For Mr Eazi, This Is Just the Beginning

We talk to the Nigerian star about his upcoming debut album, his engagement to Temi Otedola and why he thinks the Afrobeats wave is only the start for African music's global popularity.

Love is a powerful universal force. It's powerful enough to change a man, his thoughts and the way he sees life generally. It's also powerful enough to inspire art, just as it inspired Mr Eazi to make his latest single "Legalize" and, as he has hinted, most of the other songs on his highly-anticipated forthcoming album.

Mr Eazi's reputation in the African pop culture space is second to none. Beyond the music, he's been able to successfully paint his image as a serial entrepreneur and an advocate of creative freedom for young, emerging artists in Africa. He's been able to achieve the latter through his emPawa Africa company, which he established in 2019 to help young independent African musicians get the best income out of their work and be free to create the kind of music that they want at their own pace and frequency.

“No label or distribution company gives any better deals than emPawa does. You can take that to the bank,” boasts the Banku music pioneer who will be turning 31-years-old this July. “There are a lot of labels and distributors that run operations for music around the world and just have an arm that covers Africa. But that's not us. We are from Africa, focused on Africa and in Africa.”

Apart from his smash hit records with Nigeria's Joeboy and multiple collaborations with DJ Neptune, something else that has kept Mr Eazi's name fresh in the news has been his love life. The singer is engaged to actress Temi Otedola and they host a podcast together. Beyond the podcast, Temi happens to be the inspiration for his "Legalize"' song and extensively, his new perception and approach to the concept of love.

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Blaqbonez Has No Interest In Being A Fool For Love

We talk to the self-professed 'Best Rapper In Africa' about wanting Sex Over Love as his debut album so loudly proclaims!

All Akumefule Chukwuemeka needed was a challenge. When he was 12 years old, his cousin dared him to write a rap verse and that was all the motivation needed to turn him into the self-appointed 'Best Rapper In Africa' (BRIA), Blaqbonez.

Since 2018, Blaqbonez has graced the Nigerian music scene with consistent work, undeniable talent and a bold attitude that seems to suit his skinny frame best, helping him push his music and stand out at the same time.

"I think right now for artists, it's not only about music anymore. You're selling yourself as a person, so they either like you or they don't," says the 25-year-old "Haba" crooner. "The moment they like you, they like everything that you do. So my focus is on being myself, knowing that there are people out there who will see me and love me for being me."

After three EPs and a series of singles, Blaqbonez has released his debut album Sex Over Love. The lead track "Bling," featuring Buju and Amaraae, hit the number one spot on Apple Music's Top 100 Nigerian Songs during early May. Like every Blaqbonez project, Sex Over Love is unconventional.

Below, the buzzing rapper discusses his debut album and what it's like to be different in Nigeria's super-saturated pop market.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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