Oxlade respira música en las costas de Lagos, Nigeria
Con vistas al pintoresco telón de fondo del océano de Lagos, Nigeria, el músico de Afrobeats, Oxlade, adopta una postura poderosa pero algo vulnerable entre un elemento del que es más representativo, el agua. Una yuxtaposición con Oxlade en rosa brillante, estampado llamativo y mezclilla de corte extragrande, terminada con los primeros planos vanguardistas de sus numerosos tatuajes y su gran collar de perlas nevadas, un testimonio de la vida que se está construyendo actualmente. Un personaje excéntrico y brillante entre un comportamiento tranquilo y misterioso.
Nacido como Ikuforiji Abdulrahman Olaitan, es un testimonio de cada proyecto en el que inyecta su capacidad creativa o experiencias de la vida real, y su audiencia lo admira. Ha lanzado muchos sencillos que seguramente estarán en tu lista de reproducción o en la de tu vecino, incluidos 'AWAY', 'DKT' y, más recientemente, el más querido de la radio 'Interest' de Dolapo, con la Sra. Banks y él mismo.
Palabras de Hiba Hassan
Dirección creativa : Mariam Sholaja
Fotografía Mariam Sholaja
Asistente de fotografía. Mofe
El nombre Oxlade es uno de los muchos segundos nombres que le dio su familia, siendo el nieto mayor. Con eso viene una gran responsabilidad o presión que algunos presumen, pero para Oxlade, ha trasladado su presencia más grande que la vida de su familia, pero también al mundo en general. Nacido y criado en Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria, su talento artístico es uno que proviene de adentro, estando en el corazón de la cultura de Nollywood y uno de los orígenes del género Afrobeat.
Cantando desde la tierna edad de 10 años, han pasado alrededor de tres años desde que apareció por primera vez en escena, oficialmente. Y se puede decir que el gran avance en su carrera se abrió a partir de su colaboración en 2018 con su compañero rapero nigeriano Blaqbonez, creando la pista 'Mamiwota'. Es tan importante reflexionar sobre los bajos como sobre los altos cuando realmente quiere aprender o ser inspirado por alguien o algo, y durante el tiempo de su gran avance, el inmensamente talentoso músico había abandonado la universidad y casi se había rendido. en sus sueños, que él recuerda como sus 'tiempos más oscuros'.
Desde entonces, Oxlade ha sido una fuerza imparable en la música, pero se las arregla para tomarse el tiempo para revelar un personaje que es más conmovedor de lo que parece. Su amor por la relación más importante de su vida, su abuela y la guía por la gracia de Dios, es lo que afirma su seguridad en lo que algunos dirían, una industria musical saturada.
Nos sentamos con la estrella en ascenso, en el set de su ciudad natal de Lagos, para profundizar en el músico detrás de algunas de nuestras pistas favoritas ...
Full Suit, John Lawrence Sullivan
Hat, Thomas Olubiyi
Shoes, Artistt's Own
“We're super special in Atlanta right now. That's super inspiring in itself. Just beIng familiar with a bunch of talented black people, that's just the culture.”
Trousers, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
Jewellry, Artist's Own
¿Cómo te ha ido con todo lo sucedido durante el año pasado?
Lo estoy haciendo muy bien, manteniéndome feliz, haciendo música, divirtiéndome y agradeciendo a Dios por la vida.
¿Qué se destaca en particular para usted de este último año, menos la pandemia mundial, por supuesto?
¡El lanzamiento de mi primer proyecto y lo lejos que ha llegado! Ha sido emocionante ver a gente de todas partes conectarse con mi música ...
¿Tienes algún mantras por el que juras que tal vez te haya ayudado en tu viaje?
No tengo ninguno, solo creo en mí mismo y creo en Dios y su capacidad para ayudarme a usar bien mis dones.
¿Cómo surgió o decidió el nombre Oxlade como su nombre de artista?
Oxlade es un nombre que me dio mi abuelo. No tiene una historia profunda.
Ha lanzado sencillos en solitario y ha aparecido en canciones como Interest FT. Sra. Banks, ¿cómo describiría todo lo que ha lanzado hasta ahora y qué trayectoria tiene al aceptar protagonizar ciertos proyectos?
La colaboración es simplemente lo que me impulsa, me encanta hacer música con grandes artistas. Y, obviamente, el plan es convertir nuevos fanáticos en nuevos territorios. Y primero tengo que conectarme con el artista a nivel mental antes de aceptar cualquier colaboración.
