Leadership (Abuja)

8 February 2013

Nigeria: Being a Barrack Boy Helped My Musical Career - Vector

interview

Vector D Viper is award winning rapper cum lyricist and songwriter. He honed his style of music while studying Philosophy at the University of Lagos. Known for depth and creativity in his rap which makes followers to tag him the African Jay Z, the musician has endeared himself to many and since his State of Surprise debut album years ago, the young dude named Olanrewaju Ogunmefun has not looked back. In this chat with SAMUEL ABULUDE, the Angeli crooner speaks on his person, his sophomore Album and other sundry issues.

Last year was successful for you how would you describe it?

I guess I can describe 2012 as the year of awards both the ones you know and the ones you don't know. It's about 11 awards both in Nigeria and out of Nigeria, major and particular awards. I have awards from university communities, UNILAG and OAU because I have a lot of followership over from there.

They were Awards for Excellence and also for Mentorship. One of the awards was termed as Lyrical titan of the year and another Best mix-tape of the year by a body that monitors the music industry. My major awards were at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards NEA in New York where I received the Best Rap Act and not forgetting the two I received from HEADIES another from NMVA.

It all measured to eleven awards. Of course I feel appreciated. Life is a journey and you can never say you have arrived. It's just continuous thing and I'm on a continuous work.

How did you manage to record 125 tracks initially for your 2nd Coming album?

Whatever that spirit of inspiration is, it never fails me. Coming from the type of rap that I do, I'm not allowed to do anything average or below quality music. On how I managed to do 125 tracks for the album project, I know I do work and we just had to put the appropriate 22 on my 'Second Coming album'.

That was to show how versatile I was. My first ever award was in the University and I was given the best all-rounded guy. I excelled in socials, academics and other activities. The 2nd coming album was formally the introduction of my second album into the market even though it feels like the first one.

Do you get carried away by huge success?

I pray to God first of all to help me stay humble with myself and not forget where I am coming from. And for anybody who has followed my growth so far, you will know that that which has made me who I am today is the fact that I am able to repeatedly prove myself in a lot of tracks.

So that has been mainly hard work on my own, with other people whoever, which ever way, I have been a known artiste on my own without teaming up with any clique outside God and my record label and of course immediate family and friends. But with no team or any affiliation whatsoever with any clique, I just felt it is something I must do and I have done tracks over and over again. And music no dey finish now (smiles). The Angeli is in the 2nd coming album and 'Na you' as well.

The Angeli track has brought more recognition, what inspired it?

Apparently when Sagzy (one of my music producers) produced the beats of Angeli and Mr Vector, almost everybody that heard the beat said Nice! Nice! Unknown to me, there was this guy, Femi Alapomeji who I used to visit his shop back in my days in school. Femi was close to 9ice and used to run stuffs for 9ice. So I exchanged pleasantries with him and told I was trying to hook up with his chairman, 9ice who was also trying to get me to hook up with a track with Seriki, his artiste.

So, we connected and he heard the beat and you could tell that right from the start, he was down with it that he was given a beat that suited his style. 9ice asked to give him some time wanting to travel and what I heard was that throughout the time, he traveled, he was hooked up to the instrumentals alone. And when he came back, he had done 'Angeli to n pire' and I was trying to get the hook.

At his house, he offered champagne and I was to be at the studio. I ate amala at his house and I suggested that I do the hook here because I had to tap into the anointing of such a great person. I did two verses right there within the hour. While I was driving I did the others, the drab verse, went into the studio and dropped the singe. And it's been playing heavily for two years and some months since then.

On my new video, Follow me dey go that is rave right now, I was chatting with Shalom who featured in my mix tape, Bar racks. I told him this was a fine music that that fans will love over the dance hall beats that has always been overused. We just talked about it though he didn't say too much. I went into the studio, spoke to Da piano (music producer) assuring him that this song will fly.

I told him it was a sweet reggae right there and then, Gbam! I was quite impressed at the video production though for one funny reason wanted a different video but it was just that of a regular guy and a regular hair girl hanging out and drinking coconut juice. Outside that there was no bling bling and all that razzmatazz. 'Follow me dey go' was a sweet music all through cool and calm.

You also did a barrack single on your birthday last year. Why the name?

I grew up in McCarthy Barrack on Lagos Island. I have lived around the barrack and I guess this is a part when you guys have to know. A lot of people have seen the intelligent, cool Vector with a lovely smile (that is what they say). There is also the barrack-bred Vector where you wake up with sirens blowing everywhere; you hear that your friend's father was shot. It is the same barrack when I was in Ikeja cantonment and the bomb blew up. I don't want to forget that side of me.

My dad was a mobile police chief and my mum was a professional caterer and coordinator officers' wives of Mobile Police, Lagos State. We had people coming to my yard and boys had a lot of fun. In the barracks, where I grew up there is not much privacy and a police cannot be beating his wife and not have neighbours intervene because we all new ourselves. Barracks is the only place where there is togetherness.

Life in the barracks toughened me and made me know from my teen days that you have to labour for anything you want in life. So I did my song Bar Rack based on my experience in the barracks and released it on my birthday. I hope to go back to the barracks sometime in the future and talk to the youths to work hard and dream of a glorious future.

You also did a song with Tu-face, Get Down...?

Yeah that was a good one too. Tu-baba being a versatile artiste is who every musician would like to walk with. Apart from 9ice, I have also done stuffs with KWAM 1, Adewale Ayuba and so many other artistes and ready to do more. They are all in my 2nd coming album. Having studied philosophy in UNILAG, I am constantly re-inventing myself. I have learned from those ahead of me in the industry and I don't take this for granted.

So how rich is vector now?

Rich enough to eat what I like and go to where ever I want to go. I thank God for this as I have been in the music industry for more than five years actively doing collabos and now doing my own thing and being appreciated for it. I see the brand, Vector D Viper going higher and remain dominant in rap music. I did a song with a Jamaican artiste.

It is reported that you are dating a model and you may get married to her soon, how true is this?

Well, it is not true o. Vector is married to his music for now. I am not dating any model and no blog has caught me hanging out with one. I'm a lovable person and I relate with people easily.

So you don't have a soft place in your heart for a woman?

Funny enough, my upbringing in the barracks may have also affected me because I am as hard s steel. Ask my friends, they will tell you Vector does not have much time for women. I may play around and just hang out once in a while but I am not cut out for a relationship now cause I am to serious and focused to have time now for a woman to break my heart.

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