Abia-born Ukeje Okechukwu Edwards, aka Mr. Raw— formerly known as Dat Nigga Raw— is one of the top artistes on the Nigerian Hip Hop scene. The rapper, who grew up in Enugu, reveals why he recently changed his stage name from Dat Nigga Raw to Mr. Raw. In this encounter with Chris Ezeanwu, he opens up on how marriage has made him more focused and organised in his private life and business. What was growing up like? Growing up was fun. I’ve very understanding, God-fearing and supportive parents. I thank God for my family; they’ve always been there for me. My mom always says to me “this grown man of today used to be a very stubborn child.” (laughs). Do you write your songs yourself? Yes I write all my songs. How many albums have you so far? I have three albums: Right and Wrong (2005), Everything Remains Raw (2007)and End of Discussion (2010). Recently you changed from Dat Nigga Raw to Mr. Raw. Why the change of stage name? A lot of people were complaining that the Nigerian Guy Anakpo Raw (NiG.G.A) sounded so much like the swear or racist word, and a lot of presenters found it very difficult to update my fans because they were not allowed to use the name on air. I also discovered that some online websites censored “Nigga Raw” and replaced it with ‘Raw’. I summed all this up and realised that that word “Nigga” was already affecting my business and hard work. That’s why I made up my mind to change my name from Nigga Raw to Mr. Raw. Do you do anything outside music? No! Music is all I do for now. How do you cope with your female fans? My brother, I treat them like my sisters and friends o! And I always have it at the back of my mind that the people out there are the reason why I’m who I am today. So I respect them with a passion. I remember that God used a lot of people that I don’t know to bless me. Tell us about your last album? My last album “End Of Discussion” was released last year October 2010, and because of the change of name, a lot of units didn’t move the way I expected them to; and till date my fans are still finding it hard to blend with the new name “Mr. Raw” since they’d already gotten used to “Dat Nigga Raw.” I just shot a new video titled Turu Ugo which will soon go on air. There are some songs I really want to push using videos since the new marketer I allowed to handle my album didn’t really push and distribute it the way I expected him to due to the series of problems he was having with his business. Are you married? Yes I’m married. Tell us about your lovely wife? Nope! I keep my family and business completely separated. I can’t start talking about her because she doesn’t like it. I’m the one that’s popular here. So I don’t want to start saying things about the special person in my life. How many kids have you so far? I don’t have any yet. What inspires you? Everything around me inspires me. Is Spiritual Conji a personal experience? No, it’s not. But I grew up normally like most guys and we’re all aware of some of the things I talked about in the song. I was actually trying to advise my fellow guys to be careful of careless and unprotected sex. Abstinence is the best. But if they can’t abstain, they should then make sure they make use of condoms. Tell us about the new video Turu Ugo? Turu Ugo means well done. And I featured some Enugu-based artistes namely, Ransome, Minista Busta and Phyno. The song’s basically about how rough the struggle was before. But now we can afford some of the things we were unable to afford. It’s a song appreciating God who blessed us through our fans. Is there anything else you’d like to tell your fans out there that we haven’t covered? Marriage has made me more focused and organised in my private life and business. I’m working on my younger brother’s album. His name is Hype MC and I featured him on Ara Ga Agba Ndi Ara; he performed the third verse of the song. By God’s grace, his album will drop before the end of this year. I want to thank all my fans for their love and support. God will continue to bless all of them for me because without them, there’d be no me!
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