COVER STAR - Prettyboy D-O
CREATIVE DIRECTORS - Derrick Odafi & Jessica Rushforth
CREATIVE PRODUCERS - Jessica Rushforth & Derrick Odafi
PHOTOGRAPHER - Barbara Premo
VISUAL DIRECTOR - John Serunjogi
STYLIST - Malcolm Yaeng
STYLIST ASSISTANT - Gloria Iyare
SET DESIGNER - Jessica Rushforth
MUA - Blessing Kambanga
STUDIO - Take More Photos Studio
“Music made me a man. I’ve always been in love with music, even as a kid but more so the fashion side of music. Biggie, Mase, Tupac…”
“ Equality, everything should be equal. No classism, tribalism, racism - no isms.”
Prettyboy D-O's Stardom Spreads
Like 'Wildfire' On Issue IX
When you think about Afrobeats, Nigerian artists are likely to be the image of where your mind takes you, which we know boast a great deal of powerful and influential names. Trailblazing persona Prettyboy D-O is one that cannot be missed from the current list of influential artists from the powerhouse of african music. This New Jersey-born breakthrough artist offers a bouncy and vibrant sound that doesn’t let you sit still. These sounds seamlessly match his eccentric style, from his performance of ‘Jungle Justice’ on COLORS and other extremely successful singles such as ‘Same Energy’ and ‘Chop Elbow’ you can see the reflection clearly of this creativity. Prettyboy D-O is an artist that walks the tightrope of social commentary and experimental music, crediting his surroundings and personal influences for these character traits. Prettyboy is as interesting in person as he is in his music, with individuals such as Dennis Rodman and Sisqo as influences, his personal style and energy is distinct from head to toe, from his colourful hair to his expressive sense of style.
Following the recent release of his latest project, an EP titled ‘Wildfire’ which was inspired by the Book of Revelations in the Bible; Prettyboy D-O has been able to diverge between Afro-Pop to Rap showing off his versatility which separates him from the rest! Being named as king of the Alte scene, there’s no surprise that his influence is spreading with music that creates an enthralling atmosphere. Continuing on his journey, it seems the singer/rapper has a clear aim to be the greatest and inspire people along the way, paving his own path.
How you feeling?
P: Feeling good, feeling nice.
Obviously, you’re a Nigerian artist, but tell us about where you’re from exactly in Nigeria, what did you see/experience growing up?
P: I’m a Nigerian artist, African artist, word artist. I was born in New York, mum gave birth to me in NYC but she went back to Nigeria. I did my whole education in Nigeria but I did college in New York. It was at college, I started releasing music. I’d say my music is very Nigerian, it talks about what I’ve been through. I moved back to Nigeria in 2015 when I graduated from college and my music is like a social commentary on life as a Nigerian, as a young man or woman growing up in Nigeria. I came from a middle class background. Before my music was fun and commercial, Over time, I’ve been starting to speak the truth and make sure all my music has a message.
We hear that in the music for sure. You mentioned being born in New York from a middle-class family. Tell us about your family, what were they like? What was it like for them when you came around.
P: My mum was a cosmetic supplier, she was doing well and my dad was in the military and was therefore moving around a lot. I spent loads of time with my mum and she was the one that predominantly raised me. I had a very happy upbringing even though my parents weren’t always together. I even feel like I was in a whole other world at that age. The most important thing for me growing up was to do well in school so my parents especially my mum could be happy and become a doctor. That’s what I went to school for, biology.
How good were you at biology?
P: First semester my GPA was 4.0, I started off really good but started just partying and watching stuff on youtube. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do and I think that was the problem. If I was doing a major in music, I probably would’ve done a lot better.
Purple Suit: John Lawrence Sullivan
Leopard Shirt: Edward Crutchley
Jewellery: Rathel Wolf
Coat: Astrid Andersen
Trousers: John Lawrence Sullivan
Shoes: Xander Zhou
Jewellery: Rathel Wolf
Eyewear: Gentle Monster
We feel like you have a militant aura about you, do you think it comes from your Dad?
P: Yeah my father is a hard man, the first time he said I love you to me was this year. My relationship with him was always to prove to him I was worthy. Before last year we hadn’t spoken in 5 years just to let you know how hard he is. I feel like I got pride from him last year.
I speak about it. I still do the commercial stuff, but I feel like people need to hear the real things. I’ve mentioned it in my songs before that we never spoke and I often don’t feel like people speak about it or say that stuff in Nigerian music. My parents didn’t want me to listen to music, but I had to prove to them I was worth doing it by praying to god and working.
Just like in one of your songs ‘Deh Go Hear Weh’, it’s the ideology that you’re gonna hear about me.
P: Yeah, that’s the idea, basically the whole country. You see my bro here - points to his manager - he is a mogul, clean digital, musical mogul. But if he came to Nigeria dressed like this, they gon’ be like what’s this guy doing, is he doing fraud? Because in Nigeria all they know is doctors/ lawyers.
That’s what I’m fighting for, in Nigeria they don’t really respect the craft of where music can take you. I was telling him the other day they only believe doctors and lawyers are smart, I’m fucking smart.
Next question, where does the name pretty boy do come from?
P: D O are my initials, pretty boy comes from my mum and sister since that’s what they used to call me and I was also a big rocky fan and he would use it a lot too.
What are some traits you would like in a female partner?
P: Loyalty… she just has to grind for something, whatever it is, she has to have passion for it.
What’s your opinion of London?
P: I’ve come here often, this time it’s different because of the music and we’re up now. I love London, I love the people, it seems very African to me. It seems like home in a way.
London and Lagos have a great connection, what do you feel like it is?
