Obasanjo’s Internet – Tobi ‘Alhaji Popping’ Mohammed

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Did you know that there are approximately 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide? Can you imagine all the different ways in which we all use the internet? Obasanjo’s Internet is our interview series where we speak to some of our internet favorites on how they relate to the internet and what it means to them and their work. This week, entertainment and tech entrepreneur Tobi ‘Alhaji Popping’ Mohammed best known for the Block Party series and being a freshly minted Partner at The Plug shows us around his corner of Obasanjo’s Internet.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

Very good question. When I wake up I think about my life. I try to clear my head. I’m a very cerebral person so some days I wake up energetic and on some days I don’t.

I try to see what my mood is saying, that’s probably what I do first, then I check my phone because I probably have a thousand messages waiting for me. I check my missed calls too. Then I stand up, pray, have some green tea, go to the gym and I start my day. 

How do you use the internet: for work or pleasure?

Both.

What moment or episode in your life would you say captured the essence of the internet?

I think when songs started blowing without it being a question of the song being nice? TikTok for instance can just make a song become big. Like Soweto right now, I’m a living example of this. So there’s an artist signed to me right now, his name is Victony, and I remember when we were planning the project, Soweto was just a nice song that we put on the project, but right now Soweto is number 30 on the global Shazam charts, number 1 on Nigerian Shazam charts. 

Your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram and Twitter to be honest, but Instagram is very business savvy, and the ads on Twitter are a bit difficult to use. Instagram has helped my business a lot, especially the Block Party.

What was the last meme you saved?

I don’t save memes. I just see them and I laugh because when I save things, I’ll probably never go back to them. 

Do you remember the first time something you posted went viral? What was it? How did it make you feel?

This is so funny, so I’ll give you this funny story, right? I was seeing someone at the time. It was back in the day and then I drove to see who I was seeing at the time so we just parked somewhere and talked. Then I noticed this SUV that was parked nearby- a very nice new SUV- I think it was a land cruiser at the time. I didn’t know who was in the car, but after a while, I saw a man – middle-aged, step out of the car to take a call. The next thing, this hot light-skinned woman came, got into the car and the driver had to leave the car. They were in the car for about 2 hours so I tweeted and said “oh, if your father uses this car, Land Cruiser blah blah blah, with a plate number that starts with FKJ, just know he’s in Omole, cheating on your mom nicely. I go to sleep and when I wake up, the tweet has like 5,000 likes and 2,000 retweets. I’ve gone viral for a lot of things, but that was the first time. I was shocked and I felt it was funny. I think that was probably the day I confirmed that bad news goes viral.  

What’s the most outrage you have ever generated over something you posted? How did you react to it?

I’m not a controversial person. I’m very very careful. I live a very quiet life. 

What rules do you live by on the internet?

If it’s controversial, you don’t have to add your own opinion, you shouldn’t have an opinion about everything. I’ve also realized that common sense is not common so you could get into a situation where it feels like someone has dragged you into a pit and is arguing with you there, that’ll now make you upset. So I mostly mind my business but on some days, I drop my 2 cents and leave.

What is your guiltiest online pleasure?

Ah, am I supposed to say that one here like this? Oh, maybe fashion. Is that guilty? Fashion sha. I love fashion so much so I follow a lot of fashion content and that maybe makes me do some impulsive buying sometimes. 

Would you say you have an online persona?

Um, yeah a little bit. I think I’m more outspoken online. To be honest, I think it’s the same, it’s just that in reality, I’m always too serious, but online when I’m in the mood, I just yarn anyhow. Even my madam fights me for that one, so yeah. 

What’s your favorite emoji and why?

🙌 Because I’m a very respectful person and for someone who has respect in his blood, I’ve been seen too many times as proud and cocky so I am intentional about ensuring that I don’t ever leave that impression on anybody.

Are you particular about your feed?

My feed is very curated. I only follow people I know, popular people, or people who say things I want to hear or we’ve met pretty much. I don’t just follow random people. I’m a  very intentional person, and I don’t do things impulsively.

YouTube or TikTok? Which do you prefer and why?

I don’t have a TikTok account so I think you already have your answer. I don’t even use Snapchat. I’m so old school. I don’t think I have the space in my head to figure out how another social media app works. I think Instagram and Twitter are where it stops for me, YouTube of course because that’s where I watch all the videos. 

Which Nigerian creator do you think the world needs to see and hear more of? 

Korty. I think Korty is an embodiment of what I am. There are some people I see in the industry and I feel like they are me – Olamide Baddo because a lot of people don’t even know Asake is signed to Olamide, so it’s like people don’t know what I’ve done so it’s like when they see me and have a conversation with me they are like “oh! You did this and you did that?” Till today some people don’t know I’m the one who broke Victony.

Who is the coolest person you follow and the coolest person who follows you? 

A lot of cool people follow me o, Grace Ladoja, Skepta, Falz, Bas, Santi, Odunsi, it’s plenty. What I consider cool is people who dress well because I love fashion or a serious business person. The coolest person I follow has to be Olamide.

What is your favorite Nigerian podcast?

I don’t listen to podcasts like that, but I really like the Pulse one. I like Submaroach as well, I’ve listened to it once or twice.

Have you ever hooked up with someone you met online? 

Ah yes o, yes. Sorry. 

5 people you’d love to see answer these questions

 Lanre Marshal, Ayomide Dokunmu and Tito of Culture Custodian.

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