Reekado Banks is the African singer who's taking the world by storm. Ending last year with the release of his six track EP 'Off the Record', for Banks this is still just the beginning. And it's easy to see why he's made such a big name for himself. Not only does his music make you want to get up and dance but he's also using his platform to raise awareness about political movements such as the ENDSARS protests. With a desire to get on the road and start touring, we caught up with the 27 year old singer to find out what else is on the cards for him this year. Gracey Mae sits down to grill him on everything from what makes his perfect woman to his early love for rapping!
GRACEY MAE: Reekado Banks - Superstar with the caramel voice. Welcome to F Word. How are you today?
REEKADO BANKS: I'm chillin.
G.M: Good Good. First of all, congratulations on ‘Off the Record’. I know that you’ve been vocal in regards to the #ENDSARS protests. Tell me your thoughts on police brutality and its impact on Nigeria right now.
R.B: Police brutality needs to end. Needs to end quick cos there is no good it’s doing at all. Police Brutality is needs to end, it’s bullshit. We are facing it too much around here, and, there is no class to it; police harasses any and everybody for doing nothing. So it needs to end. Aside [from] in Nigeria, it’s all over Africa. It’s crazy how the government in Africa doesn't think of the people like one of their own… I do not know how they think. Like, they are not thinking right. I don't think those people are thinking right. I can tell those people are not thinking right, because I don't know, the idea behind opening fire on peaceful, peaceful protesters. I don't know the idea behind stopping people for nothing, with guns. This topic is really, really painful to my own heart. Right now, I don't think I have the perfect words for them. Both police brutality really needs to end cos we can't keep going like this.
G.M: You’re right, it has sparked protests across Africa. We are now learning about what's happening in Angola, Namibia, Congo, Cameroon – to name a few. With all of this, some people might be feeling overwhelmed or a little bit anxious. Now, in a previous interview, you said you use music as an escape. Do you still find that music is a journal for you?
R.B: Music is a job right now so it’s a lot more than just passing time. It requires a lot more dedication and discipline for me. I like putting my all in it so it's not just not a past-time anymore but I do listen to music when I want to have some fun sometimes. Usually when I listen to music, my head is working. So I use movies now. I'd rather watch movies. I'd rather learn stuff… go out… see stuff but music, whenever I hear music, and I'm just chillin, my head starts to work! Like my head is just all over the place. Oh, “how did this come to be?” “What does this sound, sound like?” Oh! “What was this person thinking about when he came up with this?” So it's so much work now - music for me. So it's not like candy to me anymore.
G.M: Wow. You're really deconstructing music instead of having the luxury of just enjoying it, I get it I get it. Now a lot of our readers will be surprised to know that you started off writing raps. Do you remember your first bar?
R.B: No, I don't. [laughs] I’m glad I don’t cos I would’ve be pushed to rap it now.
G.M: You already knew what the next question was gonna be. [laughs] Okay cool, so you don't remember the first bar but do you still write raps now?
R.B: I don't think I can write raps anymore. Cos rap is like, bar for bar you have to be smart. I want to ease out sometimes, I don't want to be bar for bar smart.
R.B: No. ‘Rora’ is now.
G.M: I love Rora.
R.B: I love Rora.
G.M: I love Rora. So I’m not fluent in Yoruba so I watched a video of someone breaking down the lyrics of Rora. I said “Wow! Is this what Reekado is saying?” [laughs]
R.B: [laughs] There’s a lot of nasty stuff in there. The crazy thing is I didn't realise how nasty it was until everybody else heard it and made me realise how nasty it is. I came to the realisation how nasty I really am on my personal life so it’s just like oh, okay…
G.M: [laughs] A revelation. I’m a fan of Rora. I’m a fan of all the tracks you’ve released this year. I’m a fan of ‘Banger’, your track with SkiiBii. Talking about collaborations, I have had a sneak peek at “Off the Record” your forthcoming project and you have a collaboration called ‘Speak to Me’ with Tiwa Savage! The lyrics say “you know you’re my type” What would you say is the five things you're looking for when you're looking for the perfect woman?
R.B: Hmm. Nice looks for sure! I like a smart person. Definitely somebody that can also vibe along with the jokes. I mean, just don't be [boring]… I like an outspoken person because I'm pretty chill. So I like somebody to keep talking. I want to keep hearing a voice. I think I've said like three now. Cute person, smart, outspoken. Yeah, um, I think I'd like somebody that knows how to dance because it's just really fun to watch. For the sake of the kids, so they can dance at their free time. I'd like a girl who knows how to dance; it’s just really sexy. And lastly, to be honest, there isn’t so much I want in a woman because I'm still working on my own-self.
G.M: To be honest, a lot of our readers will be saying ‘that's me. That's me. That's me. Tick, tick tick.” So expect additional DMs…I’m sure your DMs are popping anyway.
R.B: Yes! They are [laughs]
G.M: Talk to me about this track. Obviously, Tiwa is your former label mate so you have history. What was it like coming back together cos you guys have a lot of songs together? (My favourite is ‘Like’ which play during every birthday!) [laughs]
R.B: [laughs] It was a good thing. It was suggested by my A&R Marv. He suggested all the collabs on this EP that I'm dropping, aside the one with Wizkid. And I think that's why it's no more on the EP because he didn’t suggest it. [laughs] But um, ‘Speak to Me’ is a good vibe…a lot of energy - produced by Young Jonn. I started the song with Young Jonn and Marv (my A&R) who suggested I call Tiwa up. I did. She drove to my house. We had a good time recording in the studio and a good time afterwards. It was just really good vibes.
G.M: Now you've touched on Wizkid. Reekado, you know what I’m gonna ask.
R.B: No I don’t.