P: Firstly, we’ve got a lot of our own people here, a lot of Africans here. There’s a whole vibe here that’s similar to Lagos because it’s very busy, very hustle and bustle. But it’s a higher level here, there’s still struggle. I love London, but at the same time, the struggle here is crazy because they don’t say anything here, it’s just internal.
You have experience in New York too, and that’s also a place where you really have to hustle to make it out.
P: I think the life I’ve lived, one thing I’ve learned is you can’t really regret. And if I have some sort of position, I can’t waste it. London is busy, like the underground, you really have no space and New York is just like that, and it’s like x2 not clean, it’s more gritty than London.
And just going back to the music as well, would you say music found you or you found music?
P: That’s deep. Music made me a man. I’ve always been in love with music, even as a kid but more so the fashion side of music. Biggie, Mase, Tupac… I love Tupac, I even have a tattoo like him. Fashion was always big in my head, at the same time was music, but I never saw myself as a rapper, I see it as a lifestyle so everywhere I’m dancing, vibing, miming. The culture of it, the fashion of it especially. When I was younger I probably wanted to be a designer. The thing is, in high school I used to write a lot, poems, etc, corny s**t but it always worked. At university, they told me to write a poem in English and I did it so fast they told me to read it out and it was so long and everyone was like wow. At that time I didn’t really have music in my head, but at that time Drake comes out, Rocky comes out. I wasn’t doing well in school, I just lost my girl and the heartbreak. Then I started going studio but I didn’t release anything until I felt it was good and that was in 2012 and I haven’t looked back.
Jumper: 3 Paradis
Jewellery: Rathel Wolf
Sunglasses: Stylist’s own
It was kind of destined, it was a process but you don’t know what the process was.
P: Yeah, you don’t know what you would find along the way you meet people. The thing gets bigger. It’s God. It’s God and work.
What other creative things do you do outside of music?
P: Film, I direct a lot of my music videos. I probably will go into film depending on how ambitious and willing I a to go there. I really wanna start now.
Do you have a stylist? If not, where does it come from?
P: I just be on Instagram, save things then just mix it up.
One of our favorite projects of yours is your 2018 project, what were your favourite moments creating that.
P: When I got back to Lagos, I had gone to Birmingham and LA, and that time I decided I was going to drop a project. Then I had a conversation with my cousin who told me “you have to drop a project, drop something and know your sound, like your singles were popping, you’re dope but need to know your sound”. So boom, once he said that I was like cool let’s go let’s get this popping. I had a bunch of music I had already recorded, get to London to record 2 songs. Get to Lagos, start recording with my boys, Hugo, and then we have 2 in the bag. Now we can have a show….one n***a pisses me off, I hate industry politics, if we work hard you’re able to work hard let’s go let’s get this opportunity. I go for a show industry n****s tryna f**K with me I’m pissed as hell. But after the show, I’m annoyed I go to his studio and tell him to play me something and that beat made me the happiest I felt. Pull Up
Suit: John Lawrence Sullivan
Shirt: Edward Crutchley
Jewellery: Rathel Wolf
Eyewear: Stylist's own
Why do you feel it’s important for the new musicians coming out of Nigeria to stay connected and collaborate often.
P: Important for us to make money, number one.We are coming up at the same time, and that brings us together. We are on the same mission to connect people to African music, show them that this is a new time in our country, we all support each other and that inspires each other and other artists too.
A lot of you are getting your shine right now, but some people that may be getting lost in that are the producers. Who are some of the producers you work with often?
P: Higo, DARE, Adey... A lot of the producers I work with I met on my come up, and it’s true what they say about producers getting lost or left behind, but this generation of producers, they’re fighting for their right… they are all so dope and I feel that their name and brands will spread worldwide. As I grow, my people will grow with me.
Another element of you are your visuals, and you say you know your movies. Tell us about people like TSE and why you like working with him.
P: I started with them, and they understand my vision, not just the pictures and visuals but everything, how everything looks and feels… I am a fighter for the arts in our country, and my people, visual team, producers, all have that similar mind to fight for it too.
Someone that’s close to us is Chuka Nwobi, and he works with you as well, what’s it like working with him?
He’s my bro, one of the most passionate about the arts, one of the most passionate people I know. He’s one of the youngest, but even then I still speak to him. We’ve worked together on a lot of projects, he was very instrumental in the ‘Dey Go Hear Weh’ video.
You’re a very expressive guy, how often to you change your hair colour?
P: Every Month
You spoken about making music to touch on political topics etc. What are some social things that are most important to you?
Equality, everything should be equal. No classism, tribalism, racism - no isms. Equal opportunity for everybody is the number one thing I feel like.
Jumper: 3 Paradis
Jewellery: Rathel Wolf
“I see myself being one of the GOATS to ever do it musically in Nigeria, if i’m still doing music.”
We see you having a very long career and leading a new charge of artists. In the next 10 to 15 years, where do you see yourself and your craft?
P: Where do I wanna be 10 years from now… Damn, I’ll be old [Laughs] I see different things but I see myself being one of the GOATS to ever do it musically in Nigeria, if i’m still doing music. If I’m not, I’ll have an artist but still be one of the greats to have ever done it. I’ll probably be doing films 10 years from now. Maybe in my head I’ll probably be trying to get an oscar. I see myself being a Titan by then, a household name - It won’t even be my stage name, it’ll be my real name.
Amazing, hopefully making generational films that are remembered around the world?
P: Yes, just to be a titan in entertainment. I don’t see myself being out there as anything business-wise but I’ll dip my hands in that and I know I’ll go into films. By that point I don’t think ill be in the spotlight but my films will be.