INTERVIEW WITH BIONIC da EMCEE
Y'all know Bionic, right? A household name in Nigerian Rap music especially around Eastern Nigeria. Well,whether you do or not, check this out!
Bionic steps into the spotlight on this interview with Buchi Steve.
The Poison Pen a.k.a Wawa Boi speaks on a million issues ranging from his personal life to his music to the state of Nigerian Hiphop. Plus his highly anticipated album! Nuff said!
Read below and enjoy. Comments are welcome.This is it!
BUCHI STEVE: Good day, Mr. Bionic, How are you doing? Thanks a lot for granting me this interview, I'm so delighted to meet you.
BIONIC:Its my pleasure.
BUCHI STEVE: Well, Mr. Bionic, though a lot of your fans know you as Bionic, who infact is Bionic?
BIONIC: Well,Bionic is a Lyricist, Rapper, Writer and Rap Producer.
BUCHI STEVE: When did you get into music and at what point did you 'specialize' in Hiphop?
BIONIC: Specialize,ke? No one specializes in rap. You either know or you don't. For us, we met and fell in love...in the late 80s - I had just gotten into Command Secondary School,Kaduna...and I have lost my mind ever since.
BUCHI STEVE: What was it like during your early years in Hiphop? Trying to get tapes and stay current with latest songs? How was the acceptance of Hiphop by the Nigerian society at that time?
BIONIC: For me,its always been fresh. I see it as it is. It really is a state of mind thing. It's in the discipline. I've always stayed true to myself first, then other things fall into place. Getting tapes back then and staying current was never a problem. Acceptance at the time was minimal besides we were just finding our footing. Oddly enough, Hiphop in Coal City was booming back then. We were performing twice or three times every month doing university campus shows all around the East. I actually began to write rap officially...I think it was in 1992 in Owerri with my homeboy, Stephen Anasoh (a.k.a. Tipsy Dogg) Hahahahaha - what a corny name,right? But dude was way ahead of his time. He wrote some pretty amazing stuff at the time. Now he runs his own studio and label outta Liverpool,UK. Beautiful producer too.
Thinking back right now just gives me goosey! We actually pioneered this right here,baby! Yeah,the year was 1991 when Mama felt she'd had enough of the army so we moved back home finally in 1994. I met up with my brothers from another mother, the illest super rap group you ever heard outta Nigeria became D.O.H. "DEFINITION OF HIPHOP" (Mr kyddx, Dat Nigga Bleak, Smooth B, Def C & I) Take it from me - we were the illest when we did it. Pure knucklehead s**t! (Most of these rap cats out now were gatecrashers when I did my thing! (Laughs)
Then from D.O.H. we reduced to the ''Bomb Squad'' (Me, Bleak and later Codename a.k.a. Hot Dog). Other pioneers were ''DA LYNCH SQUAD'' (Poach, Stitchie and Snatch), MC L.O.P.H. (from the ''Osondi Owendi'' fame), Lord Eli and Pirates (now known as 2face & Blackface - the original Plantashun Boiz crew), II Hype MCs, ''One Brother Gang'' (Busta and his brother Rex)...I'm just trying to do a quick recap. There's so much more I'm skipping. It really was something back then.
Later others followed ''The Nigerian Rap Syndicate'' (Lone MC, Mr Effectx), Kaha, Rub-A-Dub master, Mr. Singles (A reggae phenom back then), 6 Foot +,...
We were doing shows for five hundred nairas. Organizers would give us a downpayment of 250 nairas. Our meet was at RAP CITY Records which was like our one stop Hiphop spot in Enugu at the time. It was a place we all connected at. This was between 1995 and 1998. (LAUGHS) You know most times the show organizers would pull a Whodini on us at the end of the concert! Not paying the rest of our fee...It was crazy but somehow we didn't mind. We were loving it!
BUCHI STEVE: That's quite some history man.Now, when did you start recording?
BIONIC: Ah,we were doing all kinds. What didn't we record on or record with?! (LAUGHS)
We 'd play an instrumental tape on a mini player/transistor, put in an empty ''Maxell'' normal tape - and not chrome because the former had a clearer output than the latter - in another boom-box, pressed the red record and just rhymed. What a process,huh?!
