Most AJ musicians are ungrateful –Baba Fryo


In the 90s, Friday Igwe popularly known as Baba Fryo stormed the Nigerian music scene with his runaway monster hit song, ‘Denge Pose.’

He also got tongues wagging with another hit song, ‘Notice Me.’

In this chat with SAM ANOKAM, Igwe speaks about happenings in Ajegunle where he emerged, the coronavirus lockdown, his new project, pman, among others.

What has been happening to you?

What can we do? We are managing everything as we see it courtesy of the coronavirus and the lockdown. Mind you, Covid is different from lockdown. The lockdown really affected we entertainers. When event centres and other related places are locked that means we are in trouble. I insist that entertainers are the worst hit. And government is not helping matters. I believe the virus would have left Nigeria but for the government. I am not talking about the federal government as they have given palliatives to state governments. It was at the Endsars protest that we now discovered that the state governments hid these palliatives claiming they were waiting for another lockdown. But the perishable goods were getting spoilt. That is wickedness. It is weighing us down.

Some entertainers are ashamed to talk. And we keep hearing from PMAN that they want to give palliative, government wants to give palliative but up to now, we are still waiting for the palliatives, I don’t even understand what is happening.

 Talking about PMAN, what faction do you belong and what is the situation with it?

I don’t know of any faction. I belong to the original PMEAN, that is Performing Musician Employers Association of Nigeria. That is the recognized body that the then head of state, Babangida through it gave us land in Abuja.

 Unlike in your days when Ajegunle regularly produce musicians, why the dearth of artistes in AJ today?

The love that used to bind us is no longer there. It is love that can bring peace, progress. There is no longer love, trust. We have many artistes with dubious characters. I don’t know whether it is hunger or something else. Even if I am hungry, I will still do what I have to do. If somebody brings a show for me, I will do it the way it supposed to be. Look at the youths coming up now. They are the worse. Even those before them are not better off. If we cannot embrace and promote our music, how can people outside accept it?

 Some people are saying that because yourself, Daddy Showkey and the rest left Ajegunle?

I don’t think that is the main issue. To live in Ajegunle is not the issue. The main thing is to represent wherever you are. What has those living in Ajegunle done for themselves? At least we still have youths who have made name in Ajegunle and are still living there, how have they made Ajegunle progress? Some of us outside are still the ones holding fort and promoting Ajegunle. I will try my best and see how entertainment will return fully. The problem of AJ is that some of those young artistes have poisoned the minds of some fans to hate the ones before them. If you hate the ones before you, how do you want to progress? Because those ones paved the way for you. We took Ajegunle to the world.

Still, if we go outside show, they are not known and they say we don’t want people to know them. Is it not who they know and recognize that they would call to work?  If you know that your music is not yet known, why don’t you follow the known with good heart and begin to know who they know? I have brought people up in Ajegunle but they sabotaged me. They soiled my name round Ajegunle all because they want to use me to shine. What I will just say is that the end will justify. I will still do what I can notwithstanding.

 Why is it that Ajegunle had not produced a female act?

I don’t know of now. Because of the covid-19 a lot has gone down. In those days, we had talented female artistes like Viper, Princess N, Lady G, OK Rankin, Erosion etc. These days, I have not seen strong talented female artiste from Ajegunle except Lady Jairo that is trying to come up.

 Few years back before the coronavirus, you suddenly became a sought-after-act gracing shows upon shows, what brought that about?

Good music don’t die. There are evergreen songs. There are things you say that will not die. It will get to a time when people will begin to remember your songs. It may not readily register the way it came but in another way. And they will begin to flash back and would need that person’s songs. Many people within and outside Nigeria have remixed my songs. I believe it is God. He knows how he blesses people. And I still believe more blessings are coming.

 At a point, your protegee, Flextaman happened on the scene and made impact. Not much is heard about him now?

I don’t want to talk about him. He learnt from me. He followed me and ones you do not give me the appreciation that I expect though I am not expecting anything from anybody but at least, a person that is good to me, I will not forget him. He even got my voice texture in one of his songs. I don’t know anything about him. That is the truth. I am facing my own business. If you appreciate me, I will show you love. If you sabotage me, I will run away from you. all I know is that many AJ artistes are ungrateful. That is the problem they are having today. But if I have anything good for them, I will do it regardless.

 Are you done with music?

No. I cannot leave music. I just did one ‘Denge Pose’ remix featuring Zoney a Jamaican musician.

 Could you tell us about your new work?

I have some five new works that I have not brought out. I will release them soon. There are some that I didn’t like the mix. I want to work on them again. I don’t joke with clean jobs. I don’t enjoy music that is not clean. I lost some of my old songs but recently I am beginning to find and them.

 Aside music, you are also into land business, how is that doing?

The land business is on hold now. That is one of the things affecting me. Is it not somebody that has money that can buy land? I am working on other businesses.

 What do you think of these new kids on the block like Omaley, Tems, Fire boy among others?

They are doing their style. It is like doing their businesses and are getting patronage. It is like a tailor sewing clothes that people like and are buying it. Everything has its time and season. Nature knows how it works. Time may come when their style may give way for another one and their songs may now become evergreen songs. Not all artistes can play evergreen songs. Even in our days, there were so many artistes but it is not all that are remembered.

 Hope you have settled with Daddy Fresh whom many thought you referred to in your second hit single, Notice Me?

When I sang that song so many people attacked me including Charley Boy. I never really referred to anyone. There was something I said at the beginning of the song that, I want throw stone, anybody the stone meet naim know. Obviously, the stone met some people and they started to attack me including my manager at the time whose personal life they gleefully talked about. What is my business with that?

Anybody that the stone met responded and if you did, that means you are the one I am talking to.

 What has fame given you?

It has opened my eyes to see things, to know people. It took me to places I couldn’t have reached. Who brought the fame? The people. If the people didn’t accept me, I wouldn’t get fame. If my songs are not accepted, I will not get fame. Fame also gave me money because when you get connection you have money.

 What is inspires this confidence you exude that you are free with everyone despite being a star?

I do not see myself as a star. I see myself as the people. I see myself as a servant to the people. It is the people that now take me as a star. One day I was in Mile 2 some boys blocked me forcefully demanding for money. I made them understand that I am also like them. I only acceded to their request when one of them spoke to me politely. I enjoy my freedom. I mingle with the people. I am loyal.

I am like my father. He was loyal to a fault. When he died, the crowd that came was too much in Ajegunle because he was loyal to a fault. My father used to be a house agent. It is how I am loyal that is why I could mingle with people.

Again, I find out that to trek is good health wise. If you cannot trek, watch it, you are beginning to have health issue. At times I walk 10,000 steps a day and it is helping me. That is why I advise people to do same. See our late friend, Ernest Asuzu. When I went to his show, I called his wife and told her that her husband is not healthy with the way he was getting fat. I never knew that would be the last time I would see my dear friend.

 What to you is the future of the Nigerian music?

Nigerian music is going far. I can say this because of my children. They love music. One dances very well, two others sing. Through them, the way the youths are going, Nigerian music would be something else in the future. As far as I know now, Nigerian music will soon lead all over the world.

 Most people do not know about your spiritual side, could you tell us about it?

I am a spiritual man. I used to attend church but now I don’t go church again. What I see and what I hear including the misbehavior of some pastors are not encouraging. Instead I will attend a church where nobody is the leader. I only go to church how my spirit directs me. I am not a fanatic.


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