Hidden Gems — Dubem Tells A Story Of His Animated World Through His Music

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In the last few weeks, I’ve realized there’s a unique story hidden within all of us. If you give anyone the right platform they’ll show you their side of the rainbow. This is what Hidden Gems is about, a story board that shines a light on all our unilluminated dreams yet to be consumed by the world.

This week, I spoke to Dubem, a 21-year-old artist known as ‘Shaggyfromthe91st’, still on the rise but he spoke with a clear view of how he wants his music to mean for this generation. Our discussion was interesting and animated enough to give me a scope of what makes him tick.


Tell us about yourself?

Dubem — I’m an artist from Enugu state, my name is Dubem.

Answer as freely as you want.

Dubem — Fuck the dubem. Well, not entirely. My names shaggy, Shaggyfromthe91st. Him and dubem are two completely different people. I’m an artist and creative from Enugu state. Born and bred for most my life, I love music and art and I’ve been writing songs since I could write.
Who’s ShaggyFromThe91st then?

That’s an amazing question, I’ve always wanted to hear that. Shaggy is a poet, a rager. When I’m Shaggyfromthe91st I hate to feel but I do it anyway it’s the only way I can write by opening my eyes, seeing what’s around me. The good, the bad and the atrociously ugly. 
Not just watching because I like to move I hate being still. Funniest thing because I’m actually really shy by nature. Being an artist Is like the greatest freedom because you could be insane.

How did you come the name?

Dubem — Since I was little I’ve been really animated, basically I’m a cartoon character sometimes. I watched scooby doo more than anything in my life and the first songs I learnt how to sing completely are shaggys songs.
So my dad always asked me to walk like shaggy from scooby doo and then he’ll laugh.
And the number is for the house I grew up in.

What made you get into music over the years as a career path?

Dubem — It taught me how to cope, I dont talk a lot I dont know how to. So it helps me communicate, It helped me kinda find a way to try to navigate life. My life, I’ve always written songs I just never thought I’d want to perform them or record them and I knew I wanted it. 
I also saw esskay perform one time I went with him cause I used to hang with him when we went to the same school and he just looked so much like himself. So I knew I wanted that too.

Tell us about your project ‘the art of peer pressure’ and why you selected that theme?

Dubem — The art of peer pressure was something I’d been trying to write for a while I just didn’t know it yet so I picked beats and wrote and rewrote till the picture that I used for the cover got uploaded. By my friends and it was one of them in it And I saw it and I have no clue why but I decided I’d use it for a song. — the subtle art of peer pressure being the song —

When I wrote that it just spiraled because it felt incomplete without songs before it and after.
The theme is basically life, Its police and their fuckshit, Civil disobedience because we want to, love and list. Things I needed to say and it was recognizing that the youth are their own problem and there’s nothing in front of us, we need to get out our way and just take our shit. But still I wanted to remind someone somewhere I guess that I get it, I understand the car rides with your day ones, the drugs, being daft for girls cause women are beautiful as fuck.

That’s why I stuck with the title, I wanted someone to understand that someone else got it too. Doing all the shit we do because we enjoy it together not because someone else forced me to do it.

What’s your favorite song and why?

‘Not a prophet’ would be my favourite song. Religion is always something I’ve wanted to understand to the point of losing my faith in the systems of the catholic and the church. 

I like the song because almost subconsciously I was agreeing with myself, that it was all bullshit I guess to me. AI also wrote it in the parking lot of a church because I was pissed at something the preacher said.

What did he say?

He said something about how fixing the roof is mad important and the temple of God shouldn’t suffer. Fixing the roof of a tiny church in the giant compound of churches and he said nothing about helping people actually. It all came down to giving him money that he won’t actually spend on the roof.

What’s your biggest influence in music and what do you think about our generation’s music?

My biggest influence would be my dad actually, growing up I listened to everything because he listened to a lot too. Rock, reggae, pop, Nigerian sounds, everything. Basically my parents had a lot of CDs.

About our generations music If I’m honest it’s way less substance than it used to be it doesn’t even have to be like rap or whatever genre. But like I want to hear something that makes me feel a certain way when I want to and that anyone could relate to. I also want to learn but there isnt a lot to actually learn it’s a lot of fun but sometimes it’s the same thing.

I like Santi, his music and art is like really good and really fun but also it’s really expressive.
I think we have amazing music this generation because everything before was pretty amazing and I think we just learn and relearn to mould it.

What you go planned for this year?

Right now I’m recording and I have features with some of my friends and an album in two months or less. I’m done with most of the songs and other projects are coming together really well.

Adedayo Laketu

Adedayo Laketu is a creative inventor who's interested in curating a New Age for Africa across all mediums.

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