Ikechukwu (Killz) talks about Life and his New Album (Q&A)
- Killz, your first single 'My Name Is' was fresh in that it was
different for Naija music. You performed it at the channel O awards and
you were even nominated for an award. Did you anticipate the type of
response you received from not only the single but the album as a whole?
No I didn't expect that kind of response to be honest. I knew I had something and it was something I had cultivated for a bit so it just needed to be heard. There was so much backlog at the time that all that shit needed to just go. A lot of the songs on the first album were songs that I had recorded years
back and some of them like "my name is" and "legal representah" were
turned down or rejected as worthy material in the States, but that
didn't stop me. I knew that I had something; which is why when I got back to Nigeria, my grind was on a whole new high and the results are naked to
the eye. Talk about at an accelerated rate and It is safe to say that I expedited
my own route.
- Prior to even thinking about bringing out an album, at what point
did you decide, "Ok this is what I am going to do and I am going to put
a 100% into my music". What led to that light bulb moment?
that light bulb moment came years ago. It must have been right before I
moved to New York in '96. I was still busting and all that but the crew I was
running with didn't really show that much interest for prioritizing me. I think I "was too deep" is what my boy used to tell me, but then I was
like if I don't get this done right now myself ain't no body gonna do it. At the time, I was at odd ends with family because they couldn't see any
progress in my life. I was in and out of the University, working jobs all over the
place and it just looked like there was no direction, but I was
grinding in a world where I didn't expect them to understand. Then I was
like if I don't focus on it all the way then whats the point? That is when I started paying more attention to the way things worked and how things
were run. That must have been '98/'99.
- Your presence in the Nigerian music scene has contributed to the
acceptance of rap music in Nigeria. Where did the inspiration for your
1st album come from and where was it recorded?
My first album was
recorded all over the globe. As a matter of fact just based on the
places, the album should have been entitled International Killz, 'cause some
of it was done in Washington D.C, New York, Vienna, Paris and Lagos. Thus the inspiration came from places and the state of mind at that
period. I have been through a lot in my life; highs and lows and believe
me when I say to you that this is one of the few highs there has been. That on its own is another infinite source of inspiration.
- Now you are 2 albums deep; typically in a music career once you pass
your sophomore album and you are still relevant, it is a good sign of a
good and long career. How did the direction for your 2nd album differ
from 'Son of the Soil' and did you feel any pressure recording it?
Truth be told, going through the process of introducing my album and
pushing it etc, schooled me as to what the people were looking for and
used to hearing. Regardless of whether I felt like I made progressive
music or not, I realized that I needn't change who I am just change my
attack mode. I really didn't want to go in the studio just because I knew what
was necessary. I had to give them real life happenings in a better
light for them to get it without even noticing they did. Mixing the
dark with the light, but at the same time exposing your insides; which
is why I came up with the trilogy. Life and times is a three part series; this first one will give glimpses into my life just like the following
two will do. That way, at the end of the trilogy you will know Ikechukwu
inside out, thus sealing the bond made between me and my people.
- I noticed that your 2 singles from the new album have had features
while all your singles from the debut did not have one feature. What
was your reasoning behind the decision on the 2nd album?
I had Dbanj
, Naeto C, Big Lo, Dare, Zeal and Alaye on the Son of the Soil album, but
due to the overwhelming persona of "my name is Ikechukwu" all other
tracks we rendered invisible. Now, these first two singles, 'Wind am
well' and 'Like you', were recorded simultaneously and are supposed to be
part one and part two. There are songs called 'Girlfriend' and 'Back to
you' that are also linked to that part of the story; Ikechukwu's
different experiences with women. In the summertime meet a girl who
winds it well, you toast that she can be your girlfriend, she agrees
and you let her know that nobody can love you like her, then you mess
up on the road and let her know that you are always trying to run back
to her. I get carried away with the cohesion of this album but its just
because of that, that I do. The story goes from beginning to end and
leaves you wondering 'dam what is he gonna tell us on his second album?'
- You have been doing this for a few years now and I am sure you can
answer this question. How does the above average Nigerian artist eat.
Album sales or shows? How attractive is the financial gratification for
the guy/girl who has the talent and passion for music in Nigeria?
It is because of this question that I thank God for education, that is; higher education. If I never went to college I would not be the person I am now.
I would have barely survived or gone back to the states because for the
longest and even up till now, artists income is based on shows. Some
get lucky and get approached by some corporate body and get some form
of endorsement, but for you to be that lucky you have to have had
several overwhelming hits. So it is bleak. However, since guys like Dbanj, Naeto C and myself got in the game it has taken a turn for the
better. We are educated in every sense of the word. Upcoming artists
who want to do this for real, don't dump school for this, do them
together and they will help each other and believe me an educated
artists is miles ahead of an uneducated one. Secondly, the government
and the economy, letting them know that we can help elevate and are a
major tool in the progression and growth of the country's economy. With
that said I guess it is safe to say that the future is looking very
sweet and there is a future in the entertainment industry in Nigeria
especially because it is just coming of age.
- World Famous Akademy, is made up of you Naeto C and Uzi your
brother. Is Uzi going to drop an album anytime soon (I heard some of
his mix tape tracks). What is the future of WFA and is it strictly a
Uzi's album is in the works, he will be in Nigeria by Gods grace this Xmas and his single " Ridin on my Suzuki" is on Facebook, Youtube and
about to go exclusive on MTV Base. The P is too heavy!
is not just a Label, Fashion house, production unit, entertainment/marketing consultant, talent scout and developer, content provider/developer, but it is also a movement. These are not things we are
looking to do, these are things that we have already done, just looking to
do it on a bigger, grander, global scale.
- Where can people outside of Nigeria get your music and pay for it?
All WFA music can be found on iTunes, yahoo, orchard etc. Back logs are available now and new stuff is being activated as we speak. Its a new day people we are not only accessible but very available. New music is always available on myspace and storm sites
- Anything else you want to add or say to the people?
To all my fans
and people out there, I really love y'all . Keep supporting the
realness. Peace love and God speed to your destinies P.S
Naeto C album "You know my P" out now
Life and Time of Killz vol.1 coming August