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VECTOR How I grew up in barracks

Published by The Nation on Sun, 14 Jun 2015

Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, better known by his stage name Vector tha Viper, is the voice behind the Sprite commercial that has aired on most radio stations across Nigeria since 2009. The Philosophy graduate of the University of Lagos and Vitafoam brand ambassador tells Adetutu Audu the secret of his success in the industry and why he is crazy about wristwatches. YOU studied Philosophy. How did music find you' Or would you say you found music'I had always been part of a musical family before university education. Music has always been there.You have wormed your way into the hearts of music listeners across the world with good music ever since you broke onto the scene. What keeps you going'I just delight in making sweet music that is different. I rap but with a difference in lyrical approach and that, according to many, is fresh and different. All thanks to God for the talent and support.You must have been a bit rusty at the beginning. How were you able to develop your skills to get to the level that you are now'With rap, it just comes natural. I reason a lot. I think about what people have said, what is going on and it just sort of grows into this. I didnt learn rap from the foreigners, I learnt from Nigerians. I got inspired by Nigerian boys who are good. Also, in the university, there were a lot of freestyle battles and for some funny reason, I never lost.In a space of three weeks, you released two remixes for your hit song King Kong. Why two remixes'Simply because a lot of energy was put into it and the length would have been crazy. Yeah, it gets a little awkward listening to a song of almost eight minutes plus. Lets just split the damn thing.What was the reason behind your choice of artistes for the remixes'Well, we need to exhibit oneness at every point possible. Why dont we have Phyno show strength for the east and Reminisce for the west' Classiq to show growth from a northern perspective as a lot have tried to tarnish the image of the north in Nigeria (hence classic rapping all-Hausa to at least show amidst many more, a good side to the north we love musically).Uzikwendu to add spirit and spice to the collection with his rapid fire style and myself @vectorthaviper concluding the peace mission.What are the things you have in the offing that you will be rolling out this year'I like to call this the year of surprise to music lovers and fans in general. Watch out!Should we expect an album' If yes, when will that be'By the end of the year, and it shall be called LafiajiWhy Lafiaji'It is simply because the whole movement for vector is a phase of rebirth. Lafiaji is the hood of the hood I grew up in.You are brand ambassador for Vitafoam and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, how has the experience been so far, representing these brands'Interaction with audience on a one on one is always fun. I get to see real expressions on the faces of people; I get to experience a little bit more than music with them. I get to use my position as brand ambassador to help people and make them happy at the same time. I meet very key industry chaps and legendsWhat are your feelings with regards to those who say you sound like Jay Z'The good side to that is that Im being compared with one of the greatest. The other part is where they dont really listen to the message or the info, they only think of the voice. There must be somebody you also sound like, it could be your mom, could be your sister. I dont think they still feel the same way. lolMost record labels in Nigeria want artistes to keep their music commercial by performing in vernacular or Yoruba. But you are one of the few artists not going this route, why'There is nothing wrong with singing in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Delta, Kogi or any Nigerian language. The problem, however, is with artistes trying to repeat something that is not their way. I can rap in Pidgin English if I want. Emphasis on If I want. That way, Im creatively adapting to styles as opposed to you being forced to adapt to another mans pattern.From collaborations with up to 10 rappers or a single artiste, youve been on a lot of tracks. Why does it seem like you are everywhere'It comes with hard work. Thanks to the Almighty.Vector Tha Viper. How did you come about that name'Lol Physics and Biology classes in Saint Gregorys College. Vector is from science; Physics to be precise. I just came across the word Vector, and for some funny reasons, it just stayed. I always knew about vectors, but one day, when we were in class and the teacher explained it, it just stuck. I did some more findings and I realised there were vectors in Biology, Mathematics and English. I told myself that since the element is everywhere, the name could very well be ascribed to me, since I was an all-rounder. Viper, on the other hand, is a symbol of the poison of music in my veins.How has the journey been for you so far'About my journey so far, I am grateful. I am thankful for all Ive learnt from music and life in general.Having gone this far, what were your initial challenges'There are challenges every now and then. You meet people who promise and you hope on them until the hope fades away. You meet record labels who promise a lot of things to do but they are too egoistic to accept that they can`t achieve those things they promised. There were a lot discouraging factors, but thats what makes you a man ultimately. A lot of people took advantage of my eagerness and desire to become a musician at all cost. Along the line, the gains were not forthcoming and we did a lot of free jobs for people. But I survived. What doesnt kill you only makes you stronger.What has been the most fulfilling point of your music career since you started'Still growing. But one time when I was a little head swollen was when I was nominated for the Hip Hop World Awards with Mode Nine and others as Lyricist on the Roll. I could have been nominated for the Best Rap Act, but straight up to Lyricist on the Roll was quite great for me.What was your growing up like and what are your fondest childhood memories'McCarthy Barracks gave me a lot to learn from growing up. I learnt to stand for myself, building friendship that knows no discriminationbe it racial or tribal. Some people tag barracks boys as people who will not succeed at anything in their lives. My mom always wanted me to be a better child because theres a stigma attached to growing up in the barracks; my mom wanted me to be somebody in life and I was determined to be a good boy. I aspired to do well in life, so I chose to have nothing to do with guns, drugs or crazy life style and I was able to get over that lifestyle and forge ahead. Its very easy to get into it, especially when there are guns in the house and in every room.Life in the barracks was tough. I was bullied a lot and I leant how to fight and defend myself because I had to defend myself. Some of my very close friends lost relatives and family members while others lost their fathers on duty and were forcefully evicted from their homes in the barracks. However, I moved on regardless of my experiences.There are lots of barracks boys breaking new grounds and setting the pace for others to follow.How do you cope with your female fans'Its not a problem. I like hanging out with my female fans a lot because I see an image of me through their eyes; they encourage me to go far and do more to keep them happy.What is your style maxim'Simple: if it sits, it fits.What is the most expensive fashion item in your wardrobe'Some wrist-watches. I am a fan of wrist-watches. My favourite fashion accessory is between a wrist-watch and a base-ball hat.The post VECTOR How I grew up in barracks appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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