The first time I met Adeyinka Adepoju, we were in JSS 1 and we had just resumed school. He was this troublemaker who was slightly taller than me. While I was slightly softer at the time, he was brash and ever-so-slightly aggressive. For a guy who didn't grow up ratchet, he acted ratchet.
His Yoruba was terrible at the time, but he used to force it so, he wouldn't be taken for granted. He had moved to the school with his older brother, Sola. However, they never acted like siblings. To be honest, I didn't like him. We used to fight a lot. In fact, I remember one day in second term JSS1 when our entire class divided into 'Football Clubs.'
Sadly, we were both playing for Thunder Strikers. I was a defender and he was a striker. As much as it pains me to admit it, he was always an impressive goalscorer. But as we played the final on an improvised pitch, he wanted to be top scorer so bad and he was playing selfish. We fought on the pitch and our team ended up losing the game. Oops...
Yinka and Providence
We didn't speak till one night when the entire school had an unusual black-out. The three generators were not working and NEPA was well... NEPA.
In the heat of the moment, Yinka (whom everyone now knows as Gbasky), Adeyemi Adewumi and I formed a three-man group and performed freestyles for seniors all-night. Gbasky didn't remember this part till I reminded him of it during our chat. He says, "I nor remember till now. Na that guy (Adewumi) dey form artist. Actually, man... (laughs)"
This part made our conversation gleaned providence. Yinka says, "I wasn't thinking about the providence in my career, but now that you've reminded me of that, I also remember a friend I had in Primary School. We never played music in my house, but they always played music in his house. I'd never heard Awilo before, but after a few lines, I was able to sync any song till the end. It shocked them."
Yinka, The Writer and Poet
Due to how we'd been keeping malice, I didn't know Yinka had been the Love-Letter-Writer-In-Chief for my JSS1 class. I think as the hustler he was, he even got paid for it - N20-per-page or something. His unserious tendencies didn't make people realize he was brilliant. On prize-giving day in JSS1, he took home about seven prices - I took home two.
Our relationship was patchy till we became really close in SSS1 because Senior Francis made us bonk mates. By the time, he had gotten even more brilliant. In SSS2 first term, he had seven A1s from nine. "People don't believe me when I say I was a brilliant student. Now, everyone thinks I'm unserious," he says. Well, Gbasky you've always been unserious, just ridiculously intelligent.
It was like a myth to everyone because he never really studied. During this era, we used to write poetry too. I remember one poem I had to write in SSS1 for Literature class - we composed it together.
In his words, "I think that was the moment that I realized the concept of writing, cadences and rhymes. I still use it in my songwriting till date." Sadly, Gbasky and Wale fought and the night ended in tears. My Literature Exam Focus textbook got drenched in water. And hey, someone tell Gbasky to send me a check - I helped his music. Welp!
Yinka and Medicine
When we were passing out of school, Yinka started writing more poetry on books and everything. At the time, he wanted to study medicine - he had the grades. On that, Yinka says, "I never really wanted to study medicine. I nor want am, I just nor know wetin I want. If I'd known better, I would have gone to Arts class. I felt like a machine, but then If I was able to do Medicine, I'd have done it like anything.
"I'm an artistic person. If I had proper guidance, I would have gone to Arts class. I think I wanted to study Medicine because I had the grades and then societal conditioning. The only problem was because people used to think that Arts class was for the not-so-bright students. Then, Commercial was for dullards.
"In fact, my school used to relegate students with low grades from Science to Arts and Commercial classes - which was stupid. This made people want to be special by force, so they were not perceived as dullards. I think that was why I went to Science Class. "
After we passed out of Secondary School, we only saw each other twice; he came to my house in Akure and came for POST-UTME in my University the other time. Unfortunately, we had a little break before he got into Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
Yinka in OAU: Animal Science and Music
Yinka says says, "When I was in Secondary School, I used to try to write music but it never made sense to me. But before I got into University, I used to listen to a lot of radio. When they were playing music, I used to sing my own version. So, I started writing music again. It was still wack, but I continued.
When Yinka got admitted into University, he got Animal Science. In his words, "I don't think I rated the course enough to focus. If I had known then what I know now, maybe I would have focused. People made me feel terrible about that course. I have an Uncle who used to make fun of my course. As someone who doesn't take life seriously, it felt like I had no purpose.
"I wasn't sure what I was going to do after school. But then, when I found music, I felt like I finally found something. So it was easy for me to take to it. It was about systemic issues too and orientation. Society makes you feel like you were doing something special if you were studying Medicine, Engineering, Accounting or Law. It's not supposed to be like that though."
Yinka becomes Gbasky
It was weird. One day, he was Adeyinka Adepoju on Facebook. The next day, he was 2Gbasky. Nobody knew the reason for the change, but it happened and we went along with it.
On how Yinka became Gbasky, he says, "I had some of bad nicknames when I got into Uni. I think Gbasky was one name that I really liked and it stuck. When I was in 300-Level, I needed a stage name so I went with some funny names like Nightingale or Yinkazy. But Gbasky was already popular amongst my people, so I chose Gbasky."