G.M: Bro, the Twitter timeline was on fire. I said “what’s happening?” We you saw you tweet a track with you and Wizkid. We saw his response. The track came down. We thought the track was gonna be in the EP. It’s not. What's going on?
R.B: Are you talking about the song with Wiz? [laughs]
G.M: Yeees sir! I am.
R.B: Cos I forgot about it.
G.M: Ah. [pause] Okay [momentary faint] It’s a wrap moving on! Now, the timeline has been unkind this year, we’ve seen run ins between you and a couple of artists. So Wizkid was one but Burna Boy was the other. When we were in the middle of the pandemic and everybody was going head to head in music battles, Burna sent for you out of nowhere.
R.B: I don't know what that is man. But yeah, the Wizkid one I totally forgot about it already. And the Burna Boy one was… I don't know that time, I thought it was going to be fun to, you know, get on and just vibe like everybody else was but obviously he wasn't having it and he made it clear. And now we've moved passed that. And it’s just fine.
G.M: You know what? I love that you don't have any animosity you just say as it is. It was a moment in time and now you’ve moved on. We move!
Attifaya appears on your EP. He’s pretty new to the game. Why was it important to have an up-and-coming artist on your project?
R.B: You know, it's just very important to always fit in the future in stuff, cos that's like, where the world is going to eventually go. I mean, I already started my own journey, and so far, we see where it’s gotten me to. And hopefully, we go farther than this. But yeah, Attifaya is just starting and I just, I believe so much in him, and what he's going to be able to achieve over the years coming. It's just good to have him on my own project and introduce him through this. Not really like an introduction, but like, introduce him to bigger crowd – my crowd whatever it is.
Reekado wears vest and trousers NOT JUST ANOTHER STORE
G.M: The track with you and Attifaya is called ‘You Dey Mad’. When was the last time you were angry and why?
R.B: I think today when I drove out; I was trying to get into my truck to go see my brother. Then, I was going into the estate through a gate but they weren't allowing me [to pass]. They told me to park and they were allowing other people to go, and he was just allowing other people to keep going. So I was like, “Yo, bro! When are we going to leave here?” It wasn't like I got really mad but I mean, I just wasn’t smiling and I guess that's mad enough.
G.M: I get road rage as well so I can relate.
R.B: I feel like it is energetic, like there's some range and stuff in my delivery… in our deliveries. I started to make that song whilst I was at Mavin Records and the song is just one song that never dies. It just really sounds good every time and we thought it was going to be perfect to be in this project. I called to Mr. Eazi, according to my A&R, he suggested that so I did. Mr. Eazi came through in less than 24 hours and we had ‘People Dey’. I'm really excited about the song; I think it’s my favourite on the on the EP.
R.B: I’d say Ebenezer Obey cos I remember liking the most of these three names you mentioned. For sure, I listened to everything else. But… growing up, I grew up in the church so I always listened to church music, and every other music I came across. I always liked Michael Jackson. I thought he was special. I thought his voice was amazing. He could dance so well… he was just a superstar that I think anybody that was going to be a musician in life would just get acquainted with him in some way. Grown up, I started to fall in love with Chris Brown. I really liked Chris Brown's music and yeah, I think that'd be it. I listened to everything else to be honest.
G.M: Any potential Chris Brown collaboration in the future?
R.B: Yeah, yeah - big big potential view.
G.M: We will look out for that! ‘Mama’ is the final track on the EP with Harmonize. He gives us that Bongo Flava sound reppin' for the east side of Africa; on the track you hail girls from Ghana, girls from Italy. Please Mr Banks, what country produces the finest babes?
R.B: Nigeria [laughs].
G.M: Omo Naija! [English translation: child of Nigeria]
R.B: Nigeria has the finest girls. Naija! We got FINE girls [laughs]
G.M: Alright now, I did skip past the first track that we already know and love with Kida Kudz and EO. ‘Need More’ On the track you say, “Henny in my cup. Need more!” What is your drink of choice?
R.B: Wine, to be honest…white wine, sweet white wine.
G.M: Oh oh. You bougie huh? [laughs] I did not expect that. I thought you were gonna say Ciroc.
R.B: Oh wait. I like Ciroc. I like vodka a lot; it makes me happy. But like my usual vibe. I'd be on my wine and weed.
G.M: I love the I love it. All right “Off the Record” the forthcoming EP drops on the 27th of November. What's the one thing you want listeners to walk away with?
R.B: Hmmm…I never really thought about that. What I know is I want people to take their time and listen; be open minded. And you know, let me know what they think afterwards. Cos like all I did was put in my own work. I don't know what anybody should expect; I did was really good for me that I'm satisfied with. Usually when I get my satisfaction… my taste is usually [the same as the] majority’s tastes [laughs]
G.M: Okay, so you know what's poppin? [laughs]
R.B: *London Accent* You get me! [laughs]
G.M: I absolutely love the project. You've got something for East Africa. You've got something for West Africa. You've got something for the UK. Definitely giving us international vibes. If we want to find out more about you, where can we go online?
R.B: Follow me everywhere or just check my pages anywhere, you get information on every and anything: @ReekadoBanks everywhere! So yeah, to get more information on anything: shows, project, tours in 2021, “Daddy To Many”… everything!! [laughs]
G.M: What can we expect from you this year?
R.B: Definitely my “Daddy To Many” album is coming, and hopefully the world will have be open enough for us to tour cos I was supposed to do that in 2020. I can't wait to do that.
G.M: So a new album, a new tour. We can't wait. Thank you so much. Given that this is the F word. We end every interview with the same question, sir. Mr. Banks, What is your favourite F word?
R.B: [Long Pause] I'm thinking about thinking about what I want to leave you with. Family,
G.M: Family! You said ‘Family”. You are family to me… you’re now family to the F word. Thank you so much for your time. We'll speak soon.