[GISTS]: The real secrets behind Olamide, 9ice’s success– MUSIC PRODUCER ID CABASA

Legendary music producer, Olumide Ogunade,
popularly known ID Cabasa, is a beat maker who
brings his artistic value to both music production
and business. He has helped young acts take their
music career to the next level. In this interview with
OLAITAN GANIU, Cabasa bares his mind on the
challenges of promoting indigenous rap, tackling
consumption of hard drugs among youths and
conflict between record labels and artistes, among
other issues.
What inspires you to go venture into producing
music?
If I say I saw anybody as an inspiration, I will be
lying to you, because as at the time I started,
people were not making money from music
production. Few people I used to hear their names
were Laolu Akins, Tunde, Yomi Omidiran and Lak
Adeniran, I think he is late now. He was a studio
engineer at Afrodicia Record Studio formerly known
as Peca. Unfortunately there’s no history about this
studio till date but that studio has actually produced
legend artistes like the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti,
Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, Shina Peters, Barrister,
Onyeka Owenu and others. I used to walk down to
the studio to see how they did things because it’s
not far from my house in Akoka.
The truth is, you can’t say you’re really looking up
to these producers because people only celebrate
the artistes but my desire to produce quality beats
that Africans can feel pushes me to know what’s
cooking behind the scenes. Generally, producers
abroad ring bells more than our local ones.
Professionally, when did you start your career?


I started as a teenager way back in the late 80s. I
was in the secondary school while also doing
music by the side. But, professionally, it was
around 2003 after I left the university. I worked in a
corporate company for a while before I left to fully
focus on music production.

Is that when you started coded times?

I started Coded Tunes production in my house in
2003. But before Coded Tunes, we had a clique
called, The Smiling Head Soldier which was headed
by 2phat. It comprises me, 2phat, Lord of Ajasa
and MC Spako. And then, we used to have a lot of
squads coming to make beat in my studio. There
was this massive squad called, Yabtown Squad
which is where Reminisce originated from. It is a
clique of both rappers and singers and some of
them were my juniors in secondary school.
From there, we decided to gather momentum and
create something larger than just being Smiling
Head Soldier or Yabtown Squad. And obviously the
name of the studio that unites us is Coded Tunes.
So, that was how we started Coded Tunes.
So, Coded Tunes is not directly owned by you?


I can’t say Coded Tunes is owned by me. Though I
own the studio but the Coded Tunes clique consists
of other friends. Probably, because I was the only
producer amongst them, that unconsciously makes
people believe ‘ID Cabasa is the head of Coded
Tunes’. Though, it later became a bit formal, and I
alongside 2phat and Lord of Ajasa became the
head.

Coded Tunes is known to promote aboriginal hip
hop acts. Tell us about it?

It was something we started subconsciously but we
are very proud of it today. As a musician and
producer, I love to be original in all I do. I like to
sound not local but indigenous because the way to
get to people’s heart is majorly from their culture.
There is a Yoruba language that says, “Ile latin ke
so r’ode”, meaning charity begins at home.
Obviously, the law of attraction worked for us, I met
2phat and Spaco who are infusing Yoruba to their
hip hop music and that is what I also wanted to do.
It was 2phat that later introduced me to, Lord of
Ajasa who raps strictly in Yoruba.
Our staying originality then also attracts 9ice, Seriki
and even Reminisce that you see today rapping in
Yoruba. He was actually rapping then in pure
English and he is very fluent. The same things
apply to Olamide; he rapped in English, but when
you move with people you will get influence by
them.

Today, the industry is dominated by indigenous
artistes. How does this make you feel?
I don’t think every Nigerian agrees that these things
actually started from us. We live in a country where
we don’t have or read history. Over the years,
people are attributing the King of Yoruba rap to the
late Dagrin, claiming he popularized it. Dagrin
listened to the likes of Lord of Ajasa, 2phat and
Coded Tunes before he summoned courage to do
Yoruba rap. I remember, few months before he died,
we had a chat and the young man was hailing me,
saying, ‘Baba, e yin la n wo’ (meaning we are
following your footsteps). So, for me it’s a thing of
joy if people understand that we pioneered it. I’m
happy that some people still refer to Coded Tunes
as the pioneer of indigenous rap. We are the ones
who created something that other people can
actually live on and express themselves and that’s
my definition of greatness.

You’ve been a blessing to many big stars of today.
Do you receive accolades for this?

