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Why I rap in Igbo fused with Pidgin English –Nigga Raw

By Walter Ukaegbu

With a fusion of Igbo language and Pidgin English, Nigerian Guy Anakpor Raw, popularly known as Nigga Raw, emerges as one of the hottest rappers in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.

With five albums to his credit, the artiste is unrelenting as he is busy performing at different shows both in and out of the country. In this interview conducted online, Nigga Raw opens up on his career, relationship with other musicians and how he’s giving back to society. Enjoy it.

How did you come about your stage name, Nigga Raw?

Nigga is an acronym for ‘Nigerian Guy Anakpor Raw’, which is Nigga Raw. I started using my stage name (Nigga Raw) when I was in the secondary school. At that period, I picked interest in performing on stage during school debates.

 How did you get into music, were you in the church choir or something?

I was never in the church choir. I picked interest in music during my secondary school years…  and that period, some of my peers and I used to battle each other musically by performing songs of our favourite American rap artistes.

How come your kind of music is unique?

Initially, when I started, I was mimicking some cool American rap artistes until it got to a point that I decided to start writing and performing my songs in Igbo and Pidgin English. That was when I noticed that the responses I was getting from the audience were so encouraging, because they could relate to what I was saying faster than when I was rapping in American English. At that point, I decided to stick to Igbo and Pidgin English.

 How long have you been in music and how many albums do you have till date?

I wrote my first song in 1992 and I used a foreign beat by Naughty by Nature, an American rap group, and my friends were so surprised and impressed. I decided to do more to improve on my writing skills, and as far as I’m concerned, that was when I started professionally as a music writer and performing artiste. But I released my first single in 2002, and I have four albums to my credit including Right and Wrung (2005) Everything Remains Raw (2007), End of Discussion (2010), and The Greatest (2012).

How would you describe the Nigerian music industry?

Today, the Nigerian music industry is so big that no event or party would hold without our songs being played back to back. It’s practically the biggest in the continent, and I am happy it is bigger than what it used to be when I first started. Right now, every brand wants to mingle and associate with our artistes by making them brand ambassadors, and the industry is still growing.

Have you done collabo with any artiste, if so, with who?

I have done collabo with Tuface, Flavour, Phyno, Klint Da Drunk, Oritsefemi, Hype MC, Slow Dog, and the late MC Loph.

What advise would you give to up and coming artistes?

They should keep believing in themselves and also be prayerful about what they are doing. They should be focused and know that hard work is the key to success. They should try not to give up on their dreams because nothing good comes easy.

What have you given back to society especially your hometown, Item in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State?

I always organise free shows in my village. I always give out educational materials to encourage and support school children in my village, but I didn’t do it in the last two years because I was out of the country.

Where are you based now?

I am based in Lagos.

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