• The Bad Boy Etiquette of Ajebo Hustlers

    The bad boy etiquette of ajebo hustlers - nigeria newspapers online
    • 10Minutes – Read
    • 1943Words (Approximately)


    The Bad Boy Etiquette of Ajebo Hustlers

    By  Chinonso Ihekire  11 May 2024   |   4:20 am After the grand ascent of Ajebo Hustlers, Nigeria’s beloved street-hop duo, in 2020, the Port Harcourt music scene shone once again as a nest of unique artistry. With hits like the Davido-assisted ‘Barawo’ remix, and the Nissi-assisted..

    After the grand ascent of Ajebo Hustlers, Nigeria’s beloved street-hop duo, in 2020, the Port Harcourt music scene shone once again as a nest of unique artistry. With hits like the Davido-assisted ‘Barawo’ remix, and the Nissi-assisted ‘Symbiosis’, the singer-rapper duo stole the hearts of millions with their indigenous melodies and lyricism. 

    The next three years would see the duo, comprising singer Isiah Precious, a.k.a Piego, and rapper George Dandison, a.k.a., Knowledge, soar to mainstream popularity with their debut and sophomore albums, Kpos Lifestyle (2021) and Bad Boy Etiquette 101 (2022). Their eclectic blend of rhythms, from highlife to pop, and hip-hop, tucks their hedonistic lyricism into a stage-worthy rendition that continue to distinguish the duo in present-day Afrobeats. 

    On their latest work, Bad Boy Etiquette 102: Continuous Assessment, the duo make a vibrant dash to the next level of their stardom. They assemble a star-studded lineup of duets with street-hop pillars like Odumodublvck, King Promise, Sarkodie, Jeriq, Zlatan, Blaqbonez, Raebel and Magixx, creating mood-lifting music that resonates loudest at the grassroots. 

    From waiting tables in Port Harcourt, to touring cities with their discography, Ajebo Hustlers have had an interesting ride to fame. The duo have stuck together since fate brought them together in a casual restaurant, in 2010, till date. Their native pidgin, comical slang and cohesive chemistry continue to marinate Piego’s breezy hooks and Knowledge’s slang-woven verses into the audience favorite street-pop diet that is Ajebo Hustlers. 

    Catching up with Guardian Music, the Garden City duo break down their Bad Boy Etiquette that presently represents their artistry; tracing the muses behind their sonic staple which they describe as ‘Katakata music’, as well as the bitter-sweet lifestyle of fame; why Nigeria needs to look beyond ‘the big three’, and their zest to continue making evergreen music. 

    How does it feel releasing music at this point?
    WE feel great and elated.  You know, this is our first project, going number one. It feels so good because we are very intentional about everything, about this project from the rollout. We were just very cautious of everything. We are intentional and we feel certain people are rocking with the music, like people see the hard work behind the tape and see the efforts behind it and they appreciate it. It feels so good.

    What is Bad Boy Etiquette all about? 
    So, basically, we wanted to give our fans a little game, you know; it wasn’t just about entertainment and cruise. As much as we are entertaining and being funny, we still want to drop some information and give facts. Bad Boy Etiquette 1&2 is because we just wanted it to have a little depth, not just about being entertaining. We just wanted to make sure the fans go back with some games. Those are records that explain situations of what happened in our lives, before that time.  It was more about depth and a little consciousness journey. There’s a certain highlife feel that pervades your projects. Tell us about it. 

    The ‘Burn my cable’ song that has that feel particularly was produced by Orlando Magic. You know like he’s a Ghanaian and he has that Ghanaian Highlife feel. It was just right to get somebody from the Ghanaian space on the record and Sarkodie jumped on it — big respect to him! Like when we dropped the first record, he was feeling the tape and we asked him if he would like to get on one of the records, and he made it easier for us. Highlife is basically an African sound. We have a touch of it. Our sound is called katakata music. It is a touch of everything. 

    What would you say embodies your Katakata music style?
    Basically, it just explains our music because it’s just how versatile it is, you know the touch of different injuries like sometimes we hop or R&B instrumentals, sometimes we’ll hop on highlife, and you don’t find a lot of artists being able to touch different aspects of the music like that. So, just seeing our ability to do different things on the music, we felt like katakata music fits better to describe what we are doing. You know what Katakata means; it means plenty of things. 

