A self proclaimed “artist, poet and custodian of tradition and the Nigerian culture,” 9ice, like the great African musical icon-Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is dynamic, authentic and uncompromising, especially when it comes to his decision to sing in his native language. Influenced by the communication style of his now 75 year old step-mother who raised him, 9ice’s signature is the ability to serve a healthy dose of musical proverbial sayings with deep layers of interpretation.
Born January 17th, 1980 as Abolore Akande, 9ice received his stage name because he became the go to “hook man” who would not go nine  days without working on a new song. At fourteen years old, the artist who had aspirations of being an attorney was already preparing for an inevitable music career with writing, composing, and singing his own songs. While he would later form boy bands/groups and even release a demo, it wasn’t until 2000, when he embarked on a solo career and released his Freshman album “The Certificate,” that most began paying attention to him.
Today, he is the hottest artist on Nigeria’s music scene and is gaining momentum across Africa and internationally, winning numerous awards on his way up. With the release of his album “Gongo Aso” which drops May 1st 2008 and has been dubbed the most highly anticpated album in 2008, 9ice plugs into LADYBRILLE.com for a brief chat about his music, hits and upcoming wedding!
LADYBRILLE.com:Little Money, Talent Dey Waste, Gongo Aso, where do I begin? Your songs are the hottest hits all over Nigeria! To our audience who have never heard of you, introduce yourself and describe your music style?
9ICE: My names are Abolore, Adegbola, A’adigun Alapomeji Akande. I am from Oyo State, Ogbomosho, Ogbomosho North L.G.A. I am from a polygamous family of nine children and five wives. [I am] the eight child. I grew up with my step [mother] and I have lived days of my life in and every corner of Lagos state [Lagos State was the former capital of Nigeria. It has a population of approximately 20 million people].
My kind of music is Nigerian. And I call it World Fusion because it comprises of all kinds of music. I attended Abule Okuta Primary School [like elementary school], C.M.S Grammar School, Nigerian Opportunities Industrialization Center for Computer Studies, A’ Level Program at Universal Basic College . . . and Lagos State University [LASU] Law but left LASU to pursue my music career.
LADYBRILLE.com: I think one of the things your fans love is that you rap and sing in your native language, Yoruba, but your beats are so universal. Some have even said it has a reggaeton feel to it. Even if you don’t understand the language, you get the instruments and beats. Why did you choose to stick with singing in your native tongue?
9ICE: My language I believe is my culture, my future and my way of life. It embodies my tradition and custom which suggest the person I am, the way I relate to other people and my background. Music doesn’t have a language. So, my language is not a barrier [and] it instead gets me closer to my audience. [I]t is the best way to pass my message across to my people.
LADYBRILLE.com: What are your songs mostly about?9ICE:My songs mostly talk about love, life, issues that bothers us and the way forward.
LADYBRILLE.com:One of your songs on your album is “Talent Dey Waste.” It is my favorite especially where you say, “you want to sound like Wyclef and you can’t sound like me.” Classic![laughs] Share with our audience the point you are trying to get across?9ice: I am simply saying you can only be yourself. Be original, be creative in your own way even though you have people that influence your kind of music. . . through listening to their songs you will or can develop your own style that fits your immediate environment.
LADYBRILLE.com:I am impressed with what you have done with fashion merchandising of your hit song, “Gongo Aso.” It is common here in the West to see a hit movie have baseball caps, T-shirts e.t.c. but that is not really as common in Nigeria/Africa. How did that come about?
9ice: It was an idea brought to [reality] by my fiancée [Toni Payne]. . .she thought about the concept herself and she [executed] it. . .
LADYBRILLE.com: That explains it! [laughs] Most of our readers are familiar with your soon to be serial entrepreneur wifey Toni Payne. Tell us briefly how you knew she was THE one?
9ICE: We met at Gbenga Adeyinka [Top Nigerian Comedian] the 1st 10years anniversary at motherland 2006. . .and from there one thing led to the other and as days passed by things got better and now we are together. . .
LADYBRILLE.com: When is the wedding date and where will it be held?
9ICE: We are working towards that and as soon as we have a date you guys will be the first to know.
LADYBRILLE.com:Finally, let’s talk about your collabo with Ruggedman, another respected artist in Nigeria. I love how you both reach in to Yoruba fashions with your Aso Okes designed in Agbadas and the accessories used. Tell us who did the styling for that video and the video concept?
9ice:The costumer was arranged by ruggedman. But the concept of the video was arrived at between ruggedman and the director. . . and to the best of my knowledge, I think the idea was not bad and the whole experience with ruggedman and the video was worth it.
LADYBRILLE.com: Yes. The concept was not bad, at all! Thanks 9ice for the interview.
9ice: God bless . . .it’s my pleasure to grant this interview.
~Article by Uduak Oduok
RUGGEDY BABA FEATURING 9ice
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Founded in 2007 by Fashion Model/Fashion & Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.