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EXCLUSIVE ::: Don’t confuse my style of music with my outfit - DOPE

Yeah, D.O.P.E is in the building!
He is one of Naija's gifted rappers that ever got on the mic. He has a pedigree and impressive rap collection that will get you dropping accolades. Here is an interview he had with one of the national dailies in Nigeria, TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER. Do read through and enjoy your weekend.


Don’t confuse my style of music with my outfit -DOPE

  • Written by  Joan Omionawele
One gospel musician that is currently raising his game in the music industry is Port-Harcourt-based gospel rapper, Chinedu Okoye. Though Chinedu, who is otherwise known as DOPE, is a gospel singer, he shares a lot of positive traits with the leaders of the entertainment industry.  In this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO, Chinedu tells the story behind his music career and life.
At what point did you decide to settle for music?
Most artistes no longer care about content; what we have now is polluted music. Artistes just cook up songs that glorify sex, alcohol and violence and throw them at us. Watch the music stations on television. What we have now in the name of music videos are soft porn (I wonder what the censor agencies do these days). Good kids are turning bad everyday and the situation is getting worse. Our culture, tradition, religion and moral have been compromised in the name of music and entertainment. That is the point where I come in – to bridge the gap, start a revolution in this regard and raise new breed of artistes that will create positive music with content power.

Why music? Or was it an escape route for you when other things didn’t work out?
Music is powerful; it has the capacity to change a nation spiritually, economically and morally – like it is changing Nigeria right now (laughs). When I discovered I had that as a potential, I started developing it at an early age. Music is not an escape route for me. As a matter of fact, everyone that knew me from childhood knows I have music in my DNA. Although as an accomplished power consultant, you can see the medley and the energy that my music has. That is to tell you that we have come a long way.

Where did it all start from and how did you conceive the idea of your brand?
It all started way back in Jos, Plateau State, in the late 80s. Back then, after basketball training, we used to gather round and do ‘rap battle’. My friends and team mates used to tell me that I was going to make a good rapper. Look at me now. As a Christian, a youth counsellor and a role model, my message is always directed to the youth, the church and the nation. My brand is coined from the Bible verse 1 Peter 2:9. It says “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may proclaim the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

Your style seems to be different and you have been rated as one of the most talented young gospel musicians in the industry, especially in Port Harcourt. How did you arrive at this stage?
First of all, I want to thank God for the recognition and acceptance by those that matter. I think two things worked in my favour, beside the fact that I have enough quality materials to put out – that is time and chance. I guess I came at the point when people were looking for change and searching for something different from the bunch. What I brought to the table blew everybody’s mind (hardcore gospel in hip-hop). As you can see, the support is massive and I am thankful.

How did you discover your talent?
“Your gift/talent will make a way for you; (you will stand) before kings.” That is what the Bible says. Gift will always remain as potential until it manifests. I noticed that people are excited anytime I rap. I also realise that music has exposed me to great opportunity. That is how I discovered that music is one of my great talents.
There are many of your colleagues who are doing greatly too. What are your chances amidst them?
To me, it is not about the competition, awards or outdoing my colleagues; it is about synergizing to create more positive music options for our generation. I see it as a war between kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness. We are losing our youngsters to secular music/secular society (secular is gotten from the Latin word SECLORUM, which means a place without God). It’s a collective responsibility of everybody to save our generation.

Why do you think youths are derailing and what is the possible way out of it?
The youth are derailing because the church and society do not care. Now every youth is left to fend for himself. The kingdom of darkness is presenting better material options in terms of welfare package. And like we know when the devil gives, he collects much more in return. I think the church and godly men should put aside their differences in terms of doctrine and put up entertainment companies that will absorb these youths. Positive music is a powerful tool for breaking social barriers and building God’s kingdom.

What does D.O.P.E stand for?
D.O.P.E is an acronym. D – Don’t let the devil, O – Open up to God, P – Pray without ceasing, and E – Encourage others.




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