I WANT MY HATERS TO HATE ME MORE – MODENINE
I WANT MY HATERS TO HATE ME MORE – MODENINE
Rapper, MODENINE is unarguably an authority when we talk about Hip-Hop/Rap music in Nigeria. He has released the highest number of Rap albums in Nigeria so far, and is respected amongst fellow Hip-Hop heads and the music industry in general. In this interview with JAMES SILAS, he bares his mind on a lot of issues… you have to read and see for yourself.
You have a new album in the market – ‘ABOVE GROUND LEVEL’; how has the response been, so far?
I’m not going to lie; the promo for the album was weak. The platform I’m operating on – Redeye Music, which happens to be my own indie label. We don’t have crazy fans and support like that. I was able to finish the album, YSG marketed the album, and Spinlet did the little they could do. The album hit the streets, but I guess the fans needed more cohering, to know that something is out. A few years ago, all I had to do, was just put it out and do a couple of radio interviews, and everybody will know about it. I actually did the same thing this year, but I found out that most people are not even checking for radio interviews – they don’t care. I shot a promotional video, even though it came out a couple of months after the album. I think this age is a vanity age, where if you don’t drive a Range Rover, or fly a private jet, people won’t listen to you.
There are words around the industry that you did not take advantage of your popularity, when you should have. I mean by toning down your lyrics to appeal more music listeners.
Apart from Pentium IX and Malcom IX, the singles I have dropped have been watered down, but people didn’t know. The difference between ‘Above Ground Level’ and ‘Paradigm Shift’ is that, in AGL, I promoted the commercial singles, but there are hard tracks in it. People don’t even listen; they just heard “Dobale” and just assumed that everything is like that. In the industry, none of them are qualified to talk about my album, because I know they haven’t listened to it. If you haven’t listened to the 40-tracks on the album, then you need to shut up.
If Hip-Hop was a religion, would you say we were practicing it in Nigeria?
Yes we do, but Hip-Hop now is something for the eccentric. It is like a badge that people hide – they are cowardly about it in Nigeria, they do not wear it in public. They play Hip-Hop music in their private cars. They listen to Hip-Hop, but I understand why they want me to do something different. If I have ten thousand loyal fans, I’ll be good. I know we have most of our fans in the North and that is that is the troubled area in Nigeria; if not, the North is good, I won’t be worried about Lagos. I think that Hip-Hop heads are afraid. I have gotten a lot of hate message from the Hip-Hop heads, who are trying to do what I’m doing, but are failing at it. I’m still winning my awards and they envy and hate.
Talking about awards, you have won a good number of awards in the stretch of your career, including ten Headies; how does it feel?
It is a success story, because when I was doing this rap, I really will not lie, I didn’t think I was going to win awards for it. I didn’t even think I was going to be mentioned at any awards, because I saw the Hip-Hop that people liked and shook my head that this is not what I wanted to be a part of, but I did and I have done well for myself. I have won A.M.E.N Awards, Channel O Awards and different awards that are not Hip-Hop. The truth is, I do not live for awards, because they are given by human beings; the gift of God is the best and I promised my fans something great in 2015.
You’ve won seven Headies’ lyricist on the roll awards. Vector got one and Jesse won this year. What do you think about Jesse Jags when it comes to rap lyrics?
Everybody knows that Jesse can rap; he’s a good rapper, even though his album is not 100 percent rap, but it’s a very good album. I have to this… everybody thinks I’m chummy with the organizers of the Headies – No! I don’t go to their office and I don’t know the people that are sitting down to give the awards. I don’t know them, so what I’m saying is – I don’t want to be part of any awards, until people get their acts right. I dropped an album called ‘Alphabetical Order’ and it was the only Hip-Hop album released in the year, but they didn’t put it in the category. The people that do these awards listen to Hip-Hop and they listened to the album. I went to Hip-Hop world’s office and gave them my rap music, so they can’t tell me that, they know what’s happening. I’m not criticizing anybody – it’s just me, speaking my mind. But for Jesse Jagz winning the award, I knew it was between Jesse and Yung6ix. I feel Yung6ix has put in a lot of interest and work. I thought he was going to win.
What exactly do you have in stock in 2015?
