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Laycon’s debut album Shall We Begin is a journey of real life experiences, enjoyment and reflection.

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Following the success of his last project “Who Is Laycon” EP, which reached over 40M+ streams across all digital platforms we got up close and personal with Nigerian artist and breakout reality star Laycon. The lyrical rapper is now back with his debut album “Shall We Begin”.

SK: Who is Laycon?
LC: Laycon is a God in a human body. Bold statement? Lol Yes!. 
Laycon is an artist, a rapper, a singer, a song writer who also happens to be the winner of the Big Brother Naija season 5 show. Laycon is a friend, a brother, and hopefully someone who is an inspiration to every young Nigerian aspiring to one day get that big break that ignites their hustle and grind.

SK: What is “Shall We Begin” all about?
LC: “Shall We Begin” is my first studio album, the album continues the theme of my previous body of work  “Who Is Laycon” EP. “Shall We Begin” thematically says “now that you know who Laycon is.. now we have introductions out of the way, Shall We Begin the main journey”. It’s a 12 track album that features some of the hottest young artists in Nigeria. An album that was created for enjoyment, laughs, reflection and a wholly memorable experience.

SK: There’s a lot of music out there right now… what makes your album different than everything else on the market?
LC: What makes “Shall We Begin” different is the diversity and the versatility that I bring into it. It’s a body of work that was created to cater to different music palettes. You can hear me fuse rap with other sounds on this project, blending into one body and one sound. It is also relatable and the stories told on this project are from real life experiences.. mine and others, stories that people can connect with and find themselves in.

SK: Tell us about your sound.
LC: Well I’ll say my sound is Afro-Rap. That’s what I like to call it. Cause I fuse my rap with different sounds and I use it to create one sound. The beauty of hiphop & Afrobeats is that they are both very versatile genres and they fit so well with other influences that if mixed right, magic happens!

SK: What are the main themes in your lyrics?
LC: Well the main themes in the “Shall We Begin” album are love and success. However on a general note, I’d say my lyrics are created to bring about dialogue from the listeners. Everything I write about has been experienced by me or someone I know and listeners hear these things and find a part of themselves in them. It’s honest, bare and more than just making words sound nice or just for the shock value.

SK: Is Lagos a friendly city for emerging artists?
LC: Well I would say Lagos is becoming a great environment for artists to grow. But really I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s more about the artist, where you’re from only plays a role in your emergence. But I definitely will have to give kudos to the creatives and young minds creating new opportunities in the city. There’s an energy in the city that is unmatched. Makes you want to do more, dig deeper and achieve more. A perfect place for young artistes to create and thrive.

SK: What does the rap scene look like in Lagos, right now?
LC: Rap music is experiencing a resurgence. New acts with their own fresh take on the genre are breathing fresh air in the game and there are great relationships among rappers. We are collaborating more, challenging ourselves to do better and creating great music. More people now listen and embrace rap than before.. We have a bigger audience now.

SK: Do changes in the political landscape affect your music?
LC: Well for someone who does a bit of conscious music, yes it does, because it affects the society which I am a part of. So yes it does influence and affect my music. I make music for people who are directly affected by the politics and the policies of the land, so I cannot be oblivious of it.

SK: Who inspires you?
LC: Everyone inspires me. From the people I listen to, to the people I learn from and even the artists who are long gone. I listen to music from the 60s – 90s Nigerian vets to the American and European rap and pop G.O.A.Ts. I might absorb the lyrics, melody, message, beat composition.. I always take something from whatever I listen to. So I jam everything.

SK: If you ever feel stuck, is there anything that you do to get out of your head?
LC: Stuck? I mean if I ever feel that way, I guess unwind and find other means of inspiration. And have you met my team? My friends? my family? Never a dull moment with those guys. All I have to do is sit with them for a bit and I’m good. I also like to explore minds and meet new people.. Hearing about people’s lives and experiences always help inspire me and get those creative juices flowing.

SK: You have many connections in the music industry, who was the first rapper or producer to recognize your talent?
LC: I wouldn’t say I have many connections, lol. You can never have enough especially in a career like mine that is all about collaborations and networking.
But yeah, I first started working with producers like Echo, Danny B and Baller Tosh. As for rappers, I wasn’t discovered by any really. Inspired by? Definitely.