Gbasky and the Studio
In 2011, I was beginning to dissociate from Facebook for Twitter. But one of the last things I saw on Facebook was Yinka posting music online. At first, I was confused, but we hadn't talked in three years, so I didn't know what to say.
Nonetheless, we conversed via DMs and he told me he had been making music. I was also producing at the time, so we promised to link-up and make music - it never happened. It was also around this time that Gbasky had become heavily invested in the music, but he had never been in a studio.
On that Gbasky says,, "I think that journey (Animal Science) brought me to music - indirectly. I was singing, but I had never been to a studio. I only saw a studio when a friend, Lekadot took me there. Na him first carry me go studio. When I first hear myself on top the rap wey I voice sef, e be like magic (laughs).
"It was terrible, and I struggled with my pitch and keys, but I was fulfilled. Then people started saying I sounded like 2Face. Then the producer of that song called me back to come record hooks for acts like Southpaw, IM, Zaza and so forth. I think the creative platform of OAU at the time which birthed Blaqbonez, Chinko, Zamora and Fireboy was a little helpful."
Gbasky meets Iredumare
In 2012, my University was on an ASUU strike and we had to confirm if other schools were also on strike. So, I called Fasuba Ayobami, our Senior Prefect in Secondary School. Fortunately, Yinka was beside him as they were both students at OAU and we spoke. He told me he was with a guy called Iredumare who had an imprint called, Incubation Factory.
But then, Gbasky was still a learner at the time. He says, "Going to the studio was still alien to me. I was learning. As much as I could sing outside, it was a different game entirely when I got in the booth. Na there off-key go start (laughs). I didn't know about back-ups and background vocals before. So, the time was a learning curve for me.
"I recorded a lot of rubbish and a lot of good content."
Gbasky in 2014
In 2014, Gbasky had grown with Lekadot, IM and VJ as The Factory Pack. Together, they released the collaborative project, Breaking Boxes. Iredumare Ojengbede was their manager.
According to Gbasky, "Ire had a lot of vision and even at the time, the project was put up for digital sales on Spinlet. He also sold physical copies for the album and organized a concert there in school. We made money from physical sales."
Gbasky goes quiet
In 2015, Gbasky and The Factory Pack were passing out of OAU and they all decided to move to Lagos. After the move, Gbasky realized he had to move back to School because he had an extra year. He then had to shuttle Lagos and Ife, Osun State. The team had recorded a project to distribute in Lagos, but the Lagos proposition hit the team hard.
Gbasky calls Lagos, "A different ball game." He says, "The hustle first wild. We didn't even have money for basic things, let alone to push music. As a group, the music was not moving and we all had personal issues to sort out - including me. During that period, I moved back to school to finish school."
When Gbasky got back, he brought heat in form of the Phenomenal EP. The project was promising, but imperfect. However, it did produce the impressive song, 'Money Calling.' The track was produced by members of The Sarz Academy which Iredumare was one of the founders of.
Gbasky admits the deficiencies of the EP. He says, "Basically, I honestly think the EP isn't my best work. I think it was rushed because I had a deadline set by people who wanted to sponsor the EP. I don't think it was that bad, but I think it would have been better if I had more time. For me, it was average."
Gbasky on a Black FreQuency
In 2019, Gbasky started recording Black Frequency. But before then, he took a time off. Seeing the reception that Phenomenal EP got, he knew he could do more. So, he went back into the studio to start recording Black Deity EP. However, after feeling like he was forcing the music, he quit recording for three months to get himself back.
In January 2019, Gbasky got back in the groove and recorded two banging singles. 'Gradually' and 'Aimasiko.' They gave Gbasky confidence to work on a project with an unnamed act. That run birthed the songs, 'Born To Win' and 'Shakara.' That era gave Gbasky confidence that he could make a good project, Then, Gbasky started recording for Black Frequency.
Gbasky devotes sound to money in the morning
The first song to be recorded for Black Frequency was 'Money Devotion.' It gave Gbasky the create direction for the EP.
On his creative process, Gbasky says, "Sometimes, my music carries soul. I wanted to express that without making the project myopic. I wanted diversity and a range of emotions. I wanted people to relate to the different topics on the EP and know that the singer (I) also gets it. So, it was about intricacy for me.
"The project is very personal to me. 'Funwotan' is a feel-good song, so it wasn't first-person. But others were."
When Black Frequency was in recording, Gbasky made 14 songs. From those songs, eight were picked - instead of seven.
Gbasky finds his confidence
For a long time, Gbasky struggled to believe that music was his way - he had doubts like everyone else.
But this time, he says, "I think I'm feeling like I can do this. For a long time, I doubted it and I wasn't really sure. People around me might not know, but deep down I was not sure because I had questions. But now, not anymore. The journey isn't that clear to me and I can't see the full picture, but I believe in myself now and it's clear to me now. I can see something now.
"I experienced my own growth myself. It took me time to look back on my journey to where I am. In fact, I'm not nervous about Black Frequency. I think I'm at peace, I really feel confident about the work we've put in."
The next video from the project will depend on data. But asides music, Gbasky is also a Cinematographer who has started shooting. He says, "I would like to make a lot of money from it.