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Exclusive: “What we are claiming is Nigerian music is just from Lagos and Lagos is not Nigeria”- Ikon




Ikon is not your everyday producer. The Syndik8 records co–founder operates on a level so high that most people regard him to be one of the best at what he does in Nigeria.

Apart from his work with Syndik8, Ikon who recently released his own songs (Akintunde and Solomon) is part of the musical group 3 Wise Men (with Blackmagic) and the Collectiv3 (Funbi, Nsikak, Kid Konnect, Show Dem Camp, Temi Dollface and Poe).

In this exclusive chat with Abisola Alawode for BN, he reveals to his creative process, his thoughts on Nigerian music and the Nigerian sound generally and what led to him releasing his latest song ‘Solomon’.

See below.

Doesn’t working on many creative projects like the Collectiv3, 3 wise Men and others drain you?

It does. But the thing is that most of the time I have creative control over most of the things that I do, its al good. In fact, most of the materials that you are hearing now, I’d worked on them a long time ago. I was just waiting for the artist to be ready.  The process drains me, I won’t lie, but I enjoy it. I love creating music so it’s fun for me.

How do you handle the fame and success that comes with your work?

It’s weird because in Nigeria, people regard success in different ways. Before, all I wanted (I still want it though) was to have people appreciate the kind of music that I made from Nigeria. I wanted people to know that Nigerian musicians could put out good music. So my thing was to put out Good songs so people would follow the trend. The world is looking at Nigeria and it’ll do us good if our music is at par with others on the global stage. When you think about Nigerian music, you think about an attitude and a culture which does not fully represent our sound as Nigerian. What we are claiming is Nigerian music is just from Lagos and Lagos is not Nigeria. So, my thing is let’s make music that says ‘this is a Nigerian artiste’ and this sound is global.

Ikon 2

Do you think we have a Nigerian sound?

The idea of a Nigerian Sound is a façade. What we have is a Nigerian attitude. For example, what is hot right now is the Ghanaian sound. And as Nigerians, we just take it and fly. If someone releases a hit dancehall track, we as Nigerians would be fast to incorporate it into our own music. I just feel we can do more. I mean, there are other lanes of music our artistes can go on. We do not all have to follow the same lane while making music.

Let’s talk about your new track ‘Solomon’ the chorus was sung in which language?

The song’s chorus was done in Idoma. And No I’m not Idoma. I have family from Benue State.

How did the idea for Solomon come about?

I went to bury my uncle in Benue State and when his body was being put in the ground, people around started singing the chorus of the song ‘Solomon’. The mood around the burial was very sad and the song they were playing made me reflect on life. I recorded it and when I got back I started asking myself how I could transfer the mood I felt on that day on a record so people can feel the same way I felt on that day. The chorus is basically talking about King David telling his son Solomon his last words. It examines what those who have passed on would think about the lives we are living now and the need for people to  live meaningful lives so that when we are about to pass on, we would have left a good legacy behind.



Your first single Akintunde also had the same vibe…

You could say that. My upcoming album which may be released in November would take the format of a story. So expect to see more songs like Solomon and Akintunde.

Is it true that your name I.K.O.N is a pseudonym for Incredible King of Nigeria?

Well, I’d say it’s true now. But it didn’t start like that. I did a cypher with the acts on Syndik8 records and I rapped a verse “it’s the incredible king of Nigeria, if you don’t get that, get back I’m not hearin ya. It’s the Incredible King of Nigeria, IKON Syndik8 Familia.” I was just playing around but people saw that and the name stuck.

Everyone knows you as a producer, why then did you start rapping?

If anyone asks me to tell them if I am a producer or musician, I’d say I am a visionary producer/rapper. If Kanye West can do it, why can’t I? We all know Kanye started as a producer. To me rapping is natural.

Check out his songs Akintunde feat Temi Dollface


and Solomon below:



  1. Babe

    April 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

    IKON is really talented.. Good music.

    • Damilola

      April 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Nigerian artists need to work on orginality and creaivity, it’s all noise now and sound the same. Their videos are all rubbish too. I guess, bcos we just dance to anything we are not asking for meaningful music.
      IKON, keep doing you.
      I understand, Fela Kuti cant be duplicated but we need some revolutionary and visionary artists in Nigeria.

  2. that uptown girl

    April 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

    the only thing that comes to mind is nonsense, and ingredients.

    • Fuck you

      April 20, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Then go and meet your kpangolo musicians na.

