Photo provided by the artist.

Ajebutter22 Is a Connoisseur of the Good Life

We talk to the Nigerian artist about his rap foundations, embracing versatility and his preference for creating albums with strong identities.

Ajebutter22 came into Nigerian music from the outside looking in. It reflected in the music: His 2013 breakout single, the BOJ-assisted “Omo Pastor,” was an electronic-influenced slapper with a rhythmic mid-tempo knock that instantly stood out within a terrain largely defined by fast rolling tempos. In addition to the music, there was also the uniqueness of Ajebutter22’s conversational rap style, with its slight melodic incline and an instantly appealing baritone voice. By the following year, his debut album,Anytime Soon, amplified the distinctness of his abilities and positioned him as a budding pop-rap star.

“I was doing my Master’s when I was writing Anytime Soon,” Butter, as he is also referred to by listeners and supporters, recalls during a Zoom call conversation on a Monday afternoon from his Lagos apartment. “I was looking forward and just trying to see what the future holds, just doing my first jams, figuring out the type of artist I am and even seeing if I could even make it.” Wrapping up his second degree while nurturing his nascent music career, without a lot of industry friends, wasn’t particularly ideal but it provided the perfect frame of mind for an expectant rap album, where he combines endearing showcases of his ability to make relatable music with declarations of his hopes and dreams.

Ten years after his breakout single, Ajebutter22 is living out those dreams on his own terms. On January 20th he released his third LP,Soundtrack to the Good Life, a plain-stated project where he sings and raps with an infectious sense of ease. A breezy 15-track run, including pre-released singles “King of Parole” and “Unconditionally” with Nigerian singer Oxlade, the new project is luxuriant, packed with colourful production that glides across the spectrum of mid-tempo Nigerian pop and Afroswing, and is dominated by romantic concerns.

STTGL doesn’t deviate too much from the current scope of Nigerian music, but a big part of what makes it a uniquely Ajebutter22 experience is how it lines up with his previous albums. Where Anytime Soon looked forward with hope, the rap artist’s 2017 follow-upWhat Happens in Lagos served as a reality-based portrayal of going after those dreams in a densely packed economic hub. Like the illustration on its cover art, WHIL is a concept project that tracks the evolution from enthusiastic hustler to being a “Lagos Big Boy,” with standout songs that unpack the physical toll of Lagos traffic and highlight the allure of the city’s nightlife.

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Still from YouTube.

Listen to Ajebutter22 and Mayorkun's New Single 'Ginger You'

The duo's effortless and laid-back collaboration is the perfect way to ease into the weekend.

Ajebutter22 and Mayorkun team up to bring fans their newest track "Ginger You".

The duo's effortless and laid-back collaboration is not only a legitimate banger, it's the perfect way to ease into the weekend.

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