Single after single, the Syndicate records act has kept us captivated with a style of music he tells us is a blend of hip-hop, soul and afrobeat.
In this interview, Blackmagic lets on a little about the music making process, his Syndicate family, supergroup 'The Three Wisemen' and how his ' Sokoto and T-shirt' dress style makes him a cool papa.
Let's meet Blackmagic!
HHW: Tell us a bit about yourself, growing up and all that.
BLACKMAGIC: Growing up, nothing much, regular kid. I went to nursery, primary, secondary school all around where I use to live which was, 1004 Victoria Island. I loved video games, music, I loved myself and the music.
I didn't have a say in what CD was playing so I listened to everything that my big brother played. My mum and my dad listened to music too; so it was only when they weren't not around I got to play my own songs, rap music and all that. Basically I am a video game freak,so if you want to make me happy give me a video game.
HHW: What video games exactly?
BLACKMAGIC: Action video games, Grand Theft Auto, Street fighter, FIFA. I like to be competitive.
HHW: Tell us a little about the name 'BlackMagic'?
BLACKMAGIC: Blackmagic as the name implies, is how I do my thing. But it started from one song, I did one song and it was called 'black magic' because it had these chants in it.
And then when people don't remember my name and they come to the studio looking for Ikon - everybody comes to see Ikon I was just that guy on the side – and they hear the song and they're like Ikon, where is that your guy now?
That guy black magic, the one that did that 'blackmagic' song.
And I let it stick, because it best describes what I'm doing, which is the musical voodoo.
You know the same way you go to a 'dibia' and he gives you a leaf and tells you that if you use it to touch your head 3times in the morning when the sun is going down at exactly 6am, you will be rich. You don't know how that is going to happen, but if you believe it, you do it and it works.
Musically that's how it happens, that's what I do. I can't explain how it happens but you see that it works. Because nobody follows the dibia into his hut. So I just consult the gods, they give me a melody and I work with it.
HHW: You've got your own unique style going on. Tell us about that
BLACKMAGIC: I don't really watch what's going on. I just kind of created my own thing as Blackmagic. I'm a casual person. If it was left to me, I'll never wear anything I can't play football in and jump around in or do a back flip in.
Those are the only kind of clothes everybody should be wearing as far as I am concerned.
My own sense of fashion is built off my brand, what I want to do. African, original, unique. That's why I give them adire trousers, so when Iam rocking the stage at the Grammys and they ask me 'What, where did you get this?' I'm like yeah, Ogun state Nigeria. To export myself, so when you see me, you know where I'm from without even asking me, because its original and made in Nigeria. And then I wear the T-shirt on top. I like T-shirts. The style of the t-shirt might change though.
I might put on a blazer if it's an award show because I have a stylist and they try to push me. The beads are the final piece. That's me.
HHW: You mentioned that you listened to rap when you were younger. What would you describe as your style of music?
BLACKMAGIC: There are 3 basic things, hip-hop, soul and afro beat. So my genre of music is called afro-centric hip hop soul. Those are the 3 basic things you would find in any Blackmagic's song, you might also get a bit of techno in it.
It's like soup, tomato, pepper and salt; any soup must have that. But when you add bitter leaf, it becomes bitter leaf soup, when you use the pepper and onions that's just stew, and you throw egusi inside, it's already egusi soup.
HHW: What your fans on twitter and other social media are saying is that the sound of your music is different, a breath of fresh air. So, in an industry where music tends to get recycled, is there any pressure on you, management or elsewhere, to conform to what is the 'norm'?
BLACKMAGIC: No. Not really. I think the pressure comes from doing one great song and then everybody shouts about it. The pressure is actually repeating the feat. The trend in Nigeria is to be less consistent, so it's always somebody has one great song and that same person might have a not so great song after.
So what I am trying to do, is to be consistent.
There's no pressure to conform. Right from the beginning I knew I wasn't going to conform. I knew what was out there and I decided to do my own thing.
HHW: What was your highlight of 2012?
BLACKMAGIC: Confam video. My video director, he shoots all my videos and he will shoot all my videos (laughs). Unlimited Lekan, he is one of the best people, the new school people, I like to be different, when you hear me its different, when you see me it has to be different too, cause there are a lot of recycled videos.
HHW: One of the first few things an artiste will count as an achievement is getting signed to a record label, how did you get signed to Syndicate?
BLACKMAGIC: I have always been a part of syndicate. From when we started back in school, with Syndicate boys. It was just a group back then till we started to take it serious and it became Syndicate Records. So everybody that is in syndicate records has always been a part of syndicate records from the beginning, there was no "oh I like your talent, let me sign you".
We grew together and here we are now.
HHW: Who else is on the label?
BLACKMAGIC: There's Nedu. You've heard his song 'Action man'. There's Blink, there's Lynxxx, Ikon and me.
HHW: Can you tell us about the 3 wise men?
BLACKMAGIC: The 3 wise men are Ikon, Blackmagic and the 3rd wise man.
HHW: Who's the third wiseman?
BLACKMAGIC: Let me think about that for a second. (laughs)
HHW: So, we heard 'Bastard' from you guys this year. You sampled Fela in that song. Should we expect more music from 'The Three Wisemen'?
BLACKMAGIC: See, that's the thing about doing something great. When you do something great, people start to assume. There was no sampling, everything was created.
It might remind you of Fela….the backup voices on 'Bastard', that was Ikon doing his thing. Ikon is the best as far as I am concerned, and he can create anything that he wants.
As far as more music is concerned, 'Three Wisemen' is a separate project and the album 'Bastard Resurrection' hopefully will come out this year.
I can't really say. I'm not allowed to say.
HHW: What should we expect from you in 2013?
Blackmagic : A lot. There's the 'Repete' video coming soon. Expect it to be unusual. What you are expecting, that's not it. And then there is the album,'Blackmagic Version 2.0' coming out in April.
I'm trying to sync it with my birthday 21st of April, so expect my album around then. Get your presents ready. I've already told you I like video games!
HHW: Anything you are working on aside music?
Blackmagic : I have a couple of shows coming up, like my own events. The Blackmagic experience and then Blackmagic live. Maybe sometime next month or April.
HHW: Thank you for speaking with us
Blackmagic : Thank you
(Courtesy HipHopWorld Magazine)
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