Well i get more
accolades than I think I deserve because all of
those I’ve worked with till date are still much loyal
to our friendship and some of them still mention
my name in their interviews. Last year, 9ice titled
his album after me. Olamide still doesn’t believe we
are in a way apart. He doesn’t see me as ID Cabasa
who just produces beats for him but rather sees me
as his father and always consults me at any of his
projects. We still play and do things together. The
same goes for Reminisce, Seriki and every other
guy, even the ones that are not part of Coded Tunes
family which I’ve worked with. They still appreciate
me; the likes of Banky W, Ruggedman, Durella and
co.

How did you discover Olamide?

Olamide came with a friend to record in my studio;
a friend was featuring him. I fell in love with the
young boy of 13 or 14 as he delivered his rap line. I
could hear a depth that you won’t get from most of
his age mates. I was so impressed that I told him
that he’s free to come to my studio at any time. He
will come to the studio, then I will make beat while
is writing his lyrics. From there, the interest to have
him as part of Coded Tunes developed and the rest
is history. By the time Coded Tunes transited to a
proper recording label, Olamide was the first person
signed alongside Seriki and Kayefi.


You’ve not been producing music like before; have
you opted out of the game?

I laugh most time when I hear questions like this. I
still produce, but I don’t think I have anything to
prove again. I don’t fight to get production credit.
Many people don’t know that I’m the one that
produced Olamide’s ‘C-Ronaldo’ song. And on every
Olamide’s album aside last year, I’ve been the one
producing virtually all of it. The same goes for 9ice,
and Lord of Ajasa’s album and a couple of other
big artistes in the industry. I just stopped being the
rookie ID Cabasa that artistes will be shouting his
name on songs.


In your opinion, what classifies as the slang,
‘blow’?

The term, ‘blow’ does not mean you will be rich.
Blowing does not guarantee success. Anybody can
blow and it is very easy to blow but how long does
your impact last? It’s just like a bombshell. People
dance to songs after a month they get tired, so
don’t just blow look for acceptability. Upcoming
acts should ask themselves how they can sustain
their relevance. They should better look for
acceptability not just popularity. They should gather
disciples rather than getting fake fans and let their
content have a depth that can last for long.


What is your take on the high rate of hard drugs
consumption among youths?

For every human being there’s a hunger for one to
be high. I mean the hunger of seeking for more and
people like to isolate themselves. They are looking
to get to seventh heaven but unfortunately, it is a
means to a particular end. If they understand the
end before the beginning, they will know that you
don’t need drugs to get to that end. When you
smoke Marijuana to get inspiration like they say, it
will only get you isolated. What inspires is right
inside you. If you don’t give your mind capacity,
you’ll get to that place of highness and nothing will
come out. These guys don’t know they are
destroying their destiny. But can you be so high
and be higher than the Almighty God? It is
impossible. For someone like me, if I want to get
high, I’ll just close my tinted windows and put on
loud music till I get high, that is the way I meditate.
I don’t need to engage in drugs to get high.
I like the fact that the government has stood up to
eradicate it but I don’t think they can eradicate it by
just banning the importation of codeine, because
codeine is a medicine just like Indian hemps.
Depression is actually pushing people to do drugs.
If the government can have plans for the youth who
engage in drugs the level of consumption will
automatically reduce.


What is your advice on conflicts between
musicians and Record Labels?

The most important currency that we spend in
business is trust, and this comes from building
honesty overtime. An agreement is an agreement;
artists should not come to the table of negotiation
with desperation. Your need can force you to sign a
wrong deal because that’s what you’ll be asking for
and once that is supplied, you have lost value. Don’t
come to sign an agreement because you want your
investor to get you a luxurious car, standard
apartment and different stuff. Come to the table
with a value and depth you are bringing in. If you
don’t understand the contract, get yourself a good
lawyer that can interpret it for you.
As for the record label or investor, if you know you
don’t know anything about music business like
putting structures in place, handling PR, branding
and promotions of the artiste, all you have is your
money, please, don’t invest in music. Because, if
you do; you’ll lose out eventually.
My advice for both parties is to sign deals as worst
enemies but work as best of friends. Never allow
emotion to get into signing deals.


What are you working on currently?

Presently I am working on our concert, Korinsodi in
which we are featuring YBNL princess, Temmy
Ovwasa and Lyta, Devolee and some other
independent artistes. And I am focus on the
academic aspect of Coded Tunes so as to help
upcoming artistes understand the music industry.


How do you combine work with family?

I always balance my time with work and family,
when it’s time for business I stick with the business
so also the family. I don’t work round the clock
though there are days I do that and I’ve been
married for 11 years now, but the good thing about
this job is that I can work anywhere. Sometimes, I
have to work from home and still communicate with
my family. My wife is also a singer. She has done
backup for a couple of artistes like 9ice, and Lord
of Ajasa. She still sings. Her latest work is titled
Akikiitan by Sijuade which is presently enjoying the
airwaves.

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