¿Cuál ha sido tu lanzamiento favorito en términos de la mejor experiencia y satisfacción?
Cada canción que he lanzado ha sido mi favorita porque los fans aceptan lo que canto.
Describes tu último EP, OXYGENE, como una experiencia humana escalofriante pero muy cierta. ¿Cómo se le define la "experiencia humana"?
Oxygene trata sobre una historia de amor que me pasó, así de real es para mí. Porque se trata de mí.
Me interesa saber, ¿cuál era el significado detrás de la portada de OXYGENE?
La musica es el aire que respiro
Inspirándome en esta sesión escénica, siento que tu persona y el océano / playa tienen cualidades coexistentes. ¿Cuáles crees que son las similitudes entre tú y este elemento natural?
El agua representa tantas cosas, calma, fuerza y belleza. ¡Eso es lo que represento!
La industria de la música, especialmente las secciones que aún son nuevas, se mueve y se transforma muy rápido. ¿Estás abierto a probar cosas nuevas y cómo podría ser esto para ti?
El crecimiento y el cambio son constantes en todo en la vida, todos nos movemos cuando es el momento adecuado.
We hear what you're saying. We hate the idea of saying something's hasn’t developed, it's been there the same amount of time. It's grown into something else. You can't say that it's worse than it was before. It's just something different. We've moved on from that.
[J.I.D raps imitating Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”] “I said a hip hop,” Exactly! They used to be rapping about hip hop. Like, literally. That's literally what he said. Like all this shit. Now it’s people telling their life stories and helping people through those stories, there’s more ways to escape. As you say, there are more storytellers now, people like Maxo, yourself, Kendrick, J Cole... there's a lot of people that can narrate a story and carry people along the way.
That's a really incredible thing.
DiCaprio II really hit the mark for me. Like peeling off new layers to your skills as a rapper, and an artist as a whole. Really portraying that versatility. Is that something you were conscious of?
Yeah, it felt fresh when I was doing it, I feel like the first two projects I dropped would be super unexpected later on... We didn't do it for the number one, chart-topping success. But I feel like I needed to show people that this body of work is special, that’s what I make it for – for the longevity as opposed to just a flash in the pan, number one this week, and then it’s out of your life. I let the shit grow or I nurture it. And really, that's how people care about your craft. And I'll just take the same time, I'm easy. That's why I say you can take as long as it takes for me to drop the next one just because I'm growing with it.
Jacket, Song For the Mute
Trousers, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
Jewellry, Artist's Own
Definitely. Listening back to your discography you can see the amount of work that you put into each project. Every album feels thoughtfully put together and your style matures. But how do you feel about the power of a single versus the power of an album?
I’m an album artist for sure. Like singles are cool and stuff. Well, singles are amazing. I'm
seeing a whole other side of it right now with this feature we just did with Imagine Dragons.
The song is going fucking insane and it’s like ‘Oh, this is what they mean’. [laughs]
How did that come about, was it just something that you were into at first?
Music is like a universal language. So, I feel like just as well as me being a fan of them
because I knew them before they came back, they were a fan of me. So it was just like a
beautiful union, even meeting with them and chilling with them, it was like ‘Oh, this perfect’ because I could stand beside y’all and I can really like agree with your morals and everything. That's what I try with the people I try to work with that think you don't do the normal things in the industry, you not of the same standards that everybody's trying to fit into.
Would you say that opened your eyes to things not just personally but also as an
artist? Aside from having a new audience...
It opened my eyes to a whole other world of music how is released and how people take
care and the time we put into one record is one song. I take that same time for albums.
When you have that one, you have that one. So, I'm trying to be on both ends of that. It’s
working pretty well, God willing everything plays out and I can turn into that superstar rapper
that I proclaim to be.
You have all the attributes to the the biggest; the skillset, the melodies, you have that potential to make big songs, that’s why this move is perfect because there’s probably people out there just now discovering you, what’s that like?
It’s fine because it’s just about patience over anything. You know what I’m saying? Just be
patient with it. I got signed in 2016. It’s about to be 2022! How many artists do you know that
pass through? That you don't even hear. I literally, today, at this moment have the biggest
song I've ever been a part of, like it’s steady growing. So, it's like, okay, that patience is a
virtue. It's like, it's no cap.
