When Daisy got on Slimcase’s rap show earlier this year, the world got a taste of her tenacity. Constructing rhymes from select details of her life, the Igbo-speaking rapper tickled many boxes from a viewer’s perspective—possessing both style and substance.
Mgbodim Anurika Happiness was born in Ihiala, a town in the eastern state of Anambra. Her parents, who were Christians, had some aversion to what would be described as secular music. Daisy, meanwhile, was getting influenced by the sounds surrounding her; be it gospel music, Highlife or Ogene—a genre named after its wooden percussive instrument. Along with a natural gift for interpreting proverbs in new ways, Anurika would become popular in high school, asked to freestyle while someone supplied the beat from a desk. “The energy was really good,” says Daisy. “When I dropped a line, people would scream and cheer me on.”
Daisy, who credits the birth of her moniker to a dream she had, always had the strength of heart to pursue her dreams. She began writing raps in High School, later managing to convince her parents into accepting her chosen path. If you dig well enough, you’d find some early freestyles online. Last year, she came third in a rap challenge and subsequently got contacted by her potential partners. “After seeing my freestyle video, my boss chatted me up,” says Daisy. “He came up with the proposal for me to sign to Dreamspace Entertainment. Nobody was signed there; I was the first artist.”
That dream began to pay off for Daisy sometime this year. Her appearance on Jimmy’s Jump Off, the freestyle show by the legendary DJ Jimmy Jatt got many industry names on her trail; most notably Slimcase. “He called Jimmy Jatt and asked about me and Jimmy recommended that he vibe with me on his show. Slimcase chatted me up—you know his vibe, ‘you got bars for me?’ I replied him ‘yes, I got bars for you.'”
After passing across her contact number, Daisy soon got on the show. After her first appearance, her followers went from 2500 to 20,000. The second, alongside a Yoruba MC, went viral too.
Her working relationship with Slimcase has birthed two records, the recently-released Eze Ego and an unreleased track which should be on Slimcase’s forthcoming EP. “I’m really grateful working with him,” says Daisy.
A regular girl: that’s what Daisy considers herself. But, forged by momentous rap albums like Phyno’s No Guts, No Glory and M.I Abaga’s Chairman, her awareness about music’s ability to transform people was heightened. Though she’s had a grasp on the Hip Hop culture for a while, she considers her professional career to have begun just recently. Earlier this year, she relocated to Lagos, soon scoring her debut onstage performance at a festival organized for the nation’s youth corpers. When I ask about the potential that comes with being in Lagos, Daisy says, “of course, Lagos is an eye opener. Not just to me, but everyone else. I came to try my best. I easily get connected to industry people here.”
Now, following the conventional career route, a project offers Daisy the chance to showcase elite penmanship and vocally express a range of emotions. Enter Firecracker—her debut EP of nine songs.
Its titular record was the first song recorded. However, the first Firecracker wasn’t the version on the tape, she says. “I’d bought a beat online and I recorded the song straight, bars on bars; no hook, no chorus. Then I sent it to my boss and he came up with an idea of creating another vibe; that we could do better. That was when I started working with Major Bangz. He made the beat of the current version and sent to me; later we met and recorded the song. That was the first song I recorded with Major.”
Major Bangz, the legendary producer whose hard-hitting beats captivated listeners across Phyno’s classic NGNG, produces all but two songs on Daisy’s project. His quality never falters, whether on the sunny love-inspired Lemon and Juice or Who Dey Zuzu, a stirring rap banger which draws from the hallmarks of his most iconic productions.
Daisy’s love for storytelling also shines through. Her verses come alive when she details specific events (like an End Sars love affair) or delivers a general warning in her trademark gravitas. Surely, in most songs off the EP, she wants you recognize her rap credentials. But, quite markedly, she also possesses the instinct of a songwriter, and can spin a good chorus to go with the bars. Ultimately, Daisy could grow into a rapper in the mold of Sasha and Eva Alordiah. Songs like Fantasize, Ima Kosi and True Love beautifully captures this aspect of her artistry.
So far, so good for Daisy then. She continues to pull through the doors of the industry, with a powerful voice and the stories to match. Though she has a couple of projects still unreleased, her immediate focus rests on Firecracker and indeed, just after we got on a call, she confirms that she’s taking part in a video shoot that day.
Emmanuel Esomnofu is a Nigerian writer and culture journalist. He publishes Distant Relatives, a newsletter on music and culture.