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The Isaac Series

TopNaija Stories: Eldee, Rapper





Lanre Dabiri, better known by his stage name Eldee, stylized as eLDee, is a former Nigerian-American rapper, singer, and record producer but now an IT Consultant based in the United States He is an original member of the band Trybesmen, which was started in 1998 with rappers KB and Freestyle. He speaks with Isaac Oladipupo in this inspiring interview.


Would you say it’s been an outright successful year for you?
I was able to achieve most of my goals for the year so yes, I’d say yes.

Casting your mind back; what would you say were your high points in the year?
The high points of the year would probably be getting international recognition for my work and contribution to social change in Nigeria.

And the challenges in the year?
So far, the year has been quite smooth and I thank God for it.

How would you rate your public acceptance?
I am greatly honored by the level of support I have received at home and abroad.

What about corporate patronage; would you say things looked up; want to talk about a few of those shows?
I’m not sure what you mean by “corporate patronage” but I’d like to think of this as a good year in terms of concerts, public appearances and tours.

And your label, Trybe Records; did you launch any new artiste in the year? Tell us about them?

We did not sign any new artists this year but we kept very busy working with various artists, doing song-writing, music/video production and musical collaborations.

Your collabo with Goldie in her song and video, You Know it was spectacular in so many ways; was it released under your record label?
Goldie is signed to Kennis music and that’s one of the many collaborations we were involved.

Lots of hard work must have gone into its production; want to talk about it?
Well, it doesn’t feel like a lot of work when you do something you love. She came up with a concept, I composed the song, we recorded, we got Clarence Peters to shoot the video and voila!

Your single Ota mi featuring LKT is a very strong song, making waves all over the place; what gave you the inspiration to reproduce that classic song?
Ota mi is a prayer for God’s protection against all things evil. I had a lot of fun making it. Thats my mix of fuji, electronica and hip-hop all in one song. I’m also very grateful to the living legend K1-The ultimate for his permission to use elements of his classic.

How would you describe the success rate of the Nigerian entertainment industry in general? Do you thing you guys have been able to maintain the tempo?
I believe we have come a long way in just a decade but there’s much more work to be done before we can truly maximize the potential of our entertainment industry in general.

How about the family front?
I’m having the best time of my life right now.

What are your plans for Christmas, are you going to be spending it entirely with your family; or on the move making more money?
I’m focused on balancing my time between my business and my family so I’ll be doing a bit of both.

What are you looking forward to in the New year? Hopes and aspirations.
I look forward to putting out more music, more videos and doing more tours. In 2011, I hope the government will get more involved with intellectual property rights and help us make sense of the music and movie industries in Nigeria. I also hope that we can forge towards a better Nigeria by using our votes wisely in the upcoming elections. This is a crucial time in our history and I’m hoping we can change our course to a more progressive and sustainable one. Thanks again!

This interview was conducted by Isaac Oladipupo in 2018.


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