The rapper and Spoken Word artiste, born Felix Ayuk, but professionally called oddFelix, shares a lot of interesting thoughts about the deterioration of Hip Hop, which is his own genre of music, and how such unfavorable phenomenon will never be the determiner if he ever decides to abandon the aforementioned genre.
In the third episode of Hint A View, an exclusive interview with Sam George Mac, oddFelix, having spent a larger chunk of his years as an artiste in Calabar, discusses the advantage of making music from Abuja. For Felix who knows what it means to make music in an environment with “bigger” audience, moving to Lagos to make music is a fat possibility too.
Felix, who is certainly odd for so many reasons, interestingly did not choose the name “odd” based on his own oddity. Coincidentally, the name, upon its selection, matches the reality of being odd that he embodies. Consequently, this particular psychological feature is ubiquitous on his most prominent single titled 25 Years.
This and many other things are what the rapper discusses in the exclusive interview below:
Q1. Yeah! Let’s get on with the interview straightaway. When folks talk about mainstream music like Hip Hop in Nigeria, attention is mostly shifted on Lagos. What has it been like making music in Abuja?
I started living in Abuja a few years ago and making music here has been fun. I don’t have a local artiste community that I belong to here. Maybe I’d have that if I’m in Lagos.
I believe that belonging to local communities help artistes grow faster in different aspects. I also believe that, with all the attention put on Lagos, there are some things in Abuja that people are missing out on, and I’m out to grab them.
Q2. That’s somewhat intelligent to realize how there are things to grab out in a place with less attention. Tell me, Felix, what is the difference between being an artiste in Abuja and being one in the cities of Calabar? You’ve lived in both places and you can tell the difference, I believe.
Abuja is a bigger city than Calabar, so saying I’m an Abuja based artiste might give me more rep than saying I’m a Calabar based artiste. But some of my biggest opportunities came when I was in Calabar. When I was featured at the Lagos Arts and Books Festival, I was a Calabar artiste.
When I was featured at the African Farmer’s Convention, I was a Calabar artiste. When my project was featured at Festival Poetry Calabar, I was a Calabar artiste. I feel like I did more as a Calabar artiste, because I wasn’t a stranger there.
Being an Abuja artiste is a little hard right now, and I’m sure that’s because I am still settling into the city. My journey while in Calabar still speaks for me. But I’m sure over time, I’ll get more familiar with how this new city works and snatch what it has for me.
I still run back to Calabar for some art-related things. I host Oddmas annually in Calabar. I can’t do that here, because I may be the only person at the event. (Laughs) But I’ll do more when I’ve made more connections in Abuja and settled in more.
Q3. You’ve really been on a long journey. Great! Having left Calabar for an industry you termed “bigger”, do you see yourself relocating to Lagos to push a career in the future? Whether yes or no, I’ll like to know why.
I’ve pictured myself going to Lagos, but I also wonder, “must I go to Lagos?” “Can’t I stay in Abuja and do as much as those who are in Lagos or even more?” I mean, I’m sure there are a million artistes in Lagos, and not all of them are Wizkid.
So I could just stay here and chill, work hard, and probably be as big as I hope to be. Lagos is an option I’ve considered, but I haven’t concluded on it yet.
Plus, I’ve begun to make some moves to grow a root in Abuja. Moving to Lagos right now will mean starting afresh again. Even if I (will) eventually move, it definitely won’t be soon.
Q4. Artistes like Erigga from Delta and this other artiste that sang Port Harcourt boy from Port Harcourt, can’t remember his name at the moment, may possibly have the same opinion as you about Lagos. They stayed back in their region, building their career and that automatically makes them regional.
You’ve mostly spent your efforts, time and money, doing Spoken Word, an oral form of poetry. I did listen to 25 Years, a Hip Hop track you released some months ago. Was it your first official attempt at music?
25 Years isn’t my first attempt at doing rap music. I have other rap songs. There’s “I”. There’s “One’s For Me”. Both were released before 25 Years. I’m even working on a new one right now, and will still work on another for when I’m 26 years and call it “26 Years”.
I started rapping before I started Spoken Word. But I started recording and publishing Spoken Word before rap music.
Q5. I’m shocked I was able to forecast your plans after listening to 25 Years. I had it in my head, before the interview began, to ask if we would be getting a 26 Years when you reach 26 this year and then 27, 28, 29 and on and on till whenever.
I know what I felt listening to 25 Years. I will share it tonight too. I know how far I traveled on that song. But tell me before I tell you, how did it feel at that exact moment you wrote 25 Years? After that, the recording session, can you recount the happenings?
Fam, there’s even a 24 Years, and a 23 Years. They’re Spoken Word, though. I’m glad you felt “something” while listening to 25 Years.
I wanted 25 Years to be chill, lazy and too cool to be considered serious rap music. I’m guessing you felt the laziness in it, but I wanted it even lazier initially. Blame the producer for giving me a beat that made me a little more energetic.
I travelled to Kaduna to record 25 Years and some other rap songs. I also recorded “If You Hear Say”, my most recent Spoken Word. I recorded all those stuff at night. I was hungry too. I couldn’t find where to buy food on my way to the studio. But the studio time I was able to get was at night.
