2020 ushered in a lot of paradigm shifts. Some good, some bad. And in the music world, several tempo-shifting and fusion-bearing ones that were orchestrated by subcultures and subgenres. For instance, in Nigeria, there was a revival of the indigenous yet modern blending style of music-- street hop, which saw it take on a more significantly diverse interpretation, where it was fused with Afropop, melodious rap, RnB, and even the South African Amapiano sound, all making it irresistible enough to subvert only being played outside at parties and clubs. Through this, we witnessed a global-facing new age of street hop. This iteration, powerful enough to move us in our homes, was well received by the Nigerian market despite the lockdown and birthed several breakout acts.
Born Olajide Taiwo and popularly known as Jaido P, the rapper and singer had been one of these notable acts who had broken out of the mould of the underground with his thumping Olamide-featured street hop number, Tesina Pot. He had later sealed his emergence with singles Brokoto and Survive with Olamide, all preceding singles for his recently released Shopla EP. An eponymous title lifted from his Shopla moniker which has resonated with his listeners, its release was marked with a nod from Apple Music as it earned him recognition as the cover star for their Up Next initiative for the month of September.
Notjustok had a sitdown with the breakout sensation slash Apple Music Up Next star to discuss his inspiration for doing music, how it feels to be thus recognised, his debut EP and how he feels to be part of the revolution of the street hop sound.
Hi Jaido P, you’re currently Apple Music’s Up Next star for Nigeria, how are you and how do you feel about that?
I feel so excited about it, I've been this guy trying to push my stuff, online and offline so this is like a big plus to my process.
You broke out into the mainstream last year but you’ve been doing music for a while now, what has the journey been like for you from being an upcoming act to your present status as Jaido P the Apple Music Up Next act?
Personally, I'm the type of person who over time from when I started making music in school, I found out that making music, promoting, and putting it out isn't a process that should be rushed so personally, I'm not the type of person to be in a hurry to get things done when it comes to those phases. So before Tesina Pot, I've been in the studio recording and enjoying myself while putting music out. That's what led to my first EP (Strong, Energetic, Hard), the one before Shopla, it was just a compilation of songs I made. So I was not really worried but still I was hustling, when you're grinding you're hoping for a better tomorrow.
Then Tesina Pot came and this was because I was tired of making serious music. I'm the type of person that I'm used to making serious and conscious music but then Tesina Pot came through cause it's the type of song I can also make. I just thought about it that ‘Why am I being all serious, why can't play around a bit?’ Then I made Tesina Pot and a set of other songs but then we decided to drop Tesina Pot. The day I recorded it with Cracker Mallo, a friend of mine-- Soft was there, he styles Fireboy DML, myself and Baddo (Olamide) partially. He was like he thinks Baddo is going to fall in love with the song and I was like ‘Okay okay’. I think a day afterward, he messaged me on Whatsapp to send three of my songs to him unmixed. I did that and I think he forwarded it to Baddo. Within the next hour, he said I should send him the song with an open verse and I got Baddo’s verse in 45 minutes. It was all like a movie, I was so excited. And then the song broke out and it's the one that put me out properly. Since then I've been making music and I've had to put more songs out so it won't just be Tesina Pot when I go for shows because people call me for shows to entertain them, I won't just perform Tesina Pot-- I wouldn't be happy about that myself. And that's what led to the Shopla EP.
Did you see Tesina Pot going this far?
Well for every song I make, I always try to stay positive about it. Immediately I hear the song and it's a very good song, I automatically feel like it's about to blow. So that's my attitude towards any good song I make. I won't say I didn't see it going far, I did because it slapped hard when we finished it.
As a child, what was growing up like? Where there any inspirations that made you do music?
Yeah as a child, I was always going to church. That's how my parents brought me up. I was a chorister and my dad likes listening to music. He played Jay Z, random CDs. So I grew up listening to these things and I have pastor kids as friends so I was always in the church one way or the other playing with instruments, so I found myself listening to music and playing around it so it's a very big contribution to what made me who I am today.
