PAUSE Meets: Ladipoe



Talks and music, label and becoming a father.

Stylist: Jennifer Eleto // @jenelectro
Photographer: Gray Brame // @graybrame
Interview: Gracey Mae // @_graceymae
Talent: Ladipoe // @ladipoe

From Medic to Multi-award winning rapper, Ladipoe, joins Pause Magazine hot off the heels of releasing his six-track EP, ‘Providence’. With a mission to have an impact and leave a legacy, the Mavin Record’s superstar talks us through finding his niche, proving the critics wrong and surviving under pressure. In this rare moment of vulnerability, Ladipoe also opens up to Music Columnist, Gracey Mae, about experiencing fatherhood for the first time, dealing with COVID related bereavement and making his family proud. Read our exclusive interview now!

String vest, Clark’s shoes, Bianca Saunders via Browns Fashion Shorts, Chunky Charmz Necklaces

Hi Ladipoe. How are you?

I’m good, I’m tired, but I’m very motivated.

Now if I was you, I would also be motivated. You’re a BET International Flow Award nominee. I bet you “like the way that [you’re] feeling now”.

Honestly, it came as such a surprise to me. My team apparently had been aware of it but they didn’t tell me so I only found out when the nominations came out. I was in the house, my parents were around, they were visiting – and I almost fell out of my chair. It just wasn’t something I wasn’t even thinking about – to be nominated is so major but also just to be representing my country as the only Nigerian in that category. Wow!

It’s a win for the culture. It’s a win for you. The BETs must hold a special place in your heart, given that you found your love for rap whilst at Uni in the States. Talk us through that discovery.

To this day, it’s still a mystery to me. I wasn’t a music maker growing up, I always had music around me – my parents loved it. They loved their soul records, they loved their Afrobeats records and more, no different to any other city kid. Of course, I watched my fair share of MTV, Channel O too. I’ve always liked words, stories and exploring those realms as well.

I think things came together in University in North Carolina where I met two guys who are still my friends to this day – they were both really into music at the time. One day they played me a song and I was like, “okay, leave it with me” and then I put something down and since then, I’ve never stopped writing verses. I was listening to a lot of American music back then until I returned to Nigeria and really started to tell my own stories. I began writing verses which of course led to making songs, we’ve come so far since then!

Honestly, the evolution has been epic. We have to rewind because you studied Biology and Chemistry. You’ve touched on your parents. How did that conversation go? [laughs]

[laughs] It wasn’t the easiest.. discovering something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. So trying to share that with somebody whose task is to look over you, look out for you and make sure you make the best decisions so that your life is not hard. Right? It’s tough explaining to your Nigerian parents that you have external passions, especially when they are paying your tuition fees. At the beginning, they felt like it was a hobby, my parents would always listen but they were amused more than anything. Little did they know that it would take such a hold of my life!

I knew there was no space for a career as a doctor as well as a musician, that’s the deep honest truth. I’m back in Nigeria now and the conversation with my parents still goes on till this day! My dad has accepted it but my mother still struggles but she understands the impact and how I can be influential to others in a good way.

I love that! My surname directly translates to “death can’t kill”, which means legacy so there’s a bit of synergy there. Let’s talk family. I know you experienced a COVID-related bereavement – my condolences. How is everyone holding up?

It takes time to recover from these sorts of things, time heals everything but this is still fresh. It was my Father’s, Sister and it’s just the two of them left in the family, so it was tough. It’s extraordinary how COVID went from statistics to actual Uncles and Aunties that we/our parents knew on a first-name basis. I empathise and sympathise with everyone who has lost somebody in this time frame, it’s not easy but I’m comforted knowing that what I’m doing made her proud.

Jevon vest, Purple Hill pants, Shvde glasses

Mr Porter two piece, Gnoochi Jeans sunglasses

I know that you had it rough with your episode of COVID – it coincided with you finding out about Headies. Talk us through that!

