Rudeboy Said ‘I Fear The Day I Betray God, He Would Just Collect My Gift.
For someone famed as a ‘Rudeboy’, Paul Okoye is actually quite a humble afrobeats musician. Sitting with the 39-year-old in his posh Ikoyi home, one couldn’t help but notice his penchant for white décor, which stuck from his interior design down to his grand piano in the living room. Yet, his warm gaze and soft-spoken voice presents a gentle side to him that stood out the most.
“He is also your namesake, Nonso,” his friend and colleague, Raji, announced, as the conversation began. And for the next half-hour, it transcended to an innate experience into the mindset and artistry behind Rudeboy’s work, which is evident in his just-released sophomore album dubbed, RudyKillUs.
What sets the album apart is far from the fact that it is from one of the former members of the moribund Naija favourite duo, P-Square; it is actually the intentionality from Rudeboy that manifests in the eclectic mix of rhythm – from Hip-life, to Afro-pop, to Reggae – in this project, as well as in the soulful lyricism that results in a pregnancy of various emotions for the listener.
Minus a track-listing (or arrangement) issue, which slightly affects the seamless listen of the project, the entire sound-piece peaks with a vibrancy that leaves you re-listening to it continuously. A plus for the summer! From wedding songs to a Christian gospel bop, to introspective ballads and pop-heavy love songs, the album has a mood for everything, another fingerprint of Rudeboy’s intentionality.
Catching up with CHINONSO IHEKIRE, the father-of-one discusses the story behind the ‘Rudeboy’ movement, making conscious music, getting inspiration from the dreams, battling COVID-19, as well as making music after P-Square.
Congratulations on your new album. What actually spurred you to make this body of work?
It was more like doing me; if you have listened to the album, you would notice there was no collaboration. The album says that Rudy Kill Us. I wanted to show you people what my music sounds like; I wanted to stick to what I do. I wanted to do me, real music; I didn’t want to run away from that.
The body of work for this album was rooted in the fact that there is no way I can make a song without meaning. It is either it is touching you, or you are about to grab something. It is more of like a reality kind of album. There is reggae, gospel, highlife, hip-hop, dancehall, and everything.
Is this a thing that has always stuck with you from the beginning?
I don’t just see music as something that people listen to, because they want to dance; I just want to pass a message. I want you to learn something and experience what others are. For instance, when I did Reason With Me, it was like another version of my own story that I wanted to pass across. I used a carpenter, but I was there struggling when I was trying to sell my radio cassettes.
The message was that the women around you don’t want to know if you didn’t have money at all. Trust me, in the university where I went to – University of Abuja – if you didn’t have money, nobody knows you. Who is your father? That had been ringing in my head since then. So, I used it to pass my message in the song.
Apart from the songs itself, you had production credit on all the songs?
People don’t know that I am a writer and a producer. In fact, just the fact that I don’t want to be ‘know-it-all,’ that’s why I don’t talk about it. In the album credits, I didn’t write produced by, I wrote ‘beats by…’ for all the people who made the beats. I already had the melodies in my head; I show you what to play. Then afterwards, I allow you to feel free, while I am recording. I just didn’t want to be that jack-of-all-trades, but I still have these wonderful people around me.