The Hip Hop World Awards is now in its fifth year. But in that five years, it has grown to become one of the most coveted and prestigious music awards in the country. Preparations for this year's edition have begun in earnest and from the standards set through the years, we expect another bumper event. The CEO acquiesced to this even though he is keeping most of the aces close to his chest. He still told us that much about the past and upcoming editions of Hip Hop World Awards. It will hold at the new Eko Hotel Exhibition Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos on May 29, 2010...
In the five years of Hip Hop World Awards, how far would you say you have achieved your goals?
I think we are doing well, yet there's always room to do better. But given the usual constraints associated with Nigeria, where things don't get to happen when and how they should happen, it's difficult to put together an awards of this magnitude because it involves a lot of money, discipline, attitude and character and a lot of technical issues. I will give us a very big pass mark.
How much do you think you have contributed to the Nigerian music industry with the Hip Hop World Awards?
That's not for us to say. As much as we feel we have done well, I think it should be left to the artists and the entire Nigerian music loving public to say. Each artist has a different story to tell and they should be the ones to answer the question.
How far do you think you have covered the grounds of musical reward in Nigeria?
The Hip Hop World Awards is an all encompassing music awards. A lot of areas like the technical areas are not covered yet, but the industry is growing. As we progress, we are going to include more categories, but I think what we have represents where the industry is today.
How do you address some of the complaints that arise from the awards every year, like artists' complaints?
We don't bother about artists complaining. If you don't win, you will always have a story to tell. Most of our artists have not gotten used to the culture of awards. There's no awards that people do not complain. There are four or five nominees in every category and all of them are potential winners. One will win at the end of the day and some of the others will complain. But the most important thing is to remain credible; to do what is credible rather than what is popular and that is what we have done over the years. Our responsibility is to be credible in whatever we do.
Year in year out, people complain. Now that the list of nominees is out I expect artists to complain. When the awards would have held and winners have emerged, some will still complain. And that is not news. It's not a Nigerian thing, it's a global thing. Any music awards that is worth its salt anywhere in the world would definitely attract complaints from people.
How challenging was taking the awards to Abuja last year?
Because we were leaving Lagos for the very first tie, it was very tough. The logistics were three times more. We also had to get used to the Abuja audience. They are totally different from the Lagos audience and we had to do a lot to make sure that we had a good outing in Abuja. It was simply more demanding, but thank God we pulled it through.
Are you planning to take it outside Lagos again soon?
We are not ruling it out. If we have to, we will. We will just continue to improve on what we have done so far and do better every year.
Tell us some of the unique differences of the Hip Hop World Awards this year?
We have a lot of things in stock this year and by the time I begin to talk about them, they won't make sense again when people see them. I will just like people to keep up with us and come out on that day to see what we have in stock for them. It's going to be refreshing and different and you are going to feel proud that you are part of the Hip Hop World Awards and that it is happening in Nigeria.
MTN has been the headline sponsor of the awards for three years now, how tasking was it getting them on board and are you planning to get more brands on board?
MTN has been our long time partners because they don't want to let down Nigerian music lovers who always expect a grand event. But we have always had other sponsors like Lipton, Gordon Spark, Harp, Close Up. Kia donated a car last year, but MTN remains the number one brand behind the Hip Hop World Awards.
Is Kia still donating a car this year?
That has not been confirmed yet, but there's still a car attached to the Next Rated category. Other brands are also coming on board, but that would be revealed in due course.
Last year's pre-awards party was in a village outside Lagos, are we having something similar this year?
We have not revealed plans for the party yet, but this year, we are having more parties. We will have a nominees party in Abuja, Lagos and Ilorin. There will be three official pre-awards parties before this year's Hip Hop World Awards.
Talking about Nigerian music generally, how much do you think we have grown?
The Nigerian music industry is not doing badly. We can do better and there's so much yet to be done. A lot of artists are not making money. People still buy plastic CDs for N150 and that's sad. The number of artists making money in Nigeria is not more than ten while the others are not getting anything. We cannot make money from selling CDs, we have to depend on concerts and the people who sponsor concerts are the corporate bodies. You will be shocked to see some artists who have big songs and how poor they are.
Are you planning to help address some of these issues?
What we are doing for the industry is to service it in the reward area. When we need to join hands with other people to achieve greater rewards for the industry, we would be willing. It's not something we can do alone. It's for us to come together in order to stop the scourge and people are doing that already. We support them when we can because it's a collective thing.
You were 40 earlier this year, how do you feel about that and your achievements so far?
God has been good to me and I think I have been lucky even though I have worked so hard. All we have achieved just makes us want to do more and achieve more. I am glad with how far we have come.
Do you have intentions of helping other people with similar ideas?
When people come to discuss with me about what they want to do and I see a lot of energy and excitement, I see what I saw in myself 15 years ago. I always try to support because whether you support them or not, they will get to wherever they are going anyway. So, it's always better to support.
Any more words about the awards?
This year's award is going to be very hot. This year, people are also going to be able to attend the awards by just buying the tickets and not just strictly by invitation.