Interview

Modenine: "The Ones That Are Against Me Tend to Overlook My Skill & What I Can Do"

In an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica, the Nigerian rap legend talks about his process and expectations for his new album, The Monument, career longevity, and the place of boom-bap in the age of trap.

Nigerian rapper Modenine's new album, The Monument, is a testament to longevity and a lifetime dedication to one's chosen craft. It is also the tale of a rap legend who is puzzled that his vitality has somehow marginalised him, while a continuing stream of weaker or newer rappers are celebrated on account of their youth and ever changing trends.

This is the eleventh studio album by the rapper, whose output includes six mixtapes and numerous singles. The new record is entirely produced by Nigerian producer, Stormatique, whose brother MCSkill Tha Preacha is the only featured artist on the album.

The sole production work and sibling association suggests an organic assembly of all of the eight songs that make up The Monument. This is not the case. Five of the songs were recorded in 2012 for a different project and in conjunction with a German producer who delayed further work on it. As a result, the project was brought to a halt and the songs subsequently vaulted for six years.

"I was like, 'man, I'm tired' " Modenine recalls his exasperation.

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M.I Abaga 'A Study On Self Worth' album cover.

10 Albums That Prove Nigerian Rap Is Back On the Rise

Featuring Falz, M.I Abaga, Ice Prince, Poe, and more.

Until 2018, rap in Nigeria was all but dead. Lamba or party afropop blew up and became way more lucrative. There weren't too many rappers who were able to make commercial-yet-indigenous Nigerian rap music since the likes of MI Abaga and Ice Prince. More and more rappers were singing at the same time "Alte Cruise" was growing in Nigeria, trap was big in the US, grime was rediscovering itself in the UK and South Africa was at its most vital yet.

So what happened to Nigerian rappers? The big names were couched in the comfort of their pop status. The younger rappers were yet to find their voice and in these intervening years, lamba music just got bigger and bigger, and rap less lucrative. Whether planned or by coincidence, a slew of confident and well thought-out albums were released with the trend continuing in 2019.

Read on for our selection of the best new albums that prove Nigerian rap is back on the rise.

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Santi. Image courtesy of the artist.

The 13 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Tiwa Savage, Duncan Mighty, Santi, Yemi Alade, Davido, Olamide, and many more.

August was yet another bountiful month for Nigerian pop with singles and album releases from big name artists, as well as promising newcomers, and the continuing resurgence of Duncan Mighty.

Read on for our selection of the Best Nigerian Songs of the Month.

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Here's a Nigerian Hip-Hop Album For You to Play All Weekend

Listen to our premiere of Crown, a standout new record from Loose Kaynon and AQ.

Chocolate City, one of Nigeria's biggest music labels, is releasing three hip-hop albums this month with a stated aim to reawaken hip-hop music in the country.

They begin today with Crown a joint album by Loose Kaynon and AQ, two leaders in Nigerian hip-hop. It'll be followed by Yung Denzel by MI Abaga, who's one of Africa's most successful rappers, and Bad Boy Black, the much anticipated debut album by Blaqbonez, one of the new wonder boys of Nigeria hip-hop. Each album will be exclusively premiered by OkayAfrica.

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