Rapper and producer, Babatunde Adewale, aka Mode 9, speaks about his career and the Nigerian music industry
I have a throwback project called Look at What I Found. It is a work I did in 2008 with South African DJ and producer, DJ Papercut. I lost the songs but I found them recently on my hard drive. It is an extended playlist that consists of five songs and I intend to release it because of my fans. I am also getting set to release my ace album titled Insulin. Some international rap artistes will be featured in it.
Nigerian music is currently experiencing an evolution, do you intend to switch from rap to dancehall music?
You are the most decorated winner at The Headies and seven-time recipient of the Lyricist on the Roll award, how do you feel about it?
I am grateful for it. It is good for people to be recognised for their good works. I have been doing music for a while and I have put in a lot of effort into writing my songs. I do not just go to the studio to record for the fun of it. I think before I write any song and I have been rewarded for my hard work.
You are quite renowned for your punch lines and lyrics, how do you get inspired to write your songs?
You must be creative to produce unique punch lines. Also, you must condition yourself to sing in a particular way. It is equivalent to Applied Mathematics. A good rapper should be able to exhibit his creativity and not just use fillers in his songs. There are different types of punch lines. You can be creative with your lyrics if you choose to tell a story.
Did you ever see yourself coming this far in your career?
I never really gave it a thought. I take it step by step and allow Jesus Christ to take the wheel. Nothing comes easy, and it is the end that justifies the means.
Were there times you felt like giving up?
It is normal for people to feel like giving up at a point. I felt that way when I had a regular job and the same is obtainable in the music industry. Some musicians feel like giving up when their career is not as successful as they wished. Sometimes, mere insults from followers on social media could discourage an artiste but that is not enough to make him or her give up. Artistes must be strong; the entertainment industry is not for weak artistes.
Some critics believe your lyrics are not unique…
It is impossible. People who think my lyrics are not spectacular are haters and not fans. Haters dislike things they do not understand. I have listened to songs that I released a long time ago and I am still amazed at how good they are. I do not intend to be boastful but I am confident and one can tell when one has done a good job.
Your fans would appreciate seeing a different side of you. Would you consider rapping in vernacular like some artistes do?
I do not think I will rap in vernacular. Musicians who do it are good at what they do. I would not be special if I rap in vernacular because I am not fluent in Yoruba. I like to put my best foot forward. It is better for me to do what is natural to me and rapping in English comes naturally to me. I am good at it and my fans love me for that. I try to be creative with my lyrics and keep it interesting. Rapping in Yoruba would only make me a follower but I prefer to be trailblazer.
How have you handled bad press in your career?
The only time I witnessed bad press was with Muna Abii, but it was handled sensibly. Nobody wants to be involved in a scandal but it just happens sometimes, unintentionally. I try to keep on a low profile sometimes too. I am not someone that would seek attention or create problems if I lose an award.
Did the scandal affect your career in any way?
No, it did not. She only made a mistake and we all have gone past that. She is good at what she does. Mistakes are allowed but we should be able to manage it when it arises.
You are friends with Reminisce but you seem to be in cold competition with him…
I am not in any competition with Reminisce. I have known him since 2013 and he is a nice person. I make music because I enjoy it and I pay no attention to what people say in their rap. It is also natural for any rapper to believe he or she is the best and that others are unimpressive. In fact, any rapper that does not consider himself the best is not fit to be a rapper and that means he or she is not confident. After he released his song, Local Rapper, people made up things about me; I called him and he refuted those statements. Some people like to fabricate things for fun and it does not bother me. I will not insult a grown man who works hard to take care of his family.
Would you consider marrying a fellow entertainer like some have done?
That some entertainers married one another does not mean I will. If two people are truly in love, they can get married but it will be tough because the marriage will become a public affair. I have not seen reasons to follow suit.
Is marriage in your plans soon?
I would prefer to keep it as a surprise.
How would you describe your style preference?
I am an artiste and I like to dress appropriately. I do not have too many pairs of jeans anymore because I got rid of some of them in 2013. I wear sneakers, jeans and a lot of track tops. Most hip hop artistes now wear funny-looking jerseys and they look feminine. I dislike that and I cannot be caught wearing things like that. A lot of artistes also sag their jeans. It is shameful because they do not know how that trend began. I do not have any regard for a grown man who sags his jeans and exposes his underwear.
Culled from the punchng.com