You know I never stop working for my fans. I actually took a break after recording Above Ground Level, to clear my head. Right now, I’m on a different path. I want my haters to hate me more; I want them to be mad at me; I want people who do not understand to get confused, that’s why I’m going to record and return with the old me. I don’t care if I’m called for shows or not, because I have nothing to lose. I deserve more credit that I’m given. I will make you guys talk about me in a negative way – all news is news. I will give you the real thing. You know, I decided to put some songs that will push the AGL album, but if you don’t have the cash to bribe them to play your music, they might play, but if you bribe them, they will play more.
How far can you take this; I mean, at your level, if you feel you are not getting what you deserve from the industry right now, what happens in the long run?
I’ll go get a job; ok, I’m just joking, but seriously, I did a show at the NYSC Camp recently and I performed and the people were shouting Shoki kind of songs, but I did my Hip-Hop, and it was an incredible performance. However, I realized that before my performance, about 20 guys that stepped to me claiming to be fans and all were not even bold to come forward to show their support. Don’t lie and tell me you are my number 1 fan and when you see me performing, you sit down and look like you don’t like my music. People are not real to themselves. You washing me, doesn’t change my day. I see myself as one of the privileged few, who raps for the fans. True fans hear that my album is out, and they go buy it. So if anybody claims to be a fan of Modenine, and don’t have my recent album is just a famz, not a fan. I used to be glued to radio; I go to my friend’s house, because we didn’t have satellite to watch MTV. I got into trouble a lot. Things are so easy right now. I mean, I lose it when people say “Modenine, has been away; or where have you been?” I’m like – “away doing what?” I get airplay on radio, but you don’t listen to radio or watch TV.
The last time you left the Nigeria for the UK, people thought you had left Nigeria for good. Tell us about it.
(Laughs) That’s what they want. They are afraid. I can see through these people. God gave me that gift. I can see a lot of artistes don’t want me around. They want to kill me and stab my carcass, even after I’m dead. Same for a lot of people in the industry – they will be the ones to dance the hardest if they hear that Modenine has stopped doing music. That’s what they want. I knew I wasn’t leaving the country in that sense. My things were intact in my house, I just went to pursue something, but I made it seem like I wasn’t going to come back. I just wanted to see what people would say, and my friends were the ones that were writing all the rumours and rubbish. They’re all going to die very soon; a spiritual death – not a physical one. The little empire they have built will come crashing on their head, because they built it on lies. If you build built your empire on lies, the truth will come out, no matter how far you bury it. I look at all these people lying and ignore them, but I know them. I left the country and they started saying this and that and people were twitting it happily, but when I came back, they were pissed. They were mad, but I have a green passport and I’m Nigerian; I’m not going anywhere. I will travel like other artistes and come back. My family is here and I am still a Nigerian artiste.
How about getting someone to fund your music?
The people that have money don’t know nothing about rap music. That’s why they can’t invest. So they don’t even think it will blow. The guys that have the biggest money and know Hip-Hop are the biggest sellouts in the world. They will advise you to do this kind of song, but it is time to put in money, they will never put it down. They would rather put the money on people that make ‘jupa-jupa’ music; they put their money on some new boys and spend 20 million and the jupa-jupa boys, but when the boys fail to sell, the investors start crying to their friends. I’m saying, put 10 million on Modenine’s project and see whether it will not sell. People are just waiting till something big happens to Modenine, and that’s when they’ll start jumping back on the band wagon. I know the people on the band wagon and they are fake.
Now, for those who have not bought your ‘Above Ground Level’ album, what will they take home when they buy the album?
The Nigerian fans that are claiming to love real Hip-Hop are in the club, dancing Shoki in the club on Friday and Saturday. If they can stomach those songs that they dance to in the club, at least, the ones I made overtly commercial should be appealing to them. They should like it; they shouldn’t hate on it. A brother needs to eat. They shouldn’t hate on it. People should encourage me and not make it seem like one is not trying hard enough. I mean, if you like Hip-Hop, you should buy and listen to the album, but if you don’t like Hip-Hop, feel free to skip, there’s something for everybody. People say something and everybody just follow. There’s a stupid website that voted my album as one of the most disappointing albums in 2014. I mean, how that can happen… How can Above Ground Level be a disappointing album? Maybe in record sales, but everything else, my album is the best rap album is the best album this year.