The Headies were great! I’ve had been nominated before as a featuring artists alongside Show Dem Camp which didn’t feel the same. There was so much going on after I won and I had forgotten to thank Simi on stage during my speech. It was for Best Collaboration and Simi is contributed a lot which just shows how my mind was all over the place. All I could think of was my Aunt – hence why most of my speech was dedicated her. Nonetheless, this was a huge moment for me, my fans, stamping our validation and verifying that we are heading in the right direction.

Another win this year was becoming a father. How has it been? I’m sure you’re very sleep deprived!

Definitely! The status of discussing this is still so new to me, let alone posting it online. But yes, it’s been amazing. That’s all I just want to say. It’s been amazing and I’m very blessed. I feel very blessed. My entire family feel so blessed, especially this year. What a blessing.

I love that for you. You’re making me broody so we’re gonna move swiftly on. You won the Headie with Simi for ‘Know You’ which was the track of the last summer, obviously, you’ve got ‘Feeling’ with Buju which has been the track of this summer. Is that pressure to give us the track for next summer?

Not really, i’ve had the opportunity to create on my own terms and up until now i’ve operated under the biggest pressure there is – which is my own standard. The outside pressure is still there, it just doesn’t compete with my own. It’s as though i’m making music with headphones on and they have noise cancellation on, blocking the noise I don’t need to hear whilst allowing me and my team to hear the internal standards. That’s pretty much where it stops. I’m not saying there’s no pressure, I’m just saying that it can’t be bigger than the pressure placed on myself.

Definitely! When you signed to Mavin Records, people were like, “Do they know what they’re doing with Poe? Are they going to be able to push him in the right direction? They haven’t had a rapper on their roster since MoHits. Are they going to be able to A&R him properly? Do they even really know rap?” So when I say, “I’m happy for you. I love this for you” it’s because people have been sceptical for a minute, and you’re proving them wrong.

First of all, you touched on something that’s so key… It’s so important to me. There was just general unease amongst my core fan base after joining Mavin as their first rapper on the label. They do have a name that rings out of the whole of Africa, recognised for being motivated to create impact, legacy driven by an entrepreneurial spirit that I share, so I knew we could push together.

It took us a while to get to our steps to fall in sync whilst we figured ourselves out — my work ethic had to really go up – I had to create beyond myself and open my mind to more possibilities. They had to hone in to understand that this kind of music I make is so valid. Now we’ve come up with this concept together: “niche artistry, mainstream success”. That is our belief. After I dropped my first project, ‘Talk About Poe’ in 2018, I think that Mavin started to understand that my fan base alone is strong, and they thought “let’s just amplify this”. We don’t need to figure anything else out about the sound, the sound is strong. Like you’ve said, we’ve been proving people wrong, and some people right ever since!

Daily Paper suit, Shvde glasses, Clarks shoes, Reuben Selbey vest

Controversially, Adesope Olajide – Popular Afrobeats Journalist – recently said, and I’m paraphrasing, that it’s beautiful to see local labels doing it right, when the major labels are coming into this whole Africa grab and not delivering in the same way. So I’m happy for you. Let’s talk about your brand new project ‘Providence’.

It’s ‘the timely preparation of future eventualities’. That’s been my career!

Before you go, do you have a final message for our readers?

A lot of people are very focused on the destination but I realise that enjoying the journey is key. Being very present for the journey is key because a lot of times you realise that the journey is the destination. Thank you so much for supporting me and if you don’t know about me, go find out because there’s no movement without you. One of my favourite phrases is “no punch lines, just life lines” – but you knew that!

Providence is out now on all platforms. Follow Ladipoe on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Triller and TikTok.

By Walid via BROWN’S FASHION Hat/balacava

Mr Porter suit, Clark’s shoe, Chunky Charms necklace, Franco Appiah knit

Franco Appiah shirt, Shvde sunglasses, Vagabond shoes

Follow ladipoe on Instagram

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.