      IKON makes good music!!!

  3. Tosin

    April 20, 2016 at 11:10 am

    saw that headline one full minute ago. still haven’t shut my mouth. chei, wahala dey.

  4. nene

    April 20, 2016 at 11:22 am

    what is this one talking about? is lagos not in nigeria? there are several genres of music in nigeria. as long as its from a place in nigeria, it is nigerian music. people be forming intellectual rubbish.

    • MsMak

      April 20, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Reading and comprehending are two different things. IKON just described how a lot of what we call “Nigerian Music” is typically produced in Lagos, influenced by foreign sounds (e.g. dancehall) and not representative of music from the rest of Nigeria as a whole. His reasoning therefore is that it is a misnomer calling it Nigerian, and perhaps we should seek to create sounds that are more encompassing of us as a whole.

      But please, don’t let that get in the way of your ranting.

    • mimi

      April 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      Go to the East and you’ll find the sound and vibe to be different from Lagos. That’s his point. Let’s not be stuck with one sound where we have so much diversity.

    • le coco

      April 21, 2016 at 7:10 am

      please comprehend… he is right… if you ask any foreigner about niigerian music… they will mention all these kpangolo artists that are predominantl selling lagosian sounds…. there is so much more.. so many beats and instruments from other parts of nigeria… EXPLORE

  5. Somebody

    April 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

    He is right.

  6. prince

    April 20, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t know him.

  7. Sabifok

    April 20, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Very talented producer who plays instruments and can create fresh sounds. You can always tell a Kingsman by his works. Floreat, my G!

  8. Art

    April 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    What he’s saying is nothing but the truth. There’s a fundamental problem with this exclave called Nigeria, it’s not only in music but every facet of our life as a country. In Nigeria everything goes, we copy and paste whatever is popular from other nations and neglect what is ours. This new generation musicians are even making matters worse, today if azonto is making wave everyone switches to azonto, tomorrow is it the South African sound everyone switches or adapts their songs to that. Why can’t we take a cue from Ebenezer obbey, Onyeka Owenu, Fela, Rex Lawson and King Sunny Ade’s generation, these people put Nigeria on the map globally, and their songs are still in demand internationally even till tomorrow. Not too long ago an African American friend of my brother’s requested for some Rex Lawson’s CD from him. It’s this attitude that has brought us to where we are today, no national character, no national airline carrier, importing food from other nations when God has blessed us with good soil and weather, always borrowing to fund useless expenditures, the list is endless.

  9. Ty

    April 20, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Wahala dey oo… He says Ghanaian sound is what is in right now that Nigerians are using which I doubt, yet his copying kanye’s kind of attitude in music. Everybody want to be a visionary this days.

    • Tosin

      April 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

      how you fit say him copy Kanye nah? that’s just too … imaginary. abi AdeKanye copy ikon? 😀

  10. Yolo

    April 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Isn’t Ikon a Kpop band? They are quite popular with millions of views on YouTube.

  11. shomowale

    April 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm


  12. gbaskelebo

    April 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Just listened to the Song solomon, loved it! the beat, the flow and most unique the chorus.

  13. MsMak

    April 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    I love that IKON keeps trying to grow musically and push the boundaries of what is considered “Nigerian music”. I am a musicophile and I’m so sick of the copy-copy mentality and pangolo music that keeps being pumped out. Even when listening to Olamide and Phyno, na so so “nigga”, “nigga” pesin go dey hear, ahn ahn! IKON and producers like LeriQ, Tay (the Passport mixtape is a dream to listen to), TinTin (loved his work with Pope), Jesse Jagz and Sarz keep trying to push the envelope and create something different, and they deserve props for that.

    I just had to comment because a lot of Naija music I listen to constantly for the past 2 years are IKON produced or related:

    – Black Magic’s albums
    – Three Wise Men’s “Bastard” (and I appreciate the social messaging in the lyrics too)
    – Poe (my goodness, this brother is gifted)
    – The entire Collectiv3 project.

    Every weekend I kickoff my chores by playing “Akintunde”. I mean, that beat, plus Nsikak’s guitar play… Omo, that song just makes me happy – whatever i”m doing gets done with a smile and dance. And then I follow with Poe and Funbi’s “Adore Her”.

    IKON, just know that there are folks out here that appreciate what you do, so go on so’un with your bad self.

  14. Bowl

    April 20, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    @ Shomowale I feel you !

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