Then we upgraded (LAUGHS) onto Mr Goodnoiz, our #1 neighbourhood DJ - and also the originator of Igbo rap - who'll spin our favourite instrumentals on vinyl (like GOODIE MOb'S Cell Therapy, Geto Boyz' ''Mind Playing Tricks...etc. He had them all!) throw on some scratches while we voiced. Reminds you of mixtapes,yeah? (Laughs)
My first official studio recording was in 1998. The song was called...and is still called,''Africa''.
BUCHI STEVE:So remniscent. Good old days..But, how many songs have you recorded?
BIONIC: A Million & one! (LAUGHS). I have quite a collection and still going strong. I record all the time.I was actually planning a double cd but my management advised against it. Then I decided to split it down the middle & put out two albums this year. Let's see what happens.
BUCHI STEVE: Are you on any record label?
BIONIC: Yes, I'm working with an amazing label called Huntaz Records. We partnered up a few months ago. We got two videos, another in the works and the Lagos launch coming up. So much going on in just a few months...and not eight years!
BUCHI STEVE: Do you have an album out already or are you working on one?
BIONIC: The album is ready to come out. Like I said before I'm always recording. It never stops. The tentative tilte is 'BRAKE IN THE SILENCE'
BUCHI STEVE: You just said the anticipated album will be termed 'BRAKE IN THE SILENCE', in the past I've read or at least heard your anticipated album was going to be titled AFRICANISM, later it changed to WAWA BOY and now 'BRAKE IN THE SILENCE'; whats behind these transitions?
BIONIC: Smart man,you! You are almost correct. It was originally ''Brake In The Silence''. Like I said, it would've been a double cd that I was going to call,''African-Izm: A Brake In The Silence''. 'Wawaboy' is a song not an album title. I changed the song title and took it out this album because it became cliche with all the ''boys'' springing up everywhere (Yoruba boy, Hausa boy, Ibibio boy, Efik boy, and so on)
BUCHI STEVE: How many songs will be on the album and do you have any singles from the album out on air?
BIONIC: It'll be a 15 tracker! We put out ''Chelu'' in 2008. I've got a three-song EP (''CHELU'' Produced by J. Martins, ''JONES'' crafted by producer extraordinaire Beat-Oven & ''BIG TIME HUSTLER'' also produced BY J. Martins) coming to radio next week but the songs have been buzzing on the internet for a while now. We've I've been shopping them to DJs around the globe, UK, US, South Africa, Malaysia, Japan and China, India too. Wherever there's a DJ,we sent it there. I'm still amazed at all the feedback from these guys. They are loving the motherland sound.
BUCHI STEVE: Who are the producers and guest artists working on the album?
BIONIC: Beat-Oven did 5 songs, J. Martins did 4 songs, Jeremiah Gyang (Callen) did one song, J. Molless did one song, Def C did one song, Major Bangz did 2 songs and Soge did one song too. These guys put in massive work! I gotta few features from O.D. (Overdose), Ajuju, L.A.C.E., Def C, legenday Okey Oku, a young R&B crooner named ''Wow!'', J. Martins also lent his vocals and Waje came through as well.
BUCHI STEVE: The $5 million question: when is BREAKING THE SILENCE set to drop?
BIONIC:Indeed! (Smiles) I keep pushing it back. It's about timing - It has to be really right. Right now,we are looking at Easter.
BUCHI STEVE: That's wonderful and nice to hear. Now, how can people listen to your songs online? Any website or download links?
BIONIC: Right now, my site is the best place to listen www.bionicmusic.com
No downloads for now. Also on myspace.com/officiallybionic and I gotta little something on youtube as well. My people are working on i-Tunes. We just wrapped up ASCAP. Doing some other sites where we can let folks download for a fee. Yup!
BUCHI STEVE: What else does Bionic do apart from rap and music recording and I don't mean hobbies?
BIONIC: I does wat I do and I does it like I'm Ibo/...(Laughs) Buchi,you must be crazy to think that I'll think you mean hobbies.
