Prodigeezy: Evolving And Exploring
When Falz’s viral song “This is Nigeria” hit airwaves, people were fascinated by the lyrics but more so the visuals that accompanied it. The creative mind behind that masterpiece is Iyobosa Rehoboth popularly known as Prodigeezy.
Since the success of the socio-politically charged song, Prodigeezy has gone on to work with some of the biggest names in the Nigerian music industry including Burna Boy, Davido, Mayorkun, and many more.
The famed director sat down with The Guardian Life to share a glimpse into how his mind works, his passion for virtual, augmented and extended reality as well as his plans for the future.
Who is the man behind the tag “Prodigeezy”?
I like to think of myself as a curious creator, navigating, wandering through life and looking for interesting things to do.
The man behind the tag is a human being, like most other species we share the planet with, of African descent, Nigeria specifically. Most of my time is spent crafting ideas and executing them through multiple creative Channels and tools.
Other times I’m looking for new information, playing video games, or pondering about the nature of reality.
I’m currently exploring how the transection of creativity and technology can help us tell new stories and solve problems in new and sustainable ways, now and in the rapidly approaching future.
How did it all begin for you?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and putting them together, (or at least, attempting to). Everything originally birthed out of my inherent curiosity, and as soon as I got old enough, I started to discover more tools that allowed me to explore that.
I had computers at a very young age so this influenced my worldview, and I also grew up in an environment that was supportive of creativity, and individualism. I was surrounded by a lot of books, movies, and experiences that sort of created a particular set of interests that unpacked into other things down the line.
My first encounter with creativity as a practice would be graphic design, I learned by looking over designers shoulders at my computer class, and googling stuff on my blackberry. , this was around 2012, after High school, blackberries were a huge deal, I was this 17-year-old kid, trying to convince churches, party organizers, and everyone to let me design their posters. Doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but In 2012, nothing was close to how things are now.
After a while, I convinced my parents to buy me a camera, and I became a self-proclaimed photographer. One day I accidentally discovered my camera could shoot video, and that just led me down the rabbit hole.
I’m still sinking deeper into that hole every single day. The internet also played and continues to play a huge role in my development as a creator. Couldn’t have done anything without it.
The internet is a force multiplier, it’s like this massive force field of infinite leverage. Now that I think about it, it’s always been about the tools. The computers, internet, cameras, technology, etc are tools that help me create. I love tools.
What has been your biggest motivating factor in the course of your career?
Initially, it was the need to satisfy the inherent desire to create, but as I grow and expand my consciousness, it’s increasingly important to create things and experiences that are important and meaningful to people, especially Africans, but for everyone really.
That’s one of the biggest factors that influence what I decide to spend my time and resources on. As a continent, We’re surrounded by immense opportunities but a lot of Africans are unable to scratch the surface of that abundance as a result of programmed environmental, psychological, and other types of limitations.
I’m on the path to be an example of what the Model African Creator can be, unbound and unboxed from limitations. Anything is possible and we can tear down the archetypes. It’s important to do this, People showed me what’s possible, I want to show the people behind me too.
What do you believe is the future of the Nigerian Creative Industry?
Very broad question, how far into the future are we talking? The future is faster than you or anyone thinks, and everything is converging into this singularity point right now. Not later.
The singularity is a hypothetical point in our existence where technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization, does this sound like something familiar?
My point is, it’s already happening, the future is now. Concerning the future of the Nigerian media industry, I predict a lot of decentralization with content creation, at the moment, the barriers are already pretty much non-existent and distribution costs are at an all-time low. So that’s a great thing, I see that happening across the board in the media industry.
I also think there will be an introduction of new genres and immersive platforms like Virtual and augmented reality, generative art, and interactive forms of storytelling.
Hedging heavy on CGI in a broad sense, mostly because the tools available are making it easier to create that type of content. It’s possible to have machine learning algorithms create models of objects and humans in a short amount of time, I’m recording this interview in an audio format, but I’m using a generative AI tool to transcribe it to text in real-time.
