He has been the subject of much speculation and gossip recently. Some said he was shot dead by hired assassins sent by Timaya . Anyway I caught up with the man of the moment, Timaya’s nemesis: Nico Gravity, and here’s what he had to say:
Give us a little about your background?
My name is Nico Gravity. I am a musician based in AJ, (Ajegunle, Lagos) and my kind of music is reggae but with the Nigerian blend.
When did you start singing professionally?
I released my first album in 1996, but I have been doing music much earlier. The album I just released is my fourth album.
The latest rumours is that Timaya sent his boys to kill you “Nico Gravity’ because you beefed him in one of your tracks. How true is it?
As you can see, this is me. I am alive, nobody even tried to kill me, it’s just that people, out of joblessness, fabricated one rumour and started spreading it, nothing like that happened.
Do you have any problems with Timaya?
No, it’s just music. I see the way he is singing, he’s not singing the right thing, and I decided to advice him to stop being too arrogant and sing something nice. Not every time singing …. “ I bought a new car, I am this and that…” It shouldn’t be all about himself, but then, it’s just entertainment and nothing personal.
Aside music, what other things are you involved in?
I used to do engineering work, when I was with the BBC World Service Trust in Abuja, for close to two years. I was in lubrication service with the senior service trust, music and audio is what I do now mainly.
What is your take on what we know to be AJ music?
It is a very interesting kind of music. It is actually a variation of reggae kind of music because what we used to have is just reggae music, we used to have reggaetonshapel. Guys used to gather there and make music on dubbed instrumentals of reggae foreign artistes. Eventually Daddy Showkey introduced a style called galala. I will say that the galala is the first time when AJ music had its first form of reggae .
So what we called AJ music is just reggae involving at different stages in time galala , it changed to swoo and swoo is just a slang you know, but there was a time when everybody was playing the swoo music. You just notice that the beat, slang and melody changes a little but it is still basically reggae. Then we had konto; what you observed is just a slight modification of the previous form. Konto was a live and entertaining brand of music.
Then there used to be DJ mama and all other Djs that are known for konto street jam and promoting it. If you go to most wake keeping, what you mostly hear is konto music but people really celebrated it a lot but it was within AJ. I believe that was the last stage before AJ music went out of fashion. Konto reigned from 2006 to 2007 and that was because most of the konto artistes like African China, Danfo Driver etc stopped producing interesting stuff. It became a kind of free for all and lost intellectual input.
What have you attained so far as an AJ artiste?
I am still attaining, I am doing the best that I can unlike before. People know me very well in most places, I have been traveling around Nigeria, and these days I hardly rest.
What are the challenges confronting the average AJ artiste?
An AJ artiste’s challenge comes from the producers, marketers and finance. AJ artistes don’t have enough money to produce a good video. They do not have what it takes to package themselves properly. Most times , every thing you have is already in your studio work and you are faced with the task of getting the public to listen to your work which is on its own, financially demanding.
So, sometimes luck and determination enable us get to the peak of our career. There are many big artistes out there who are not as good as I am, but because they are well exposed, well packaged and have what it takes to put themselves in places where the world can easily see them, they thrive. Besides, some of them are from wealthy homes. If you listen to most well known artistes in Nigeria, what they usually tell us is how they made one million dollars, about their big houses and beautiful cars. It’s not supposed to be so.
If you look at Nigeria, things are not going the way they’re supposed to be. There is no light, no job for the youths and you know, the masses are suffering. There should be an open ground for all kinds of music: hip-hop, pop, R & B and reggae etc Also, marketers in Nassamu street, Ajegunle contributed to the death of AJ music. They don’t invest enough in music for it to bring enduring result. They take your music to the mass dubbing outfits, mass dub 40,000 copies and arrange them in their shops and if that sells, it enables them make more trips.
If the first batch does not sell, it simply means your music has died. They should invest in works they have faith in and push them until they fly and the artistes gain recognition. Hip-hop music has been greatly sidelined in AJ, nobody wants to listen to any rap artiste. If you go to them with a job you have done, they will tell you to go back and do it their own way, otherwise they won’t sign you on. I mean how fast you can change from one style to another within a short period of time? The konto produced in AJ will just take him to the studio, give him a beat and that is it. Most times, this kind of music are not appreciated outside AJ.