Voices Of Music: Back & Forth with LadiPoe


There’s a lot of magic currently brewing in the African hip-hop scene, especially as a new generation takes over with their own way of performing their charismatic flows, with Nasty C South Africa, La Meme Gang, Kwesi Arthur, both from Ghana, and other countries aren’t missing out.

That’s where LadiPoe comes in, a Nigerian MC who’s been owning his skills and art through different projects and features, now signed to Mavin Music company [a music powerhouse in Nigeria] and out with a new single produced by Don Jazzy, he’s here and won’t tolerate any fuckery.

I met him for the first time at The PGM Club’s radio show on Beat FM. He was on air to promote his new single with DJ Java and every time he spoke about his art, I could feel the passion he had to create music.
Talking about his projects and why he feels artistes shouldn’t deviate from their sound just to please the Nigerian market, he proved that he was someone who genuinely wanted to create music from a place where he could move his audience and make them feel what he feels.

I approached him after the show for an interview; and after a little back and forth with his publicist, the magic below happened.

What’s the story behind your passion for music, the reason you became an artist, to create sounds that affect the mind and soul?
LadiPoe: The passion came from recognizing first that I had ability and an affinity for words and sounds, and then wanting to explore it. That ability translated into a passion for making my own music, and it was furthered by being able to see how people reacted to it.


Define your sound as a hip/hop artist. In relation to African hip-hop as a sound being pioneered globally, what’s the Poe perspective that makes your voice unique?
LadiPoe: What I realized I could do well is rap. Rap is an element within hip-hop but it’s not one and the same. Hip-hop is a genre of music but it’s also a culture and attitude and style. I’m a rapper, and I can make hip-hop music, but I’m really trying to make my own sound. The music I make is fresh, new and exciting. It’s a particular sound, a style of voice, a style of delivery – when people hear it they instinctively know it’s good. That’s what I think people recognize as a new African sound and appreciate.

African hip-hop has different directions, both through melodies and raw bars. How would you define modern day African hip-hop, and what forms the perfect balance?
LadiPoe: There’s no formula for the perfect balance. It’s subjective. Whether you have a preference for melody, bars, storytelling or somewhere in between for me I’ve always gone with how I feel. I like to capture that emotion or feeling or story and let others take it where they want it to go.

Art for LadiPoe’s new single titled ‘Are You Down’ Featuring ‘Tiwa Savage’.

There’s a new generation currently pioneering a change in African music, the dynamics of creating sounds is morphing. New Age Africa is taking a new dimension, what do you feel about this?
LadiPoe: There’s nothing new under the sun – this isn’t the first music renaissance. But this is particularly exciting because of the number of people that are listening, and are connected to it right now. The world is getting closer.

What was your creative process with your new single featuring Tiwa Savage?
LadiPoe: I was in the studio at the right time. Jazzy was working on the song, Tiwa was in the studio at the time and it just happened organically. The vision for it was there.

You have an incredible chemistry with BOJ and SDC, mind exploring that with us?
LadiPoe: It was great that I got to work with SDC because I was introduced to this industry through friendship. It can be a difficult place to navigate and you can’t do it alone. With them, it’s been easy to maintain friendships and working relationships. BOJ is a great artist – we haven’t worked together just yet but I’m sure we will eventually.

Africa being a third world nation has a lot of stories to tell, rap is a form of music built on social empowerment of black culture. As a rapper in Africa, do you feel your lyrics need to reflect and tell stories from your environment?
LadiPoe: Yes. I have a voice in my music and it’s important to lend it to things I believe in. It’s as simple and as cliche as that. For example, use it to remind people Africa is a continent that contains developing countries and not a “third world nation”.

How do you also balance conscious storytelling, while keeping the typical Nigerian listener who’s used to jollof music attentive?
LadiPoe: I don’t try to. It’s not something I really focus on. Make the music, make it good and hopefully people will like something about it.

What has music shaped in your life?
LadiPoe: That’s like asking how anything that you do shapes your life. It just does. From the way you grow up to the things you listen to – it all makes you who you are. That said, music has made me a better listener – more aware of what’s happening around me.

Growing up I connected to your music because your approach to the sound was unique, you weren’t afraid to be different. Most Nigerian kids aren’t allowed to express themselves due to our conformed environment. Is this a relationship you’re consciously building with your fans, creating music that allows them to be free?
LadiPoe: I’m glad that people stay connected, and I’m always surprised at their own interpretations of my music. I’m glad that you found something in it that you can take away – that is the real reason for me, or anyone, to be doing this.

I want to be able to keep creating. Keep exploring. Sharing experiences with different audiences.

What are your biggest influences and how have they helped shape your art?
LadiPoe: I listen to music. I hear things. I see things. I want to write things. There are hundreds of influences, from different parts of life that you can draw from.

Does the hip-hop scene in Africa feel limiting?
LadiPoe: No, it’s unexplored if anything. It just needs to be expanded upon – there’s so much out there. More light needs to be shed on what’s going on here and people should see how dope it really is.

We’ve all been waiting on a project, do you have anything coming forth soon?
LadiPoe: There’s always something in the pipeline. I’m looking to share more vibes before the end of the year, especially through live shows and connecting with fans that way.

What do you want your audience to feel when they listen to you?
LadiPoe: That’s a big question. I want them to feel like it was meaningful like it was not a waste of time, something Impactful. You can’t feel what I felt when I created a song, but hopefully, it can make you feel something too – something positive worth sharing. That would be enough.

What’s your biggest dream as an artist?
LadiPoe: I want to be able to keep creating. Keep exploring. Sharing experiences with different audiences. Traveling, I want to see as much as I can see, and try as much as I can try as an artist.

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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