MODE9 (pic courtesy Naijajams.com)
Prior to his winning the award for the Lyricist on the Roll for the fifth consecutive year now. Notes and Tones got an audience with the paradigm shifting lyricist., Olusegun Babatunde, popularly called Mode 9. He bared his mind to us about the Hip hop World Awards but refused to say anything about Ruggedman with whom he had been dragging for rap supremacy in Nigeria before the emergence of some very talented younger artists. On the awards he told us, “It feels good to win an award. Seeing the plaque on your shelf makes you very happy.”
But when we asked him to make a pick of his best Nigerian musicians at the moment he refused saying, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about other people. Last time I checked, the interview was about me. So, let’s talk about me.” So, we talked about him…
What do you think about the Hip Hop Awards?
I think they are doing a good job. I personally can’t organize an award. Io don’t know the first thing about organizing an award. You can see that these guys went out of their ways to make this a success. For the first time they flew everybody to Abuja accommodated them. From what I have seen so far, this is a very successful venture. This is the fourth year of these awards and these guys are carrying on very well. I support this.
You have won the award for the lyricist on the roll for three consecutive years, what do you think are your chances today?
I don’t know. I don’ read the future.
With the level of success that you have attained through music, what are your contributions to the development of upcoming acts?
I haven’t really given that much thought. All I know is that this Hip hop thing is like a family business. You draw as many people as you can into the game. I kind of offer mentorship to many people, but they don’t always know that I have mentored them. I sit people down and I give them pointers. I have been a judge on many rap contests and most people approach me asking for advice and I tell them to go and read. To be a good rapper, you have to read.
What is your creative mode?
My act is spontaneous. It also depends on my mood and how I feel at a particular moment. Sometimes, I might just start writing and it won’t flow; sometimes the creative juices just flow. It juts happens especially when I am really excited. I write faster when I am excited.
What do you think about miming?
I don’t mime. But nobody should be knocked for miming. I have been to some shows where the microphone is really bad. In one like that, I was the only one that didn’t mime and nobody could hear what I said. The technical need to step their game up. They should always make sure that all the equipment are really good. But generally, I am not a supporter of miming. I don’t think any good artistes should mime. That’s my personal opinion.
We know Paradigm Shift is still out there, what is occupying you at present?
I don’t like revealing my plans. I am a planner. I am not in the Nigeria music industry. I am on a different planet. I don’t base my work on a particular model. I am somewhere else. My world is different. I am just a different person, so I don’t tell people what I am up to. It is not right for a businessman to reveal his plans before executing them.
How do we promote rap music in Nigeria?
I don’t know. There is no formula for trying to promote something. The money you will expend on ventures like that could be channeled towards other pertinent societal issues. You could organize free shows for example. What works for one person might not work for another person. You can drop the tightest stuff in the world and when it comes out, people won’t feel you.
You are one of the big names in the rap genre of Nigerian music, do you see yourself in the position of the rap pioneer in Nigeria?
I am not a pioneer. I don’t ever want to lay any claims to that. I just do what I have to do. There were some people who were doing this before me. I know I said I wasn’t going to name names, but I feel like mentioning these people. There was a group called Furious Two back in the days. They were like the first hip hop group that I saw represent Nigeria on TV. They need to be given their due respect.