Budding rapper, Shakez has been around for quite a while, the young lyricist feels he may have finally found a balance between the demands that comes with getting the job done at the office in the morning and spending the night in the studios.
”Yes, I am still doing my 9 to 5”, he declares during his interview with Pulse, ”but the music is my thing, it has not been easy, but this is what I want to do”, he adds.
Shakez, a graduate of Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), started making music when he was in school despite early resistance from his family.
The rapper who recently put out the video to his 2017 single, Sauce, has had to take a white collar job to support his music.
He admits, ”It has been difficult as an indie artist, the promo is the most difficult thing, and with my 9 to 5, it has been very limiting”.
Shakez who describes his brand of music as new school, conscious Afro-hophop music chips in on the ”Soundcloud artistes” tag that is constantly used to describe upcoming artistes like himself,
”I don’t think it is demeaning in anyway, it is pretty much a case of where is your major distribution channel? it’s Soundcloud and I don’t see it as a box”.
For Shakez, his biggest challenge so far has been the issue of Payola, sharing his experience, he says;
”It is more implied, nobody will ever really come at you and say pay this or pay that, but indirectly, they let you know that you need to ‘wet ground’ to get played and it really put us upcoming acts in an uncomfortable situation”.
Even though his job is demanding, Shakez says his aim is to be able to create a stable revenue stream from the music while also inspiring people with his message.
Contrary to what many rappers say, he is of the opinion that Nigerians appreciate hip-hop, ”There are levels to appreciation, will they pay for the music, that is debatable, but the first level of recognising talents, I think they do”.
He however feels upcoming artistes don’t get enough support from the established ones,
”No, I think the big guys will only really rock with us for a select number of reasons.
Do you have a fan base that can be measured that they can tap into or do you have the skills that they can take from, there are very few artistes that will support you based on love, it is an industry of mutual benefits.”
He identifies Ozone as one rapper he will like to work with and even record a collaborative project with, while stating that he has his new single coming out soon, with his EP ready, as he awaits the right time to make the needed push.