As 2Face prepares for the third installation of Buckwyld N Breathless (which will double as the release of his fifth album Away & Beyond), the good people at Platonique PR made certain that I had a chat with him. Now the man has lived in the public eye for the past fifteen years so it would be difficult to get a new perspective out of him right? Wrong! I am the Bayo Omisore and I do this.
Bayo Omisore: After African Queen, do you feel any pressure by the fact that most people internationally recognize you best for work you did in 2004? Do you feel any pressure when you go into a studio with say a Mary J. Blige or an Akon or maybe a Wyclef?
TuFace Idibia: Yeah I do. I’ve come out with a bunch of music since then that has been marginally successful within Africa. But they’ve not been as popular as African Queen internationally. (Editor’s note: Incredible that after all this success, 2Face still feels pressure. He is human after all.)
Bayo Omisore: That being the case, have you tried to make a specific attempt to make music that can go out there the same way African Queen did?
TuFace Idibia: Yes I have but maybe it didn’t pan out the way we planned. (Editor’s note: If you paid any attention to the original The Unstoppable album, you would remember the song ‘Appreciate It’ in which he sang in French to reach other non-English speaking parts of Africa and the world.)
Bayo Omisore: You recorded quite a lot of songs with Femi Ojetunde. (Editor’s note: You might not know Femi. But if you ever liked or vibed to TQ’s 1998 breakthrough hit single Westside, then you’ve definitely come into contact with the man also known as Femdouble. His impressive resume also boasts of the name of the late great 2Pac Shakur. There! Now you know. Back to 2Face.) Is there any particular reason why you chose to work with him?
TuFace Idibia: The chemistry between myself and Femi is huge. In fact it is massive. If you listen to the songs we did, you’ll identify that the chemistry is wonderful. He’s a mature producer and his sounds are very clean.
Bayo Omisore: I want to believe there was chemistry between yourself and Nelson Brown, OJB and J. Sleek. I apparently am not a musician but what happens between an artiste and a producer they have chemistry with? Does the chemistry just die or do they go in search of the chemistry elsewhere?
TuFace Idibia: I won’t say the chemistry dies. For me, over the years I’ve not been stuck with any one producer. I work with a lot of people. Did you know that OJB still produced some of the tracks from the last album? As I go on I still need fresh sounds that can be provided by other people. I won’t record an entire album with just one producer because I hear other sounds from other producers whose work I like.
Bayo Omisore: I asked you a question some three years back when I had the opportunity to speak with you. I noticed that in a lot of your songs you talk about love and how you’re looking to find true love. I realized it’s a constant search for love. So are you there now? (Editor’s note: re Annie and the February 14 engagement.) What will that do to your song writing?
TuFace Idibia: (Editor’s note: 2Face smiles wistfully) It will not do anything to my song writing. I mean if I have a concept about someone that’s searching for love, I’ll be creative about it and still write it. It doesn’t necessarily have to relate to me. It’s the creativity in music. Most of the things we sing about don’t always have anything to do with our lives. I’m definitely still going to write songs about love.
Bayo Omisore: That said, I have a theory. And you might not have realized it, but when I’m done you’ll understand where I’m headed. For your last album, you recorded a song titled Raindrops. More recently, you’ve recorded Dancing In The Rain and the lead single Rainbow. Now if you listen closely, Raindrops reveals you were in a lot of pain as you had issues you were dealing with. In Dancing In The Rain, you had decided to live your life and make sense of the whole situation but you were soaked cause it was actually raining. Then Rainbow will take us to the Bible after the flood. God sent the rainbow as a promise. So does this imply that you’ve reached your bus stop? I know you didn’t say this but do you agree with this theory?
TuFace Idibia: (Editor’s note: 2Face was very impressed at this point. Cos it had never occurred to him before. I know, I know. Sometimes, even I shock myself. The sheer genius!) Wow! You are a very very brilliant person. In terms of Rainbow, that is the breakdown for me. I’ve been through it all and I feel it now. That’s why I say you’re my Rainbow. I actually like your analysis. (Editor’s note: Thank you. I like it too!)
Bayo Omisore: The whole 2Face affair started with African Queen for a lot of people. In the video of that song you revealed Annie as your love interest. Eight years later you are engaged to her. Are we going to hear an African Queen Part 2?
TuFace Idibia: Ooh African Queen Part 2? Well let’s keep our fingers crossed, it might happen.
Bayo Omisore: Going to the other 2Face. There seems to be 2Face the businessman with Hypertek signing Dammy Krane and Rocksteady. Rocksteady has been somewhere around the picture for some time so why is it now that he’s being unleashed to the public.
