One of the most authentic EPs to grace AAA came earlier this year, delivered by the Nigerian MC – who doesn’t deem himself Nigerian. Wow! But why would a brother wanna run away from all that enugu soup and plantains? All that Oil? All that Lagos traffic… Why would anyone wanna run away from Africa’s only Hollywood; the Nollywood? I’m speechless. By the way, it can make sense when you give it a second thought. All that juju can scare you. If you survive the traffic that is. Hehee, guys, before you label me a Nigerian hater, let me clarify that my immediate neighbour is actually an ‘oga broda’ and we get along pretty well. Since we amicably agreed that he is not allowed to stare at my woman for more than 2 seconds, things have really been good. Can’t complain. So you see, I love Nigerians. Everybody should love Nigerians, except your lady. If your girl tells you she loves Nigerians, that’s nolonger your girl mate. That’s one of your homies now. And that’s not music to your ears, right? Talking about music, Fecko is one kind brother. Amidst all the busy schedules – media tours, shoots and all, he still managed grant us an interview and for that, we bow down to the Mushin King. read Along.
It’s customary for a King to state his name when addressing the councils all around Africa and we guess that is the tradition back in Mushin. So, how would you introduce yourself to the subjects?
My real name is Ifeanyi Ibegbunam. I am a limitless African youth. I am not a Nigerian, I am an African. And I rep the United States of Africa. Misleading yet deep, right? Lol. On the real though, I am one of the only few Nigerian artists that love uniting Africa one track at a time. Africa is the future. And we gotta be united to make this dream become a reality. My stage name F.E.C.K.O is an acronym which stands for Formidable Emcees Can Knockout Obstacles.
An introduction befitting a King, we salute your Royalty. We actually have a shared interest in that United States of Africa front. How long has this Kingdom existed?
Over a decade now. Been underground for so long like those trapped Chilean miners. Gradually approaching the spotlight now though. Consistency is key.
Dark humour right there, Kings are permitted that I guess. Why music though?
Music made me get into music. Had a huge collection of Nigerian Hiphop songs growing up and I always wanted to bring something fresh to the table someday. I found myself gravitating towards the positive energy released from the music I grew up listening to. I was a huge fan of African Hiphop at the time. What am I even saying? I’m still a fan. My environment also influenced my decision to go into music.
Do you know you are the first artist EVER to say they were influenced by African Hip hop? Wow, you truly love the motherland. How about instruments?
Growing up I used to mess around with the harmonica. For me, then it was more of a toy than an instrument. Today I play the drums. Still learning how to play the keyboard and acoustic guitar.
Harmonica must be what David played in the bible too, you know these kingly stuff always confuse me. Anyway, have you been able to bring that ‘something fresh’ to the table?
Well, I believe I am giving Afrobeat a modern twist. Very few of us have been able to tap into our ancestral instincts while making indeginous music with an international appeal. Guess I have been able to strike that balance to a significant degree.
Does it have a style, like is there an identity to it that you can claim ownership?
My style is spontaneous and dynamic. In as much as I love going with the flow, I also want to have my own unique brand in a sea of identities. Hence, I asked myself ‘What can I do to stand out from the crowd?’. Viola! I decided to be me! Probably not the answer most of y’all were expecting. But hey, I’ve been me all through my music career. In my own lane.
Funnily, we were expecting just that, complete with the ‘In my own lane’ bit! Okay, not in the same wording… Can you say the music has evolved?
It has really evolved. 5 years ago if you listened to the kind of music I made, you’d notice it was different in terms of delivery. I hate sounding monotonous over time. Normal is boring. These days you would find me experimenting with different Afrocentric musical genres. As a musician, you gotta grow with music in order to stay relevant.
Change, they say is inevitable broda. It looks like you are a wide listener, is there any song on your playlist that you’re somewhat embarrassed to have?
Well, the irony may be that what I consider trash and embarrassing in my music library might be a diamond in the rough to some other audience. I got so many rap and pop songs on my MP3 player. Definitely not a Vic O track! Speaking of Vic O. Y’all gotta Google that name to understand what I mean. Lol.
