Family business. Speaks highly for itself in how impressive and admirable it is to have and create an empire with your dynasty. It is also the title of the first project by brothers, Obi and Uche and acclaimed UK producers Da Beatfreakz. They are the culprits of many nationwide favourites including, Pumpy, 808, Self-Obsessed and Motorola. Having been in the music industry from around 2002, they are very aware of the influence they have on generations to come after them.
Expanding from their musical upbringing in a Nigerian household, they have expanded their business into the hairdressing industry, opening a barbershop that inspires entrepreneurship in their hometown. Growing up in South East London, Charlton, it is fair to say they have a huge assortment of life experiences, that could have them seen as the God Fathersof music production.
Now, they are on a mission to create generational wealth, educate and have a healthier relationship with money, all while creating music that has impacted UK culture. Here are ten things we LOVE about the talented brothers…
We love your growth! - I think there is an inspiring reason to love any artist, we all have our own rags-to-riches story. Take us back to where it all began for Da Beatfreakz.
Obi: this was probably 2002, we were always rapping as kids, you know how you kind of copy what you see on TV or hear on the radio? We used to do that, and we came from a musical upbringing, we are African descent so we would hear everything in the house. Nigerian music to pop, and then on Sunday we’d have to go to church, so we’d listen to church music on a Sunday. So all these things together… you have to love music. Our dad was also a music journalist growing up so ittle things like that have been massive influences.
We used to just spit bars in our bedroom, looking for producers really. But no one in the ends were making beats during those times and if they were, they would charge you a lot. So, our goal was to find a producer we can work with. So, one time, my brother was in detention in school one day and he went into the music room to wait for my dad. And then he came across one of friends making beats, and he made one in like five minutes, burned it on a CD, brought it home and played it to me. it sounded mad at the time, so I was like we have to do this, and we went out and brought our own equipment. So, instead of waiting for anyone to help us anymore, we could just rely on ourselves now. And before you know it, we forgot the rapping.
We love that you are spotlighting music behind the scenes! – These past few years have seen production, song writing, and creatives in the industry reap their rewards a bit more, how do you plan to continue making a name for producers in the UK?
Obi: We are learning from what we have grown up and listened to, like the ones who are still producing and doing music but are businessmen. Producers can still be artists and make beats, and that’s why we started putting a tag on our beats because it is doable, and it builds your brand. I think with us, we teach young producers and artists that you have to work on your brand, it is the most important thing. Building your brand and teaching producers that your music should be like gold, don’t just throw it out to anyone.
Uche: And for new producers, don’t be too hungry for money. Even if you’re talented, you have to give to receive in the early stages. You need to understand when you start charging and building your value first. Sometimes exposure is the most important thing, especially when starting out.
We love that your brothers! – people usually say you should never mix family and business, how have you turned your relationship into a business that you both love?
Uche: From young we have always been close, and our mum always used to say from a young age that we would always end up working together. My brother is 4 yours older than me, but at around 14 years old, I was out chilling with my brother and his friends. So, it was a really natural thing.
Obi: and we have always made money together since kids.
Uche: exactly! So, what better way than to work with you family and being able to provide for the same family. That within itself is a blessing.
Obi: a lot of people in our area, it’s a diverse area too but I think a lot of people, including our other siblings, our parents made us really close. You have to grow up fast to take care of your siblings in African households. Even if you don’t work together, the family is the most important thing especially if you’re aiming for the same goal.
We love your mentality! – you have previously said you do not have management thanks to the mentality your parents gave you. You have now started your own record label, publishing company, management arm, and clothing line, what would you like to say to young entrepreneurs in the music scene who look to you as inspiration?
Uche:first of all, don’t listen to anybody. No one can tell you, you can’t do anything. It all comes down to your work ethic; there will be days where it is harder, but you have to go through all those tough days and work really hard. But you have to be willing to push forwards and anything is possible. A lot of people nowadays search for overnight success, but it’s hard work. And even when we do open or start the projects and businesses, it takes hard work to make them successful.
