I’m Here To Change Perception Of Hausa Musicians – Hafeez

Hafeez is one northern traditional hip-hop artiste who does not see much sense in northern musicians abandoning the traditional northern style of music using the local languages. In this interview with ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM, the artiste who has just returned from the United Kingdom to ply his trade in his motherland says his songs can compete favourably anywhere in the world.

Tell us how you started your musical career.
I went to Nigerian Turkish International College where I did my secondary education. I started doing music when I was in secondary school, that’s in JSS 2. I had a group called Young Phinos, it was a group of four. As I graduated from secondary school I moved to the UK to study business information system. By that time I put my music on hold to get more knowledge on things that would improve my career. So right now am back on it. When I was in secondary school I used to rap in English now I am back into the music industry and I’m doing it in Hausa to represent my culture.
Why Hausa, because we see most people who have lived abroad come back to do it the European way?
Everybody is doing the same thing; the same Pidgin English, English and some other people they do their culture like Olamide and Phyno. Although I have heard a lot of people representing Hausa culture but they are not really out there and I decided to pick it as well to do it because I have a lot of contacts, connects and friends in the industry that I can do features with. It is an opportunity that I used.

What message are you passing across with your style of music?
They always think that Hausa people cannot really do anything, that they only involve themselves in politics, farming and music is prohibited. There were musicians, we had people like Mamman Shata, Dan Maraya Jos, and those people were singing very well and people all over the world were listening to their lyrics. It is just that right now we have been Westernised and there is a little bit of swag to it.

How far have you gone with your songs now; you have about four tracks now?
Yes I have four tracks. My first track was called Waye Baban Ka which featured Morell, my second single was Takarawa featuring Davido, my third single which I didn’t promote is called Talk About, is basically talking about the insurgency and I have Minty which is the most recent single I just dropped and three of them have videos. Also I’m about to shoot Talk About video and I have more tracks coming up.

How did you come about the song Minty, what is the inspiration behind the song?
With this whole Hausa thing that I am doing, I catch certain phrases that Hausa people like to use. Waye Baban Ka is a phrase a lot of Hausa people like to use and Minty is like brand new money since everybody is all about their money these days. I just decided to use the word, it is a very catchy phrase as well.

Are you launching an album?
Am not working on an album yet, am working on singles and dropping videos. I want Hafeez to be a household name, let it circulate and drop in other parts of the north so that I can start working on an album.

It is often said when an artiste wants to ‘blow’, he must go to Lagos. Do you believe that too?
I have been to Lagos, it is tough out there, I am originally from Kaduna but I grew up in Abuja as well so I don’t really believe Lagos is the in-thing especially if they do not recognise northerners. I rather be where I am recognised. Mamman Shata and Dan Maraya Jos did not go to Lagos. People gave me the idea that it has to be Lagos that if Lagos doesn’t have your track on their system that means you are not going to be famous. I am going to change that perception. Abuja is a place, there are radio stations here, and there are radio stations in the north as well so I am going to focus on the northern side. That is the same thing Flavour too did. Flavour was in the east and the west started looking for him. So I am going to start from where I am from.

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by Anthony Ada Abraham

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