We know him, we are All around Africa, remember? Other than Vic O, is there any other music that you can’t withstand?
I listen to so many genres of music. I get bored by Country though. But hey, no matter how sad or uninteresting a particular music genre might sound, once it’s revamped and redefined anybody can turn up to that sound and still reason at the same time. I call it ‘Intellectual Turn-up’.
Hmm, intellectual turn-up; these Kingly phrases man. Let’s talk about the Nigerian music scene, how is it right now?
In the Nigerian music scene, no body has time for self pity. You’re either working harder to get more recognition or you’re wasting your bloody time on social media complaining about the politics in the industry. The choice is yours. Well I belong to the school of thought which believes talent is not enough.
We concur, however, do you believe in the talks of witchcraft and evilness claimed to surround music?
Definitely, there are dictators in the game. Too many Ghadafis and Abachas. The difference is, they are still alive. Due to this, you face them everyday. Won’t spend much of my precious time talking about that. But one thing is certain, if you are really talented and consistent some day you will shine through the darkness.
And what really determines that ascend to the top?
It’s a simple formula: Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. That’s what determines who becomes A-list and who remains B-list or C-list. Is there room for D-list? *straight face*
Not sure, but we certainly have F-list bro. What are your dream collaborations Fecko?
On the local scene, the likes of Adekunle Gold, Yemi Alade, Wande Coal, Burna Boy, Wizkid are definitely artistes I’d like to work with. While, Chris Brown is one international artist I would be humbled to have on my album. There was a time he performed in Lagos and afterwards we were backstage discussing about a possible collaboration. Dream no good o! Lol. However, dreams do come through too.
Wait, did he tell you how he’s been begging us to interview him? Like you said, dreams are valid…Looking at your Facebook, there are so many concert pictures, any memorable performance thus far?
They have all been memorable to me. It’s a great thing when your fans can feed off your energy and relate with you on stage. I look forward to having my own live band in the future though. Would be more memorable for me if I give my audience that live musical experience.
So, singing, rapping, performing, writing. What other hidden talents do you have?
I am also an actor, a graphic designer, and an entrepreneur. Holla at me for Hustle Over Feelings merchandize.
Actor? Ooh shit, we are about see ART 1&2, ART Again, ART One Last Time and other Nigerian movie stories bruh! As we await the sequels, tell us if Fecko would you date a fellow celebrity.
Sure. Why not? Who cares if it’s short-lived though? Lol. Hey Victoria Kimani and Sheyi Shay holla at your boy.
You might wanna know that Victoria’s two brothers are bad boys, keep your distance. Other than the two, which African ladies gets your oohing?
So far, I’m used to Nigerian women. Probably because I have spent more time here. I hear Ghanaian ladies have big booties though. Ethopian ladies are hot looking too. Shout out to every Female King all around Africa.
Key word BOOTY. We are never judging, never. Safe to say your favorite chiil spot gotta be Ghana then?
Erm, let’s see. Capetown, Nairobi, and maybe Accra.
Ahem, Accra had to be there. What’s the craziest thing you’ve been busted doing?
This question makes me imagine Someone like Obama vibing to Fela Must Rise off my EP in the white house and when he gets bursted by Donald Trump, he will be like “It’s Afrobeat man, no normal being can resist that, and me sef I be human being”. Lol. I have not been bursted by a fan doing any crazy stuff.
And trump would go like,” come on, gimme me a piece of that gem. I love me some Afrobeats as well” Hahahaa. By the way, we saw that you have already shot the Fela Must Rise music video, who knows, Obama might just watch it. Do you have any wish for Africa?
Well, I wish for a United States of Africa. Unity is the way forward. Dear Biafrans and Rwandans, if we have a sophomore the children will only suffer more. Say no civil wars and please stop the violence.
Insha Allah brother. Spoken like a true African King! Would the King wanna send a shout out to the subjects as we end this?
Shout out to everybody supporting creative Hiphop and good music in general. And God bless all my fans. Expect a short film from me this year and more great music backed up by strong visuals. The movement is still moving.