In summary, the future is exciting, everyone will eventually become creators. It’s important to catch up.
How are you positioning yourself to be a major player in the future you’ve envisaged?
Over the last year, I’ve been exploring how we can leverage technology to create new pathways to express creativity. I’ve been doing a ton of research and work in Virtual reality, Augmented reality, and generative art. These are still relatively new platforms, I mean they’ve been around for a while, but I’ll say relatively new because they’re still not mass appeal.
That’s going to change very soon, and I’m already building the framework and systems necessary to create with these tools. I spend a lot of time prototyping and also educating people in my community.
What piqued your interest in augmented and virtual reality?
Honestly, it was a no brainer considering the global exponential growth in Technology. But the final frontier was the early days of Covid and initial lockdowns. The entire planet went into lockdown and transitioned into virtual, I recognized that as an evolutionary checkpoint for an entire civilization and knew there was no coming back from that. I purchased a VR headset and launched my journey, in less than 3 months, I recouped my investment in the headset by hopping on virtual Gigs around the world, this was an eye-opening experience into the demand for the skill and viability of the Industry.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about the nature of our reality and how we exist in a 3-dimensional bubble, bound by space and time. Virtual reality helps you make sense of that because when you throw on those headsets or goggles, you’re essentially transcending to an extended version of reality where there are new possibilities. I believe Virtual reality will usher in a planetary evolution into some sort of social memory complex where we are all connected in another density of reality.
It’s also very complicated right now, but one of my goals is to simplify these concepts for everyone to grasp.
Tell us about your involvement with Futureproof and the intent behind it?
I think of Futureproof as a vehicle to achieve one of my larger goals; building a community of like-minded Thinkers from diverse backgrounds who leverage creativity, technology, and curiosity in solving problems.
It continues to grow and take on many forms, but at the moment it functions as a resource center through mailing lists, content delivery, and information exchange.
Are you inspired by anyone? If so, who do you look up to?
Yeah, I’m inspired by many people. I don’t have a particular Hero or anything like that. All I need to know that something is possible is to see someone else do it and succeed. I’m inspired by different aspects of different people – My Father was a great inspiration to me, I try to match up to his levels of greatness, I’m inspired by Elon Musk, Clarence Peters, Virgil Abloh, Jesus Christ, Burna Boy, The Buddha, Idris Sandu, WizKid, Naval Ravikant, Michael Jordan, Lewis Hamilton, Mo Abudu, The Paystack guys, etc
The list will be chaotic if I stretch it to the end, but you get my point, I grab inspiration from here and there. I also read a lot of books on diverse subjects and follow an internal guidance system.
What’s the Guidance System?
They’re my values, a system of theories, facts, beliefs, and mental models I’ve developed to guide my existence and produce the best outcomes. It’s like an algorithm in my brain.
We’re largely influenced by the narratives we hold about ourselves and the world in our subconscious. It’s important to be unplugged from the general societal programming and build your version with your own rules.
What’s the best thing you’ve made so far?
The video – This is Nigeria I made for FalztheBadGuy. Easily because of the massive positive impact it had on Nigerians, particularly how it inspired people to get registered to vote. I felt like I had done something truly meaningful. It’s very special to me.
I’m currently working with a global team on some DataGate generative art projects, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of, erecting data sculptures around the world created by algorithms from different everyday life.
As a creator and innovator, where do you find yourself in the next 10 years?
Hopefully alive and healthy, but also floating in that delicate space between spending my time doing what I’m genuinely interested in, at that moment and what is valuable to the world.
Also in a position where I’ll be enabling others to create by investing and supporting pipelines for moonshot ideas and the seemingly weird geniuses out there. Defying the odds, Constantly innovating and redefining what it means to be a creative African. With a lot more time to relax and explore the earth looking for the next fascinating thing.