Top London based photographer Michael Tubes had the opportunity to interview YCEE who is in town for his UK tour. The Nigerian rapper and songwriter opened up about his songs. The ROOKIE OF THE YEAR’ winner at THE HEADIES 2015 which took place, Jan 2nd also said his planing to do some songs with Wizkid this year.
Michael Tubes: I’m going back for the sake of your fans here in the UK, Africa, Rest of the World and move forward. Since you made your comeback with CONDO in 2015, what has since been the musical highlight of your career today?
YCEE: Since the day CONDO came out, everything has been gradually building up from there. 2015 was the biggest year for me professionally. This is because my music got lots of positive vibes all over the country and my recognition level increased.
MT: Great! From that you then released JAGABAN. I had a look at the lyrics, some part which states “ Me against your whole homie
Is just like child abuse to me
Yeah, you used to run the game
That is who you used to be
When we cut your head off is not even a bruise to me”
JAGABAN was a hit single and the remix was even a bigger hit. Based on this, I’ll like to know what was the underlying thought behind this song.
YCEE: With the song CONDO, there were a lot of mixed reviews. Some liked it, some were bored by it and others thought it wasn’t local enough. Also most people did not see me as a rapper and that’s exactly what I am. These reasons prompted me to do something a bit more local with the next song and go all out to prove my status. From the feedbacks, I guess I went crazy with the song. The title of the song ‘JAGABAN’ however, was decided after listening to the initial playback at the studio.
MT: So the title didn’t come about as a result of beefing someone up.
YCEE: No. That was just my way of marking my territory. I was trying to move people’s opinion of me from the soft guy to the tough, hard and menacing guy.
MT: Fantastic! I know that you’re in the UK on a tour and the atmosphere must have been very electrifying on your first performance. Please tell us how you felt about the show.
YCEE: I was really just in my own zone. Before getting to the show, I thought my songs probably weren’t as popular here as in Lagos. However, on getting to the show, I was put more at ease as people recognised me and even came up to me for my autograph. I performed CONDO, OMO ALHAJI and JAGABAN. The reaction of people to the songs was very encouraging and I had a great night.
MT: What was it like at the end of the show and how did you feel after your first UK performance?
YCEE: I was really thankful and was more relaxed because the show was done and I could then have a good time. It was so great! I’m looking forward to the next time.
MT: You were at ‘THE HEADIES’ award in December and you won the award title ‘ROOKIE OF THE YEAR’. Please tell us how you felt about that.
YCEE: THE HEADIES has been the longest award event in Nigeria. I never believed that I was nominated much less won the award. I had been nominated for a number of awards towards the end of the year but I always fell short. This time around, I really wanted to win an award and so made sure that I mentioned the nomination process to my fans as well as encouraged them to nominate me. If you don’t tell Nigerians to vote for you, they won’t. I had a speech prepared in case I won. However, upon wining, I was completely disoriented.
MT: Was that your first ever award?
YCEE: I’ve won 2 other awards. However, I haven’t received the awards yet. This was also my first time ever attending ‘THE HEADIES’. I got to perform and win an award, which was awesome.
MT: Fantastic! What are your musical plans for 2016? Should we expecting an album from you?
YCEE: In 2016, I’m going to be more strategic with my work. I’ll be doing more collaboration with international artists. The label is going to expand including myself as an artist. Based on how the industry is, I’m not sure yet if it’s just an album or much more that will emerge this year. I’m planning to do some songs with wizkid. I’ve a lot planned for this year and I constantly have to remind myself it’s just January.
MT: You’ll be shooting 2 videos in the UK. Why UK and what should we be expecting?
YCEE: I chose to shoot OMO ALHAJI in the UK because I want to explore new territory. I chose that particular song because it has a cool vibe to it. We’ll be doing a story line that people can relate to for this video.
MT: What’s the title of the second song?
YCEE: The title of the second ‘SUUMI’, which I recorded sometime last year. I wrote it based on how people misunderstood my style of music at the initial stage. All my songs are diverse in how they are presented. Some of them are tough, some are soft and others are just cool. I try to have fun with my songs. People see my music style in the light of Chris Brown. The only thing is that I don’t dance. Hopefully, that will change soon.
MT: Thank you very much for your time.
Images credit – Michael Tubes Creations