Da Emperor: Putting indigenous rap on global map is my motivation
For rapper Fasasi Mobolaji Gaius, better known in the entertainment industry as Da Emperor, putting indigenous rap and the country on the worldwide map is his motivation. However, he’s not neglecting the Grammy awards, multi-million dollar endorsement deals, chart-toppers hits, and a host of others that come with the career path.
Delivering his punchlines in his native Yoruba language whilst infusing Pidgin and English, his music promotes the Nigerian culture both at home and in the diaspora. He is the genius behind the ever-blazing hit song, Para Mode.
As one of the Nigerian music stars that enjoy viewership within and outside the shores of the country and continent, Da Emperor is specific and intentional on the global representation of his brand.
“I have heard artists being called names such as ‘beggars, unserious people’ and so on. So, I’m intentional about changing that perspective, especially handling music in a corporate manner,” he said.
The singer came into the Nigerian music industry in 2011 with an official single, Am ah Rapper, which he followed with Facebook Prediction featuring Don d King. In 2012, not resting on his oars, he came with another banger, J’ara E, featuring Diamond Dee.
With Para Mode and Some Badt Guys, which he released in 2013, he became well known in the entertainment space. He succeeded the single with Street is Strict, featuring rapper cum actor, Gabriel Afolayan.
On February 2, 2014, he released a song in support of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s campaign in the build-up of the 2015 general election. He followed with another single titled Liar, a cover of Chris Brown’s Loyal featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.
In May 2015, he returned to the studio, recorded and released the hit song, Firewood with vocals from Afrobeat singer Oritse Femi; the track was mixed by indomix.
To reaffirm his place in the music industry, Da Emperor on February 12, 2016, released the widely accepted single, I’m a Sinner. And like a candlelit and place on a candle stand to illuminate, the rapper on March 5, 2016, was involved in an international collaboration with American artiste Stylezz and English artiste Shyboss.
A few days after, he jumped on Olamide’s street anthem, Who U Epp; his version of the song hit the number four spot on Spotify, Swedish digital music streaming and media services provider.
Also in 2016, he released Aganran with vocals from Small Doctor. Prior to this, he had in 2013, collaborated with Canadian-based Jamaican reggae artiste Kisco. In February the same year, he was featured on the song Be Ma Boo by Afro-Pop singer, Slim Joe.
As part of activities to mark his birthday in 2018, the rapper, hosted a special concert in Lagos tagged, A Date with Da Emperor at the Royal Lounge, Aguda, Ogba, Lagos. The gig, which held on October 6, featured performances from artists, who had worked with him in the past.
For some time, the rapper was off the music radar, as he was not heard from with new hits. Many believed he had gone into oblivion, but he said: “I won’t say I’ve been off the music radar; I’ve been underground running personal life and supporting fellow artists, jumping on collaborations, performing in gigs and all. I’ll say my hibernation was deliberate.”
Da Emperor explained that he was featured in other artists’ projects as well as concerts such as Greater Lagos 2020, SERAS Award, which held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos; Miss Congeniality 2020, Ogun state, and Freedom Walk, which also held in Ogun state.
“As I said, I have been underground supporting fellow artists, jumping on collaborations. Such collaborations include Ilu le by Koffi, Mario Lover by Father Sunday, and No cap by Bunem, a Nigerian artiste based in Morocco. There are so many recorded but unreleased singles,” Da Emperor stated.
Commenting on his latest song, The Matter, the rapper said the song title was not planned but was carved out while looking for a perfect title for the song.
“We had options like Naughty girl, Something, Matter. We agreed on Matter, out of my little experience with the music industry. I know that controversial titles sometimes drive traffic to a new song out of curiosity; so I decided we titled the song The Matter.
“In less than two months after the release, I got hinted that the song title was trending on Twitter; I checked it out, only to discover that Zlatan Ibile dropped a new music with the same title,” he said.
According to him, a fast-rising artiste formerly known as BoiyaDrizzy but now called Melonhead had freestyle some part of the song on his Instagram page and the freestyle was appealing to his ears.
“I’ve been following his career for a while and I enjoy most of his recordings. I dropped a comment for the freestyle to be properly recorded, and he accepted with excitement. I reached out to my producer, Emjay Beats, and asked him to produce an instrumental for the freestyle; he did and Melonhead travelled down to Lagos from Ogun state where he was schooling to get the song recorded. I later visited the studio and recorded my part and that was it.”
Narrating how he almost recorded a song with the late Keresi Number crooner, Fatai Rolling Dollar and how the unfulfilled dream has left him, Da Emperor said: “It was an almost track and so it’s really painful but what could I have done? I don’t have the power to bring back the dead.
“It was quite painful for me because if we had recorded the song, I’ll be happy I recorded the song with the legend before his demise, but God Almighty has His reasons for everything and I’ve learned to see every challenge as a blessing in disguise. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”
The rapper planned a re-enactment of his 2018 birthday gig with the theme: Da Emperor Live in Concert 1 (DELIC1), which was scheduled to hold on April 12 this year, at the Ambience Cafe (Rooftop) on Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, but due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the event was postponed. The event, however, will hold on Sunday, November 22., at the same venue
Asked how he joggles between music and movie, the rapper said: “Entertainment is my thing, so joggling between the two for me isn’t a big deal. I’m just passionate about both. I’ve been more on songs than movies though; I’m planning my own movie soon. At the moment I’m featuring in productions by my friends who are celebrities.
“For instance, the last movie I featured had Fuji icon, Alhaji Abass Obesere aka PK1 and Seriki Omowo amongst others. Michael Oladiran produced it. There was another movie I featured in before that of Obesere and Seriki Omowo, it featured Oritsefemi, Lanre Teriba, and so many other celebrities. It was produced by Nollywood actress cum musician Shebaby.”
As an entertainer, Da Emperor’s passion and the niche he has been able to carve for himself and his brand are his driving force. According to him, the world looks up to his brand, which constantly reminds him that he cannot fail or disappoint.