Obi: and surround yourself with the right people. I think friends or no friends and family, you have to surround yourself with good people. When you do certain things, you have to make sure that the right people are there, you can’t bring everyone with you. all you can do is influence people, but if they can’t change then you can’t drag them with you. Help each other as well, I think that is how the black community and any community really, can really thrive and teach kids how to make money and what to do with it. you have to find a balance between nice stuff and investments., so we can build generational wealth instead of quick money.
Uche: what a lot of people need to understand is that a lot of the hustlers; drug dealers and all of that, it takes a certain mindset to be good at that. Like it takes a top business mind to be a top shotter. So, if you just take that and put it into something else… a lot of kids don’t understand that. I’ll be honest, we used to be hustlers, but we took the same hustle mentality and put it into what we are doing now. At the end of the day, you will see those who put the hard work in and still have the hunger.
We love your kindness! – In 2019 you opened up DBF Cutz, a barbershop in your hometown of Charlton, offering courses for young people via local youth centres. Helping them learn the barbershop trade and business management. Why did you decide to give back to your town in this particular method and what does the shop mean to you?
Uche: Growing up in that area, we never had a barber shop we could go to. And being kids back then, going to different ends for a haircut is dangerous. And we always had to travel to Deptford to get our haircut. And now, we’ve grown up and been able to create a hub for kids to go to, and their parents can feel safe without worrying what could happen to the child. You know nowadays, knife crime and stuff like that, has made it very dangerous for kids to go to certain places. So, having that hub is so important for parents too, it came natural to us because we had experience of that and we don’t want young kids in the area to go through the same thing.
Obi: us creating something in our own area, is a massive influence to the younger generations. I didn’t even know, but you can tell when you create something like that, it makes them believe they can really do it. it is different to music or football, because not everyone can make it in those fields but they can actually do this. If you move right and stack your money right, you can start-up multiple businesses. We went through a lot of trials and tribulations being the first black boys in that area to actually own something in that area. And now we have done that, all the kids who go inside can feel like they can do it too.
We love your influence! How has it been knowing you have had such a positive impact?
Uche: its mad. It makes you wanna do more. You definitely don’t want to stop there now, there is a lot more to be done. It is a blessing to see what one thing can create but it pushes you to do more.
Obi: I think younger kids, they get more inspired by someone who has actually come from their community. Then just coming and preaching to them. But with us, because we have lived there most of our lives, they have seen us come from nothing. It really changes their lives and we didn’t expect it. We all come from the same hood, so it is a massive achievement to have that. It brings harmony to the area as well, our shop kind of bring a different type of feeling. People really saw what you can do when you put your mind to something.
We love how much fun you have! – In a past interview, it was mentioned that one of your favourite moments was in Jamaica with Sean Paul, now that the future is seeing the end of the pandemic, what memories do you hope to create for DBF?
Obi: just to keep making great music together and working with different types of artists and on to projects and songs, that people would never expect to hear. Like B Young on 808 or Dappy on Motorola. Just bringing people together that is a shock but works.
We love your catalogue! – You have released tracks that have racked up millions of streams; Pumpy, 808, Swingin In Da Whip, Motorola, what has been your favourite single/project you have released so far?
Uche:Pumpy or Self Obsessed!
Obi:Pumpy, definiately! One of my friends sent me a video of someone playing it at a wedding, and I couldn’t believe! At an African wedding you know! That’s how I knew we made it. I think Pumpy is a memorable song for us who experienced it when it first came out.
We love Pumpy! – reflecting on your time with Cadet and his legacy, do you believe it was destiny for its inevitable success? What does the single mean to you now?
Both:It wasn’t forced.
Uche: when you think about the people who were on it, they were all friends. these weren’t the biggest artists in the UK, but because they were all friends already, it all connected. Everyone pushed it. RIP Cadet!
Obi: It set a foundation to what songs came afterwards. Even before that time we were trying to build our own team, our own avengers, that we could build their projects and ours. And when we put Cadet, AJ, Deno and Swarmz together we built a real family. So, when we did the song it was like everyone was winning, it was an amazing time.
We love what you are up to! – You are releasing your first album, #FAMILYBUSINESS, what can we expect from the project and why should we all take it in?
Uche:just the unexpected, mostly great music, good vibes – just a lot of excitement and expect the unexpected. Just expect the unexpected. Usually, we work with other artists on their projects but we were able to focus on something that
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