Jahbless, I Am Back And Nothing Is Taking Me Away…IAMME
AFTER the rain come sunshine is a popularly saying often used to commend courageous effort. For sometime, no heard about the easy going rapper, Owoloye Oluwabukunmi Olatunde, popularly known as Jahbless in the Nigerian music industry.
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.
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.
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.”