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BLAQBONEZ: REPRESENT, RESPECT + RAP


WORDS GRACEY MAE - PHOTOGRAPHY WYCLIFF ALABI - CREATIVE DIRECTION MAISIE JANE DANIELS - STYLING JEN ELETO - GROOMING ROSIE MCGINN






Blaqbonez is on the frontline of African rappers taking the world by storm. From collaborating with Ludacris, to representing Afrobeats at the BETs, 2023 has been an amazing year for the award winner. Known for his witty lyrics, fun demeanour and relatable delivery, the Nigeria native is back with his third album, ‘Emeka Must Shine’. Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of Blaqbonez…



Gracey Mae: Blaqbonez, welcome to F Word. How are you feeling today?

Blaqbonez: I feel good, I feel okay.



GM: Congrats on your brand new project, ‘Emeka Must Shine’. On ‘Nyem Ego’ the lyrics say “Blackie where you go?” We've just seen everywhere including completing a six city tour in East Africa. You were in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. What was the love like when you were on the road?

B: It was crazy. The energy was so high. I think it comes with the fact that it’s not my country. When next would they see me again? I really appreciate the type of energy that they came with. I personally was surprised because I had no idea that they consume my music that much over there. That was my first performance on those sides.




Blaqbonez wears top + cardigan KSUBI; trousers PUMA; shoes G.H.BASS  



GM: It looked like there was a lot of love. You received the same reception in London at Piano People - I was there live and direct. Is London like a second home to you now? I feel like you're here every year.

B: Yeah, London is like Afrobeats second home. From day one, London has always been the place that accepted it.



GM: When you're preparing to perform in the UK versus somewhere like East Africa, do you have to prepare differently? 

B: It depends on the vibe to be honest. In London, I really didn't know what type of show it was, but then I got there it was a big party – the energy was like mad. You have to match the energy. Sometimes, it’s calmer and you can just serenade them so it's always different.



GM: We saw you perform at the BET Hip Hop at 50 celebration as the only African rapper; apparently Akon called you so tell us all about it.

B: I was called and I was like “Oh, that's fine!” These are platforms that help further my agenda and what I wants to do so I take them seriously.



Blaqbonez wears hoodie + jeans MINUS TWØ; glasses BOOHOOMAN



GM: Did you feel any pressure or responsibility to really represent the rap scene from Nigeria given that US is the home of Hip Hop?

B: I think [I'm] always just going to be myself. I'm going to do what I need to do, to the best of my power, anywhere, anytime. That to me is proper representation of my country.



GM: Sticking with the US, you were in America very recently at the Headie Awards and after 10 nominations and 0 wins, you finally took home ‘Best Rap Album’ for ‘Young Preacher’. What was it like when you were climbing the stage to accept your award?

B: t was hard to process the emotion while I was on stage. I just wanted to get it and get off stage to just process it properly. So I was just in limbo while I was on stage - so much was happening in my head.



GM: We definitely saw that! I remember you jumped on socials just after to thank your family since the emotions were high and your forgot. Have your family always been supportive of your musical journey?

B: Not always. Back then, music wasn't something that was serious. People didn't take musicians seriously. They think we're just having fun. So at first, my parents were just like you need to finish school and leave music until after so that’s what I did.





GM: In a freestyle earlier this year [we heard] that you don't believe in fairy tales. Offset commented on the post, can we expect to see you both in the studio at anytime soon?

B: Definitely, I'm very open to working with people. There are some people that have already texted me so I can't wait to be back in America to see where it leads to.



GM: Outside of your latest project ‘Emeka Must Shine’, you're still in the studio giving us back-to-back features. You just dropped ‘WOMS’ with Libianca and Moliy, as well as, ‘Outside’ with Fireboy DML. How do you decide who to collaborate with?

B: If I’m free work-wise and I respect the artist, why not? I only want to work with people that I respect. It makes great music - I feel like we could combine and make something special. I've always been pro collaborations since day one but I only want to work with people that I know respect my work.



GM: Now if I say the name Lil H, and I take you back to being 14 years old, does that trigger any memories?

B: Yeah, definitely.




Blaqbonez wears full look BOOHOOMAN



GM: Talk to us. Who is he and what happened at that age?

B: He's just somebody that I heard on radio and, as a result, I started rapping. My cousin challenged me and was like “Look this young boy doing this and all you do is criticise his raps” so that’s how I started rap.



GM: Do you think 14-year-old you would be proud of where you are right now?

B:100%



GM: We are going to bring this interview to a close but before we do, I have to ask: what is your favourite F-word?

B: Fly. Stay fly all the time.




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