Interview: Blaqbonez Is Turning the Viral Potential of Social Media Into Chart Success

The dynamic Nigerian rapper speaks to us about "Haba," his use of social media to market his music and his upcoming EP.

Nigerian music is experiencing a tidal wave of individuality, genre fusions, and a general yearning to reform the one-dimensional perception of artists. As the world continues acquiring a taste for Nigerian music, younger generations are poised to show that it isn't monotonous.

The music is refreshing because it has no constrictions, it's fueled by a thirst to create and not be trapped. Considering the young Nigerian generation was raised in a world with unlimited access to global music, they're well acquainted with many genres. That range is apparent in songs that become a melting pot for interesting sonic experiments relatable to Nigerian youth.

Standing out from this diverse pool demands not only attention to music, but to presentation as well. This is something Emeka Akumefule popularly known as Blaqbonez has understood since he broke out from his early days as a battle rapper.

Blaqbonez fuses hip-hop and afrobeats into a blend where neither is eclipsed by the other. His 2018 single "Mamiwota" opened the door for him and fellow act Oxlade, and was his first viral sensation. This ability to blend styles has earned him a charting presence which has eluded many Nigerian hip-hop artists.

The campaign for his latest single "Haba," #StreamHaba, became a viral hashtag during Covid-19 lockdown in Nigeria. The 25-year-old amply utilizes the power social media has over conversions to music streams, building a cult following in the process. Through consistent social interaction, skits, and lighthearted commentary on popular culture, he positively reinforces himself in his followers' minds. They know that with Blaqbonez they get music and much more.

We had a chat with Blaqbonez during lockdown in Lagos and we talked about his early days as a freestyle rapper, his evolution into an artist and his new project.

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