Mi abuela es mi relación más importante, pero todo lo que canto es el resultado de lo que sea que me sienta presente.
Shirt Tokyo James
Trousers, John Lawrence Sullivan
Shoes, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
Knit Sweater ZILVER
Shoes, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro
What does having a legacy actually mean to you? In a few words.
Great answer. You were on your way to a varsity career when you were younger, so, from football to studying other rappers, you seem to find a way to widen your skill-set no matter the circumstances you’re under. Was this curiosity something you had from a young age?
I was always like, be inquisitive. When I was a child, to my parents I’d be like, “But why? Why? Why is that?” My mom always said I used to do that. So even with that, I used to get in trouble. But at the same time, it turned into something that kept my imagination. It kept me always wanting to dig deeper into things. I'm a rabbit hole guy. Like if I see something I like or I see something that is interesting. I will rabbit hole the fuck out of that shit.
Do you feel like growing up with older siblings made you grow up faster?
Yeah, I'm definitely an old man. Even when I was a kid, I have siblings who are like six years older than me, so we weren't necessarily close. I wasn't super close, because I'm the youngest.
It's almost like having extra parents.
Exactly. It's just like watching them, making mistakes and stuff like that and just being around.
It's like juking in American Football, when you're on the field you see the mistake they make and you kind of like evade it
You talked about being an old man having those interests that are beyond your years. You had Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort in the visual for “Off Da Zoinkys” which was a really cool tribute to Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye. Have you got a particular interest in films?
100%. Films are important to me. That's why DiCaprio was that. I just love art and creativity in any medium. To be painting or dancing, but film is like something that I always had. My family always liked to watch movies and stuff. And I always took that with me along the walks of life and I just, I love movies.
So what are your top three?
It's hard to say.
Top three DiCaprio movies?
Ooo, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, is one of them. Imma say Apocalypto, he wasn't in it, but if you ever seen that movie, it's one of my favourites, Apocalypto. And I'll give you another... I mess the name up, it may be called The Beach. When they went to those island. It's amazing. He was young too, it's crazy.
What actually make made you become fascinated with DiCaprio?
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Because he was this kid playing someone who’s special and this is when I first came to the realisation he was acting. They really got this kid. That's even crazier. Like it's a key role. It just blew my mind and ever since then I've just been following his career.
If you were to become a director? What kind of director would you be?
I never even thought about that... I've been writing a script and it's kind of like sports comedy. But I wouldn't be a sports comedy director [laughs], I don't know. It'd definitely be some dark shit or something like super out of this world.
At university you started Spillage Village with EARTHGANG?
Yeah we were at school together in Virginia, it was cool. So We stayed in two different dorm rooms. And my dorm, we had a studio right across my room, so I wasn't really rapping. At that time I was on a full football scholarship. I used to go after practice and record with the studio with the guys and that’s how I met them. Especially like the first time, I didn't even hear about them before this, but when I met him, I had a song that I had recorded and I came in the room and they was recording. But it was tight. And ever since then, we just tapped in and we made Spillage Village together.
On the same frequency.
Yeah, I wouldn't be rapping if it wasn't for them, that's probably why people think they brought me in but we did it together like let's make this.
Isn't that crazy, that three guys go from that. That come up at college to now being signed to the same label. Like one of the biggest artists.
Yeah, we playing, we juked the label that we juked them like we were supposed to do something like that. We're from Atlanta, so we finesse. We knew it was going to work out. We just had to get the opportunity, to get to the platform.
So was that the moment that you first decided to properly pick up a notepad or were you already doing bits like that?
I got kicked out of college. And when I got kicked out I was like oh shit, I lost the full scholarship. I was playing football I was going into like my senior year. I was good, I was about to graduate. My GPA was amazing. Everything's good. It just wasn't supposed to happen. I was gonna be a lawyer in some shape or form. And then I thought about and I thought why would I want to be a lawyer to a fucked up system and put more people like me in jail. Or I could just go inside and just like fuck shit up.
Mi abuela es mi relación más importante, pero todo lo que canto es el resultado de lo que sea que me sienta presente.
So were you into criminal law more than corporate law and stuff?
It's all trash. I just didn't want to be a part of any of it. But I learned a lot about it all. I took certain classes and it was letting me know like, this is all bullshit.
You've got an understanding of two sides of the coin, you were a student of law and you've actually been on the other side where you're like fuck this.
