advise would you have for any young fathers worldwide who might go through what you went through, because some guys they can’t handle it.
Trust me when I had my kid, I’m not gonna lie, I was 21. My mum called me and it was so funny the way it happened because my mum got to see my kid before me. So it was crazy, and I heard that. I was devastated man, I was young, I was just making money but not as much as I would want to make then, but I was like… Now I have to just focus. “Now you’re not thinking for just yourself, you have a human being you have to raise to be someone great or be good. So you have the choice, you have to decide what you wanna do”. So every time I go through stuff like that, I just look in the mirror and speak to myself and I’m back on track. So everything is like a blessing, there’s nothing I see as a disappointment, or I don’t feel bad about anything if it doesn’t happen.
Fatherhood’s good right?
Yeah, amazing. Amazing! Listen I have conversations with my son. I was Face-timing with him the other day for an hour and he was telling me the craziest stuff. You know these kids are growing up so fast man, I love my kid to death. It’s amazing, I don’t wanna talk about my son too much because I love him.
It’s inspiring man cos it’s real.
He was kinda like the things that really shaped me to put me on track like “yo you need to get your act together, you can’t be jumping around, now you have to think smart, you have to think twice before you say stuff. Cos he’s gonna grow up and do you want him to hear that that’s what Daddy’s saying or that’s how your dad was living his life”. So I had to just be a man, again, for my boy. So I love him man.
A Sweet Deal & More Than One Dance With Drake
You’ve been putting out music, making a lot of money. You get that dough, a lot of different ways then what UK artists do and US artists. What made you decide to sign a label deal though?
It’s like you said, I’ve been doing my thing, I’ve been touring, I’ve done Wireless, I’ve done a couple festivals, like just by myself and with my music. And I know I would just be a stupid artist not to think of the next level of what I’m trying to do with myself. Not everybody needs a label 100%, I’m gonna say that right now for every artist out there. But if you’re smart enough right, you can be the biggest artist in the world if you have the right machines behind you. Right structure and the right smart people thinking for you. For me now, it would only be right for me to do a sweet deal that would benefit Africa [laughs]…
I need a sweet deal as well yeah… [laughs] I need to get one of those.
[laughing] …that would benefit all of Africa, you know and myself and just take the music to another level. That’s what it is.
Have you noticed any difference, the transition from working with a label, working to deadlines, timelines and everything else to what you’ve been doing before.
Nah come on, I’ve been doing this like from early, before I signed to a label I was independent pushing my stuff. So I have an office, I have a label that I run, I have producers signed to me, I have artists signed to me. This is what I do.
But that’s on your own timeline.
Yeah but that’s my own timeline but it’s like I’m a workaholic, I’m always in the studio, the music’s ready before you even ask for it. So I’m giving you the pressure now, cos there’s too much music. What can you do for me? What can you do with this music? What can you do with this high? What can you do with the fame? What can you do with the show? What can you do with the people? We have numbers, where can you take it to? Can you get me more shit? Can you get me that… that’s what it is. The hard work is on the team, not me. Me I’m here, banging records every day.
I don’t waste my time, if it doesn’t add up or if it doesn’t add to me, or can’t do anything to our relationship – I don’t want it.
You and Drake have got a lot in common.
Yeah I would say so.
What was it like when you first connected?
It’s like, he’s a very smart guy I would say. That’s what…I’m just.. I’m not… I don’t muck around, I don’t waste my time, if it doesn’t add up or if it doesn’t add to me, or can’t do anything to our relationship – I don’t want it. So it’s like, that was just relevant and organic and when that happened, big up Skep [Skepta] you know, introduced us.
It was through Skep that…
Yeah it’s through Skep man, Skep is the guy. That’s my blood, the connect, he plug, everything.
So you connected… Skepta jumped on your joint, he put Drake on it and then Drake.. am I right in saying he sampled you for ‘One Dance’?
That was 2016 pretty much, so what happens next, the episode? He’s on your first single from your new album…
Yeah, we made that when we made ‘One Dance’ too, at the time we made ‘One Dance’ we made a couple records, so that was like one of the ones. But I was like that’s my record.
So you made more than one record, aside from ‘One Dance’?
Yeah, yeah of course. It’s just Drake is a very … we’re similar I would say.
About your business?
Yeah about my business, yeah about that… that’s why sometimes we get into it slightly, like a little bit, but then he understands it. Cos he’s like a brother man, and he’s a smart man, he gets it like ‘Wizkid knows what he wants and knows what he’s about’. So there’s that respect between us, and love.
Its crazy that a Canadian, and African and an English woman got the biggest track of 2016.
Can you imagine!
Crazy. Nigerian boy from Ojuelegba, Surulere [laughs]
Sounds From The Other Side
Tell us about the album.
