Photographer: Clement Ogoh
Interview by: Gracey Mae
Alpha P, welcome to Pause Magazine. How are you? How have you been enjoying quarantine?
I’m good. I’ve just been using the time to work. I‘ve been working on a couple of stuff.
Now on the topic of work, during quarantine, you released the remix for Paloma with DJ Tunez?
Yeah! The DJ Tunez remix. It’s not like the official official remix though. It’s the DJ Tunez remix!
And you’re giving us Amapiano vibes. South Africa all the way!
Yeah! [laughs] Because when he heard the record, he called me he was like “Yo, bro! This record is sick; send me the vocals.” That was like January, and I forgot. Although – we had like sessions cos we have other songs together, I just remembered like, two three months ago and I sent the vocals. He was like “Bruh! It’s ready. I have something ready for you” and he sent it back and it was crazy. I just told the team, “We have to drop this. I don’t care if it’s not the official OFFICIAL remix, but we have to drop this because it was crazy.
Mad o! Wait, so does that mean that an official remix is coming?
Maybe I can’t say. Maybe.
Ooh. Okay! Paloma was one of the biggest tracks from your King of the Wolves EP but I personally love every check off of the project. Which song do you feel like has been received the best?
I get it. The Paloma video is so sick.
Thank you so much! Big shout out to Dalia [Dias], she directed.
Yeah, Dalia’s big. She’s worked with City Girls, Cardi B, Wizkid, Drake…she’s big!
She’s hard; she’s everywhere. She’s amazing.
Now I’ve gone straight into the interview and haven’t ever really given you any kind of introduction, but I know that your story is super inspiring. So, take us back to growing up in Benin City, and walk us through how you’ve managed to do all of this at such a young age.
Um! Benin was the starting point of everything because in Benin there was freedom. There was nobody trying to box you and say, “Oh, you have to do this” because there were no labels. There were no managers. It was just you, just carving yourself and just working. So I started making music in church and I was like 9/10 years old. All my friends were like 13/14 and I was the youngest, but I was bigger [for] my age so I always lied and said I was their age, so I could fit in with the group. So, in the church, I didn’t want to be part of the choir, because I didn’t have like…my vocals weren’t ready. That’s how I’ll put it – my vocals weren’t ready and I wasn’t really like a singy guy, so I was just like, I want to be a rapper.
So, I used to inspirations. I would take some lyrics from Drake and people; I just like to twist it up and make it fit to the gospel audience and everything. Basically, that’s how started rapping in church. I was part of a group in church called 7 Dimensions. We were like seven rappers and I became the leader of the group, going from churches to perform, we went to schools! Like different little events – letting people know that there’s this kid or these kids who can rap. So, from there, moving to Lagos. I moved to Lagos when I was 16. I was in my first year in university in Benin, but I had to come [to Lagos] so now I had to change schools and everything. So, I moved to Lagos because I just wanted to fully discover who I was. I just had so many ideas, so many melodies, but I didn’t know how to arrange them or how to like, deliver them properly for people to consume properly. So, I was like, how to come to Lagos to find out my sound for me and to find out who exactly I am. So, I came to Lagos 2019 January. I was 16. I took the bus! I was like “Mum, Dad, I need to go to Lagos. I need to work on this music.” And [they] gave me the go ahead and I came through. Worked with a couple of producers…did the hustle, did the hustle, kept on posting freestyles on my Instagram and the. I met my manager. He introduced me to Bizzle, a guy called Bizzle. Both of them introduced me to Universal Music and here we are. So since then it’s just been from one level to another basically.
I love that! You’re super inspiring; the fact that your family were “Okay, cool. You can travel”, that sick!
Yes. My mom was kind of sceptical, but my dad was like, “Nah. Don’t worry, he’s safe. He’s a good boy. Since he’s good at home, if he’s going out, he’s not gonna turn into a bad guy or start behaving like a thug or something.” So my dad was like, “nah, you’re a good boy, so you’ll behave yourself out there so it’s a sure thing. Go and fight for what you believe in.”
Having family support is everything! Now tell me the background of your name because alpha is obviously like a Greek word for the first and then P is obviously an initial. So explain to me the whole name.
Okay! When I made the name, I was still in church. So get this, I was just a young boy in church, who was rapping but I didn’t have a name. All my friends had cool names, like street names, MC strong names, but I didn’t have a name and my name is Princewill. And I really fuck with wolves so I was like yeah, okay! I’ll be Alpha P. To use them the first letter from my name. I’ll be like Alpha P meaning like, the King of the Wolves. But that’s me. Basically, Alpha P is like saying Sir Michael. So the alpha then my name. So basically the idea was so that people know that Alpha P…cos alpha stands for two things. Alpha means the leader and also means the beginning of something. So if you’re looking at the biblical reference, the beginning and the end, then in the Wolfpack: the leader. So basically, Alpha P is the beginning of something new, a new sound, a new flow, just basically new vibes. So basically that’s what Alpha P stands for. Fresh sound, fresh everything, everything. So basically, that’s how I came up with the name.
You’ve touched on the fact that you love wolves and anyone who follows you on any of your social media platforms will know this! I mean, it’s not just the name of your project. We see it popping up everywhere. Explain to me, what’s the obsession with wolves?
