Nigeria's Biggie: T-Obay
T-Obay

Nigeria's Biggie: T-Obay

It isn't even easy for me, but being big got a lot of advantages haha, because everywhere I go, they are like "Biggie!!", so being big comes with recognition... So I think eating helped a lot... lol.

By Colin Mulindwa
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First published: October 21, 2014

T-Obay ft. Iyanya with Commander



T-Obay (Tobenna Maduagwu) born January 17th 1992 is an African rapper who has been working on his craft since high school. He started doing music professionally this year as he had been in Toronto Canada for over 4 years studying in the university and only just moved back to Nigeria last December. His first official single features Iyanya titled Commander. And is soon set to drop his 2nd single.

Colin: Let's start off with your latest single, Commander, that is receiving massive airplay across the continent currently!... You are being dubbed by many a fan as Africa's Biggie!! What has the overall reaction been like especially to you and how do you see things now that Africa is recognizing your act with more optimism?

T-Obay: Commanderrr!... Haha... Africa's biggie? That's a very BIG compliment ;). Very much appreciated ... The reaction has been massive, going to events and have people look at me twice just to be sure, people hailing me and all. The other day I was at a restaurant, and the video was playing, and 2 of the waitresses started arguing over who would take the order lol, it's crazy. Didn't know it would turn out this big, although that was the plan.

Like they say, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Urm, I see things a bit differently now. Seeing as Africa is watching, it's like I have been given a pass to go ahead and make more songs. The confidence is building every day and there's no way I'm letting anybody down... Not possible... Never!

Yeah often artists are astonished when a particular track becomes a hit even when it wasn't the intention. Was this the same with Commander or you particularly 'went in' on production overall to make it a hit? What did you do different this time?

Lol... ummm I think all I didn't do was delete it lol... This song was worked on and prayed on.. Haha... For real... I was working on this song originally with Rundatrax (a producer). Been working on it for a while now. The day we started the song, we were at The Tripe M G mansion ... He was signed to them then, long story short... basically we were on different vibes, then Dj Coublon came through, the connection was there, Iyanya laced the hook nicelyyyyy!... Then went in, messed it up ;) haha, took hip hop to a different level, then Dj Coublon laced the sounds, couple people made suggestions, then we arranged the song differently, from the normal intro-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-outro to intro-switch up-intro-chorus-verse-chorus-verse 2 (and it's still groovy) then the outro... You see, I had to change a couple things...

Right... Again from the fans, having had Iyanya on the track was a big plus! Any future big time collabos we should look forward to in the near future (projects inclusive)?

Yea, Iyanya is dope! ... errrr yea, right now, I'm working on The Commander Remix. There's gonna be a switch to the whole song again featuring heavy cats and bosses ;) ...Not dropping names yet haha but big names!!

Been working on singles still, got a dope joint with the dopest selebobo! ... You should hear that songggg!... I impressed myself lol... yea been working tracks...

Everyone trying to get the big names! The COMPETITIVE music industry that Nigeria is, in recent times!! Having been through it, what factors should an aspiring Nigerian act consider before setting foot in the thick of things... Advice basically... What makes it so easy to struggle in Nigeria if I may put it that way?

Haha... You know it's really competitive; the competition here is crazy man, like every day there's a new song out somewhere. Everybody is looking for their breakthrough. Even already established acts are working endlessly because you can be replaced easily... So first I would say hard work... you need to work hard or even harder than normal. You need to be different! Be different and original. Being different and original, that way people get excited 'bout your act. Be creative, think out of the box, and don't just follow what's in the market (making similar music).

It isn't even easy for me, but being big got a lot of advantages haha, because everywhere I go, they are like "Biggie!!", so being big comes with recognition. That way, you see my video once and baammm you know there's a big rapper in the industry lol, because I'm the only big rapper for now ... So I think eating helped a lot... lol.

Yes... Interestingly so coz actually that's how I had to describe you to my colleague when your name slipped out of my head a second!! ...lol. Lastly... the story with Canada? Back in 2012 I picked up that's where you were studying plus your management/production team is centered there... Given so many foreign based Nigerian artists are returning home, is the plan to permanently set base in Canada or...?

Yea, I was schooling in Canada, Carleton University, Ottawa. The management team... everybody was in Canada at that time, but you know, the main market is in Nigeria, so we had to move home to do it big... Right now we based in Nigeria... Yea!

Thank you T-Obay...

Thank you OurMusiq and the fans for the support!

T-Obay
T-Obay.

By Colin Mulindwa
more from author >>
First published: October 21, 2014
Colin Mulindwa graduated from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa in 2011. His love for African music and working with the owners of OurMusiq.com on other websites such as BlackMenWomen.com has allowed him to brush shoulders with the who's who in African Music. Look out for more interviews with a unique perspective. Colin can be contacted at colinmk256@gmail.com.