I’m not at war with MI — Jesse Jagz...

Rap artiste, Jesse Jagz talks about his career and his exit from Chocolate City

How is life, now that you have exited Chocolate City?

It has been great. I have had to adjust but it is good because the same team that was with me at Chocolate City is the same team with me now and I have not had to do anything new. At the same time, it is still a lot of responsibility and that is why the adjustment is needed.

 There has been a lot of misconception on why you let your former label…

I spent five years at Chocolate City. I got there in 2007 and left officially in 2012. Chocolate City is not my company. I had put in so much work in my new album and felt it was time for me to do things for myself. It was not a spur of the moment decision; it was something I had thought about over time. The reason why I probably did not tell anybody was because sometimes, family might be more concerned about you taking business risks. The day I took the decision, I did not tell anyone including my brother, MI. I produced about four albums for Chocolate City. I don't owe them anything and I don't know where the news that my contract had not run out came from.

 Do you have your own label now?

It is not a label in anyway and I am not signing anybody on. Jagznation is just a business outfit, where I put out my music.

 What's the state of your relationship with the boss, Audu Maikori?

There is no fight. We have been talking and there is no personal war.

 Will you continue to produce for Chocolate City artistes like it was the norm while you were there?

MI and Ice Prince are my brothers; therefore, we will always find time to work together.

 How about the other artistes?

I am not saying yes, but it is possible. For every other artiste, they will have to go through the normal process. If I like the song, then I will go on it.

 Did your exit affect your relationship with MI who is an executive on the label?

I still saw him last week  and at my show I said, 'MI I love you but I am at war with Chocolate City.' I said this so that people can understand certain things. Yes, he is my brother but as an executive of that label, he must own up to other people and be the same thing applies to me. What if he was not my brother? I would still have to do what I did. We are not shooting Missiles at each other, it's just business.

 Brymo left Chocolate City soon after you did. Was that a conspiracy?

Brymo has been my friend before he even got signed on. He is still my friend but we never sat down to discuss our plans.

 You happened to have moved on pretty well and have a new album…

It is an African thing for you to stop and praise yourself but for me and the team, this album is actually our first album and we are just starting. The name of the album is 'Thy nation comes' and it has 18 songs.

 Did you feature any artistes from your former label?

I did not because I did not feature any rapper. I made it a point of duty not to have any rapper; I wanted to do it myself. Also, since I had just left, I wanted to put out music for me only and not involve anybody from that side.

 Is it that you feel threatened by them?

I don't. I was already through with the album without MI or Ice. The album was done before I even left Chocolate City.

 Do we foresee reconciliation?

I don't think there needs to be reconciliation. Instead, the lines of the business just need to be properly disabled; just the same way they were put together.

 It was rumoured that you were very broke and held a concert at the African Shrine and not at some posh venue on the Island?

That is one of the top echelon performance venues we have in Nigeria. It is a fantastic performance stage and well set up. Femi, Fela's son, plays there weekly. They already have that tradition for a musician and not an artiste. I also chose that place for historical reasons and it's a way of paying homage to Fela. Moreover, people on the mainland have been cut off from music. Most shows take place on the island. I wanted to do something for those who don't have the N5000 or N10000. It was for them to come and enjoy good music for free. I can't be broke and put up that kind of show.

 Your songs are rebellious in nature, is this reflection of your person?

Aren't all youths rebellious in some way? All youths are rebellious to some older person and I am being youthful. When I am 35, I might not have this energy again. I am 29 and this is the time I can correct the government through my music. I also get criticised.

 You rarely socialise. Is this deliberate?

It is deliberate. I have always been that quiet and introverted person. With the Internet, television and radio, you are already in the faces of fans whether you want to be or not. I am just living as I have always lived.  I hate being put under the pressure of fame; therefore, I stay at home and make music which fundamentally is my job.

 Do you regret not completing your degree in law?

No.  Though I did not finish, I read a lot and that was the reason why I left. For some, school does not help the mind to grow, it stifles it. For such minds, they need the freedom to learn more.

 Your current physical looks has attracted a lot of distasteful comments

I don't even know what they are saying.  Anybody who has known me will tell you I have always been a skinny boy. I added weight for a year and people were abusing me. I took time out to go back to my old weight and they are saying there is a problem.  I had a weight problem and I was getting obese. I had a lot of pimples on my face because of the fat in my body. Losing weight was something I had to do actively regardless of what people think.

 You have a daughter. Is she taking after you?

My daughter is nine but she schools in Jos. I see her as often as I can and we have a relationship. But I don't like to talk about her. I want her to have a life. She is taking after me and featured in several tracks on my latest album. She is three times better than I am.

 Why did you not marry her mother?

We had her when I was 19. At that age, it was a lot more logical to allow the two of us grow and have a life instead of being together. We are still friends but we were too young to define anything. We can both love this child individually as opposed to getting married because we have a child.