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By: Samuel Abulude —-

King Wadada, a reggae artist, burst into the music scene more than a decade ago. His song, Holy Holy Holy recorded years ago, ruled the airwaves and was on the lips of many. The dreadlocked artiste gained global fame in 2010 when he won the best Reggae Artist in Africa with the KORA award and has not stopped preaching the gospel of reggae music. SAMUEL ABULUDE caught up with him during the Bob Marley memorial gig in Lagos recently and the native of Benin-City spoke about his music career, people’s perception of reggae musicians    and other sundry issues.  

At the point you won KORA award, how did you feel?

I felt great winning the award in 2010. I was so happy and even happier that I was nominated the best reggae artist in the Grammies in 2011 at Los Angeles. At last, my efforts were being recognized on a global scale. My music has been exposed to the whole world. I have been playing more in shows and going on tours since then. My new album ‘Omnipotent God ‘is doing well. One of the tracks, ‘I hail O’ is ruling the airwaves right now with the video.


What is your take on the trend that the younger generation is obsessed with hiphop music?

It’s not their fault. I don’t blame them. They are even trying their best. The blame goes to the record labels that we have in the country. They always insist on signing on hip hop artists. Also, the radio and TV presenters and disc jockeys are part of the problem. Radio stations hold unto one kind of music. They keep saying one kind of music is dead. No genre of music dies. Every genre of music is alive and it depends on where it is being played and appreciated more. Just because of their youthful age, they don’t play reggae music, playing other genres of music to the detriment of others and this brings the falsehood that some music are dead. Reggae music lives on forever. The lyrics and rhythm have inspired other kinds of music. The messages in music these days are nothing to write home about. Nobody can downplay a good music laced with good lyrics. No matter the genre of music, the younger generations of artists have got to be deep and philosophical so that they can come out with the right lyrics for their music.


How do you feel about the Bob Marley day celebration?

I am happy about it. It is a step in the right direction and I will encourage my colleagues to keep on flying the flag of reggae music everywhere.


Since 32 years ago, no one has been able to fill Bob Marley’s shoes?

A lot of reggae artists have stepped up to the plate and besides, Bob Marley was in a world of his own. We the present artists have tried our best to copy his music, lyrics and philosophy. King Wadada is already stepping into his shoes. I have already won the KORA awards as the best reggae artist in Africa. The whole world knows that. I have also been nominated in the Grammy Award. So, Wadada is stepping up to fill those shoes with his brand of inspirational reggae music.


Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Reggae music is known for its philosophical lyrics. What role can it play in terms of social change?

Money is the root of all evil, so reggae music is relevant because of the need to correct social vices and educate the younger generation when they are going wrong. Even the president of the country needs to listen to reggae music to check himself if he’s not ruling well. On the violence in the north, reggae music is the answer. If they listen to Bob Marley’s songs and largely other reggae music and reflect on the messages, they will have a change of heart.

I also urge radio stations in Nigeria to play reggae music. Right now, hip hop music is not in our culture in Africa, especially in Nigeria. I don’t see any artist here in Nigeria play real hiphop music. What they play is a product of reggae music and they still lack the message. I have been to the the whole world and I want to say that we don’t have hip hop artists in Nigeria. They are all playing reggae music without knowing.  I don’t see the younger artists play reggae music which is rich in its messages which is what I want preached to the whole world; the message of Jah.


What is unique about King Wadada?

Not to sound immodest, I’m the first Nigerian to win the KORA Awards. We have Ras Kimono, we have Mandators, we have Majek Fashek but Wadada breezed in from nowhere to win the award which no one has been able to do. I won this with my second album titled, ‘if men were God’.


King Wadada

King Wadada

So far how has your career been?

I have been on for ten years now. I just produced my 3rd album now. It has not been easy but I have enjoyed singing reggae music in different countries.

What has been the challenge?

In this part of the world, we lack record labels. Normally, artists are not supposed to sponsor themselves.  It is a big project. It is not something you can do on your own. Most artists who do this just reign in their own domain for a short time.


Have you been having tours recently?

Yeah, I hold tours periodically. I’m just back from Uganda. I had a concert with the people called Happy Science. It’s an organization. I am going back to South Africa in the next few weeks. So my shows have been a success and I will continue to have them. I thank God.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley


You just mentioned the word of God, why are reggae artists associated with Ganja, heavy smoking?

It is not all reggae artists who take ganja (weed), smoke and drink. Besides, most reggae artists believe in nature. Anything that is natural, they deal with it.


That means they can smoke weed…

If they know that weed is natural and are down with it, they can take it.


What about you?

For me, I’m a natural being. I believe in the Holy Spirit of the most high and he energizes me. I am a child of the most high. I don’t believe in drinking.


What word do you have for your fans?

They should know God and walk in the ways of the most high, obeying the commandments of God. They should also work hard for them to be at the right place at the right time.


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