Home Celebrity News Ruggedman: I laid foundation other artistes are enjoying today – The Sun Nigeria

Ruggedman: I laid foundation other artistes are enjoying today – The Sun Nigeria

Ruggedman: I laid foundation other artistes are enjoying today – The Sun Nigeria

By Damiete Braide

Rapper, songwriter and producer, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens aka Ruggedman, is working round the clock to release an Afrobeats album that will feature notable Nigerian artistes.

In this chat, the graduate of Political Science from Lagos State University speaks on why rap music can never die, and what he wants to do differently with his forthcoming album. Here are excerpts:

What project are you working on currently?

I have over 50 songs yet to be released. I have new things that I am working on, and Tuface is part of them including so many other artistes. I believe in working with whoever that wants to work with me. I believe in being there for whoever is there for me. Don’t waste your time with people that will give you negative energy. You will see new body of works of mine very soon.

Your next album is Afrobeats, which is a deviation from what you are known for. Would you say that rap music is dying?

Rap music can never die. Even though, I am doing some Afrobeats songs, I have rap tracks in the album. Everything you hear today started from rap. Rap is one of the first forms of music. If you want to continue doing music, you need to adapt, and musicians who stay longer are those who have been able to adapt. Back in the days, every time I dropped a single, I dropped two tracks – a rap and dance track, so that way it doesn’t lose the fact that I am a rapper. Things and times change, even in America where hip-hop and rap songs are trending, what are they doing now? When things change and you want to continue doing what you are doing, then it becomes your own personal music. If you want to continue doing music, it’s hard unless you have billions of naira to promote your type of music. Even Disc Jockeys or On Air Personalities all move to what is trending and they play such songs more. For you to go back to them to play the kind of music you are singing back then, you will need to promote and push it more. It is not about rap is dead or not; it is all about what is trending. Times change and for a musician to continue doing music, you need to change with time.

These days Afrobeats lyrics are not meaningful as they were years back, what can you say about it?

When I started music, there was more art in it than show, but right now, you have more show than art. A lot of artistes are no longer creative; the people that are more creative now are the beat makers, and that is why there are more beats. Some beats are more popular than some songs. What is Amapiano? It is not a song but a beat and when you check it, what are they saying? Definitely, there were deeper lyrics during my time compared to now. This will cause further reduction in the number of evergreen songs that have been produced in Nigeria.

Have you earned royalties from any of your songs?

Unfortunately, I was used when I started playing music because myself and other artistes didn’t know about ITunes and other digital platforms. When I finally got to know about it, and decided to put my songs there, I found out that my albums have been there ever since, but they were not put there by me. I didn’t get royalties from my songs because some people had used me. But there is a lot of money in the music industry now.

Music promotion on a monthly basis is on the high side, what is the effect of this for musicians that cannot afford it?

This will reduce the number of talented artistes that will come out, because most people who have money want to promote artistes that have popular songs whether it is deep or not. They just want to promote artistes that will bring return on investment.

What has kept you relevant in the music industry considering the fact that some of your contemporaries are no longer in music?

I have found other ways to make myself relevant. At some point, when I was not doing music, I was helping in areas where youths in difficult situation would call me and I was touching their lives positively. It’s not just that I was being paid, but I have a lot of youths that I have helped. I have been relevant in other areas too. I also have a programme on radio where people call in, and I help them in the little way I can. Being relevant is not just in one thing that you are known for, but also in so many ways.

If you were to start your career all over again, what would you do differently?

I will do nothing because this is Ruggedman who revolutionised the Nigerian music. This is Ruggedman who laid the foundation that a lot of other artistes are enjoying today. My only regret is that sometimes I wished that the albums I released then, if I had released them now, I would have made more money. Also, if I didn’t release those songs then, artistes making money now would not have been able to make such money.

How would you advise the up and coming artistes?

They should be careful in what they do, and they should not be involved in drugs.

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