I Am Back And Nothing Is Taking Me Away – Jahbless

Jahbless, who is one of the pioneers of
rap in local languages in Nigeria, has
experienced ups and down in his career,
but he is back with a bang and his long-
awaited third studio album titled, I Am
Me, which dropped Friday, May 29.
The hip-pop act, who has been in the
music industry for a long time and made
waves with a couple of hit songs
including Joor, a Yoruba rap piece he did
and remixed, was formerly with ID
Cabasa’s Coded Tunes, which then
boasted of hit makers like 9ice, Lord of
Ajasa, Reminisce, and 2Phat among other
rap artistes.
According to him, the album release
which coincided with Nigeria’s
Democracy Day and inauguration of
president Muhammadu Buhari led
government was deliberate. “Yes, it’s
deliberate; so many things have been
happening in the music industry and it’s
quite unfortunate that no one is standing
up to create a change or face the
challenges,” he said.
He adds, “Piracy is a big issue, royalties
for artistes is another; even the new
trend of online piracy eats us up so fast.
So, I decided to release the album on the
May 29 because I want it to be significant
with the change in the country.”
The singer further explained that as the
country enjoys a new dispensation with
hope that things change for good, he also
hopes the music industry gets a turn
around and change for good too. “There
is need for radical change in the country
and the music industry,” he said.
Jahbless, however, wondered why
artistes have to live on show and
endorsement deals, stressing that how
many artistes have the opportunity to get
shows and endorsements when there are
cabals and cliques in the system?
He noted that music alone can pay any
artistes well if things are well structured.
“Shows and endorsements are supposed
to be additional; so I’m creating a
platform to make sure I make my money
from music, and I hope other artistes can
do the same too. That’s why we decided
to ride on the wind of change by
releasing the album on May 29,” he said.
The 22-track album which is already
garnering reviews with critical acclaim
singles such as 69 Missed Calls, Modi,
Lights Camera Action, and Owambe,
features artistes like Ice Prince,
Oristefemi, Reminisce, Vector, Olamide,
CDQ, Small Doctor, Lil Kesh, Kiss Daniel,
Lamboginny, Jozie, Ceeboi, and Dnot with
the compliment of producers like Tee-Y
Mix, Kriz Beat, Taleen Beats, Bbanks and
Rhymebaba.
“I’m selling my album in two phases; we
are selling the deluxe version with 22
tracks on Jumia and Konga and you also
get it online, while the regular version
with 17 tracks will be sold on the streets.
Both were released yesterday. The
regular version will be marketed by
Obaino Music, while the deluxe version
will be handled by JE Records and it’ll
also be available at all Bheerhugz outlets
in Lagos,” he stated.
Speaking about the new album and the
trend of spitting rhymes in local
languages, as well as what the future
holds for ‘indigenous’ rappers, Jahbless
said, “in the last one year and eight
months I have been in and out of the
country and didn’t have any hit songs. I
was dropping songs but wasn’t on ground
to promote them. When I finished what I
was doing and came back, I needed a
song that could blend in with the current
sound.”
He adds, “Owanmbe is a concept I just
thought about and felt can come in from
this angle. I didn’t want to do the same
shoki, shake bum that everybody is
doing. I’m different and that’s one thing
about my brand; I love to standout. The
video was shot by Clarence Peters and
the song got the needed buzz.
“69 Missed Calls is based on my biggest
hit, Joor. I didn’t want to lose that
connection, so I thought, this is 2015, let
me do a new version of something close
to that and I decided to do it with the
new generation of artistes, my home
boys, Olamide and Reminisce, and every
other person jumped on it.”
On why he moved from Edge Records to
JE Records, he said, “Edge Records is
actually my company; I co-own Edge
Records with Ibrahim Okulaja. We have
artistes signed to the label including me;
so, it’s still my family. In kind of
business I run, I don’t tend to cover
everything. If I’m doing something and I
think that I see somebody who could
actually come in and take the business to
the next level, I will always oblige.
“At some point, Yes Record came into the
business. They wanted me and we sat
down with Edge Records management
and I went out on loan, like in football
business. Right now, JE records is there;
fantastic label, doing very well. It’s a one
year contract, and after the one year, if
we think we can go on, we go on, but if
we think we are done, I will go back to
Edge Records.”
On the growth of indigenous rap in
Nigeria, Jabless says, “being one of the
people that started game, it’s a privilege.
It’s an opportunity that I think if it was
in another country, I will be getting
royalty from all these boys, just kidding.
We enjoy the buzz, the respect is there
and anywhere I go I’m given the respect
like, baba, e file fun awon eleyi, ko she
mate won.
“I am back and nothing is taking me
away this time as I am ready to make a
change and do it right. I needed the
break to restructure things for myself.”
@RhemyJay
@susan_pius

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