By Chinonso Ihekire
27 November 2022 | 9:00 am
THE year is 2022. And Hip Hop music somehow seems to have lost its steam across the Nigerian music community. With most of its adherents leaning towards the cash-grabbing pop-music scene, Nicholas ICatch Up On the TikTok Trends For 2022 hua-Maduenyi, professionally known as Psycho YP, is among the few wunderkinds sparking a new wave…
THE year is 2022. And Hip Hop music somehow seems to have lost its steam across the Nigerian music community. With most of its adherents leaning towards the cash-grabbing pop-music scene, Nicholas ICatch Up On the TikTok Trends For 2022
hua-Maduenyi, professionally known as Psycho YP, is among the few wunderkinds sparking a new wave for the genre.
Known best for making Drill music – a contemporary Hip Hop subgenre most popular in the UK – Psycho YP has carved a discography that is both globally appealing and also a strong muse for rap’s renaissance in Nigeria. With his YPSZN3 tape, the latest instalment in his YPSZN trilogy, he taps global stars such as Backroad Gee, Alpha P, Barry Jhay and Odumodu Blvck, to tell candid stories of life, survival and many other realities on the ‘streets.’
The Apex Village founder and Abuja-based maverick speaks to Guardian Life on Drill music, YPSZN3, as well as the bottlenecks behind rap’s renaissance in Nigeria.
How do you feel about the release of your latest project?
Well, people have heard it and they understand where I am coming from. I feel like everybody is accepting each part of YPSZN, part by part.
What exactly have you been trying to say with the YPSZN trilogy?
It is just really trying to say that rap is not really dead in Nigeria. I feel there is a whole lot of new rap music that is about to kick off.
Take us back to when it all began for you.
I just started rapping. Then I moved to England for school. I was just wowed by the idea of Drill music. So, I started trying to make my own Drill music. My song, Foolish, is one of the first Drill songs that I ever made. I just liked the sound. It came easy to me, naturally.
So, who were you listening to when you started?
People that were popping at that time were Stormzy, Chip, Central Cee, and a lot of people who had beef with each other at that time. I was also listening to Headie One, Abracadabra, and many others. I still listen to them.
Why did you pick the name Psycho YP?
At one point, people were calling me Young Psycho. So, I just put it together. It was a very unique name. It was Psycho at first, but the name was taken. So, I just added YP.
Drill is still a rising genre in Africa. What’s the pressure like, with you trying to make it a household sound?
Yeah. It comes with a whole lot of pressure. You just have to do it.
You come under a lot of criticism, for the type of music you do. How do you deal with it?
I don’t really care what they say; if they do not like it, they would probably listen to someone else that sounds similar. I know there are people out there that will invest in it. If you don’t like it, then that’s on you. You cannot just dislike my music, c’mon!
There is also backlash on how you reflect your perspectives on drugs and street life.
So, I see all these tweets. Bro, these people don’t understand. As a Nigerian kid, you go from school to home. When you go to University, you get to see life. I have seen a lot of things. I have slept in bandos in East London. I have had real life experiences, seen people get arrested. These stories just come out when I make music; I hardly write them. I don’t have time to explain myself to people. People could pretend to their parents, but at the end of the day it’s all pretence.
What inspired the collaborations on YPSZN3?
On YPSZN3, I had Backroadgee, Zilla, Alpha P, and Barry Jhay. Most of them are Lagos people, and I was in Lagos at that time with them. Most of these people are like my people. It was not really a label move.
Does it feel like the whole Abuja Drill movement is very D.I.Y. How did you guys get to this point?
Growing up, when I was in Secondary school there were people like Lady Donli, Tay, Cruel Santino, Odunsi, and other similar people making music. I was seeing that movement and how they were doing their thing. Santi for instance was spearheading everything in Lagos, by himself. I felt I could do the same. Kudi used to mix for everyone, and then he went to film school. He could make movies, literally. So, he was shooting all our music videos and everything. From there, I learned from Kudi and started shooting my own stuff. He was in school doing film. At one point, I could not disturb him. So, I had to start doing stuff myself.
There was a recent diss challenge that sparked conversation on the resurgence of rap music in Nigeria. Do you think we can go back to our glory days, with Drill music?
There is still hope. It is just that these big labels need to calm down and understand that Hip Hop is also a genre. They are willing to put so much money on one Afrobeats song, but they won’t promote a rap single. It might be true that they won’t make so much money from the song in Nigeria, but there is a whole lot of money that they are missing out on because they are neglecting rap. It literally took myself and DnD Section dropping two random videos to spark the whole challenge. It started out as a beef that was not even that serious, you know. Rap music still has a lot of potential. A whole lot of artistes emerged from that challenge. Even the rapper called PDSTRN. I didn’t even know him till that time.
What was your most exciting song to make on the album?
I think it was the song called Dangerous World. I sent the beat to Azanti. I was just vibing to what he did on it. It was my best song at that point. I put my verse and got the Odumodu Blvck verse. The Odumodu verse was too explicit, so we were going back and forth with management on keeping it on; because the radio stations said they cannot play that verse. We had to call Odumodu to come back and change half of the verse.
So, what’s next for Psycho YP?
A whole lot. I am making more music videos for the album. I am also trying to focus on Apex Village. I see YP being on some rockstar shit. I will be doing different types of music and not just drill. I will just be some Rockstar Elvis style on a Lil Baby level. That’ll be crazy!