Looking for the ultimate Tuesday tune? Well, we are bringing you six in the form of Ladipoe’s latest EP, “Providence”. Released last month, the artist looked to enchant and delight his listeners with slick bars and a sensual tone, all of which fill out hits-in-the-making such as “LOTR II” and “Running”. And, with other talents on the rise, including Rema and Fireboy DML, joining him on the project, it becomes clear that the project is not only a stellar musical drop but also a display of the raw talent spilling out of the industry right now.
“The definition of ‘Providence’ is timely preparation for future eventualities,” explains Ladipoe. “December 2019 was when I wrote the first song off the project and July 2021 is when I wrote the last one. However, the definition remained a guiding light throughout the process in a way that captures the journey of my career thus far. ‘Providence’ also means the protective care of God or of nature as spiritual power. Being under the care of God resonates strongly with me because of my upbringing, and I believe that faith is something larger than yourself possessing the ability to pull you through the most difficult of times. Faith in hostile times is a big theme that is interwoven into some of the songs on the EP.”
Upon the release of his EP, the artist sat down with Wonderland to discuss his plans for future albums, and the influence his upbringing in Lagos has had on his music. Head below to enjoy our conversation with Ladipoe…
Hey Ladipoe how are you? How has 2021 been for you?
2021 has been a life-changing year for me, both career-wise and personally. My family endured a deep personal loss early this year but we also welcomed a new member to the family. My career had so many highlights that I struggled to pick my favourite one; the chart-topping, the performances, the BET nomination and being on Jay-Z’s playlist, to name a few. I’ve never experienced such deep lows and soaring highs in the same year like this before.
How would you sum up the year in one word?
Loads of people were affected by the pandemic. Would you say your creativity was?
Definitely! It was difficult to create in an uncertain time when you feared for the well being of those closest to you. I had to make sense of it all first; digesting it took me a long time. In my own way, I reference that period a few times on “LOTR II”, the first track off the “Providence EP”. However, I don’t think I’ve fully processed it all, but I’m sure more music will capture it.
You’re from Lagos, which is a melting pot of culture and sound, how would you say your hometown inspired you?
Living in Lagos has given me stories to tell for sure. I was born and raised here, but I understood how to rap from my time living in America before returning home gave me something to rap about. I think this city and country as a whole produces a special breed of artists because you must live, create and repeat under conditions that are hostile to creativity. There’s no city on earth like Lagos, it’s so unpredictable – I once described Lagos as the “beauty and the chaos” and that still holds true for me.
And then you signed with Don Jazzy in 2017, what was this experience like?
The decision to join Mavin was a leap of faith in more ways than one. I had been an independent artist for some time which is an experience that is still invaluable to me, but I had reached a point where I knew the people in my country and the world at large needed to hear my voice. I needed a platform that could help me amplify what I had to offer so when I got the call to say Don Jazzy was interested in signing me, I was really excited yet cautious. There was no artist like me on their roster which fuelled my pioneer spirit, but also my fear of failure. The offer from Mavin wasn’t the only one I received, but after spending some time around them, I felt they were at a crossroads like I was. They had patiently aggressive global aspirations and this attracted me because I had similar thoughts about my own trajectory. It hasn’t been an easy journey by any means – there were times I was sure I was done, but I have an amazing support system. My manager at the time and my family were big sources of support for me, eventually our vision and execution began to align.
From 2017 till now, how would you describe your growth as an artist?
I’ve grown in so many ways, most importantly, I’m a survivor of the identity crisis that is common in Nigeria, mainly existing in rap. The art form is weighed down with old narratives dictating the ideology that rap artistry should be kept nostalgic rather than a novel. Understanding my own artistry, embracing what makes me unique, and weaponising it were all so important for my growth. Now I say, “no punchlines just lifelines”, meaning that my lyrics contain more than just punchlines — I intend for my words to linger long after you go to the next song.