notjustOk hype will feature (or may be not) the future heavy hitters in naija music. Any material featured in this category will be from unsigned or up & coming Nigerian/African, artists/rappers/producer/record label that
contain nothing but promising content. There will only be a post a month in this category.
If you have or know of anyone’s music that you feel is a hit or any good, please send an email to the official notjustOk email with a link to their page or where I can download the song.
At the start of the year, we featured up & coming crooner A1, an artiste we’ve been monitoring since we first heard him on Modenine’s “Badman” single in 2009. From then, we’ve watched his young career move forward at a pretty fast pace and now, he’s landed the esteemed feature as our notjustOk Hype for the month of March. Here’s a brief overview of the man called “A1” aka Sugarboy!
Lots of folks do not know who A1 is. Give me a little background on yourself…
My real name is Akan Felix Umoren and I’m from Akwa-Ibom State…. definitely a comfirmed soji 9ja boi. I did my schooling almost everywhere in the country. Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, you name it… and I ventured into music sometime in 2005 by first making beats and then I later fell in love with the whole music thing. I started rapping, then singing and then started learning how to play the keyboard and guitar. That’s my genesis, bro.
Who were your musical influences growing up? And now, who do you see as an Idol in the game?
It’s a long list. Micheal Jackson, Seal, Fela, and now I’m really feeling Timbaland and Asa. I look up to them.
How do you define your music? What genre would you place it under?
I do all genres. Even funky music, pop, rock, R ‘n’ B, Fuji, Naija HipHop, you name it. I do all, man. I’m eclectic. [In Pidgin] I fit sing today… then rap next… come scream for the next track…
So, tell me about Badman/Swaggerman Dope….
I discovered a new plug-in in fruity-loops. It has always been there but, my guy, nobody in Gidi ever used it. So, out of excitement, I called Desiimurl (my Producer and Boss) and I sent him a sample of the idea. At that time, I was at school in Port Harcourt. He then asked me to make a hook. So I spat on the beat, and now, girls in Lag are singing “She say she like ma flow!” I’m a bad guy… always a badman. 😉
How did you get on the track with Modenine? Did he hear your version first?
Desiimurl knows lots of folks in the industry so it wasn’t really a big deal. When Mode9 first heard it, he was like “this is not my type of s*^t…. but man, this one bites!” …so that was it. Modenine called his rap version “Badman” and I called mine (the original) “Swaggerman Dope“. That was the agreement. We rock lots of show together. He is a GREAT lyricist and one of Africas finest, without a shadow of doubt.
How and when did you hook up with your Producer Desiimurl, who’s also the CEO of your record label, 2muchMUZiK Unlimited?
We met in 2006 when I visited my uncle in Eket, Akwa-Ibom State. One day, I just got bored so I decided to take a walk. I was listening to Linkin Park on my walkman when I realized someone was calling me. He saw a P-Square album with me and in the course of our conversation, I informed him I was an aspiring artiste. I also had one “Ololufemi” track I did then so when he asked me to meet him the next day, I played it for him. He listened to the track a good number of times and gave some constructive criticism… but he liked my stuff. That was my first-ever recording. He told me he was based in lagos …bad ass producer… on holidays and was curious to know more about me. So, I relocated to LasGidi.
…and the rest is history, man.
I’m guessing “Swagaman Dope” is your primary single in terms of promotion. Which is the follow-up single? What’s next on your agenda? an album? a mixtape? …and when?
That would be “Twist and Whyne”. The “Twist & Whyne” video will drop by the end of the second quarter of 2010, my debut album titled “STUDiO & STAGE” is tentatively billed to drop later this year. But right now, we are seriously on the TWIST & WHYNE promo.
Twist & Whyne
[audio:https://www.notjustok.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/A1-Twist-and-Whyne.mp3|titles=A1 – Twist and Whyne]
Homie, for the records, I love that “Ta iNa Sii” track. Hope you will be promoting that one too… and for the non-yorubas like me, what does “Ta iNa Sii” (or “To No Sii”) mean?
Oh really? That’s one of my jams strictly for the streets. It means “put some fire in it” or you can say “let me light it up”. You need to give the “bus conductors” some new slang once in a while jor! Funny enough, all the songs on my forth-coming album are single-worthy. There’s something for everybody… different genres of music for different music lovers.
To No Sii (Unmastered)
[audio:https://www.notjustok.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/A1-Tan-No-Si-NJO.mp3|titles=A1 – Tan No Si (NJO)]
In conclusion, what would you like to add? Any shout-outs, etc?
I must say notjustOk is doing a nice job. Shout-out to my Lawyer, Tunde Laoye, all the Naija DJs worldwide, my fellow Naija artistes/producers, Alaba International, etc etc…. brov the list long o! [laughs] PLUS my ever-growing fans especially the ladies. You guys should know that I’m working hard and I will not let you down.