Pulse Music sat down to have a chat with one of the personalities - Raezy, who is pushing forward and promoting the interesting art of Hip Hop music and culture in Nigeria.
The radio personality had a lot to talk about including the movement of the Hip Hop culture, his reservations about the industry players, an upcoming Rap Kulture cypher freestyle that promises to be epic and so much more.
Raezy grew up with his mom in the US, having on heavy rotation, listening to Hip Hop artists like Naughty by Nature and Public enemy that shaped his love for rap music .
“I’ll just lock myself up in the room and it would be music all through”, Raezy says, and kept the interest at it even though his mom was not feeling those type of songs, saying they were worldly.
As time went on he moved back to Nigeria for school, not leaving behind his love for music.
Raezy being good at literature kept writing and scribbling words, writing poems and proses, and even fiction before he even knew what fiction actually was, he recounts.
Studying mass communication at the university, Raezy took to becoming an on-air personality, kicking it with radio at Rhythm FM Awka, Anambra state before moving on to Rhythm FM Lagos.
Radio has provided him with a good platform to encourage the culture and music that Hip-Hop afforded, introducing the Rap Kulture radio show that shines the light on bright Hip Hop talents, emerging and established.
Raezy has out a couple of projects - A mixtape titled “Emancipation” released in 2012 which got good buzz on radio he says. He also has a rap-up series which comes through at each year end, where he raps about the major events across the world - cutting across various walks of life that rocked the outgoing year and has been about it since 2012.
“I started rap kulture as a movement, as a Hip Hop show, as a ground for heads, talented rappers, and poets to express themselves,” Raezy explained,
The Freestyle Fury section of the show, Raezy commented was what he believes catapulted the popularity of the show, talking about the particular edition where rapper Vector on live radio freestyled for two hours straight which generated a lot of buzz and at that time was the number one topic on the world trends.
“For Hip Hop to have done that, it just showed me people were interested, it just depends on how you package and deliver it to the people.” Raezy proudly recounted.
The Rap Kulture show has got other segments like the Live Freestyle, New Hip Hop tunes, and Classic tunes. It has graced the presence of the biggest Nigerian Hip Hop talents such as MI Abaga, Modenine, and Jesse Jagz, to mention a few.
Raezy talked particularly on the Rap Kulture cypher which he explains just like the popular BETCypher sees a lot of freestyle rappers coming together and spitting dope lines and verses.
He reveals that the next edition will be on a larger scale, and would be getting a proper video shoot which will air on mainstream TV. DJ Tommy, DJ Neptune and at least four rappers (names withheld) will be burning things up at this next cypher edition Raezy enthused.
“I like the fact that we’re supporting a lot of talented upcoming and established rappers who look out for opportunities like this. Everybody who wants to put out a Hip hop project comes straight to Rap Kulture’’, Raezy says.
He tells Pulse about Rap Kulture getting a co-sign endorsement from Chuck D of Public Enemy handing them over some international acclaim.
Speaking of Hip Hop artists in Nigeria not reaching the level of commercial success yet, Raezy believes first of all that these artists including those from other genres should not be afraid of staying original and true to the type of music they want to put out, not dumbing it down to please the general public for hopes of commercial gain.
“Do it the way it comes to your heart, that’s music; when you try to construct the music to sound like what’s popping, you’ve totally messed it up, so that rhythm that pops up in your head is natural that’s the inspiration right there.”
Raezy also lays the blame on the media, says they are hypocritical in their support of good music.
“The media keep promoting the mediocrity they say they don’t like, I think the media personalities need to set their power, you can pretty much determine what people want to listen to, play whatever you want to play that’s fine but don’t sleep on the great talented rappers who make great music.”
Using MI Abaga as a case study, Raezy says if MI had been slept on by the media, MI may not have blown up to the way he is now, saying MI, Jesse and Burna Boy came at a time when the media needed something fresh.
"If MI was slept on, he wouldn’t have been this big, MI Jesse Burna Boy, these guys came in at a time when the media was sick and tired of the same old crap, so it was like a breath of fresh air, that's why whenever you tuned into radio at the time, MI was playing on every single station, almost simultaneously because it was just like something different, so that’s what the media should do” Raezy says advocating for more intentional looking out for original raw talents by Nigerian media.
He adds that the media which is a major part of the industry should do a lot more to represent Hip Hop and not be jumping only on international trending Hip Hop discuss when there are real 'cats' out here in Nigeria that need to be trending and getting all the support on traditional and social media.
Raezy also blames Hip Hop fans for paying lip service support, not purchasing the records of their so-called favorites in the Nigerian music scene.
“They tell you I love your record but they not even buying it. They’re not showing enough representation online, they not tweeting about it, they’re not coming out for concerts.”
"So sometimes you really can’t blame the artist for trying to bend because he is just putting in all his time and resources but getting frustrated at the end. So we need to show more love. On the part of the artist, make sure you put out great music; media and “industry heavyweights” should stop the politicking and just support the generally talented guys."
On piracy and copyrights, Raezy sees it as boiling down to the structure and priorities.
"If we have accredited stores, that’s the first major step to fighting piracy. You don’t even have to make the CDs expensive, everybody is making their money, the government is getting taxes, the artist and record labels are getting their money, the PR guy, the album jacket designer, everybody is fine, it’s common sense.”
“We still being myopic, because a lot of people at the top don’t even understand why arts should be invested into in the first place, so it’s a major problem.”
Speaking about royalties for producers, Raezy thinks it’s about the rapport and negotiations between artist and producer, still boiling down to the structure and model of the Nigerian music industry, which should get better with time hopefully.
Also speaking of females in Nigerian Hip Hop, Raezy feels they are not getting enough platforms to showcase themselves- those who do not have the financial backing of a label or management and only make do with limited financial power resulting in half-baked recordings.
“I know they are a lot of talented female artists, so maybe they should just come out,” Raezy says, talking about getting a lot of messages from female folks on a daily; how he got a DM from a young girl, who he’s sure is not even 18 yet, submitting her material to him to have a listen and was super impressed by it.
Raezy's got 100% support for the female acts as well and shows that on his Rap Kulture radio program.
“I think it boils down to supporting the art generally and also helping the very talented female artists. I’m very particular about female rappers as a matter of fact, I’m doing a lot to push the ones I can.” Raezy notes, giving an example of the female MC Phlow who was part of the first Rap Kulture cypher edition with MCees Godwon and Terry tha rapman.
On future plans, Raezy definitely would still be sticking with media related ventures, probably with radio still in the mix, he tells Pulse, having his own syndicated radio show including online related movements.
As for the music and having a career as a rapper, Raezy says he is not actually planning to walk that path as an artist but rather he envisions becoming more than just "that rapper".
He wants to to impact people; to help other artists actualize their dreams as he is doing with the Rap Kulture movement now, though he says he would still continue putting out music for the culture so to speak.
Raezy reveals some of his favorite freestyle sessions to include Boogey, Jesse Jagz, Modenine, illbliss, Paybac, Phlow and Show Dem Camp’s sessions.
As we rounded up the interview, Raezy reiterated his stand - asking the media not to let good art die; not playing just the ‘noisy pangolo’ type of mainstream music and sleeping on artists that make really different kind of good music.
The rapper OAP will be coming through soon with his first single of 2017 that would feature Vector and Moti Cakes.
Rap Kulture can be followed worldwide on Rhythm937.com/live or locally on the dial 93.7FM in Lagos.
In the meantime, Download, Listen and Bump to his dope cover of JHus’ ‘Did you see’ hit single on here.