Chocolate City’s soft-spoken butter kid, Dice Ailes is one artist that came on the scene with a very promising sound. Dice rolled onto the scene with Telephone. An easy pop single with a foreign sound.
The video that followed made it clear that Chocolate City had landed a golden egg. The Telephone video featured a retro look from the ’80s and was shot in an American suburban setting complete with a vintage Rolls Royce and colourfully dressed models.
Telephone was a definite Afro pop single with a touch of American pop which was likely sourced from Dice Ailes’s Canadian background.
Dice who calls himself Mr. Miyagi (after Kesuke Miyagi in the movie Karate Kid) spent most of his early years in Canada, was born Shasha Damilola Alesh in Victoria Island, Lagos. His family moved to Canada in his teens where the music influence from the neighbouring United States where he is doing college, grew on him. He released his first single at the age of 15 featuring his uncle and continued to grow his skill right into college.
Dice was a rapper with a couple of singles and college-wide recognition by the time he was first introduced to M.I. According to Dice, when M.I was played one of his singles, Yemisi, he immediately took Dice to then Chocolate City Music President, Audu Maikori and told him they had to sign Dice Ailes. Months later, Telephone was released.
Telephone and Dice Ailes’s music in general depicts an easygoing kid going through the motions of life, usually trying to woo a hot girl or enjoying life in general. Unlike some artists that come from affluent backgrounds yet try to sing of “the struggle”, Dice stays real by singing about what he is really about.
Dressed in a colourful yellow, blue and fuschia pink jacket, a brown hat, yellow gold high-topped kicks and golden grill, Dice looks easy going as he tells me about his aspiration in music.
“I just want to make great music that makes people happy”
The only child of a diplomat, Dice Ailes has had the opportunity to experience different cultures which has helped shape his sound into the unique form it is now.
His next single, Oh No, had him switching to Hip Hop in a track full of braggadocio as he raps in front of a Maserati in a snowy background. The single is off the critically acclaimed TICBN compilation album that Chocolate City put out in 2015.
Dice next single, Machinery which seems to have been very well received was a total departure from his foreign infused style of Nigerian pop music. The single was plain Nigerian pop music as Dice encourages a lady to “dance like machinery”.
Machinery was so popular that Headies Next Rated Winner, Reekado Banks covered the song, which only further increased its popularity.
Machinery with its widespread success begs the question of if Dice Ailes will move to pure contemporary sound or will aim for uniqueness in an industry full of copycats.
Snippets from interview with Koker by Stephen Amaza at the Chocolate City Office, Photographs by Dapo Salami.