Naeto C: Rapping Since Day 1

Naeto C: Rapping Since Day 1

If there ever comes a time when the story of Nigeria’s hip hop scene is being told, then you can bet that the career of Naetochukwu ‘Naeto C’ Chikwe would make a large appearance in it. Super C has had an eventful 2015 with the release of two full-length albums Day 1 and Festival to critical acclaim. In this interview, he shares his plans for the future amidst other issues.

I made Day 1 and Festival for the fans…

Day 1 is more hip-hop inclined, while Festival is more diluted. I had to dilute the lyrical content so the ordinary man on the street can understand what I was saying on the album.

 

Day 1 was made in seven days…

Day 1 was made in seven days. My producer (So Sick) told me after we put out the album that Day 1 was in every sense the best hip-hop album of the year. So to see that the project is highly rated makes me so proud and happy.

 

The plan was to give out Day 1 for free…

I initially wanted to give the album out for free. But members of my team advised that I put it up on paid platforms like iTunes. We were also not going to print out physical copies of the album, but due to the love we’ve gotten so far, we might end up printing them.

 

I put out more work in 2015 than in any othe year…

When 2015 rolled in, I had already made up my mind to put out as much work as possible – to build my catalogue. And you know as a rapper, I can’t rap forever. I have to use my time wisely. That’s another reason why I decided to put out this much work. Also, I had to make my projects blend. They had to be cohesive. I just can’t have all hip-hop songs while neglecting my pop-loving fans. I had to separate the two.

 

Putting out a double album in Nigeria is not that great…

This is because we don’t listen to CD’s the way we used to in the past, that’s number one. Number two, no matter how you put it, a double album is still in every sense one album. And sometimes, if you give consumers too many options, they find it difficult to make a choice. If you put out 40–50 songs and your listeners eventually like one, it doesn’t make sense. But if you put out 10 songs and they like one, this makes more sense. Even if you break the 50 songs into 10 in five places, listeners will end up liking five. This is better for the artiste.

 

Many are called but few are chosen…

I used to record music for fun, as a hobby. Why I decided to go professional was because at that time, no Nigerian musician impressed me. I fell in love with music because of the hip-hop culture. Jay Z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac were my influences and I didn’t think any Nigerian musician had that swag or lyrics that could live up to those guys. So I threw my hat in. In retrospect, I now know that I made the right choice because a lot of people have tried to come into the industry because of the reasons I listed earlier, but they are nowhere today. This saying summarises it all, ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’

 

There has been a subtle change from my hard-hitting hip-hop tracks to more mellow-pop-infused-tracks…

Yes this is true. When I was recording my first album You Know my P, I had a strong feeling that I didn’t have songs that everybody could relate to. I had more western-oriented songs. So it was as a result of me realising this that I recorded Kini Big Deal. While I was putting plans in motion for the second album, the album wasn’t complete until after the song 10/10 was recorded.

 

I appreciate constructive criticism…

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion based on the information available to them. My interpretation of a successful career is different from the next person. I serve a higher purpose that is deeper than the comprehension of the ordinary man. As long as I can keep doing what I want to do, I’m good. People can have their opinions. It is good to be criticised because criticism brings improvement in a way. I’m my biggest critic and for me, I appreciate constructive criticism. One doesn’t listen to every critic out there. When you make music, you don’t make music for everybody, but I’m sure most people can take one or two things from my music.

 

I was never signed to Storm Records…

Yes, I was never signed to Storm Records. Storm Records is owned by my first cousin Obi Asika, and what we had was an informal agreement. There were times that they tried to give me a formal contract, but I didn’t want that. Obi and I are family; so why do I have to have a contract with him? This does not mean I’m not grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I am extremely grateful.

 

I’m not a scandalous person…

Every one that knows me knows that I’m not scandalous. I have a life outside music that I strive to maintain. This does not mean that people do not try to rope me into various scandals, they do but I’ve always handled them well.

 

I’m quiet about my life outside music because…

I do not want to attract the wrong type of attention. Funny enough, I’m the type of person that wants to wake up in the morning, go to the office whenever I want to, employ people, have positive and direct impact in their lives, and help in whatever way I can.

 

I would love to work with African legends…

I’ve worked with Hugh Masekela in the past and I’ll like to continue the trend. Legends like Salif Keita, Youssou N’dour come to mind. You never know what will happen in the future. In Nigeria, I’ll love to do something with Onyeka Onwenu and Sunny Ade. Internationally, I’m not really big on international collaborations, but I would want to work with Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.

 

Not every musician is meant to be popular…

I’ve learnt a lot of lessons in my time. I feel if you are privileged to have a career in entertainment, you have to plan for your life after music. You have to try as much as possible to hold on to what is real. You have to stay grounded. Fame can be a good thing, but it has its bad parts also. Not every musician is meant to be popular. Try to make your music from a real place because it is that passion that will keep you going.

 

Music distribution is no longer a problem, getting paid for it is…

We’ve moved on from the problem of music distribution. Getting paid for your music poses a greater problem. I mean nowadays, CD’s don’t bring in as much money as it used to. We have to look for ways to encourage our fans to pay for music instead of just downloading it for free. Every artiste now realises that endorsements and performances is where the money is. So most people do not focus on distribution as much.

 

Shades or no shades…

Back in the day I used to like shades. But I don’t wear them as much these days..

 

Stand-out performance…

My most recent performance at Delphino’s picnic event last Sunday stood out. Also, my performance with Rick Ross stood out too.

 

Stand-out accolades…

The award I received at the MTV MAMA awards in Abuja remains a fond memory for me.

 

Whether performing on stage or recording in the studio…

I like the both of them; so I’ll say it’s a 50/ 50 thing for me.

 

Hmm…my first performance fee…

It was a little under 50 thousand naira.

 

Taking any other career if not music…

I would have been a businessman.

 

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