What is Zeez?
DJ Zeez’s claim to fame is his 2008 hit “04kasibe”. Although the song generated lyrical controversy, it brought the Imo State born ex-disc jockey instant fame; earning him a Hip Hop World Best Street Hop Award. Born Kingsley Elikpo, this is Zeez, in his own words.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw them from the streets, from God and people around me. I like to sing about what people talk about every single day of their lives. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, so I cannot say I record any of my songs out of the artificial highness.
Tell us about the song “Bobbee FC”…
When I released the audio version of the song, a lot of people thought, ‘oh, he is just one of those who love to sing about ladies and explicit things’ but I knew what I was doing. I wanted them to like and embrace the song first before I come up with the concept. Trust me, if I had sang the song, plainly stating that it is about breast cancer awareness, nobody will listen to it. That is why I decided to take it through this line and dedicate my entire video line to this project. I stylishly sneaked in the whole breast cancer awareness thing into the song which is the message. I realised that a lot of men leave the whole breast cancer struggle to the women, forgetting that every man was breast fed.
What was the idea behind “04kasibe”?
Before I began doing music, I understood the impact of controversy in a song because, good or bad, it makes you more popular. That is true because when your song is being banned, people will want to know why. To be frank with you, when I was putting “04kasibe” [together], it was a street slang and the original is actually ‘Ori e wambe’ and not 04kasibe, which is my coinage. Ori e wambe is a phrase street boys use to adore anyone they respect. They are simply saying ‘you are highly respected’, so as an artist, I decided to mess with it. You have to be very artistic, so I thought that if I have to bring out this song, I have to put two and two together and then I came up with four. The 4 in “04kasibe” is talking about the four cardinal points in the world, that is why in the video, you will see people with flags of various countries.
How did you learn to speak Yoruba so well?
My real name is Kingsley Eligbo and my mum is Yoruba while my dad is Igbo [and] I was born and brought up in Lagos. That is basically why I can speak Yoruba very fluently. I have a whole lot of Lagosians as friends and truth be told, in a place like Lagos, you just have to speak the Yoruba language.
What projects are you currently working on?
A lot of people are going into one charity or NGO but I am just going to go into good health care awareness which will see me talk about, say Malaria this month, HIV the other month and then breast cancer some other time. It is basically to address better living amongst Nigerians. My latest music video compilation has a pink colour theme and that is because proceeds will go to the breast cancer projects across the country.
What are the issues in the Nigerian music industry?
The older generation of singers, I don’t want to mention names, are so used to the songs they used to listen to in the past and think that the young ones are not doing those same kind of songs. They need to understand that the world is evolving and we can’t keep doing the same kind of songs.
Who are your musical influences?
It is very funny but they are anyone who, whether in the shower, eating or driving, mimes my song.