It was fun recording. My producer, Drumstixx, was a sweetheart to work with. Then there was a moment with a baby in the studio. My voice woke him up and I had to rock him back to sleep. Talk about a father-artiste moment.
Traveling to record that poem was also my first time travelling by train. I couldn’t wait to hear the finished work. And when it came, I was overjoyed. I was tempted to release it before my birthday!
And when I performed it live for the first time, I felt on top of the world! It’s one of my favourite songs till now, as probably the first song I’ll perform if I am to perform on any stage right now.
Q6. And it’s my favorite song this week. I just discovered it this week. Yeah! What you call laziness from your perspective is equanimity and sobriety for me. How you could deliver such loads of loads so calmly is a bigger level of insanity.
Several instances got me on 25 Years. I felt my very own reality in several lines of the song. Turns out I share some mediocrity with you — you state that asking you to ride a bicycle is asking you to die. A line before then, you claim you cannot swim. Interestingly, those are two things I think I may never successfully learn how to do too.
That’s very funny tho! Away from the trivial realities I mentioned above. 25 Years is a mirror that reflects the frustration of a typical Nigerian youth. And will we ever get a music video for it?
Well! Thank you. And thank you! And thank you again. It’s exciting to hear that my efforts gave you something to vibe to.
About a video, I may not do a video for 25 Years, except something I don’t expect happens. I had plans for it but things did not go as planned. But, yes, there will be a video for 26 Years.
Q7. Beautiful! Hip Hop is witnessing a serious low in its existence in this part of the world. A lot of Nigerian rappers have switched to singing while the last men upholding the flag of the genre continue to point accusing fingers at fans who do not appreciate the genre, for its near death. What is your view of all these unfavorable situations Hip Hop has found itself in, in Nigeria?
I agree that Hip Hop in Nigeria isn’t balling right now, but I can look at it from different POVs. One is that I don’t make music because of how popular the genre is. Two is that I make music for the world and not just Nigeria, and Hip Hop in the world is doing well.
I understand that your smaller, immediate surrounding audience — in this case, Nigeria — is key to getting the bigger audience — the world, but that’s a story for another day.
If I switch genres, it shouldn’t be because my current genre is dying. It should be because I believe I can function there better.
If I was looking for the largest audience, I probably won’t be doing Spoken Word too. I’ll stick to what I do and see where it leads me.
Q8. Great! I love your thoughts and ideas. Which singer or rapper or artiste or music inspires you to do more music?
This list is long. There’s Chance The Rapper, there’s Lecrae, there’s MI Abaga, there’s Andy Mineo, Kanye West, Jay Z and more. Mostly rappers. Some because of their style. Some because of how creative they can get. Some because of their ideas about life, faith and the industry.
Q9. Quickly provide links to stream 25 Years here. It is now a Pop Culture for artistes to debut a project discography with EPs recently, do you have anything in plan regarding project releases?
I have plans for EPs and an album in a couple of years from now. Things haven’t gone as planned. I think plans going out of hands is one thing indie artistes deal with.
But I’m fine with singles until I can put an EP or album together. I’m working on it and I pray it goes as planned. They may contain some of my previous works too. Either ways, I’m sure people will love what I come up with.
25 Years is available on all major streaming platforms, stores and social media, but here’s the Spotify link.
For other platforms, it’s just one search away. You can also find links to all my works on different stores and streaming services on my Linktree.
Q10. Great! Just great! When are you releasing 26 Years? That’s one! And may I tap into your very first philosophy as an artiste, or perhaps, simply as a human?
I’ll release 26 Years on my birthday, like I did for all my birthday tracks. 18th of August or Oddmas, as I call that date.
I see music as a way to have fun, to share my stories, to show the world a part of me and to tell the world things I think they should hear. I see it as a gift God gave me and one I can use to do the things I listed above. With these on my mind, I do music.
Q11. It’s a minute before the eleventh hour. Tell me, why are you Odd Felix by stage name?
Oh! I will. It’s just a name that popped out from nowhere. I was setting up my WhatsApp account for the first time and I used Oddman as my display name.
I later replaced the “man” with Felix and that’s how we got here.
Q12. So, there is nothing close to being odd about you that so much blends with the name or you want to keep it off records?
Well, I’ve had a weird view of Christianity, so I know churches and Christians saw me as weird for a while. Some still do. I grew up around Christian circles, and some of them found me to be the odd one among them. So I guess that counts as back up for the name.
Q13. It’s a nice thing being odd. I know because I am one. This is the last question in this session by the way. Do you have plans to feature anyone on 26 Years?
Nope. Nope. Nope. But if I can find an artist I’d be glad to work with who shares the same birthday with me, I’ll consider a collaboration.
And that’s almost similar to searching for a dessert in a desert. Somewhat rare but not impossible!
Alright. This is where I will bring Hint A View, the third episode, to a halt.
Thank you for your time here. I do hope you have a nice night ahead, going into the new week.
A pun to wrap it up, I see. I’m glad I was here. Thanks for having me, brother. And happy Easter to you.