Rising Hip-Hop artist Senibo, hailing from Nigeria drops his latest album ‘Memento Mori’. We catch up with him to learn about his music influences and the process behind it.
Listen Here to Memento Mori’
Tell us about your early influences when it came to you wanting to make music?
Oh man, let me tell you about my early influences when it comes to making music — it’s a wild ride! You see, I grew up in a household that was practically bursting with musical talent. My parents, both siblings, and I all played the grand piano — but that’s not where the story ends. Our musical tastes were all over the map, baby! One brother was all about Diddy and the other couldn’t get enough of Boyz II Men. One sister was blasting Pink while the other had a Backstreet Boys obsession. Talk about diversity, am I right? And that’s exactly what’s reflected in my own body of work — I’m all about blending genres and taking risks.
But when it comes to hip hop, there are a few artists who really left an impact on me. It all started with Diddy’s “Shake Your Tailfeather” on the Bad Boys soundtrack — that beat just got me going, you know? Then there was Nelly, and of course, Usher (thanks to my sister’s infatuation with him). But it wasn’t until I heard Lil Wayne at 16 that everything changed. That guy is a genius! I could tell that he was born to make music and I just knew that I wanted to be like him.
I had my first studio session at just 11 years old and I’ve never looked back since. I’ve put in over ten thousand hours of “serious play,” as I like to call it, and it’s all paid off. My 2019 EP, “Serious Play,” is proof of that. And now, all that hard work and self-discovery has culminated in my latest masterpiece, “Memento Mori.” Trust me when I say that this is something special, something above average — it’s a work of art that I’m so proud of.
What is the Hip-Hop scene like in Nigeria? Is it easy for artists to be heard?
Oh, let me tell you about the Hip Hop scene in Nigeria! It’s a whole different vibe here, baby. You see, Nigerians are known for their love of dancing, so Afro Beats rules the airwaves. But that doesn’t mean the Hip Hop scene isn’t hot. Oh no, quite the opposite actually. In order for a rapper to be heard in Nigeria, they have to be nothing short of magical, you feel me? We’ve got legends like MI Abaga, who just dropped a banger with NAS, and Sauce Kid, who’s known as the African Rap Ambassador. These guys are the real deal, but let me tell you, their climb to the top was steep. Nigerians are mostly inclined to Afro music, so breaking into the Hip Hop scene here ain’t easy.
That’s why I dedicated years to mastering the art of hooks, harmonizing, and singing like a damn feature artist. I’m talking about Burnaboy level skill and range, baby! Check out my tracks ‘Vibing’ and ‘Waiting’, where I brought in some talented singers to complement my flow. But on the other tracks, I’m taking it solo and it comes out fire.
Congrats on your second album ‘Memento Mori’! What is the meaning of the album and what can we expect to hear?
The album is all about healing sounds. As an artist, I believe that the intention behind a track, regardless of genre, is what ultimately determines the outcome. Whether we’re singing about love, sensuality, or even something as banal as smoking weed or chasing girls, the sonic intention is always to heal the listener and give them a transcendent, almost psychedelic experience of the divine.
So when you listen to “Memento Mori,” you’ll hear songs that touch on themes of brotherhood, love, sexuality, and existentialism, all wrapped up in frequencies that are specifically designed to help you reach a state of Nirvana. These ulterior motives, hidden behind the music, have the power to alter the very fabric of the sound and create an experience that is truly transformative.
One of my personal favorite tracks on the album is “Burnaboy.” I actually met Burnaboy when he was just starting out, and we spent an evening smoking joints and watching movies. I remember watching him in deep contemplation, and knowing then that he was destined for great things. Although the track is relatively short, it’s one of my most beloved. I even converted it into a viral clip reel format, cutting it down to one minute so that it could be easily shared and enjoyed by everyone
Lyrics (first 8 bars)
“I lead from behind, go ahead and shine
Just wanna be, Burnaboy jealousy wan make me burn the boy
Who burn the boy mama Afrique
That brother reaching the peak,
I be watching from the side line guess I’m a freak
A Stan my man
The dichotomy and gate keepers no longer exist
So what holding my feet
Now I’m ten toes to the ground like he always says
Put the mentos in my mouth now spitting fresh”
We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your producer. As a result of this sad news, you had to produce this album yourself. Tell us about the process behind the production?
Experience the joy of doing what you love! There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of pouring your heart and soul into your work, especially when it comes to creating music. Crafting a masterpiece involves a multitude of steps — from meticulously handcrafting each individual instrument, to carefully blending them together into a harmonious symphony. And let’s not forget about the art of crafting the perfect verse or hook, whether it’s through writing or free-styling.
Every song is a unique adventure, with its own set of twists and turns. You never know what approach will work best until you dive in. Sometimes you’ll find yourself writing, while other times you’ll freestyle. And as you move through each stage of the process, the tide of inspiration will ebb and flow with the spiritual ambience of the track.
Once the vocals are captured, the real magic begins. Every four bars presents a new opportunity to add intricate details and subtle touches to the mix, tweaking volumes, backups, reverbs, and echoes to create a truly immersive experience. And when it comes time to master the final product, you can rest easy knowing that your extensive experience and the presets in your DAW will make the task relatively easy. However, the real key to success lies in your attention to detail and dedication to making each micro portion of the track shine. Through diligence and hard work, you’ll bring all the elements together to create a masterpiece that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Tell us about a time where Hip-Hop saved your life?
When my mother passed, I felt my soul tethered to hers. But Music, oh Music, she saved me from a shared demise. Through Music, I channeled my grief into a force of creativity, away from the darkness of self-destruction.
And in my healing, I discovered newfound strength and confidence, daring to ascend to the stage and cast a hypnotic spell over my audience. This courage has propelled me towards greater self-awareness, each step taken with incremental belief and power. In mastering Music, I have witnessed a power so divine and godly, it leaves me mystified and in awe. People are drawn to me with an irresistible pull, and I am humbled by the power I wield. It’s no wonder why Kanye proclaimed, “no one man should have all that power.”
How Can we see your work?
I’m published by Ditto:
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