NATIVE Exclusive: Kida Kudz is pop royalty at home and abroad

A London-based artist, Kida Kudz’s music is inspired by his time living in Nigeria and his daily life in the UK. He often took part in rap battles while he was in high school in Nigeria and he eventually got his first taste of the limelight when he emerged as the winner of the 2nd edition of the Peak Talent Show in 2010 before he moved to the UK. Though Kida moved to the UK for studies and even graduated with a degree in Media Production from Newham College, UK, he remained committed to following his music passion and expressing himself authentically. As such, his songs express Afrocentric sentiments that other diaspora Africans can relate to. It’s no surprise that he was able to grow a strong fanbase of Jiggy Boys (and girls) both at home and abroad as he delivered hit songs that made him into a distinct figure in the UK Rap community and a crucial part of Afropop’s global dominance.

Kida Kudz’s Pop proclivities put him in the same room as other key figures in the music scene in Nigeria and abroad, and he often collaborates with these artists, for example on his breakthrough single, “Issa Vibe” featuring Burna Boy and Geko. The song’s success made him a regular feature in Afropop playlists around the world. He has since continued to capitalise on his successes to remain a mainstay in the music scene as he even created a distinct sound dubbed Afro-swank by blending his indigenous influences with his Rap influences. The stylistic melodies and composition have produced impressive genre-blurring gems like “1AM” which recreated Ghanaian Hip-Life classic, “Ahomka Womu” into a club hit.

Given the career boost the Nigerian market gave him, Kida Kudz has been partial to these parts, an obvious preference from his tweets alone. The listening party for his debut project, ‘Nasty’ in Lagos, Nigeria, and the city welcomed him with open arms as his venue was packed with a mix of students, celebrities and hipsters who had come from as far as Jos to see him perform their favorite tracks. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that he isn’t based in Lagos from the crowd’s reaction to tracks like “1am”, “Big Up” and “Tasty Time”. He closed last year with an impressive 3-track project, ‘Jiggy Pack Vol. 1’ and we can’t wait to hear what he has planned for 2021. he already teased a potential collaboration with the rising artist, Bella Shmurda after he discovered that they share the same birthday, which happens to be today.

To celebrate Kida Kudz’s birthday today, we’re looking back at our interview with the talented artists, which we conducted following his debut project, ‘Nasty‘. Enjoy below:

THE NATIVE: What’s your most reoccurring vision for each year?

KIDA KUDZ: I’m so excited in the role that God has given me, bro. I think I’ve got a lot of responsibility to the industry and I can’t mess it up. That’s why I take pride in what I do. I’m making sure that I’m not folding and I’m not forgetting the game plan. I’m just trying to focus on the right energy, and what I’ve promised myself that I’m going to be musically. I’m not trying to fall victim to the industry and do the same thing everyone is doing. I just focus on my craft till it gets there. 

THE NATIVE: What makes your sound so distinct?

KIDA KUDZ: Speaking for myself, I had to do a lot of studying. I had to do a lot of learning and unlearning. I had to let go of some things that are not good for me. I had to find my deeper self. Ever since I found that balance, it’s been lit and everything has been great, ‘cause I’ve been out here for a long time. Like I started my career when I was 14 so me moving to the UK after winning a talent show in Nigeria really helped me add more to what I grew up listening to. When I moved [to London] I got exposed to Ellie Grande, the UK Rap, the Pop, the R&B. Everything mixed with my own culture, where I come from. Everything polished nicely. I [also] try my best to listen to off-genre stuff so I can just listen to music and vibe. 

THE NATIVE: How did you know you wanted to make music?

KIDA KUDZ: My first dream was to be a vet doctor, but I didn’t even make it to be a science student. I was an art student. I did audio engineering, music business and music production in school [and] college in the UK. I’ve always loved music and being able to record myself is a great advantage. Music business, as well, has made me more exposed to a lot of things. I’m still learning though. I’m still figuring my way around stuff. I do a lot of research. 

THE NATIVE: How have people accepted your sound around the world?

KIDA KUDZ: They’re accepting us properly. We’re recognised worldwide. People had to develop with me. It took me 9 years to finally say, “this is my sound; this is the kind of music I make.” And to be able to say it with my chest up and be like yeah this is what I created by myself. I think the supporters and the industry grew with me. ‘Cause at some point, I don’t think people got what I was doing. And I’m not even mad at that cause I didn’t know what I was doing either. I was trying to figure something out while I was doing the music. Thank God they didn’t leave me, they just stuck by me. Now that everything is patterned, they’re real happy to say, “yeah they’re Kida Kudz supporters” ‘cause they’ve seen it grow and they’re proud to be a member. 

THE NATIVE: Do you feel pressured to keep up with the enthusiasm of the Jiggy FC fanbase?

KIDA KUDZ: There’s no pressure anymore. They’re already in the deeper realm with me. It’s a different connection. I think every Kida Kudz supporter has a deeper meaning to the Jiggy FC that I say in my track. It’s for people that actually live this stuff. Everyone that has put their energy where my energy is at. So the same feeling I feel when I drop a song and be like, “yeah, this is how I want people to feel,” people are feeling it that way because music is a spiritual thing. That’s why I probably don’t have everyone behind my back now. Because it’s not for everyone. But at some point more people are going to come. But for now it’s just me and my people and they’re deeply into the stuff that I’m doing. 

My shows and events are spiritual, man. People lose their mind and shit cause they feel it differently. It’s like if I go to a Lil Wayne show, I’d lose my mind cause that’s my hero. Someone I looked up to growing up. I’m sure people from my generation looked up to Lil Wayne as well. 

THE NATIVE: Your general thoughts on award shows?

KIDA KUDZ: I’m not going to say I don’t care about accolades ‘cause I want a Grammy. But I’m disconnected to a lot of things. I don’t really care about a lot of things. But the right time, when it comes, it’s cool. But I don’t do this for the award. I do it ‘cause I love this stuff. I do this for people that want to listen to music.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/kidakudzgram

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You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu


ICYMI: Where were you for Kida Kudz’s ‘Nasty’ listening party

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