In the March/April 2016 print edition of Germany’s Juice Magazin (#173), Nigerian rapper, activist and influencer MCSKILL THA PREACHA talks about his life, musical influences, the Nigerian Hip Hop scene, international musical collaborations etc.
Also on this issue – Drake, Rick Ross, Pusha T, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, AWKWORD, SSIO, Megaloh and much more…
JUICE: You grew up in Ikeja, right? What was growing up in Ikeja like?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Yes i did fam, growing up there was awesome. Connected with a whole lot of people. From rappers to graffiti artists to poets. Just name it.
JUICE: How and when did you first get in touch with rap music and the HipHop scene?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Def in the early 90’s when i used to listen to the radio from my dad’s tape deck. Rap music was always on rotation, wasn’t too hard falling in love with it and that’s how it all started.
JUICE: What are your biggest musical influences and why?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: First off, Snoop Dogg. He made me love rap music and makes rapping look so so easy. Fela Kuti, the afrobeat legend for always keeping it conscious. Sunny Ade, the juju King for his energy on stage. No way you getting tired watching him do his thing. Ebenezer Obey, his storytelling abilities was top notch then of course The teacha KRS One for the knowledge he impacted in me.
JUICE: Obviously one of your biggest idols is KRS-One, right? Why is it so? When did you get in contact fort he first time?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: KRS or the teacha like i prefer to call him taught me everything i know about Hip Hop. I mean Hip Hop was just a genre to me before KRS came into the picture. Now I’ve studied Hip Hop on a higher level, the whole culture, history and all that. But ofcourse, i’m still studying to become a scholar someday.
JUICE: Your first releases are from 2004, right? How did you sound like back in the days?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Hahaha i don’t have the right words for this fam, honestly. Maybe sometime soon, I’ll release my first ever record online and let y’all be the judge but one thing is for sure though, the content was RAW but i think delivery sucked.
JUICE: After your first releases you took a long break until 2010. Why?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Yeah, i wasn’t satisfied with the kind of music i was making cos i knew i could do better plus i had school and all that too. During the six year break, i was able to focus on the teachings of KRS One and of course other emcees that influenced me. The likes of Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Snoop Dogg etc. The break was good for me, it made me a better artiste.
JUICE: You started your career as a rapper with the stage name Skill and changed it later into MCskill Tha Preacha. Why?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Skill was a name given to me by my peers, guess i had skills in everything back then haha so i stuck with it but during the six year break i was able to differentiate between a rapper and an MC and i thought why not add MC to the Skill? That stuck! I became a battle emcee and added ThaViper to the MCskill but i didn’t wanna be known as just another battle emcee who never made it so i dumped ThaViper and moved on and started penning down what i figured sounded all preachy most times and that’s where the Preacha surfaced from. So here we are MCskill ThaPreacha.
JUICE: Your last EP was produced by Stormatique, which whom you work since a long time. What make his beats so special to you?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: For the record, Stormatique is my brother. I mean my blood brother but that’s not the reason his beats are special. His beats are special cos he is that good. You can’t listen to a Stormatique beat and not nod your head or move your body. He is an amazing beat maker who makes different genres of beats, he’s also an excellent sound engineer. We got a good chemistry.
JUICE: How does your collaboration look like? Do you sit together in the studio or does he send you beats by mail?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: The former, we sit together in the studio and poof! Magic! Haha
JUICE: The official language of Nigeria is English. Did this fact make it easier to gain access to HipHop and the music of the HipHop motherland USA?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Yeah, I really think it played a big role ‘cos growing up and listening to let’s say Snoop or Biggie, I wouldn’t have understood the message being passed across in their songs. Would probably still have ventured into rap music but it would have taken sometime so English language definitely made it easier and faster.
JUICE: Is HipHop a big thing in Nigeria? Are there structures of clubs, record stores, studios and event locations?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: I wouldn’t want to say its a big thing as its quite unstable at the moment but it can and would be a big thing with time. We got limited media outlets supporting Hip Hop and most times its been treated as just a genre and not a culture hence, the setbacks. We got monthly Hip Hop events also which are getting bigger but like i said earlier, everything takes time. We’ll keep doing our best to take Nigerian Hip Hop to greater heights and hope to be here when it becomes a really big thing.
JUICE: What does the Nigerian HipHop scene look like? Are there many rappers, producers, DJs?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Yeah, we got lots of rappers out here. I mean lots. Exciting rappers everywhere fam. Same with producers but i can’t say much about Hip Hop DJs. We got lots of DJs right but few can be considered Hip Hop DJs.
JUICE: When did the first hiphoppers and rappers appear in Nigeria?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Late 80’s / early 90’s and trust me the metamorphosis has been awesome.
JUICE: Which cities have the biggest hiphop scenes in Nigeria and why?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: I’d say just Lagos. No disrespects to other cities like Jos, Abuja and the recent buzz coming out of Benin City but Lagos is the biggest and definitely where to be at to take your craft to the next level.
JUICE: What are the most notable ones and what makes them unique?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Lagos. Its where everything in the industry as a whole goes down.
JUICE: Does an exchange between oldschool and newschool rappers exist?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: I didn’t get this one but if you referring to collaborations, well once in a blue moon it happens.
JUICE: What does the Nigerian HipHop scene look like compared with other African countries? Is it special in a way, are there some particularities in Nigeria?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Well, not bad at all fam. Might be unstable at the moment because of the wide acceptability of pop songs but compared to other African countries, i think its quite special out here just because we got more talented artistes and I’d gladly defend this anytime. The structure is the only thing lacking, We fix that and we would be invincible, trust me.
JUICE: Is graffiti and breakdance taking place in Nigeria, too?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Oh yes! Got couple events that goes down every year like the Battle Of The Year event etc.
JUICE: What’s up on your schedule right now? Are you working on a new album?
MCSKILL THAPREACHA: Yeah I’m working on what would be my 8th studio project. Its titled “Diary Of A Supernatural” and it will be released digitally worldwide this year.
Pick up an hardcopy of Juice Magazin Edition #173 on newsstands all across Europe. or ORDER ONLINE HERE