    How did Port Harcourt city shape your music?
    Port Harcourt has always been a music town. The people that we were listening to were Cardinal Rex Lawson, Duncan Mighty, Burna Boy as well, especially when he dropped the Burn Identity mixtape. You know, Port Harcourt is a music industry on its own; it’s more like it’s different from Nigerian music. So, people over there don’t get to feel that kind of exposure, that kind of platform. And then again, when you get the opportunity or chance, you will know that you don’t even have the time to play around or to make a song that might not work or that you are not too sure of. It kind of makes you grounded and focused. Coming from Port Harcourt, you just have to be very serious with your music. So, that has been coming to play with almost everybody from that town. People have always been making good music from that town, but they’ve not just been paying attention. So, growing up and experiencing that just kind of shaped our music. 

    Teach us a few of your favourite slang words in your music. 
    Yeah, okay. ‘Abobi’ means like my guy. ‘Barney’ means your babe, then ‘Vida’ means how far and ‘Focus’ is self-explanatory, you know what it means. Then, ‘Lap’ can be used in different contexts but mostly, it means ‘come’, like ‘lap my unit now’- come my place, that kind of thing. The idea is that when you hear a Port Harcourt boy talk with these slangs, you will understand that this is a bad boy, and that is why we call ourselves, saying ‘make way, the Bad Boys coming through’ because of the way we talk. When you hear the way we speak, you’ll know this one is a bad boy. So, yeah, that type of thing. 

    How do you guys manage your relationship? 
    Basically, it is  just having the same vision and respect for what we do, respect for the music, respect for the grind, respect for everybody’s effort and time. And with the process of the music, it’s really not one pattern, but the good thing is we are all working hard. Trying to be out there as possible, trying to be, trying to record as much as possible regardless of where the idea is coming from. The most important thing is that we always want a good song, or when we need a good song, we put each other into perspectives, songs that are entertaining. So, regardless of how it comes, we will come through with the ideas. It doesn’t matter, the most important thing is that we are moving. That’s pretty it basically. 

    Which do you enjoy more: recording music or performing it on stage? 
    I think it comes with different vibes; because recording in the studio, you have to really do it properly; you have to listen to the beats and go back and forth, trying to put in the words that will rhyme or fit properly. And even when you are performing and all of that, it’s actually still a great feeling; you know, just seeing your ideas come to life and seeing people appreciate it in real-time, seeing people trying to sing the song word for word, cheering you on when you come on stage! It feels really interesting. 

    Any memorable experience that stood out for both of you in your career, so far?
    I can’t say there is anyone in particular that is memorable but there’s a lot of significant moments that have happened. For instance, when we made ‘Loyalty’ we were not really feeling it. We just did it and dropped it, as a freestyle, and it just turned out to be one of our biggest songs. So, yeah that’s a memorable moment. Yeah, it was the freestyle we just did in the studio, and we just dropped it. We were like, let’s just try this amapiano thing that people are doing and people went crazy with it, you know. 

    How has music-making changed for you, with your present fame?
    Yeah, I think with finding inspiration, it just kind of changes sometimes, because of the way you see things. You can’t help it; it will change. I mean, your experiences kind of change, your stories too kind of change, but I think just still being in touch with reality will always help you as an artist. Just not being totally disconnected with what is happening around you will kind of help you. You know a lot of the times you are outside, there are sane conversations you will have that will feed your subconscious and all that stuff. But now, if you are not at a show or recording, you are just staying indoors because you are not outside all of the time. And that kind of puts you in a bubble, somehow too. So, sometimes it’s always good as an artist to always live life, maybe in more private settings, but still hang out with your friends. Still just be normal, have your guys around, have people around, do certain things, like link up with people you normally link up with and basically just live life. Just do whatever you can to refresh yourself and feed your subconscious, so when you want to create, you still really like to have a lot to give out. So, that’s it basically. 

    What is that one thing that you would really love to change within the industry at the moment?
    If there is anything that I would want to improve, I feel like there are so many artists in the African scene. I feel like there are so many people putting in the work, so much work for the attention to be focused on just three artists. I feel like the audience should do better in listening to more musicians, because there are a whole lot of people. It should not just be focused on three people. I feel like there should be more acceptance, because it is a collective effort to even be where they are today. 

    Finally, what is your vision as Ajebo Hustlers? 
    With our legacies, making timeless music first of all. Making music that will be here years to come, and I mean creating an impact like touching the lives of people. I want to get advanced in life and see that people or some of my fans are actually advanced too and some of my songs are memorable songs that they can remember at some point in their lives, maybe during graduation, or when they were going through something in school. So, whatever but like just touching the lives of people, and then making this music up to the point where we can actually still give back to a lot of other creatives, and help as much people as we can whichever way- collaborations, and simply just putting them on and making the journey a lot easier than it was for us. 

    See More Stories Like This