Remember Alaye? The guy who jumped on Psquare’s 2006 classic record, ‘Temptation’, and delivered a rap verse?
Music listeners of an older generation will remember a time when Psquare was the hottest thing Africa had and celebrated. From Ouagadougou to Conakry, Peter and Paul Okoye held pop music on the continent in a chokehold.
Of all their classic records, one which has survived the test of time and has become one of pop culture’s most inspirational additions is the record ‘Temptation.’ Off their 2005 “Get Squared” album, which featured other heavyweight records such as ‘Bizzy body’ and ‘Oga Police’, ‘Temptation’ was right there in the mix.
The record was interesting because it was the first time Psquare had worked with a rapper, an unknown MC from the UK named Alaye.
The UK-born Edo rapper, with a mixed ancestry of Nigeria, Jamaica, and Grenada, met Psquare in London, via his brother-in-law, who was a show promoter.
Alaye’s relative had a show in Benin, and Psquare were the other ‘African’ musicians billed to perform. During the ride to the concert, they began to have conversations, introducing themselves and their music to each other.
“They played me their music, and I said this is good, they heard my stuff, and said ‘let’s collaborate…That song happened to be ‘Temptation.’ I knew I loved the song, and I happened to drop some incredible bars on that song,” Alaye said via a telephone conversation.
Alaye said both parties didn’t foresee the greatness that the song had, and had no idea of how big the record will become.
“It’s a great song, it’s definitely stood the test of time,” Alaye says. “People walk to me till today, to say “Zoom zoom in your boom boom.”
Where is Alaye Now?
Raised by his Grandmother “Alaye” was a talented sportsman, musician & academic in his early school years his recollections of life comes from the lenses of the unfair distribution of wealth in society.
He wasn’t born into a wealthy family, and that helped shape his decisions in life. Alaye acquired an entrepreneurial spirit and started hustling any and everything in his teen years “to buy the things I couldn’t ask my Grandma for”. With his father seldom around and his mother working and living abroad before her untimely passing left him as guardian for his younger brother & sister. He also became a teen father having a daughter.
With a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders, Alaye got kicked out of college while studying his A-Levels and decided to pursue his dreams to be a Artist/Entrepreneur. He’s since had some success in it. Interestingly, he was the one who discovered singer May D, and hooked him up with Psquare.
After the Psquare record, internet penetration was still inadequate in Nigeria, and a lot of platforms didn’t exist. Music videos and records were the primary source of information in the music industry. Alaye, who was based in the UK, appeared to fall off the radar. But according to him, he never left.
“I’ve been creating and doing music, I never actually stopped. I was like, ‘I need to do it correct.’ I didn’t want to enter the game and disappear. I needed to come with my full catalogue,” he says.
According to Alaye, worked on building businesses, and made enough money “to secure me for life, beyond music.”
He’s also been working in the UK and USA, pushing the African music sound and culture. Between the time when he recorded ‘Temptation’, and 2018, African music has grown, spreading to various parts of the world, and empowering lives both on and off the continent. Alaye says he has been a part of the process, pushing the music from “the back-end.”
“I took Psquare stuff to Universal Music, and told them ‘this is about to be the new wave,’” he says. “They didn’t get it at the time. So when Psquare and D’banj blew up 8 to 10 months later, they were trying to sign these guys.
“What’s happening now is no surprise to me, it was inevitable. I still think we are in our infancy, and but it’s evolving, and the work is locked on to in.”
In 2018, Alaye is ready to return to the music industry. He’s recording numerous songs, and has a plan starting in April, to drop a single every month. He’s created the wealth to set him up for life, now it’s time for him to chase the music.
‘Temptation’ might have introduced him to an older generation of music listeners in Nigeria, but his onslaught to get the attention of the younger crowd will begin with his new records, recorded for a time like this; when he is getting his money, pushing the culture and focused on the music prize.