I don’t know about you guys but I love 2face. He has that flow that’s uniquely his. Throughout the years it has remained constant. Did I mention I love 2face? Whenever I hear 2face ‘originality’ pops in my head. Yea yea it’s also the title of a faze song and that leads us to the plantashun boiz but that’s not what I mean. 2face is originality. With multiple awards and international recognition, 2face has become a force to be reckoned with. The artist spoke with NET in an exclusive interview . He opened up about family, growing up and his music that knocks us off our feet. Annie, we love you and all but 2face is our husband too (swoons).
When you were a little boy, did you think you’d become a musician?
Yeah. I think Jos has always been a peaceful place, and it’s the coldest part of Nigeria, so people like to go there and relax because of the weather. Also, many people from the old school days that were ‘somebody’ lived in Jos, and when you have a generation of people that think great, two [or] three generations from there will think alike; that’s why you see a lot of talent coming from Jos.
A lot of people don’t know much about your family, could you break it down for us?
We are a family of six; my parents and we four boys, no girls o (Laughs)
Yeah, they were music lovers, and we used to listen to a lot of music. The one genre that caught my attention was reggae and the one musician that really caught me was Bob Marley. Bob Marley was very inspiring, because of him I started feeling Jimmy Cliff and then the Jackson 5. In the Nigerian scene it was Fela, Sony Okosun, Bongos Ikwue, Christy Essien-Igbokwe and Oriental Brothers.
How often do you see your parents these days?
As often as time permits, sometimes it could be a month; other times, three day intervals. Really, it’s as often as time permits me.
When I was 9 or 10
A lot of musicians say they started singing in church. Did u start in the choir?
It was J town to Benue, back to J Town, then to Kano where I met Eedris, to J town again, then back to Benue, to Enugu, then finally Lagos.
When you finally got to Lagos, how did you manage the transition and what was your game plan?
When I was coming to Lagos, I believed the city was the headquarters of entertainment in Nigeria. All I had in mind was to come to Lagos, prove my skills and see. Blackface and I made the move together in ’96 and we believed in our minds that we would get someone to listen to us; we never thought it’d be a smooth ride. Back then, there were no record labels, so it wasn’t easy, and we had to do some underground work moving from point A to point B.
The first time I saw you and the Plantashun Boiz was on Cally Ikpe’s New Live Beats back in 1997 and you stood out. You seem to be a lot of peoples’ favourite, what has been your charm?
My charm? I’d say first of all it’s the gift that God gave me and that was birthed with me. I think I try to make my music appeal to anybody, be you Japanese, German, Hausa or Yoruba. The rest is the grace of God.
What was your experience like when you left the group?
From the day I decided to do my solo stuff I always thought we’d continue with the group stuff, and that was my proposal, but somehow it didn’t end up like that. Everybody ended up doing their solo stuff too. It was scary, but that was what I wanted in my mind, soul and my body, and I didn’t want to hold myself back. I spoke to a lot of labels, but went for Kennis Music because they gave me the platform and our romance was lovely for both of us. It was a 3 year contract so after the second album, I had to move on. Again it was scary, but I just had to move on.
How does it feel to be the one spearheading the new generation of artistes having international recognition with awards and deals?
It was a wonderful feeling at that point in time when I won the MTV Award. We knew we were moving in the right direction when they started calling me to book me for shows, not just from Africa, but from other countries, just to represent Africa. Right now, it’s the trend, the door is open to all. And we also advise those stepping into the international spotlight for the first time to make the right moves.
Let’s get more personal. Apart from the music, who is 2face?
A shy person that is playfully serious and seriously playful; you should know what that means. I’m just trying to say I’m a jovial person. If u ‘no give me trouble I no go give you trouble’.
I go give them trouble…
A lot of people who have met you say the same thing; ‘2face is very humble’. How have you been able to keep the wall down and relate with your fans?
(Sigh) I hear that a lot, that is the way I have always been and that’s the way I will be till I die.
Read the full interview here