Today was a great day. I spent quality time with family and made a trip to Oniru Beach, one of the many beaches surrounding the coast of Lagos.
The beach isn’t considered much of a lovely attraction–broken clay pieces, bottles, and debris are all scattered on the sand (it’s probably not the best idea to walk on the sand in your bare toesies). But I was treated to oven-cooked local fish that was made to perfection and local beer “33” which is part of the Ijebu tribe my family is from.
Later that evening I had the luxury of meeting with a top Nigerian DJ, Jimmy Jatt, and discuss the Nigerian music scene. We were greeted by a doorman at Jatt’s studio upon arrival (it appeared that most of the residences in his area had some form of security).
When making my way up the stairs I could hear the generators humming, powering his place of residence. Inside, his walls were lined with framed photos of famous musicians–Michael Jackson, Prince, Run Dmc, and DJ Whoo Kid–to name a few.
Jatt casually made his way through the hallway. He had a very humble demeanor, but also carried himself like a man that has been around the business for some time.
We spoke about music and, more specifically, my interest in music. To be honest, it was more like an informal interview that I was not fully prepared for. Maybe it was hot as hell, but damn was I sweating. Shit, I feel like I’m about to start sweating again just writing about it.
He schooled me on Nigerian artists such as WizKid and 2Face. He gave me an insight on the best time to get to know other African musicians. I soon found out that January is probably the worst month to meet with local and not so local musicians. January is somewhat of an off month especially after the busy scheduling in December.
I don’t know where our meet will go, but I made a elementary mistake in simple journalism. I mistakenly failed to research my friggin’ subject. What’s funny is I never typically come ill prepared, especially when speaking to artists.
Regardless, Jatt was still kind enough to show me his studio downstairs. A producer and “hype man” were blaring music on a pair of KRK studio monitors. There was a small studio to the left of the audio set up. The area was small, but it had all of the necessary equipment for any musician to get work done.
We stayed back and spoke about the Nigerian music industry. We discussed the struggles some artists have to make a living. Most shockingly, he mentioned how some artists pay bootleggers to sell their music (obviously with no financial gain to the artist) just to get their names out there. He stressed how it kills the opportunity for musicians to reap substantial financial benefits from their work. It’s unfortunate, but it is an interesting business and it gets more interesting as I dig deeper.