Life In Ink: Psycho YP is always adding to his collection

"If you count them individually though, they're like 20 or so."

Last year Psycho YP was the crowned prince of our yearly (and highly disputed) Best Rappers list, a fitting way to round up a prolific year replete with singles, EP’s, and stellar features. While he’s been working at this break neck pace for the better half of the past few years, this year the Abuja-based rapper is showing no signs of slowing down.

Off the back of a blistering EP titled ‘Euphoria’ last year — an eclectic 9-track oeuvre — he opened the year with a glistening collaborative two-pack single with his protege Azanti, as well as a handful of singles. Away from the music scene he’s also been making moves in his personal life. Just last month, he bagged his second degree from The University Of Manchester.


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Born and raised in the bustling metropolis of Abuja. Psycho YP has metamorphosed from being a scrawny kid gravid with hopes and dreams, into one of the leading voices of the new wave of Hip-Hop in Nigeria. Six years ago, aged 18, he put out his debut project, an EP dubbed ‘Lost In the Sauce’, solidly planting himself in the industry.

Speaking about the start of his romance with music, he says, “I think it was like secondary school or so, I was just into American music, I just found a studio one time. It wasn’t like a normal studio, the owner was my age so that just made it easy for me to start the shit yunno. There was always people rapping around me for some reason. So my uncles used to rap, my brother used to rap. So I was just always people rapping, for some weird reason.”

There’s no denying that YP is one of the most gifted rappers from this part of the word. He’s popular for an extensive gamut of reasons, including his rapid-fire lyricism and his amorphous versatility. One subtle component however, that brazenly marks his art, is his too-cool-to-stress type of delivery — a patience and breeziness that’s associated with unbridled self-assuredness. Encircling every word he spurts is this clipped breezy aura — He doesn’t try to be cool, he just is. Like everyone else, YP had his heroes as a child. Lil Wayne was one of them, outside looking to him as a source of musical inspiration, he also admired his tattoos. Speaking on this, he says, “I used to fuck with Young Money a lot, and Lil Wayne’s always had tattoos. He’s one of my top sources of inspiration.”

Much like his role model, Lil Wayne, YP’s body is colourfully adorned with tattoos in varying sizes and degrees, which tell a story about the man he is today. His first tattoo was of his beloved mother’s name, which he got several years ago in Manchester through a stick and poke needle. Now, with over 20 tattoos already, Psycho YP is always adding to his collection.

Here’s a breakdown of Psycho YP’s tattoos.

NATIVE: So, how many tattoos do you have?

PSYCHO YP: I have like, I mean, if you count them. I don’t have big pieces like that, I only have two big pieces but then, they’re all like small pieces. If you count them individually though, they’re like 20 or so. The first is a logo of the ‘YP Season 1’ cover art on my right wrist, the other is an image of an Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, whose facial features have been swapped for his mother’s. I was looking for some crazy shit to do at the time, and I stumbled across a picture online, and I was like…I don’t know, something inside me just said ‘I have to go get that shit.

NATIVE: What was the first tattoo you got?

PSYCHO YP: My first tattoo is my mum’s name on my left wrist, like, very tiny. It wasn’t (done with) the tattoo machine thing, it was like a needle, she had to literally go over the tattoo like three times, it was my most painful tatt.

NATIVE: What inspired your first ink?

PSYCHO YP: I don’t know, I just wanted to get a tattoo. That was when I just moved to Manchester per se, I just felt like — damn! With all this freedom, I can actually get my tattoo. I didn’t want to get anything big, I just wanted to test my parents to see how they’d react to it. So I just got a small one first, but I always knew I’d get a bigger one

NATIVE: Which of your tattoo would you say is your most memorable?

PSYCHO YP: I’m not even sure. I think right now, it’s gonna be the one on my left arm, the butterfly because people keep seeing the butterfly on my left arm and keep asking me why I would get a butterfly on my arm. But I’m like, yeah, I like butterflies but it wasn’t even meant to be just one, but I was in a studio session when they were doing the tattoo, so I just told the guy to stop after the first one.

NATIVE: What ink do you plan on getting next?

PSYCHO YP: I don’t really plan like that, I just go with the flow

NATIVE: Which tattoo do you hate the most?

PSYCHO YP: Ehhh, I don’t even know. I think the tattoo I hate the most is the one on my right arm. I don’t hate it because of anything deep. I just hate it because the tattoo guys didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to be. It doesn’t even show properly. So that’s why I don’t like it, but I like it in general. It’s on my right wrist, a sunflower.

NATIVE: Which of your tattoos is your favourite?

PSYCHO YP: My favourite one has to be the queen (Nefertiti) on my right leg. It’s also biggest one.

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