TuFace Idibia: I’ve always respected the boy’s talent. I think he has a wonderful voice and is talented musically. The first time I started rolling with Rocksteady, he had a contract with some other organization so I couldn’t do much about that. He had love for Hypertek which he expressed and I in turn already had respect for his talent. I just had to wait out for his contract to expire. Now he’s in the clear so I signed him. All that while we were still friends though. You know, most Festac boys pledge their allegiance to Hypertek despite the fact that we had no written arrangement.
Bayo Omisore: A few years ago you mentioned that you wanted to use yourself as a guinea pig for Hypertek. By signing these acts, are you suggesting that you are satisfied with what Hypertek can actually bring to the music game?
TuFace Idibia: Yes yes! We can bring a lot trust me. We can create storm and bring out more hits. (Editor’s note: At this point, we all laughed like idiots. Dude is a very funny guy, Allah.)
Bayo Omisore: Despite all you have achieved, and I must say you’ve achieved a lot, at what point will you feel like ‘I don reach’?
TuFace Idibia: When will I say ‘I don reach’? Omo na that private jet o. Along with a 3-acre mansion on some island and some Bill Gates money in my account. (Editor’s note: We all laugh again. As I move to ask the next question, he mentions that he was just kidding. To which I said, oh you too? There are a lot of private jokes here so pardon me for not missing a beat.)
Bayo Omisore: Despite this, you are not the most materialistic of human beings. So what exactly will make you satisfied with life?
TuFace Idibia: For me, security will make me satisfied. Security in every sense of the word. Financial security, emotional security, social security, spiritual security, etc. Seeing my family do well. And then good music. With these I’ll be satisfied. I’ll be cool.
Bayo Omisore: Okay let’s switch to politics. I spoke with Femi Kuti some years back and I asked him if he was going to ever go into politics. He responded by saying no but that everybody is political by nature since whatever happens in the political sphere affects all and sundry. So I’ll ask if you’ll ever be actively involved in politics.
TuFace Idibia: To be honest with you, I can’t really respond to that question right now cause I know I definitely want to be involved in politics at some point in time. That said, I’m keeping my fingers crossed cause I won’t like to say no and eventually be involved. Neither will I want to say yes and never do anything to actualize this interest till I die. I know I’m interested in politics though but my interest is founded based on the right reason and not for personal gains. I’ll want to be involved in politics so that there will be change in my country. I go like make my country arrange so that any genuine person go fit make am. So that if one is qualified, one will get what they desire without having to know someone so they can get what they need. That’s why I’m really interested in politics.
Bayo Omisore: So you’ll put your money where your mouth is cause you always say good people should stop talking and stand up to do something?
TuFace Idibia: Yes. You can just complain and complain. How will the complaining effect change when you’re not even a card-carrying member of any political party? It doesn’t work that way. If you’re not in the party, dey the closet. If you’re not going to do anything but complain you might as well shut up.
Bayo Omisore: You are apparently courted by various personalities in politics for you to perform at various functions they might be organizing. How are you able to perform for them and still be able to speak out against their conduct or rather misconducts?
TuFace Idibia: You know the peculiarity about Nigerian politics? There’s no proof as to who is not staying true to their duties. For instance, we have hundred people and we never know who the personalities are that choose to vote against development. Neither will we know the personalities that vote in favour of development. All we have is news of what’s being done without evidence of who is doing it. So if I get invited to perform, I go there to perform because that’s my job. So when you ask me, I wonder if it’s the bad politician I performed for or if it’s the good one. I don’t know. All I know is that good people have to stand up. We can’t just sit no more and keep complaining. My thing is that I have to speak up. If you give these people chances, they’ll continue doing whatever it is that they do. Unless someone stands up and stops them, none of those looting will desist from their actions out of freewill. Expecting them to is like a story of Agbo Malaika lives in a town of lagoon. (Editor’s note: At this point, I nodded like I knew what he was talking about. I didn’t. I don’t. And google, this one time, has failed me. So if there’s anyone out there who knows, please, help a brother out. Thank you.)
Bayo Omisore: Final question. Put yourself in Martin Luther King’s shoes, what are your dreams for Nigeria? What do you hope for the Nigeria you want your kids to grow up knowing?
TuFace Idibia: My dream for Nigeria is a time where quality healthcare, education, infrastructure and such are available. This way no one will have to worry about basic things. People will be able to focus on their creative pursuits.