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Long before the days of YouTube views, Spotify streams, iTunes and twitter trends, iLLBliss has been working the Nigerian rap music scene. He’s the classic definition of an OG. One who has seen the industry grow and the genre he loves evolve from being on the fringe to being an industry contender.
With a 10th project in the works (after 5 albums and 4 EPs) iLLBliss is committed to building a legacy that inspire the next generation of Nigerian youths to keep winning and keep believing in their abilities.
Despite being part of a rap collective called the Thoroughbreds in his early days, iLLbliss got his taste of the corporate business world when he worked as a Banker in the mid 2000s. From the Fund Transfer desk, to Credit, Lending, Commercial Banking, Oil and Gas and even human resources, iLLBliss did everything and learned everything.
That business background has definitely served him well as he founded and currently runs The Goretti Company; a talent management company responsible for launching the careers of Chidinma and Phyno, among others, while also partnering with Clarence Peters to start Capital Hill Records and Capital Dream Pictures, the film-making arm.
Quite unlike the average Nigerian music artiste, iLLBliss’ business interests range from real estate to TV content production.
How does he navigate being a corporate exec and an entertainer?
iLLBliss says “Navigating between them takes a whole lot of genuine passion and vision and ultimately Grace of God to stay successful.”
For him, the Music remains the arrow head and being consistent and relevant in the music spaces enables me stay plugged into the other ecosystems.
“I have never been about a single lane or staying in a box. i also create content ideas everyday and explore ways to enable the corporate reach their targets and engage their customer base. My television production experience is also a huge plus. i am blessed to have these skill sets” He says.
The entertainment industry, just like so many other sectors of the global economy has been hit by a decline in revenue thanks to COVID-19. As a major industry player; it hasn’t been a bed of roses for Oga Boss.
iLLBliss comments that as an active recording and performing artist, a sizeable percentage of income comes from gigs and performances and artistes are hugely reliant on the corporates who plan Below the line activations across the country and engage artistes to deliver to their markets.
He says he has had to deal with show cancellations and make refunds. “Companies plan in advance and i had been engaged since January for a good number of shows, mostly in the South East. within the week of Easter, i had about seven shows for various brands and all were cancelled. my team had to make refunds for some of them in good faith. It’s a crazy time and a tough time for the artistic community” He said.
Tough times notwithstanding, iLLBliss is committed to staying consistent in the game by releasing new music and making his mark. “I believe a true artiste must have a cohesive discography and catalogue. even more importantly for rappers cos we always have a lot to say and dissect. This is all i have always wanted in the music space, consistency.” He stressed.
“Rap and Hiphop has been a tough genre to make it from in Nigeria. it remains a largely emerging market and we are growing the community and the audience every day. ”
Clearly excited at the coming of his 6th album and 10th overall project, iLLBliss says “I am from the album era. I’m on my 6th chapter and the fan base has continued to grow and expand. i am grateful, excited, charged and super inspired.”
Sharing details about the coming project, he says ‘ILLY CHAPO’ X is a new mind state. My music reflects where i am at every point in time, my views, my opinions , my truth, My experiences as an artistic soul, a Father and family guy, a business man surviving in Lagos Nigeria.
It runs through a wide array of themes, social commentary, Love, The crazy Music hustle and the aspirations of a Hustler, God’s Love, COVID, loss of loved ones, Family, everything. CHAPO X reflects various moods and emotions. The production is classic hiphop yet updated. the Featured artistes include Yemi Alade, Niniola, Phyno, Johnny Drille and Olamide. i want the fans to keep believing in Nigerian Rap Music after this album.”
Beyond the desire to remain consistent and relevant, iLLbliss has a higher purpose for what he does. Be believes he has been put in a unique position to be positive influence to Nigeria’s young people. “The youths don’t have enough role models to look up to. i pray my new album uplifts and motivates. If i have been here from 2008 till now, still believing in my dreams and artistic gift despite all odds, then GOD TRULY put me here for a reason. The OG is very key in the music space. provided you are a leading by example.”
“I consider myself a middle child in this business, meaning i came at the tail end of an analog era and started the digital era. i saw the dial phones morph into mobile phones. i came in when there was little to no social media. It helped instil discipline, genuine respect and tenacity in me as an artiste. i want to teach and share, through the music.”
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