I can help more over on this side.
I don't have to... I can't lose my bar, you know when they say pass the bar. – well they can't take it away from me.
What would you say is one thing about the system, let's say in law or society...
Black shit. Anything to the opposition of Black people. I just don't fuck with it. It has been oppression. I'm from the South, from Georgia... Who was I talking to about Lake Lanier [looks around the room], just little shit like that, like if you know the history of the place, Lake Lanier, in Georgia it's a Black town, killed all the people, flooded. Made it Lake Lanier, what the fuck. That's the type of shit.
We realised what was that, like, certain things change over time, but it derives from these like, dark sinister things and it's just like commonplace now.
Yeah, these memories, these people: can't be erased. You can feel it, you can feel it. Being in these places, in these towns, my parents are from small towns in South Georgia. Everybody knows about Atlanta. It's a Black clusterfuck, it's a great city, you can see the richest black woman down to poorest black man there on the same black, we drive outside of Atlanta, it might be difficult for you. You might get pulled over, you might get... I don't even know, it's 2021. But it still is a possibility. Which is even more ridiculous.
And it's quite interesting that you say about carrying the the past of that town you're carrying the past. And it's important as an artist, to bring people's awareness to it.
Yeah, learn the history.
It can be it can be quite a lot of pressure as well in some situations. Do you feel that it's pressure to be that voice? Or is that something that comes naturally?
I say yes and no. Because more so the responsibility, I guess, as a human, as a black man, to say certain things regardless of what happens. I feel like in certain aspects, if it came down to me standing behind what I say in songs, I really believe in it. It's like Martin and Malcolm. You know, they stood up for what they said they believed in it. And it's a different level of activism these days. We have some names like Tamika Mallory. She's an activist that I super stand behind. Like right now, but for the most part, most activists are the artists, the rappers, the singers.
Artists can lend themselves to people like Tamika and be a vessel giving them exposure, and this exposure or just even taking advice from them. Yeah. Being an ally to them. So do you feel like that's something that needs to happen more? Or it just has to happen organically?
It should all be natural. There's a need for because it's kind of the same issues going on. I mean, those issues were super defined in the last year, during the pandemic. You know, stuff that was going on in America with riots and protests and shit like, everything was well exposed.
A lot of people felt this lack of certainty or lack of structure that they may have felt before and the pandemic sort of stripped that away. And to have some people that say, 'You know what, I can see that this is happening as well'...
You wanna know what's crazy? Not really crazy. But during the pandemic last year. I got super close with James Blake. Super close to the point where he was furious about some issues we were talking about, and before we started doing music. He was just having conversations about Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And I was telling him about how I had bought a crib it was still in the hood and is right down the street where the guy got killed it at
Wendy's and it was when there was protests going on outside of the house. There were people parking close to where we stayed and were walking to the Capitol. And James was just one of the people that I was like, Well, I consider you an ally like, you really want to understand my pain, he wanted to make sure like he contributed. He was just super supportive of the whole cause. And he make music, he was like 6"5, he's like a beautiful
fucking dolphin unicorn.
You came into the spotlight almost a decade ago. You've never appeared to make commercial compromises to music, with your second tape Route of Evil having turned ten in June, What would what would present day Destin say to 2011 Destin?
I was not killing it [laughs].I was working on myself. I was tryna figure it out. I would say: Snapped. You snapped. 2011 is when I got kicked out of school.
Oh for real? And you were living in your Pontiac G6 at the time?
Is that car still going?
Ugh. I gave it to my brother. And my brother was in some type of situation with some girls and just did a fucking Jazmine Sullivan and bust the windows out of my car.
Like, what type of hurt ass dude busting windows out of a car? That's some weird shit.
There’s more to that story for sure.
Yeah some weird love triangle shit. Yeah, I love when I put my brother on blast. I'm fuming, I don't even know where that fucking car is. I don't know where it is right now! You got the windows bust out, he slashed the tires...
I feel like it will find it's way back to you one day.
Somehow. I know I'm gonna find my way back to him.
There's gotta be a film about this car someday.
You've also been enlisted to go on tour with some incredible artists, including the late Mac Miller. Have you got any favourite stories going on tour over the years?
So he passed just before the tour started. But prior to that, we were getting like super close, working on music to teaching, he was teaching a lot of stuff. Venting to me about Ariana Grande at a time... It’s so unfortunate what happened.