When did you decide to take music seriously and how did you discover you could rap and make music in your style?
I found out I could compose songs when I was young. There's this choir special number we used to do every Sunday and at times, we'll have to compose a new one entirely and I found out that I used to contribute a lot and that I was able to compose songs but I didn't take it seriously.
So when I resumed school at Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU in 2013, there's this freestyle thing rappers used to do then and there was this particular day in my room, we were just playing around and someone was making some drum patterns on his bunk and I was just freestyling. Before I knew it, my roommates, who were about 11, loved it and advised me to take it out. So I did that and I started freestyling in school. People were really enjoying it so from there I knew that I had to take it seriously and since then I've been doing that.
Will you say with the number of acts that have emerged from OAU in recent times, that schooling there helped your music career?
Of course. It helped me a lot because the competition and the bar was high everyone in my school then was hot. When it comes to music, we were just so good and I had a song that blew up in school so it really helped my process. I connected with the big guys in school when it comes to making music, I was really open to the music thing and it really helped me and my school contributed to that.
You broke out last year with Tesina Pot. Do you think it was meant to be bigger and if yes, how did that make you feel and how were you able to deal with those feelings?
The song is a banger and I think we all know and agree on that. The thing is COVID affected the blowing up of the song but personally, I believe everything happens for a reason. I'm an independent artiste, I only have my big bro Olamide supporting me and doing one or two things for me in the process of putting my song out, so I just try as much as possible to put my song out and not say I'm waiting for this person to sign me cause if I was doing that, I would not have dropped Tesina Pot initially so I think that was one of the reasons you might think it didn't blow to its full potential. Personally, I just feel like the song is doing well. I still performed it and you can't judge a song with a year or two because there are some songs that reach their full potential after three years. But I'm not sleeping on that, Tesina Pot has gone and I have other songs out so I'm not bothering myself with that.
On your official debut EP Shopla, your sound ranges from hip-hop to street hop and Afropop, how would you describe your sound?
I would just say I make hip-hop and Afropop and I try to combine them. These are the popular genres now so that's what I do majorly and I try as much as possible to infuse my unique indigenous feel into it.
Interestingly, Shopla is not only the title of your EP but your nickname as well. What is the origin of the Shopla name?
Immediately we dropped Tesina Pot last year, I found out that the name Shopla was travelling farther than the name Jaido P, so everywhere I go people tend to call me Shopla. My homies call me Jaido P but other people were calling me that so I had to own it and I decided that instead of giving the EP a technical name, I should title it ‘Shopla’, ‘Shopla’ is special and it's going far. So I'm just trying to own the name that way.
And Shopla is from your sign out adlibs on Tesina Pot?
Yeah. Shopla shipon kefty kefty time time asprita, ascinder Margaret, ahumba.
With all of this, your breakout, your EP and how it's all coming together, you've proved that street hop as a sound has evolved a lot over the years and it's one of the biggest sounds in the country. As one of the voices leading this change, what do you think of the growth of this sound and where it is presently?
It's doing well right now compared to previous years. There was a point in Nigeria where it looked like it wouldn't work, people were falling in love with slower songs especially during the Covid period but the street artistes and people like me, because I'm not 100% a street hop act but I create with that sound, so we're getting to find out that there's a better way to make this kind of songs, it's not just about going crazy on the beats, you can actually make it music so right now street hop is doing well and I see it going farther in future and I feel a lot of people are going to vibe with it.
You mentioned during Covid that people were falling in love with slower songs, did that worry you or put any pressure on you?
No, I wasn't pressured. That was when I dropped Tesina Pot, I was just being myself. I playfully made it but then I was doing it consciously, I didn't just make it. I was aware of the fact that people were listening to slower songs and that was why I paired up with Cracker Mallo who produced Wonma and Jealous, so I knew his beats were very classy and I needed something like that. So there was no pressure, I just did.
How did you decide that you were ready to put out an EP?
To be honest, before putting it out, I'd planned to put out an album but that process is going to take a long time and a lot of my fans have been disturbing-- ‘We need more works,’ so I had to listen to them and I decided to drop some of my songs and that's how I put together the EP.