SK: Can you give us 5 tracks on your playlist right now?
LC: Five tracks on my playlist right now are:
– The entire Shall We Begin album by Laycon
– Demo by Runnjozzy
– Bank On It by Burna Boy
– My.life by J. Cole
– Seeing Green by Nicki Minaj

SK: Tell us one thing your fans may not know about you?
LC: I say this all the time.. my fans know a lot about me and what they do not know already, I’ll love to keep it that way.

SK: Whats next for Laycon?
LC: What’s Next for Laycon is bigger things. As I achieve, I set new goals. I’m constantly challenging myself. I also have come into a new phase where I am responsible for more than just myself, so I’m looking into making moves that will positively impact the lives of people that look up to me or those that I can influence their thinking or actions. But as far as music is concerned, the “Shall We Begin” album is out, please check it out.

Stream and Download “Shall We Begin

Follow Laycon on Twitter and Instagram

Interviews

In Conversation with Mamy Dope

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Following his latest release “Misfits” Mamy Dope continues to bring flow, versatility and word play to the game, we caught up with South London-born, Sierra Leonian rapper Mamy Dope.  
Born Alahji Wurie, the UK rapper specialises in rap, afro swing and trap music and his know for his unique sound and distinctive hooks. Check out our chat as we get to know Mamy Dope.

SK: Who is Mamy Dope?
MD: I am a young unique rapper from South London with an African heritage (Sierra Leone).
From jumpy music to smooth vibes, my music brings vibrant energy to everything I release.
I am all about distinctive hooks and catchy flows, which will have you wanting to get up and bop to my bangers.

SK: If you could explain your music in 3 words, what would they be?
MD: My music in 3 words…I would say it’s Eclectic, Vibes and I guess Dope.

SK: How did you get started as a Grime artist?
MD: As a kid, I grew up with my older cousin and I was always around his friends. They were all into music, so I would always follow them to studio sessions and watch them perform on stage. I would always observe how they would write lyrics, produce beats and imitate their flow.
I have also lost a lot of friends along the way, so the best way for me to grieve is to put it in my music. This drove me to record and release music. I write from my heart and you will hear my experiences in my lyrics. It’s something you hear in Misfits.

SK: What inspired your track Misfits?
MD: I may or may not have been called a misfit growing up lol.  I also used to watch the show Misfits, I personally felt like I could Identify with some of the characters and the show itself. The theme of community support, societal struggle and also sometimes feeling like an outcast (MisFit) is something I can relate to. I wanted to make sure I captured that in my video, with the orange outfits and also filming at the same place where the show itself was filmed.

SK: Does the area or place you come from influence how you make your music?
MD: Growing up in south London, grime music is part of the culture so it is easier to get involved with music. And now the rise or rappers and drill artists and even producers hail from south. Everywhere you look is an inspiration musically and I too, want to inspire people with my music.

SK: How do you feel social media has impacted your music and reach?
MD: Social media has made it easier to reach people and connect with fans and other musicians. I’m not reeallllyyy a social media person, but I know it’s the key to building a community. I do however, have a large following on snapchat so seeing loads of people respond to my stories and repost gives me confidence. I need to tackle Instagram now lol

SK: UK Artists Grime/Drill/Hip Hop are currently on your playlist?
MD: Currently, my favorite artists from the UK are Fredo, Ms Banks, Nines, Digga D, MizorMac, Tion Wayne & Headie One.

SK: What future projects and (or) collaborations are you currently working on?
MD: I am currently working on more singles to be released this year. Fingers crossed an EP next year. As for features, Double S, Omo Frenchie, GB and Mista Silva have blessed some riddims so Im looking forward for that and I hope everyone will be impressed.

Follow Mamy Dope: IG | Twitter | YouTube

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Interviews

First Times with Shay La Rose

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We caught up with independent singer-songwriter, Shay La Rose for this week’s First Time!
The South Londoner shares her first life experiences growing up and being in the music scene.
 
First time I realised I wanted to be a musician, was when I went to the Destiny Fufilled tour by Destiny’s child. I was watching the women in awe and I said yes! This is what I want to do. It was an amazing show, I was blown away by their dancing, singing, style everything! I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do!

