Legendary Styles: The story of Loose Guard (I See, I Saw) [Pulse Interview]

Legendary Styles tells Pulse Nigeria about making 'I See, I Saw,' why he changed the beat and more.

Legendary Styles: The story of Loose Guard (I See, I Saw).' (Instagram/legendary_styles_)

On March 12, 2021, Legendary Styles released a remix to his viral single, ‘Loose Guard’ and it featured award-winning Nigerian rapper, Falz. Once again, the beat was different to both the viral and Aktivated Session versions. People simply attributed the change to the ‘remix factor,' but the story is much deeper than that.

See, that change was a necessity for Legendary Styles. The beat to the viral version of ‘Loose Guard’ was originally used by British Rap Group, G4 Boyz, for their song, ‘Prada.’

This will get clearer a little later, but four years before the 21-year-old Styles made ‘Loose Guard,’ he quit music to become a Site Manager for his dad. The record was his comeback. Interestingly, before he made ‘Loose Guard,’ Styles had only heard two Drill tracks; ‘Dior’ by Pop Smoke and ‘Prada’ by G4 Boyz.

I liked ‘Prada’ a lot. Anytime I’d listen to it, I would freestyle to the beat so intensely that ‘Prada’ would fade out of my mind [laughs],” he jokes. “In October 2020, I commenced a three-week search for that beat itself. On my way back from delivering stuff to my older sister, I found it on YouTube, downloaded it and composed ‘Loose Guard.

“I was like ‘Now, I have this full song. I don get you.’ [laughs]. When I got home, I wrote what I composed in my head,” he continues. “When I was done, I made everybody in my family listen and they all liked it except my eldest sister who joked that, ‘Only people in this Owerri will like this your song’ [laughs]. She wanted me to make Afro-pop, but I told her that I wanted to stand out.

While Styles intentionally made the song to be lyrically comical, he juxtaposed it by with a ‘hard voice' which projects seriousness. He felt the voice would draw people into the playground content on the song. His intent was to play on people’s minds and it worked.

On December 28, 2020, he posted the song on Audiomack and put the song on a music blog the next day. Some days into January, his messages began to pile up after people started making funny videos to the record.

But by late January, everything started slowing down even though Styles finally paid an Owerri OAP N15,000 to keep the song in rotation.

Then in February, two dancers; King Saavage and ASAP Gram created a hilarious, yet interesting and creative dance routine to the song. The rest is history.

Interestingly, I begged my friends to help me create dance routines for the song, but they never answered,” Styles says. “I woke up one day and opened my Instagram page to lots of mentions and follows after King Saavage and Asap Granm made a dance video to the song. People even tagged G4 Boys saying, ‘Welcome to Nigeria.’

The next thing, Alex Unusual of BBNaija danced to the song and replied to my DM. I was so thrilled that I told my friend that, “O boy, verified account reply my DM O,’ [laughs],” he continued. “Then the calls began…

You see, that beat belongs to G4 Boyz and they blatantly refused to let Styles use it, regardless of what he offered. And he offered everything, including a 70/30 split in favour of the British Rap group, but it was declined. All interventions also proved abortive.

First, it was about not putting the song on Apple Music. Later, they simply told Styles to take the song off even Audiomack, where it had hit 400,000 streams. Styles endlessly pleaded with G4 Ice Baby, a member of the group with whom he had a rapport but his request was simply declined.

It didn't help that a Nigerian - presumably a distributor - put the song on Apple Music without Styles’ consent. Some days later, the song was taken off all platforms and Styles started working on another beat entirely.

But all that didn't matter, the viral version of ‘Loose Guard’ had found its way onto TikTok by then and even G4 Boyz couldn’t stop it. There are two new versions of the song. One has a beautiful melody while the other was produced by Willis Giddem.

Legendary Styles has always liked music. Born Onwusonye Samuel Ikoku and bred in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, Styles was a dancer until he started making music at Holy Ghost College, Owerri. He was inspired by the upperclassmen, who would attend shows and thrill fans.

When he got to JSS2, he started writing his own raps. With the help of his older brother, he sharpened his skills and dropped his first single, ‘Beast of The Whole Nation’ a year later.

“It was Igbo rap because I love, love Igbo rap. My lyrics were also comical.” He reminisces. “Something you’d say in English might not be funny. But in Igbo, it will sound funny for sure. I was going for that…

A year later, he featured his sister on his sophomore single, ‘The Boss.

The following year, he posted an artwork for his next single and people had started anticipating the release, but the producer messed the release up despite Styles making full payment of NGN15,000.

Four months later, the producer finally sent the record over and Styles dropped ‘Successful,’ on which he sang for the first time.

“I was only in SSS2, but I was telling people I had made it [laughs]. Can you imagine? [laughs],” he jokes. “Around that time, inspirational songs like ‘Wetin We Gain’ were all the rage. I jumped on the train and people in my school liked it. Before ‘Successful,’ I never put my songs on blogs. It was just about sending via Bluetooth and stuff.”

He paid NGN5,000 to put ‘Successful’ on blogs after generating the money from savings.

“Around this time, I saw my fellow Owerri artists get on radio charts and all that. I put ‘Successful’ on a blog because I wanted to also get close to those charts,” he reminisces. “But after that song, I quit music for years because that producer discouraged me. It gave me the wrong impression of the music production process.

During his hiatus, Styles worked as a Site Manager for his dad. He then sat for his UTME in 2020, after which he applied to study Law at Imo State University. But sadly, COVID-19 hit.

Styles is open to record deals, but he’s intent on getting the right deals that are fair. He also holds onto his faith in God.

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