Over the years there have been a notable absence of females in the conversation regarding hip-hop. Between 2000 – 2013 Nigerian hip-hop was blessed with the presences of Weird MC, Sasha P, Kel, B.O.U.Q.U.I, Blaise, Kemistry, Mocheddah, Muna, Eva Alordiah. But fast forward to today and you can count female rappers in Nigeria on one hand.
One name that always pops up in the conversation has to be Reespect. Oxie had a sit down with her to get to know her better, her love for Soul music, how she is inspired by underground artistes and other interesting topics. Read the full interview below.
Tell us a bit about yourself, a little introduction if you will.
My real name is Aisha Hameed, stage name is Reespect. I do rap, any form of rap really. I’m from Taraba state.
What is your creative process like?
I write a lot, I write what I’m feeling mostly, of late I write what I think people feel or what’s happening. At times I write to beats, at times I just write to the music in my head. If I write to the music in my head, I just take it to a producer to bring it to life or I vibe with someone, like a producer or do a collaboration, we just vibe and come up with something. Usually when I’m vibing, it’s like the stuff I breathe in I vibe with.
Asides music, what else do you do?
Asides music, I work a 9-5 as a salesperson/marketer & a full time baby girl
How did you get into music?
I started rapping in 2013/2014, I already used to write poems from when I was really little. I wrote a song & I couldn’t sing, so when I gave my friends in secondary school (that was in SS3) I just spoke my part. So yeah, that’s the time I figured out I could actually rap, then I disturbed people with it & it took a while but I finally got into the studio & it took a while again before I finally decided to this professionally or let me say seriously.
What’s your first official record?
I would say it’s this song called ‘BADAN‘ It’s like a play on Bow Down & it was produced by Dacoste. I think I did it in early 2016 but then it was out early 2017 & by then I already had another song coming out called ‘Mummy Sade’ so 8 didn’t give it that much attention, but It was my first song & is still on my soundcloud, only on my soundcloud.
Who Influences you to do music?
Currently I’m influenced by Soul artistes, R&B Soul, Trap Soul. So I’m leaning towards Kehlani, Anderson Paak. I’m also a big fan of J. Cole’s work so yeah his work influences me. But in Nigeria, my influences in music are a lot of Underground artistes who are doing well like Joyce Olong, Mo’believe, Goodgirl LA. But they don’t influence my music, I also like Reminisce, the way he switches up & how he caters to every side of what he’s selling.
I loved ‘Lust for Life’. What’s the inspiration behind that?
Thank you, it was inspired by our lust for life. The fact that we keep on hustling & listening to it, it’s like saying “I know things are difficult and you may look for an escape, be it drugs or anything, but guy! I get you because it’s not you, it’s the lust for life, you just want to keep on living & make something of it” so yeah that’s the message that inspired it & Joyce brought it together with her direction & how she understood it.
What do your Friends & Family feel about your talent?
My friends think I’m so cool, I think they might be a bit scared, but they still want me to achieve something. My family know there’s talent, I don’t know if they admire it but they’ve not tapped into it & I understand, I mean it’s scary, doing anything in this country is scary, then talk of music & then rap. I can’t really say what they feel but hopefully I’ve answered that question.
Are you feeling any female Nigerian rapper now?
I still really like Eva Alordiah, I like Phlow. I think these are the 2 names I can mention off the dome right now.
What would you say has been your best moment since you started rap?
Without being too sentimental, externally (what people see) my best moment is being on the Hennessy Cypher. Internally though, my best moment is moments of growth like really being in touch with rap.
Give us your top 5 songs currently or ever
My top 5 right now, that might change tomorrow
J. Cole – No Role Models (the only constant on this list)
Little Simz – You Should Call Mum
Drake – Legend Omah Lay – Bad Influence
Lauryn Hill – Killing Me Softly
Have you reached out to any A-list artiste for a feature? How did it go?
No, I’ve never reached out, not yet, when I’m ready it will happen
Do you have any upcoming project?
Yes i do, about 2 bodies of work. I’m just putting finishing touches on them & the roll out plan
When it’s all said & done, when you hang up the mic, what would you like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for honesty, I’d like to be a symbol of something to some people. I’d also like to be remembered as someone who carved a niche for herself and was very grounded in it & had shoes that you had to be really good to fill.
MOODSWING PLAYLIST I
INTERLUDE 16 (2019)
LUST FOR LIFE(2019)
MOODSWING PLAYLIST III(2020)