Survive shouldn't be on the EP actually but I sent Olamide the link to my EP one day and he told me he wanted to jump on one of the songs so I went to his house. And that was the first time we were meeting properly and we sat down and talked about music, promotion, everything. So after talking for a long time, the connection was there and we decided to make something new. So we made Survive with the producer, Eskeez who produced most of the songs on Olamide’s UY Scuti. And that's how we made it as the last song to come on the EP. The EP was just me trying to put out more songs.
What was the process behind creating the EP, you have two features and you worked with producers that show you're intentional about who you work with, how did you all these come together?
The first track, Omolomo, is titled after a street slang that is just now becoming popular. And it's one we use casually. So I didn't want to use it in a way people would expect that I would so I decided to make a slow catchy song with it. Then I called Type A who's the one that produced Bling and a couple of songs for Fireboy. And it's really a song to promote self-confidence and boost your self-ego. The same thing with My Level, produced by Cracker Mallo, it's a song to just brag-- no one is on my level. I recorded the two songs in the same week but differently.
Then Mama Mia, P.Prime produced it. He came to my house and we recorded it-- first and second verse with the outro then I sent it to my manager and I think he's close friends with Joeboy’s manager cause he sent it to him and Joeboy heard the song and he was like he really likes it and he would like to jump on it. So I sent him an open verse and he sent it back and that's how it happened.
Then Tomorrow, it's the odd one out cause I'd recorded it before Tesina Pot. It's been in my archives, just sleeping there and most of my guys like it that it's deep and I should have it on the EP. So I decided to listen to them and added it to the EP as well. It was produced by my close friend, Zaki Magic and he produces for Liya.
I recorded Brokoto with Cracker Mallo weeks after recording Tesina Pot and that's how the entire EP came together.
Your sound seems to open doors for you and you have Olamide on two songs, so how would you describe your relationship with him?
When I recorded Tesina Pot, there was this gist that was going around that people were saying I paid him and I was like ‘Okay.’ I don't have to start explaining myself, whenever I have interviews, people bring it up and I just say what I can and leave. But after recording Tesina Pot, we met for the first time on the day of the video shoot. We talked but we didn't really talk. It was just like ‘You're the artiste, Jaido P?’ I said yes and he was like nice one, I'll like us to see. So we talked and I said some things that day but nothing deep. Since then we've been talking, I have his WhatsApp number and we also talk on Instagram, sometimes we just joke around.
So since Tesina Pot, he's been a big bro. He's someone I used to run to whenever I need advice and I'm a little confused. So we've had that big bro relationship even before I went to his house to record Survive. But after that, it got deeper and he's been like a big brother to me, but personally and in the business.
So how did it feel for you to have Olamide on set with you?
Omo, it was crazy o. At first, I didn't know how to react but after some minutes, I got used to the atmosphere cause they were shooting and you have to be lively but it was very crazy. But then that's life, anything can happen cause Baddo is someone I've been trying to talk to through Instagram DMs but I got no replies so having him like that was mind-blowing.
What would you want everyone that listens to Shopla to take away from it?
Shopla is a project I look at because if you tell me I was going to drop a project this year, I'd argue over that. Things just happen and what I want everyone to know is the message on Tomorrow, no one knows tomorrow or what is going to happen in the next 5 minutes. And I just want everyone to know that so far you're grinding and doing what you have to do, anything can happen and you should try to be positive about things.
What should we expect next from you?
I'm going to be dropping visuals for one of the songs off my EP and I've been making observations trying to scout the song that people are most in love with cause I have a video for Tesina Pot and Survive but it's a bit difficult so I'm just going to leave it to my team to make the decision.
Personally what would you say are your favourite songs off the EP?
So I'll rank them. The first song is Omolomo follower by Survive then Tesina Pot, My Level then Mama Mia and Brokoto. Omolomo is my favourite.
Listen to the Apple Music Up Next playlist featuring Jaido P here.