Popular reggae-cum-dance-hall artiste, General Pype is back on the music scene with a single titled ‘All The Loving’. He has inspired the present generation of artistes with his songs, notably ‘Champion’. In this interview with SAMUEL ABULUDE, the singer with real name Olayiwola Majekodunmi talks about his plans and reminisces on late Dagrin.
You’ve been off the music scene for some time now. What has been happening with General Pype?
Over the years, I have been putting Obalende records together because anything without proper planning is never going to come out fine. So, I have been making some songs and recruiting a team that I work with because it is pointless if you don’t have everybody in place.
But rumour has it that you had issues with your former record label and that is why you couldn’t release songs due to court injunctions?
No, there was no court injunctions and I didn’t have any restriction on recording or dropping songs and as a matter of fact, the relationship with the said record label wasn’t it because officially I wasn’t really signed to Storm records. When I discovered that they didn’t even have any legal obligation to help my brand I felt like why were they putting my name up on your website and not doing anything to help my brand? So, I had to move on and go restart my career having the mindset that if anything goes wrong I will be the one to get the blames.
But don’t you think you took too long before coming back to the scene?
It’s been like forever; I mean over the years, I’ve been trying to drop a song or two which takes us to the fact that without planning in place everything is useless so when I saw the reactions to the songs that I put out without promotional plans in place I had to go back to the drawing board to rearrange my team and myself.
After so much break in the music scene how do you plan to make a comeback, especially when we have the likes of Burna Boy and Patoranking doing quite well now?
Let’s quickly get this straight; there is no way I ever get to compete with them, there is no competition at all. I can never be them and they will never be me and if there is anything like respect for those who deserve it, I am one of those pioneers in my generation to ever have the gods to want to sell reggae music to the Nigerian market. So, if there is any justice, there is no competition between me and them; ‘them no worry me, general Pype is the magnificent seven start general nobody touch that.
You feel they are not giving people like you the deserved respect?
Well, if I start comparing like this then there is no respect in it at all because I will never ever compare myself to Daddy Showkey or my baba Majek Fashek irrespective of how baba Majek Fashek loves me and my movement. This is what I do for a living, this is what I intend to build my whole career on. So there should be a level of respect set aside. It is like a blessing to me because imagine only me doing reggae in Nigeria; we might not have the chance to have a reggae festival or a reggae show. So when we have people doing reggae we can call four to ten names on the bill and we can have a real reggae event. It’s just something that is hand in hand.
Don’t you feel threatened by Patoranking making waves right now?
If you listen to me for the past two three minutes you should understand what I’m saying. There is nothing like threat, no competition, no doubt in my heart and moreover, entertainment is like a legal drug money; nobody is touching anybody’s money.
Why won’t reggae artistes collaborate with each other since reggae is about one love?
It depends on what angle we are looking at it from. Like in Jamaica, even the thieves have a union. When I dropped ‘Champion’ then the producer will not give the beat to only me; he will give it to every available dancehall reggae musician in town and he will be like don’t make it look like say that guy better pass you you sef show your talent on the same beat.
There is this oneness of purpose in reggae music but if you hear this reggae artiste talking about one love and the other one talking about another thing there is no oneness in the whole thing. It is something I can’t control but over the years everybody that has shown interest in reggae I have always shown them ultimate love.
You have a new single out there, ‘All The Loving’ where you featured Burna Boy and Phyno. How is it doing?
It’s just me trying to do a wicked home chattered dancehall package and luckily Burna and Phyno were present. So, we all put our efforts together to make it happen.
Is the video dropping soon?
Yes, pretty soon.
How is Obalende records faring?
Obalende records is doing fine; we are working with only general Pype right now because we have to successfully put General Pype out there before we talk about other artistes.
Why the name Obalende?
Thank you for that. The fact that I do a crossover kind of music at some point in my life I might not be available or around this part of the world and whenever you hear my music and you see Obalende you don’t need to be told where General Pype is from. I just need something to show love and respect and to associate myself and stamp my neighborhood on the map.
Going back to the song that brought you fame, Champion, you had the likes of Shasha P, the late Da Grin and Vector who wasn’t well known then; will you say that song brought Vector to limelight?
I and vector were together since school days at Saint Gregorys collect Ikoyi so weve always been like that. When I sing and he raps its always like iron sharpened iron so vector has got he’s own vibe. If some people recognize him or noticed him from champion fine but I have never thought of it like oh I brought Vector the limelight. I am even grateful to the fact that he came to show his vibe on my song.
What was your relationship the late Dagrin?
I met Da grin through Sheyman, shayman was like Aburo mi kan wa nibi to gbadun eh gan (My little bro is here who likes you so much) I was like oh my God I can’t wait to meet the person. I sat outside and the moment he came in I was like wan a you be Dagrin? He was like ah General baba blablabla.
Since that day till the time he passed he never called me General Pype it was always baba baba and that day that we recorded Champion remix in Parkview estate it was raining, I remember vividly it was triple nine, 9th of September 2009. He came in that day everybody was like ah who is going on this thing first but he said baba shay kinlo so ro(should I go and tell them) I was like tell then why you’re different, tell them why you are great and everything.
It’s like you really miss Dagrin…
I miss the guy a lot, I miss him so much.