Born Anthony Osekaje, Lil5ive, is a Nigerian rapper, singer and songwriter, that started to gain traction with the Barry Jhay remix to his single ‘Satiramoni’, which was quickly followed up by the mellow Omo Ologo a song with street-savvy proverbs, touching on taking life carefully. Directed by Ademola Falomo, the video to Omo Ologo, stays in line with the song, while visually touching on issues like police brutality, youth violence, and other issues young Nigerians on the street face.
Lil5ive uses his music to tell things from his perspective, mixing the sound of the streets with moody piano strings, an r&b delivery, a touch of trap, and afrobeat melodies aided by soft hitting drums. His music is essentially street hop, away from the staple of everyday street bops his uniqueness is in the slow moodiness of his street artistry. Even when he is singing about love like on Good Loving, he is calm with almost drowsy instrumentals
His latest project, Dreams & Imaginations, is a fine example of the ability he wields. Showcasing this ability on the six-track EP with no features but production and engineering credit to Daniel Bliss, Cyprus, and Bennie Macaulay. Dreams & Imaginations is heavy on self-introspection as Lil5ive takes on a journey through his mind as he touches on topics like unbelievers on the opening track Where fighting his demons by letting go of Drugs and love on Good Loving and Feelings
How was growing up and how did that shape you?
Lil5ive: If you know Delta state, you’ll know the slang ‘Warri no dey carry last’. Delta people are really sharp. That’s where I’m from, the waterside but I grew up in Warri and that exposed me to a lot of things.
Since I was little, I realized how serious life is. If you listen to my music you hear more about myself and reality. That’s how I see life, I’m not someone that believes in luck. I know if I need a new car I have to work for it.
Where I stayed in Warri was a real ghetto, everything there was crazy. Growing up, I saw a lot of things I shouldn’t see. By 11, I was already going to the club.
I was influenced by Lil Wayne, that’s where the Lil in my name came from. Listened to Akon and MJ. I started listening to Tu Face, and a lot of other people as I grew. But I listened to Wizkid a lot growing up then Yung6ix blew up and he’s from my hood so I fucked with him. I listened to a lot of other artists, but I don’t like being caged.
How did your name ‘Lil 5ive’ come full circle?
Lil5ive: I used to be called Lil T because my real name is Toni. Basically early on, I was putting Lil in front of everything. I was always studio hopping then and I was always changing my names for different songs.
I met a producer who really liked my music and I was at his side regularly, so whenever he had artists over he always wanted me to hop on their tracks. He’s the one that gave me the name.
When did your career really kick-begin?
Lil5ive: I recorded my first song Wonder in 2009. It kinda blew up amongst my friends in secondary school, especially because I was in Jss 1 with such a mature song so my seniors fucked with me. From then I just started going to the studio. I was actually a dancer, I could do flips but my mum was scared I was going to hurt myself then I started playing basketball for my school, but every time I went to play I’d come back dirty so they didn’t want me doing that too.
My dad and mum are both members of the Choir in church, so when I was doing music they didn’t have a problem with that. I started going to the studio in Warri. When I started studio hoping because I was really young they always liked me and used to give me transport money to go home. Then I was a rapper.
When I joined Facebook my life changed. From Facebook, I knew Nairaland, that’s how I found Blaqbonez, Zlatan, and some other guys. So I started dropping a lot of music because these guys were always dropping music too. I dropped a song every month, then I started getting more popular especially in Delta.
In University, I knew the top bloggers and always gave them my music so they helped push my music. The sound was growing but I had some issues in 2017 so I had to relax and get my shit together. For almost a year I was out of music.
You know sometimes you’re hit with a really heavy life fuckery and somehow you come out, the realizations from that affected my music. That’s when I released Satiramoni and I put the little money I had in music and pushed it. I went from having 5k plays to 25k in the first two weeks. That’s when I knew this music shit could be legit.
I hooked up with Barry Jhay’s manager and he hooked me up with him, that’s how the remix came about. We did a little viral video and put it out. In a week we did like 50k and the song was really popping.
Then your big break – Omo Ologo?
Lil5ive: I went from dropping music every day to dropping music once in a while because I kinda understood how much went into each track and I didn’t want my music to just be trashed out there but I’m always recording.
People kept asking for another song to follow up to Satiramoni .So I just decided to put out Omo Ologo from the catalog and that track has gone on to do 1.2M Streams on just Audiomack alone. I also released my first music video with Omo Ologo and it’s crazy.
I recorded Omo Ologo in Delta state, I’m not really free with people so I like being in my haven. Went back to the studio I frequent there and I recorded the track there. I slept a few versions before I hit the perfect one.
Tell us about your new project?
Lil5ive: My EP is called Dreams & Imaginations. It’s my first official project and it really means a lot. The dreams part speaks about my personal dreams, ambitions, things I want to achieve. The Imaginations part is about the growth I’ve gotten with my sound, and how everything I’ve Imagined is getting real and I’m doing them. The EP is trying to tell you about my world, a sonic painting of my journey, dreams, and ambitions.
It’s a welcome to my sound and I’m not in a hurry. I recorded a lot of tracks but I decided to select the perfect songs. The EP is going to be big, I know it, I’ve dreamt about it and I’m sure.
All Images Taken by Stephen Tayo.