Let’s talk about Poe
I had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to Ladipo Eso, the rapper known as Poe.
Poe came into reckoning about 4 years ago on Show Dem Camp’s underground record, ‘Send It My Way’rapping with clarity and intelligence. That verse became a hot topic amongst the underground community. He continued to drop stellar verses on records like Lynxxx’s ‘Follow Me Go’, Show Dem Camp’s ‘Sweet Love’ & ‘Victoria Island’ El Flaco’s ‘Anyway’ amongst others. His affiliation with SDC has positioned him rather conveniently. Poe came into mainstream reckoning with yet another stellar feature, Show Dem Camp’s Boj assisted hit ‘Feel Alright’. Still buzzing off that momentum, Poe released a couple of stellar records in anticipation of his project, TALK ABOUT POE. Poe was pleasant enough to speak to me about the project amongst other topics.
Hi Poe, brief us on your upbringing and background. Basically, who is Poe?
I am the rapper that gets mistaken for a doctor. I’m not sure why this happens, because I’m not a doctor. I did study Biology and Chemistry in College, but that’s about it. I was born and raised in Lagos Nigeria. My parents were, and still are, amazing. They tried their best to protect us from the reality of Nigeria. The hardship. The struggle. But those kinds of things have a way of revealing themselves to you. They taught my siblings and I to be proud of where we are from, but critical enough to want to improve it.
What was your first introduction to rap music and what made you decide to take this path?
I can’t remember my first introduction to rap music. It could have been my older cousin’s MC Hammer tapes. Something like that; it certainly wasn’t anything poetic or memorable. (Laughs)
There was no conscious decision. There are some decisions in life you don’t realize you’ve made until you’re on stage at a show wondering how you got there and if it’s really you ‘all these people’ came to see.
Most people’s first introduction to you was on’Feel Alright’. How did that record come about and what has it done for your career?
It’s opened doors that were once shut or I didn’t even know existed. Plus, it has given me confidence in the fact that there is a demand for good music out there. The song gets so much love when we perform it. I want to make music that defies time.
How did you get introduced to SDC?
Long story short, I got introduced to Tec through our mothers. They realized, regrettably I’m sure, that they had sons with similar aspirations. I met up with Tec and rest is history. History that you can listen to, ‘Send it my Way’ was the first one. Even if we didn’t meet ourselves in this fashion, my cousin is part of the crew so it would have happened anyway – it was destined
Your first collaboration with SDC was the underground classic, Send It My Way, how did that record come about?
My second time in Red Room Studio and ‘Send it My Way’ was the result. SDC had the beat and you can probably imagine the rest. We recorded a classic
Do you feel like high quality rap music usually falls on def ears in Nigeria?
No, we wouldn’t be having this interview if that were the case. There’s a massive love for rap out here. Whether it’s ‘high quality’ or not is purely subjective. Now if you asked if ‘high quality’ rap is lucrative then I’d have a different answer for you.
You are one of the more intelligent rappers around, have you found yourself dumbing down your content for commercial reasons?
People don’t want to listen to anything they need a university degree to understand. It’s ironic; it took me getting a university degree to appreciate that. So I make music that is true to me and represents what I feel, and pray there are people out there that can relate.
That said. I’ll make a commercial tune, but I don’t feel I need to ‘dumb anything down’ for it to be understood.
Do you feel pressure to deliver a solo hit record?
No. Not at all. There’s not telling what song will be a hit so I just put out what I feel is best.
One thing about you is, despite your brief catalogue you have a penchant for stellar features. Another being Jesse Jagz”Give Me Shit. How did that record come about?
That was all the doing of Kahli Abdu and Kid Konnect. They had a project and this song was on there. Kahli asked me to hop on the record. Later he told me Jesse was on it too. We all got to meet at Rade Gold Studio, Konnect’s place. One of my favorite studio sessions till date.
What is your impression of the mainstream rap scene in Nigeria?
Vibrant, but lacking in competition i.e. there are vacuums left to be filled
Being that most of the mainstream rappers in the country are indigenous, what do you think the english speaking rappers need to do?
I don’t agree with that statement. There are a number of notable artists that rap predominantly in English.
I can only speak for myself and what I need to do is continue release more solo songs – consistently, and ultimately reach more people.
Your project ,Talk About Poe is highly anticipated, what should we expect?
Expect a number of singles before the project comes out. With the project itself you should expect the ‘unconventional’
What collaborations can we expect?
I’ve always liked surprises
What producers are you working with and what sound are you going for?
Rap and Hip Hop are not the only combination. I’m a lover of many genres, but confined to none. That’s all I can tell you about the sound I’m afraid. (Laughs)
Ikon is the lead producer. There are few others I hope to work with, but would rather not say for now.
At this early stage of your mainstream career, are you aiming for commercial success or critical acclaim with this project?
Critical acclaim is more lasting. So I prefer that. However, commercial success would be a welcome side effect of that acclaim. We have a lot in store before the project drops.
Talk to us about your new single, Slow It Down ft. Funbi, how did it come about?
It’s sound I’ve loved for a while now – that Palmwine sound. However, I wanted to create song that was unique. Ikon, Funbi and I were able to bring two genres together seamlessly.
We got Nsikak David (Veterans Band) in the studio to play the guitar and Ikon took it from there. Funbi is a real talent and great to work with. He came up with the melody and we fleshed out the words. Soon enough we realized we had a great song, with a great message and I’m really happy we can share it with people.
When should we expect Talk About Poe?
I can’t say. We are looking at mid 2015. We have a few singles we put out first. I’m excited about those!!
Will you ever consider signing to a mainstream label (e.g Chocolate City, 960 Music, EME e.t.c) and why?
It’s all within the realm of possibility. If I ask people to be open minded and listen to my music, I must be open-minded as well in order to make a decision that is best for me, and what it is I do. My team and I have a trajectory so anyone label we partner or sign with has to be willing to take us even higher.
Locally, who are your favourite rappers?
Ghost, Tec, and Larry Dojoes
Have you received kudos are co signs from any of the pre existing rappers?
I wouldn’t know. Although, I’ll admit MI has said some nice things to me publically and personally.
Where do you see Poe the rapper in 5 years?
Discovering he has a fear of heights. He’d be that high up
Its been nice talking to you Poe, leave a message for your supporters
I’m not entirely certain of the destination, but you’re welcome to join me on the journey. Continue to support the movement. God Bless #TAPSeason