The album man it’s done, ‘Sounds from the Other Side’, that’s like a mixtape. That’s what I call it. To me it’s mixtape, the one I just dropped the single with Drake, it’s a mixtape to me. But the team calls it an album, everyone thinks it’s an album – it’s a mixtape.
Why is it a mixtape?
Cos it’s not the best work of Wizkid, it’s just a project I decided to do to introduce people not familiar with the sound, or Wizkid’s sound. I’ve been able to do a lot of international collaborations with my local producers and our artists, just like fuse a sound for the people to have. It’ll probably be something I do every two years or three years – making sounds from the other side. Just that.
They’ll look back at this interview and say “Ok now I understand what he was saying then”
So what is the best music of Wizkid if this isn’t it?
No the album that’s the one, the one after ‘Sounds From The Other Side’ is the main stuff. But this one is bad, ‘Sounds from the Other Side’ is mad, but the next one, people will understand [laughs]. The world will get it, “ok that boy”, they’ll look back at this interview and say “Ok now I understand what he was saying then” – cos now I just look like I’m chatting shit.
Nah I don’t think people will think that at all…
I don’t take myself like a serious person, I try to explain every time. [laughs]
Ok so you got US hip hop, UK Rap, Grime, you got Afrobeats sound and what’s happening in Africa at the moment, Nigeria more so. But you’re working with a lot of South African…
Producers and artists…
Who are you rating? Who should I be looking out for my hip hop show?
In South Africa? Ah man Maphoresa… that’s a producer, I work with him and he’s very sick, he’s a musical guy, he’s behind a lot of big hits from back there. He worked on a some stuff from ‘Sounds From The Other Side’ and my next album as well. Nasty C that’s a good rapper, Emtee that’s a good rapper, I would say South Africa right AKA, Cassper. The thing about South Africa right, before Nigerian music even started popping cos I’m a very musical person, I thought South African music would be the one to get the world before us. Cos it’s like they make house music and house music is very musical.
The Kwaito sound?
Yeah Kwaito sound, so I was like they’ll get it before us. But until our sounds started doing something, that was like what got the worlds attention, I was like ‘OK yeah we might get it before them’. Because Nigeria is not a joke, and once Nigerians here that “oh we can make money from this” – it’s over! [laughs] “So listen you want me to come here at 6am every day leave here at 1am – I’ll come 6am leave at 1, every day and I’ll make this – I’ll be there 5 dates”. So that’s it, that’s Nigeria. So we just did it without a sound man, I wouldn’t say it’s not one artist that did that, it’s from everyone, everyone had an input in that, and everyone is still contributing to that.
If feels like you’re the one artist, that could make a truly international rap album with US, UK, South Africa…
It’s crazy cos, me and Ty before I left LA we were just working on a mixtape. I wasn’t supposed to say that. Me and Ty Dolla we’re working on a mixtape together and it sounds crazy. Cos when we started making music together, when I first met him, we did a record and we shot the video, I remember I shot it in London. And we didn’t put it out and he was asking me “why didn’t you ever put out that song and that video?” I was like “bro like after we made that I put out a record that was doing so good that I feel like we can make a better record”. Cos Ty’s a musician so when we went in we started working and we created one song. Woah, I think we can give the world something. So watch out for that Ty and Wizkid.
Wow – that’ll be big. Is it true that if somebody wants to book you in Africa they gotta book a private jet.
Yeah sometime. I gotta pull up nice you know. It’s jokes, but yeah most times.
And you performed in Kenya recently with Chris Brown?
Yeah that was in Mombasa. Me and Chris we got like 3 or 4 records together, we have one on ‘Sounds From The Other Side’, we have another one on my album. Chris was like the first person who started showing me love from America, one of the biggest stars. When he came to perform in Nigeria, when we met it was just organic between us. We rolled up a joint, smoked, listened to music, vibed that’s it and I went to LA and we just made a record, Chris is like.. I really really rate him a lot.
I feel like we should do this once a year.
Please … I’m just so happy finally it’s time for the world to hear what Wizkid is about cos it’s been a long time coming and I’ve just been waiting here for the right time for the world to hear. Cos I’ve been working with some crazy producers, I was talking to Skrillex the other day, we’re about to work on something crazy. Travis Scott, Boi1-da just musical, musical, musical people, I have some interesting things lined up.
What’s the best track you’ve ever made?
Jesus is Lord! That’s hard I don’t have one, I would be lying if I said I have one. Cos everyday I make records and I even impress myself like ‘Woah, look at you, check you out Wiz, check you out you sounded like a G’ – Like I did a record with Mustard and Ty, it’s like a LA Record, I’m about to get YG on that and it’s real LA shit. I’m making some exciting sounds man.
You’re just dropping some jewels right now, it’s just all coming out.
[laughs] Ohh and without even knowing it! Thank you for coming here and having this conversation this is like the right time too. I think we should definitely do this once a year.