It is possible that Bugzi Dvinci is currently more famed for his stellar performance in Onyeka Nwelue’s film, Agwaetiti Obiuto (Island of Happiness) than he is for his afro-trap music. But this could also mean he’s a man that embodies diverse creative talents. In the film, Bugzy who is the lead actor plays himself. A struggling musician who returns from Lagos to his hometown Oguta to share in the NDDC largesse reserved for the oil-producing town. At home, he finds that part of the gossip revolves around his career and his music which people scarcely understood. Art, as it is often the case, mirrors life, and the fictional Bugzy isn’t too different from the real Bugzy. The struggle to make relevant music remains real in film as it is in life, with the marginal difference being that in Nigeria’s musical landscape, Bugzy has paid his dues—but has yet to receive his accolades.
In Agwaetiti Obiuto however, which premiered in May 2018 at Harvard University, Bugzy’s song, Fuo Anwulu is heard, as one of the official soundtracks of the film, in which he sings, “Anyi na-aku, anyi na-afu anwulu”, translated in Igbo as “We are chilling, we’re blowing smoke.” Bugzy’s music, much like most of the offering in this generation is anchored on the expressions of the epicurean lifestyle: sip some Henny, get some dough, ride a Benz, blow some weed, and be happy. The only deviation being that he does it with a trap slant, fusing Igbo, English and Pidgin to create that beautiful elixir.
In Buzgzy’s musical career, the saying that life is what you make it comes rings spectacularly true. Despite the marginality of afro-trap music, he has never considered the need to do what everyone else does, not even the reality of seeing other artists turning down his collaboration requests has deterred him. There has always been the belief, it would appear, that there are those who appreciate the kind of music he does, and even if there wasn’t, the fact that he enjoys the sound he’s creating was enough reason to keep at it. Further, Bugzy’s music adopts a more globalist and less insular mindset. Perhaps, his having lived in Paris and other renowned world capitals have something to do with it.
The Igbos have a saying that whenever one sees a bird dancing alone in the centre of a bush path, whatever is drumming for the bird can be found in the bush. Bugzy’s musical career epitomizes that bird, and his passion—persistent and resolute, is the drummer in the bush. Recently, afro-trap has gained some needed attention, helped in some measure by the catchy song “Dino” by the trap artist, Kach, in which the “Honourable Senator” is seen vibing to the sound in a cinematic display of wealth and opulence. But artists like Bugzy has been about that afro-trap sound when very few were paying attention. Yet undeterred, and like a masquerade beating its own drum, he kept at it. More impressively, Bugzy has, in a span of four years put out two mixtapes, Half Past Late 1 (2014) and Half Past Late 2 (2016). In 2017, he released his first studio album, Daddy Monso. A fitting video for one of the songs, Hakuna Matata was recently shot, albeit not yet released.
In 2016, Bugzy personally financed his own music tour, with dates in Lagos, Markurdi (Benue State), and Trans-Ekulu (Enugu State), the neighborhood where he grew up. Sometimes, he must have thought, your dream is your dream, and if you do not wake up to chase it, no one else will. There couldn’t have been a better statement of intent. It was a move that simply meant, if people did not know afro-trap music, he would take afro-trap to them. Alas, although his quest to be recognised as one of Nigeria’s finest artist of the genre continues, Bugzy has clutched onto his craft with a dedication that is at both endearing and quietly elegant.
Article by Mitterand Okorie.
Watch Agwaetiti Obiuto’s trailer here: