In 2020, we documented the growth and evolution of the Nigerian trap scene and how a new generation was fuelling this paradigm shift. Like Hip-hop, Trap is yet to be popularised amongst the Nigerian audience, however its no doubt that the artists who have adopted this sound have their A-game on and are relentless. Love or hate trap, it’s a platform for people to tell their stories and inspire others who are on their way up. There aren’t many musical experiences more beautiful than when a rapper waxes poetry over an earth-shattering beat—a core tenant of all anthems.
Something so gangster but still feels genuine, that’s how to describe the sound of Novacane, a Nigerian artist who grew up in the suburbs of its most commercial city. Being born and bred in Lagos means experiencing two sides of life regardless of which social class you belong to; this is somewhat why the music that emanates from the city is mostly relatable and spiritual. Novacane was born at a time where Lagos was gentrifying into a global village, with that came so many western influences that have now morphed to form the bedrock of today’s hyperlocal content. Listening to Mode 9 on Music Africa’s afternoon segment and jamming to Ghetto Mafia at the barbershop later in the evening can surely have a ripple effect on your style indeed. We recently sat down with this budding rapper who’s definitely on the course of something great. Have a swell time getting to know him and his music.
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When did you start making music?
Basically I started when I got into university, although I had nursed a passion for music before that. I think I started full time when I was in my sophomore year in school.
What drove you into music?
The fact is I came up poor, from the ghetto and all that. I felt music was the way out. Looking at the fact that I had to get some certain connects to get to some certain level and those things were not coming up. We were struggling to pay school fees. My parents were not well connected. So, I looked at music as a gateway for me. But I actually love music.
Does that influence your music?
That is why I basically talk about the hustle. I talk about the fact that I have been from the ghetto, from the trenches. That is why I always portray that and try to encourage the younger generation and people who are going through the same situation; because I believe you can still make it no matter what.
It is because of the similarities with the hustle music I am trying to bring on. Trap is the life I life. I trap constantly.
Did you ever consider a parallel ambition?
I actually have a degree in computer engineering. I studied in Cotonou. It was a struggle. However, I believe education is key as well.
So, how is the experience in the journey right now?
Right now, I feel it would pay over time. I know that at this stage you have to build yourself before you get the recognition you deserve. I am just focused on putting out content. I do almost everything myself. It is difficult and slow, but I am not in a hurry in anyway.
You worked with Iceprince on a song recently. How did that come off?
I have a friend called Amazing Klef. He is a photographer and friend to Iceprince. So, I talked to Amazing about getting Iceprince on the song. Amazing said that Iceprince wasn’t really into features at the time, but I told him to just give Iceprince the song to hear. And that same day, Iceprince hit me up and said the song was fire. He sent me his verse immediately. It was a surprise. This was someone I grew up listening to, from his Oleku days, and now he is popping up on my jam. When he saw me for the first time, he was like he thought I was an American artiste.
Where in Lagos did you grow up?
I grew up in two places: Gbagada and Egbeda. We moved after my secondary school to Egbeda.
So, what’s in the works?
Right now, I am trying to release a new song dubbed, Suicide Doors. I also have an EP ready.
So, what are we going to hear in your next music?
My hustle and stuff. Although sometimes I talk about other people’s stories who resonate with mine. It is about what people go through. I am also always trying to be positive and speak things into existence in my songs. I feel music is like a tool. Anything you speak comes into existence.
So, how has your support system been like?
My friends support me 100 percent. I don’t have a lot, but they support me 100 percent. My producer is my friend. We have done stuff together. I have a whole lot of friends that just wants me to go forward in life. Sometimes they even contribute funds for me. I feel if I continue going I would keep getting support from even more people. Some people send me messages on social media telling me that they love what I am doing, especially because Trap isn’t really popular in Nigeria and I should be consistent with it.
So, what would you say are your biggest strengths as an artiste?
I believe I am passionate about what I do and I want to make impact. I also feel like song writing and singing are my biggest strengths. With the whole Trap thing, if you no come correct, you no come correct be dat o. Sometimes, people even doubt that I am the one singing on my records. I have songs from since 2015 and it shows that I have been steady improving myself over the years.
Who are the people you really look up to in the industry right now?
I look up to everybody o. It is not easy at all. Even the young ones. When I see you putting in effort, I support 100. Nonetheless, I look up to the big guns, Buju, Zlatan, Ycee, MI, Burna, Wiz and all of them.
What is your vision now as Novacane?
My vision now is that I just want to do this thing and not stop.
If you would describe yourself with a phrase, what would it be?
I am a cool guy. I am the life of the party. I feel life is too short. There was a point in my life I lost my dad and I realized that life is too short. So, in a phrase, I am an advocate for flex and positivity.