BUCHI STEVE: I understand you are a major stakeholder in the Hiphop community of Eastern Nigeria and especially Enugu state.Why is the East still not on the front line in Nigerian Hiphop the way it ought to be? What have you done as a person or as a rap artist to move Hiphop in the East up to the limelight?
BIONIC: There you go again with this 'Stakeholder' bulls**t, that's one word that I don't really care about. (Chuckles) I wouldn't call me that! I think it's in the upbringing. The process of the come-up. Most of the truest cats in the game grew up,musically in Enugu. Many more wack and recent ones too. They graduated out of here and forgot the basics. So it got redundant. The few who are from here get out there, lose their footing, become lost in the whole scheme of things then the remember they are from Enugu & they scream out ''Coal City'' on their songs from time to time. No one is giving back. And that's an open secret!
I had a rap show on Coal City FM where I paid attention to the underground rappers, the local emcees. I gave them their much deserved ait time. These were fresh cats that needed tha little time to prove their mettle. Young rhyme gunners like Def C, like Books, like Prophesy, Brogues, L.A.C.E., etc. I gave them priceless spins, once the song was good! I broke a lot of them on radio for the first time. I gave them their shine,which was the least I could do. No one knows this (well,apart from my homie Mr ReHd) but I broke Naeto C's first World Famous Akademy mixtape cd on radio in Coal City like 3 years ago.
But you know, one has to get a foot in the door first before one can carry their city on their back.
BUCHI STEVE: Where do you see Nigerian Hiphop and especially Hiphop in the East in the next five years? How do you think the ideal can be achieved in the East?
BIONIC: Nigerian ''hiphop'' is in a coma! And no ''doctor'' can tell you when or if it will come to. But I see Nigerian rap making good advancement. We have a few beautiful minds stepping up and doing it right. Rappers need to awake form all this rap beef bulls**t! I still wonder how can a rapper have a full album about dissing another rapper. A full album?? That tells me all about you! And it's a sad situation whereby a rap fan is subjected to only two or three good rap albums. We need more people. So,in the next few years - I see us having better choices to make, from over twenty good rappers and oddly still, a lot of these ones you hear now will not be around then. Ideally,to keep our fire ablaze we should get together more often - like have a Hiphop Institute and have a Hiphop Summit/Seminar at least one a month where Hiphop will meet and have discussions on issues that plague us right now, and teaching to focus on good writing on the part of the emcee and the rapper, on advancement of the business side of rap music, on spoken word, deejaying correctly, real mixtape knowledge, on networking and proper distribution of rap music, on educating youngsters on our own ''rap kulture'', talk shows where we invite true ''knowers'' (like EL DEE XL from the legendary ''Black Masqueraders'', Rap veteran Chamberlain Ukenedo, Rap icon B-Elect, Junior from Junior & Pretty...etc) to speak on Rap from the 70s, 80s & 90s...so much to do. The right people are still positioning to achieve this as we speak.
BUCHI STEVE: What advice do you have for upcoming emcees and Hiphop heads in the East and Nigeria in general?
BIONIC: None! When you advice a grown man he thinks that you think you are better than him. But I will tell my fellow rap fans (Cos I am a fan first) "No matter how much, do the little you can do. Support ''Rap''. Learn the 'kulture''. Attend the shows. Buy the cds. Keep converting ''unbelievers'' the ones who think that we are all a bunch of gangsters, and that all we do is smoke dope and talk garbage and not make sense on a song!" To Hiphoppers, keep bringing the ruckus! To 'true' Hiphop heads, you make it all worthwhile.
BUCHI STEVE: Lastly, what are your hobbies? Are you married? If not, why?
BIONIC: Buchi,you and I know that's not very important. Ehn? You self!
BUCHI STEVE: Alright, alright...alright!
Thank you very much Mr. Bionic for granting us this exhiliriating interview, it has been an interesting session.
I wish you success in all your endeavours. When the album drops, we will be the first to tell the world. Keep in touch. One.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was the ish! Let me know what you think by dropping your comments below. Remember to visit his site and support his music.Cop Bionic's album when it drops. Do it for HIPHOP! One.
You can also get more on Bionic-pics,music on realhiphopng.blogspot.com