Oh, I’ve just liked wolves since I was a kid because I like watching werewolf movies or vampire movies. I was always fascinated by the fact that men actually turn to wolves. I have always loved the concept of the full moon, the wolves, the whole pack because of that whole movement. With the pack, you can’t see a wolf wandering on its own. Being a lone wolf is very, very rare. And in that state, they’re very, very weak so I would just love the whole idea of “Oh, I’m with the team, I’m going to be gang; I’m with the pack.” So, basically that whole idea was what really made me like wolves. Apart from how they look and apart from every other thing; it’s because of the fact that they move with a pack. It’s always a family. It’s always some gang movements, like you can’t really come and attack a pack of wolves because you’re gonna be [laughs]…they’re gonna be all over the place fucking you up. So, I was like, “Yeah, because of this”, and I just love the movement. I love the whole idea of the full moon and everything’s so…I watched the movie Teen Wolf and it’s changed my life forever. Yo, when I watched it, I was like, “God, this guy should be me and I should be this guy.” Like, I tried so hard. I used to go out in the full moon to like try to change but nothing used to happen I was just a silly kid having fun.
I love that you’re so fun and free with it. To be honest, now that you’ve explained it, I’m getting it. I’m understanding. I’ve taken a few lessons away from that already, you know, rolling with the family, pushing a movement, not doing it by yourself. Kudos.
Now we’re about to play a game. You’ve just explained the alpha means leader. It means Sir. It means first. So I’m going to ask you five different questions and you just have to tell me whether you would like to be first or whether you would rather be the last.
Being picked for a football team. Would you rather be first, or would you rather be lost?
I’ll be last, I suck at football. I’ll be last! [laughs]
Going up to a buffet. Would you rather be first or would you rather last?
Let’s see. Okay, I’ll be first. I’ll be first. The good stuff goes first. So, I’ll be first.
Siblings, would you rather be the first – so the eldest sibling, or would you rather be the last?
Ah, I’ll be the last – if I had the opportunity, I would be last so I can have people to look up and people to guide me while growing up so yeah.
If you were buying a house on a new street, would you like to be the first or the last person to buy?
Erm…I would like to be the last. No! I would rather be the first person to buy cos I want to be alone. I just wanna be the only one. I wanna be able to come out of my building and be the only one on the street so that type of vibe. I like it.
And in terms of endorsements, would you rather be the first in Nigeria or Africa to secure that deal? So, you’re gonna be the first but you’re also guinea pig. Or would you rather be the last person so that, you know, you always have the legacy as the very last person to have this type of endorsement deal?
Nah, I’ll be the first person because they rarely talk about the last people: they always talk about, “oh, he was the first to get to”… “Oh, he’s the first person to do this”. So, the first person it is!
Alright. We are now going to talk about the rest of 2020. We know that Corona has messed up a few plans and King of the Wolves, is a couple of months old. So what can we expect from the rest of the year?
Okay, lots of stuff. Lots of stuff. I can say some. I can’t say song because like, we’re still planning lots of stuff. But I have a couple of collaborations coming. I got two with my brothers in South Africa. One with Ricky Tyler. One with Tellaman. Might have something Nasty C but I can’t say yet. I can’t say anything. Well, yeah. Then, um, I have a couple of stuff coming out new music coming soon. I’m dropping a project next month.
Oooh! Does it have a name?
Yeah but I don’t know if I can say it now…It’s called Wolves and Mustangs actually.
Okay! Wolves again. I love it.
Yeah, Wolves and Mustangs cos those are my two favourite things in the world, except for my family and my bag so yeah! [giggles]
Ey! And the bag. [laughs]
Wolves and Mustangs coming out next month unfailingly; just wrapping it up now. Doing the mixing and the mastering. Just getting everything ready so that’s gonna be out, and before the year ends, I’m gonna drop a new project again. It’s gonna be back to back music; got some collaborations in the UK coming soon though and something like that. So…just new music coming out soon because we can’t really go on tour and we don’t know when shows are going to resume so it’s basically just music for the fans. Yeah, new music, new visuals. Yeah.
All right, we’re gonna wrap up soon but for anyone that is sat indoors and is feeling super lonely or super bored in quarantine, do you have any encouraging words for them?
Yeah, it’s hard but I just feel this time is also like a blessing for me to actually sit down and reflect on myself and my life. Because I just started the movement so fast from like November when I dropped the project, so we just been moving. Now it’s time to like settle down. I can actually think and re-structure and be like, “Yo, this is the plan for the rest of the year and next year. This is what I need to do.” This is time for self-healing. So, I feel this time while we’re at home, I think this is time for everybody to settle down, actually reflect and check yourselves and be like, “Yo, what am I doing right? What am I doing wrong?” I just need to get everything in motion because when everything resumes again, I can’t go back to the life I was living. So you have to be better, you have to upgrade. So, this is the time where I think we should just stay home, meditate, figure out who we actually are and work on ourselves as human beings. Just use the time to be productive basically, because there’s a lot of time and it’s moving really, really fast. But if you take it like very seriously and you’re productive in this time, it will really help. So that’s what I can say for those people who are home.