Popular rapper Pherowshuz aka Pherow Tha Great in an interview with Seyi Anjorin of The News Chronicle recently at the Airbove Music studio in Abuja, spoke on a number of issues ranging from the music industry in Nigeria to his new record label and forthcoming joint collaboration with Terry Tha Rapman and about his much anticipated album.
Who is Pherow?
I am a rapper but I call myself an MC because I am from the school of MCism but ofcourse I am a rapper, in Lagos, they call us one of the aboki rappers because we are from the North; I am from Benue state, born in Sokoto but lived 80% of my life in Kaduna, infact my family still resides in Kaduna till today and ofcourse Abuja became my home and ofcourse Lagos, which is everybody’s home music wise. I signed my first label with KD World record label around 2003 or 2004 and then signed on to two other labels after that but none could really match up to what KD World was able to achieve in that period of time, I fell out with other labels and it got to a point where I hooked up with an old friend and we decided to start up a new label and that is where we are right now, Airbove Music and Entertainment.
What inspires your music?
It depends on the times. For instance, what inspired me in 2010 is not the same thing that is inspiring me now. When the time changes, my music also changes. Life in Nigeria as we are all aware, changes every day. I live day by day in the moment and so, I am inspired by that.
What is happening with the Boys Are Not Smiling (BANS) Movement?
It is funny bringing that up because Terry and I just finished working on an album and as we speak, it is a joint project that has been long over due , I am even shocked that people still remember that because I thought that was all done and gone, but I am glad that there is still an era and they want to hear the kind of magic me and Terry would come up with because we have done a lot of that in the past. That album is coming out very soon, we are looking at next month, and it is called for the culture, basically, that is what the album is about and it is based on popular demand.
Most people have linked rappers with the use of drugs, how true is this?
I will say it is the truth and it is highly unfortunate, music had always been influenced by drug money from the ghetto and so it is unfortunate that Hip Hop music that is very vocal because the artist see a lot more than all the genres so, when they talk about the influences, they always end up talking about drugs at some point, whatever type of drug it is, we have seen different types of drugs influence music at different times and we are still seeing different types of drugs influencing music, it is sad but that is what it is.
Do you believe that Nigerian music is being influenced by South Africa?
When I heard MI talk about that I immediately did a song in the form of a reply. MI is my guy and when I heard the song I understood what he was trying to do I was only shocked that he was a little bit biased and did not really address the situation as he should have, it just came from one particular angle that he should have but I know he has reasons why he did it that way. What he said was not technically a lie but he knows and understands better and I think he knows why things are the way they are and chose to come from a particular angle and it is allowed, because it is entertainment and hip hop.
How would you rate the music part of the entertainment industry in Nigeria?
Before I will even start pointing blames, I have to first address the fact that there has been mad progress in the Nigerian music industry, it is unbelievable that the sound has come this far, like my friends will say that we are global now, it is crazy and I remember when I started, I never thought that Nigeria music could do like half of what Nigerian music do today, the opportunities available to Nigerian artists are ridiculous. First things first, the game has gone a long way and it has gone far right now and I can only appreciate the efforts some of us had put into it earlier on, but for the 2face that took it across borders to what Wizkid and others are now doing, it is only progress as long as a lot of things that we know used to work before do not work anymore, it does not mean the music is dead, it just created other opportunities for newer ways of doing things when they are not working, you just have to understand the way things are going and how to make it work for yourself.
How would you assess the Performing Musician Association of Nigeria (PMAN)?
The sad part about life is; they say, even ashawo gan sef dey get hin story, everybody have a reason for doing what they do, I am sure if you ask PMAN now, they will tell you one hundred and one thing that they will tell you they have done for the Nigerian music industry, unfortunately I cannot identify any. I guess they have their own use in some ways, the last I heard was about them fighting within themselves as new and old PMAN, and it just sounds ridiculous. There is no time for all of this, it is really unnecessary but as an artist if you ask me what the company A or B stand to represent, I really do not know because there is so much disunity in the organization itself.
Do you have any mentor(s) you look up to in the music scene?
Unfortunately, I am one of these guys that do not have a favourite anything, it is a good and a bad thing at the same time, I get influenced at different times by different people , if you ask me to list them now, I will call about 100 names for you about people that I have listened to at certain times and overtime, and since I became a producer I have learnt not just to listen to rap music anymore, I have learnt to appreciate other genre of music, I really do not have a favourite, I just go with the flow.
Can you tell us about the new Airbove Music record label?
For now, we rather remain anonymous but for now I am the director and the artists and repertoir (A&R) of the label with my wealth of experience in the music industry, I will also drop one or two albums while on the label as well. We have the first two artist signed including myself; we have Danny Joe and Rez, two brilliant young artist with the fire and ginger necessary to achieve what we plan to achieve, we have already shot the video for the first single, that is Japa which featured the two of them; it is more like announcing the label, after that we will shoot the video of mine and more music keeps coming out.