Nigerian fast rising Afro Hip-Hop rapper, Adetayo Temilade Okeowo popularly known as Slim T in this interview with Fakoyejo Olalekan, spoke on his life, music, his latest single and how he almost abandoned his university education for music.
When did you begin your music career?
I started doing music at the age of 14 and haven’t stopped since then. I would get tapes and dub rap music from radio stations, recite them, rewrite them in my own way, till I became confident enough to rap in front of a large crowd. Professionally I went into music in 2007.
Who are those that inspired you?
My genre of music is called Afro Hip-Hop which is a fusion of afro beat and hip-hop, so my major influences come from Trybesmen, M.I, Lupe fiasco and lately J. Cole.
How did you get your stage name Slim T?
It was a nickname people gave to me because I was really skinny, it just sort of stuck.
Who was Slim T before music?
Slim T was a very quiet individual before entering into music and I am still very reserved.
What was your parents’ reaction when you started music?
They have been very supportive of my music only on the condition that I get a proper education, which I am grateful to them for. They are awesome.
What’s your educational background like?
I went to King’s College Lagos and got my university education from Babcock University with a B.Sc in Computer Information Systems.
Were you at any point tempted to leave school for music?
Yes! So many times, because it was very stressful juggling my university education and coming to Lagos almost every weekend to record but I come from a family that values education so out of respect, I made sure I made my education my number one priority. I came out with a very good grade.
What inspired your singles, die representing and Lagosians?
Die Representing was a song I wrote for my university hostels which was turned down from performing. So I changed the hostel names to names of states in Nigeria, the song was produced by Ex-O of Cash in Entertainment and was co written with my good friend Delali. In fact, I wrote the 1st verse of Die Representing in 10minutes before my 7am accounting class. I always wanted to do a remix with M.I but the Remix was also epic. I featured Eva, Brymo, Pope tha Hitman, Skales, Justin Mawuli (from Ghana) and 5mics. The song was produced by HakymTheDream (LambaKing).
The energy that day was crazy; everybody I featured was hungry to make the best hiphop remix with me. Die Representing remix remains and I Quote “The hardest Hiphop Remix in Nigeria” as far as I am concerned.
As for Lagosians, I decided to make a song that focused solely on the city of Lagos. I worked with TinTin to produce the song; it was at this point I decided to add my afrobeat signature to my songs. When we finally decided to release the song Lagosians, It went viral, it was practically everywhere. So we followed up with the Video which was shot and directed by Unlimited LA. It propelled me to stamp my footprint in the Nigeria music industry.
Your recent song o bad gan has been receiving good reviews, what inspired the song and who produced it?
The video seems to be everywhere and climbing up in views. As you all know O bad gan is a party song. I realized I hadn’t done one before but I wanted to make it different from the regular cliché party songs you hear every day. I wanted a song with a lot of energy. It was produced by Mobaz and features Dammy Krane of Hypertek. The video was shot by Unlimited LA who also shot the video for Lagosians. We took it to the next level with this video.
When will your next album be released?
Hopefully 2014 and it will feature unique artistes that match the accurate representation of what a good song to be, with the right feature, to sound like. I’m very picky; I don’t just feature anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary that I should. It won’t be an album full of party songs. I am all about songs with a message. That’s what I stand for.
Ever had a bad performance on stage?
Practically all my performances have been great but it is up to the listeners to have a great time.
Do you still see yourself as an upcoming artist?
No I am not an Upcoming artiste. Life is in stages that stage for me has passed. People need to get that clear.
Do you see Trip City Entertainment making your dreams reality?
Yes I do. I know this because I run my record label with my partners. One of the dreams we wanted to realize at Trip City Entertainment was to be hip, young, colorful and think youth. So far I have dropped 3 videos, Lagosians, Ojo and O bad gan respectively. One of my dreams was to get my hands into photography, so we created Trip City Visuals which offers Fashion and Portrait photography services. I love to dream big because I know I can achieve these dreams. Trip City’s always in the building, we taking over.
What’s your opinion on Nigerian hip-hop scene, compared to South Africa?
Too many rappers not enough poets, too many rappers spitting only metaphors, no storytellers; we need to define what we do. We need to create an avenue for rappers to perform in. e.g. Hip-hop gigs, mic sessions, rap competitions etc. It can only get better when we decide to make it get better. I believe we have better rappers in Nigeria but lack the required system to sustain hip-hop in Nigeria compared to South Africa. At the end of the day we are all one.
How will you rate Nigeria music in terms of content?
Music is the soundtrack to life. The music of today in Nigeria almost has no message just hard beats. If we continue this way, people will not be able to get informed through music. Music will lose its value. ‘Music with a message’ this is the change I am working with. Always have a message in all your songs. Nigerians are not dullards, if the music is good and it has a message people will listen to it. A song is as good as how well you promote it. We can do better, we will do better.
List five things most people don’t know about you?
I play a lot of Video games, I watch a lot of animated cartoons, I love food, I study/research a lot and I am not a fan of clubbing.
What’s your message to your fans?
Support good music, tweet about it, talk about it, when we go wrong, correct us. We are all work in progress.
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