First time I had a Diva moment, I don’t really have a diva moment but when I’m on set or on stage, I can be a bit ‘diva-ish’ because I want everything to be perfect, so I’m in tunnel vision, being focused. 

First time I realised I was good or let’s say believed in myself, I auditioned for a label. I queued outside for ages and ages, there was so many different talented artist and I got through! I did not expect it and when they said I was really good, I was like yeah, this is it! They listened to me perform a song a wrote by myself invited me back to record, it was a great moment.

First time I got star struck, Well, I tell this story all the time, some people believe me, some people don’t lol. It is what it is, and it is the truth.  It was Kanye West! In Carnaby street and I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him, he was walking towards me and I said Kanye! And he said “what’s up baby girl” I was like huh? And I ran back to get an autograph lol. I also met David Beckham in New York he was so fine a very sexy man. I asked for a photograph, but he said no because he didn’t want anybody to know he was there lol.

First time I went viral, was last year where I did a video about nobody being above blocking. I really meant it from my heart and I think everyone could relate. It was posted everywhere! Nobody is above blocking. Because if you stress me, block! If you give me attitude, Block!

First time I fell in love, Um… do we need to talk about it lol?
The first time I thought I fell In love was college, but I now know that it wasn’t love lol.
I think it was 3-4 years ago, but that was real stupid love. but it’s good to fall out of love I guess.

First time I performed in front of a live audience, was assemblies and talent shows in school. I made sure that all my friends came up on stage and danced with me!

 

Check out Shay La Rose latest hit ‘She Bad’ produced by Mikes Pro Listen Here

Follow Shay YouTube | Instagram  | Twitter  | TikTok | Facebook

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Interviews

In Conversation with Olakira

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Following the release of ‘4play’ we caught up with ‘Headies Rookie of the Year’ Olakira who took us through his latest EP and life as a musician.

Talk us through the 4Play EP.
4PlayEP is a project with four major tracks and two bonus. It’s intended to arouse my FANMILY and music lovers prior to the main event (my debut Album). The inspirations for the songs came from my travels within Africa during the lockdown, my experience with different cultures and their sounds birth the EP.

What do you feel is the best song from the EP and why? 
Honestly, I love all the songs on the EP and each song appeals to me differently at different times depending on my mood and location, But “Gotchu” is personal because it’s the story of my first real heartbreak.

What drew you to the music industry? 
My elder brother drew me into the industry, he initiated the journey into music when I was a little child, with basic lessons.
Then a lot of practice and experience with the local church band cemented my love for music. I evolved from playing different instruments in the church band, to choir boy and with conscious effort towards development I mastered the crafts of a true musician and the skill to produce my own music.

What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome to gain any commercial success? 
The finances to promote creative contents.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Nigerian music industry?
The talent and drive is abundant in the industry, but I think the industry lacks proper structures, the government and all stakeholders need to create a mechanism that will see artistes benefit from their creative content.
Also, good quality contents must be encouraged and compensated. We must stop unhelpful hype, that will mess with our creativity. Lastly, the hostility towards independent upcoming acts in the country should stop, everyone deserves fair and equal platforms without prejudice.

How do you separate yourself from other artist? 
I don’t, I think we we are all the same in many aspects.

Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
I am currently working on a new project and I hope to work with some of the amazing talents I have always admired; Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber are top on my list.

What makes your music unique?
My sound is Afropop infused with a feel of RnB and dancehall.

What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilise them?
No tree makes a forest they say, I constantly connect with my colleagues in the industry, producers and artistes alike, to work together and make magic. Connecting and rubbing minds helps in mutual development, I get to learn from them and likewise they learn from me.

Can you give us 5 tracks on your playlist right now?
Summer Time – Olakira ft Moonchild Sanelly
Essence – Wizkid ft Tems
King Sunny Ade
Wasiu Ayinde
Hot Night – Olakira

Tell us one thing your fans may not know about you?
I’m a shy and private person.

What do you have in store for your fans in the upcoming months? 
Pan African media tour, Middle-East linkup, Nigerian club tour, releasing more visuals to some of the songs on the 4PlayEP soon. And I have started working on my debut album.

 

Follow Olakira
Instagram | Twitter | YouTube 

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