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‘For a Song to Blow Up, it Takes $500,000 to $1,000,000’

For a song to blow up, Everyevery.ng correspondent took time out to speak with rising Rap/Hip-Hop Artiste, Gunzz, who identifies the challenges facing this music genre and dissects other issues confronting the business, combining his music career and life as a civil servant in Nigeria…

Let’s meet you…

My real name is Akor Peter Owoicho, popularly referred to as Gunzz, born in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, in the early 90s. Family, school, and everything else were here in Abuja. I studied economics when I Schooled in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State, and I’ve been making Music for the longest of time, let’s say I’ve been making Music before ages 11 or even 12, probably before that, but professionally, say since 2012.

Since you started Music, what major project have you attempted?

I dropped my first mixed tape in 2012, I dropped my E.P in 2017, and I dropped my first album in 2020. The first mixed tape was titled ‘+234 Mixtape’, and the first E.P was titled ‘Once Upon a god’, and then the album was titled ‘Waiting for Something Good to Happen,’ which dropped last year in 2020, so that’s what’s up.

How would you describe the Nigeria Music Industry in terms of the attention Rap Music enjoys?

Rap Music, hmmm! Suppose we are going to be truthful in Nigeria, you know, it’s suffering some kind of setback, because in this country, a considerable amount of the population like Afro-Beats Music, in fact, the whole of Africa is crazy about Afro Music. As you know, it’s gradually beginning to take over the world.

Here in Africa, the space for Rap Music is limited and difficult. However, you know, in as much as there are still a whole lot of people that love Rap Music, some Rappers who are shinning, most notably, Ladipoe, quite frankly, and currently, he just got nominated for BET Awards, you know gradually, Rap Music is coming up. Still, a lot of work needs to be done in that area.

This writeup is centred on Grassroot Talents, stories and their journeys, for Gunzz, how would you say the Kubwa Community perceives your Music?

This community, to say, Kubwa, Abuja, is actually a Hip-Hop community, the people around these parts like Rap Music. I think I underestimate how popular I am around the area because many of them here know my Music, listen to my Music and promote my Music for me without being aware. In turn, it has been able to inspire other younger people that make Music. So these days within the community, I’ve seen a lot of artists who are making Music and telling their stories too through Music.

Some of them walk up to me and say, it’s because of you I’ve been able to do this art, I’ve seen that I can actually do this…so yeah, I’d say within the community, the Music is well accepted and perceived as well.

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Nigerian Fans welcome foreign Rap Music more than they receive from their homegrown artistes, how would you respond?

Well, it’s actually true that American Hip-Hop Music is accepted more than that done by the Nigerian Artiste, but the actual reason is that, the problem is not from the fans it’s actually the Media. The way I see it, the medium through which this genre of Music is being channeled, If you go and check the popular television stations, you will see a lot of American Rap Music being played, yet, you would hardly see any Nigerian Hip-Hop on air.

– Gunzz

With that said, I think the Media have to come in and give their support. For now, more Afro-Beats sounds are playing on the radio and television. Even more, rap Music from these parts is featured less. But Afro Rap is Music as well, so if the Nigerian fans can accept Music from abroad, that means they are actually Rap fans and love the Music, which still boils down to the Media to support home-based Rap Artistes, and trusts me when I say that a whole lot of our rap artistes are as good, if not better than their foreign counterparts.

I support what Burnaboy said that some rappers in the African Continent are far better than several international acts. I confidently say that there are rappers here in Kubwa far better in the rap arts than some famous American rappers. This is a fact, it’s not me trying to hype anybody.

Let’s look at expenses, I’ve seen several artists quit along the road. What’s your personal experience like?

It is a challenge, it is a huge challenge, I read something once, but I can’t remember which popular rapper said that for a song to blow up, it takes between five hundred thousand to one million dollars, not even naira ($500,000 to $1,000,000) there’s a lot about making Music you know, from recording Music, it takes a lot of money, to mixing and mastering it professionally, its expensive, pushing Music is also very costly, so that is where record labels come in. Unfortunately, labels are not even signing rappers that much, you know, I’ll just say that, thankfully, there are mediums that it takes almost nothing to put your Music on and have people listen to them.

Also, through the power of social media and having a team of people that believe in the dream. While it seems that ordinarily, you would have to pay before pushing your sounds across, other people believe in my Music and promote it for free for me, helping me push to an extent. However, all of these are limited because there’s a level you get where you still have to pay for some services, spend money for your Music to be actually heard. So, one day at a time.

Coming up in the Music Arena, with great songs, what would you say is your biggest feat thus far?

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everyevery.ng correspondent Dino and Gunzz

Well, I’d say I won some online competitions where some huge rappers were a part of, and I came out tops. Also, I was in the Hennessy Cypher in 2015, which featured Ill Bliss, and I went on tour with Mode 9. Basically, I’ve had some of the rap greats listen to my Music with substantial compliments including recommendations that my sounds are great. I think those are some of the high points, you know cosigned sought of. Still, I think the most significant achievement is just having people see that your Music has changed something for them, that your Music has helped them pass and overcome a phase in their lives and all of that.

You know, when people say that they feel like relaxing, hearing something lyrical, and they listen to your Music, I don’t think that there’s any other achievement that’s as big as that. People want to listen to you than listen to anything else, say for comfort, for soothing the mind and all of that…so yes, that is a significant achievement for me.

Do you think you can take Rap Music as a sole profession?

Hmmm! Rap, pure Rap? It has actually worked for some people, I remember that some rappers like Ill Bliss, for example, when he started rapping, that was the case, but to sustain oneself with just one craft, be it must or any other skill or career, it is risky to just focus on one. So if there’s an opportunity to diversify other sources of income, especially for rap, it’s not advisable. But as a rapper and you’re actually getting paid, it’s genuinely advisable to open other channels of income, invest in other ventures to help back up your music plans.

How do you balance work as a civil servant and your music career?

Yes, it’s not so easy, but I just try to create a balance. What I do is that I’m at the office during the day, and at night times, I’m at the studio, coordinating Music. For myself, I can just record my Music whenever I get back from work, weekends. I can also record my songs and the events. The shows are at night, so it doesn’t interfere with my work during the day. Physically, it’s draining, but I just have to find a balance for the love of this song.

Still, regarding promotions, do you think granting free shows is a part of the journey?

Of course, you have to pay your dues. One of the sure ways of getting past the early struggles is through free gigs. There were times when I actually had to perform at so many shows for free, features for free and all of that, so you have to do that if you want to scale through.

Advice to other up and coming artistes

Just keep doing what you’re doing, never give up, your gift is God’s giving, try to share it with the world no matter the hindrance, the limitations, just keep pushing.

Once again, my name is Akor Peter Owoicho. My music name is Gunzz. Kindly follow me on all social media platforms, it’s ObaGunzz on Instagram and Twitter, and check my album out on Audio Mack… Peace out!!!

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