Track By Track: Ajebo Hustlers Break Down Their Debut Tape ‘Kpos Lifestyle Vol.1’
The PH duo serve up their debut project
The PH duo serve up their debut project
At the peak of last year’s momentous #EndSARS protests, organisers in Rivers State began distributing fliers online about a protest scheduled to take place at Pleasure Park in the state’s capital city. However, just before the slated date, the state governor, Nyesom Wike, called off any public demonstrations in the state, but the Internet disagreed–and so did the city’s young people. In audio and video clips shared on Twitter, citizens of the state affirmed their decision to meet up at Pleasure Park in defiance of the governor’s orders.
While united under a common goal to root out a rogue police unit, one song rang out more than any other: Ajebo Hustlers’ “Barawo.”
In a year that tested the limits of civil and personal ties, “Barawo” was the rare pop song that encapsulated the people’s discontent thematically and sonically. Spun from a real-life story of jungle justice witnessed in their home state – the gruesome lynching of the Aluu 4 in 2012 – Piego and Knowledge birthed a song that united their city and the country at large.
When things became unbearable, the song’s defining chant “this country na wa” united hearts and minds in those singular moments, insulating them from the pain felt in real-time. That song and the momentum around it have anchored the Port Harcourt duo to greater heights. This culminated in the February release of the Omah Lay-featuring “Pronto,” a smooth summer track that has taken over the radio and the clubs.
Piego and Knowledge have spent the best part of the last decade working up to this moment. After linking up as fresh-faced young men back in 2011, they have navigated the treacherous, sometimes lonely, road to music relevance in Nigeria and they have done so together. Now, the duo wish to pay homage to the fans who have been riding with them all this while. The arena to do so is ‘Kpos Lifestyle, Vol. 1’, their debut album that collapses their youthful impulses into blunt reflections on the state of life in Nigeria and the joy of relishing in the present moment.
Here, the pair offer a window into what each song on ‘Kpos Lifestyle, Vol. 1’ is about.
View this post on Instagram
Piego: This song is essentially a love story. We just wanted to expand on the idea of a guy meeting the girl of his dreams, someone he’s ready to settle down with, and going all out for her. So, it’s that idea of going, “I don reach my bus stop.” That’s basically the idea for this one.
Piego: “Yafun Yafun” talks about a promiscuous woman who’s supposedly in a relationship and her partner is tired of that but still wants to get married to her because he still likes her. So, he’s going to resort to magun. Magun is a ritual rite in Yoruba culture to catch promiscuous people. We were just playing around with that scenario in the studio and decided to make it into a song.
Knowledge: This one was produced by Fresh and it’s also about a relationship. It’s about a lady in a toxic relationship: her boyfriend keeps yelling at her and getting her worked up. But, fortunately, she finds comfort and solace in my hands.
Knowledge: Another love song. We wanted to present love as a two-way thing because it often feels like we are in a generation where relationships are one-sided with males providing and giving. We thought we could give a fresh perspective to it and just let people know that it doesn’t always have to be that way. When we finished the song, we sent it to Nissi – she was in London at the time – because we wanted a female artist on it for balance and she was the one we had in mind for the song. She worked on it for a couple of days and it was just perfect.
Piego: This one was produced by Semzi and we had Omah Lay on. It’s just a feel-good song because we wanted to show a different side to ourselves. We talked about being on time, being available when people we love need us. People loved it and that just justified our decision to go with it.
Piego: As much as relationships can be tough, it’s also important to compliment your partners and we wanted to do that with this song. Orlando Magic produced this one and it’s just about appreciating the woman you are in a relationship with and highlighting all the great stuff about her as much as you can.
Knowledge: We made this song about Nigeria because as citizens of the country we expect the country to get better. We want certain things to be put in place because since I was a kid we’ve been talking about having a better Nigeria and it’s not worked out. At the same time, this is the only home for us and we decided to pass a message about what we want and that’s how “Oh My Home” came about. We want to stop having to pray for basic things like light, water, and those kinds of things.
Knowledge: We had a whirlwind year in 2020 and this was a song to show gratitude to God and just extend gratitude for everything being in sync. It was a simple vibe and we just thought it had to make the album.
Piego: The song that literally changed it all. It was produced by 1da Banton. It’s a song about our day-to-day life in Nigeria, you know. It’s about jungle justice, societal ills, and bad governance too. I think it’s our most expressive song because we just straight up said how we felt about certain issues as citizens of the country. Everyone is just tired of things. It was also important to shed light on the ills of jungle justice and tell people to speak up if they found themselves in a situation like that. No one should have to have their lives taken like that because there are other ways to handle issues like that without killing people arbitrarily.
Piego: This song is very personal to us because it’s for our oldest fans, they’ve been with us through thick and thin. It’s also interesting because new lovers of Ajebo Hustlers can connect. It’s basically an anthem to just celebrate that connection with our fans and thank them for their support. It’s also a really chill song that you can put on on the weekend when you’re settling in with a drink or something.
Stream ‘Kpos Lifestyle, Vol.1’ below.
Featured Image Credits/Instagram