Words by Hiba Hassan
Creative Direction: Mariam Sholaja
Photography Mariam Sholaja
Photography asst. Mofe
The name Oxlade is one of many middle names given to him by his family, being the eldest grandchild. With that comes a great deal of responsibility or pressure some would presume, but for Oxlade, he has moved his larger-than-life presence from his family, but also to the wider world. Born and raised in Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria, his artistic flair is one that came from within, being in the heart of Nollywood culture and one of the origins of the Afrobeat genre.
Singing from the tender age of 10, it has been around three years since he first came onto the scene, officially. And you can say that the breakthrough in his career cracked open from his 2018 collaboration with fellow Nigerian rapper Blaqbonez, creating the track ‘Mamiwota’. It is just as important to reflect on the lows as well as the highs when truly wanting to learn or be inspired by someone or something, and during the time of his breakthrough, the immensely talented musician had dropped out of university and had almost given up on his dreams, which he recalls as his ‘darkest times’.
Since then, Oxlade has been an unstoppable force in music but manages to take the time to reveal a character that is most heart-warming than meets the eye. His love for the most important relationship in his life, his grandmother and guidance by the grace of God, is what affirms his self-assurance in what some would say, an over-saturated music industry.
We sat down with the rising star, on set in his hometown of Lagos, to delve deeper into the musician behind some of our favourite tracks...
Kasien Is An Artist Of Rebellion Perseverance And Passion
South West London’s Kasien has been redefining the UK music scene ever since his early SoundCloud days. Having recently unleashed his debut EP, ‘I Found Paradise in Hell’ earlier this year, Kasien continuous to progress in his momentous career, implementing his unique influence to generate a sound like no other.
Kasien is already a staple figure within the upcoming new wave of music, collaborating with the likes of Kelvin Krash, Cadenza, Daily Paper and many more. He also went on tour with London-based fashion/photography brand, Places Plus Faces back in 2018 which took him to sold out shows across the UK.
Kasien’s story is one of rebellion, perseverance, and passion. Throughout our talk, we discuss some of the hardships Kasien has faced, some of his most joyful moments, and also the tale of his late father, DJ Swing.
Words by George Patterson
Photography Elena Cremona
Styling Malcolm Yaeng
MUA Aiofe Hipkin
Photography asst. Vilma Red
Tell us about the story of Kasien, before the success - where were you born, what kind of environment did you grow up in?
I grew up in South West London, I’m Nigerian-Jamaican. My mom and dad broke up early so I lived with my mom and her family, making me very Nigerian oriented. I also got kicked out of my school and moved to Nigeria for three years. I was there from year 9 to 11. So all those kinda vibes - Nigeria, London.
So growing up as a kid, what cartoons were you most into?
I used to be a real cartoon head bro. Well, first of all, I had every Disney VHS, every one. Like I'm a real Disney kid. My mom used to just put Disney in front of me. I used to make like arenas and stages using the VHS’ and fought using my wrestling figures. I used to watch a lot of wrestling as well, WWF, WWE, all of that. I used to watch everything, bro, like Cramp Twins to Phineas and Ferb, even old school ones like Biker Mice from Mars. Almost every single South Park as well.
Do you feel like that aided how animated you are today?
100% man, all the cartoons and shit I’ve always wanted to be a character. Shit like South Park - that definitely fucked me up as a kid (laughs). You know what I'm saying? Watching them things when you're in like year 4. It’s a mixture of South Park and Eminem that fucked me up early. I just started knowing certain things and saying certain things.
So, we know your dad was a DJ. If you’re comfortable doing so, can you tell us more about his story and the impact he had on you?
Yeah man, well first of all he was a B-Boy, he used to dance. And then him and his friend started this thing called Boogie Bunch. And they were doing parties around London, with people like to Tim Westwood, Trevor Nelson, Manny Norte - loads of DJ’s, you know like the early ones. Then he started DJing on choice FM, and that’s basically what Capital XTRA is now. So, at that time, it was like Semtex and him pioneering the scene for quote, unquote “urban” music - black music at that time. And then he also used to do like club shit, Ibiza, and all them ones. But his impact for me, just growing up in my house has always been music. Every single wall of my house was full of vinyls. My mom is a big hip-hop/ r&b head, so all the r&b would be from her, and all the hard hip-hop shit would be from my dad.