With his bold style and explosive energy, Prettyboy D‑O was destined for the stage.
Following a few false starts in the music industry, the New Jersey-born, Lagos-raised artist has been enjoying an upward trajectory. This year, Prettyboy dropped his excellent eight track project WildFire (named in reference to his desire to “burn these industry principles”), an emotive blend of rap, Afropop and dancehall that positions him as one of the most distinctive artists aligned with Nigeria’s alté movement.
THE FACE is proud to be hosting Prettyboy D‑O’s electric performance of Same Energy, a heartfelt track in which his voice swiftly fluctuates between a guttural tone and high-pitched, elastic rapping. The performance was filmed this year in London as part of Lucent: APEX – a music sessions series which was created to amplify rising artists while gigs and tours are on hold.
Watch Prettyboy D‑O Same Energy before reading a Q&A below.
Tell us about the song Same Energy. How do you feel when you’re performing it?
It’s a song I [wrote] which painted a picture of my reality. A social commentary on the character of people and karma. However you treat me, I treat you. The same energy you give to me, I give to you. I feel like I’m having an everyday conversation when performing the song, but there are some parts that are emotional to me.
You have a really distinctive look. Who are your biggest style inspirations?
In terms of style, I just always want to stand out. Particular icons? Maybe Tupac, A$AP Rocky, Dennis Rodman… But they’re just icons I look up to. Not necessarily for fashion, but as icons as a whole.
This seems like an incredible era for Nigerian music. Who are some of your favourite Nigerian musicians from this current wave?
PrettyBoy D‑O, Mojo, Wani, Rema, Buju DND Section, TimLyre, Sugarbana, Bella Shmurda. Google every name I mentioned.
The Lucent:APEX live session was filmed in London. Do you have an emotional connection to that city?
I like London a lot, cause I’ve had a lot of emotional ties with some pretty ladies in the city, so that’s strike one. In terms of music, I’ll say a lot of my musical style is influenced by the city. Nigeria was colonised by England, plus we are very close countries and only six hours away. So, Nigerian culture is heavily influenced by England, same as England being heavily influenced by Nigeria. A lot of Nigerians and Africans live in the country, so our influence is in plain sight.
You’ve lived between the US and Nigeria. How has this affected your perspective?
I will say I had the best of both worlds. I spent three-quarters of my life in Nigeria. We are a “third world” country with a lot of difficulty. Nigeria taught me to persevere with struggle and look happy doing it. I feel if you can make it in Nigeria, you can make it anywhere in the world. We have developed a lot as people over the years, but I believe we still have a long way to go in terms of basic amenities.
In America, it’s a beautiful country and a “first world” country. The land of the free still has its own problems, but I’ll say I spent my adolescent life in University in America. I learnt a lot about confidence and independence in America. I will say racism is the only challenge I faced there.
How has music given you strength during this difficult year?
It’s always been a form of therapy for me. When I’m angry, sad or happy, I run to the mic. I used a lot of this time in the studio recording my album Wildfire, I spent the last half recording my next album, Jungle Justice.
A Lucent Production, DOP + Post Production: Taz Psaras, Editing: Taz Psaras, Millie Gray, Producers: James Craigie, Amelida Celepija, Geri Cela, Audio Engineer: Dyre Gormsen at LAYLOW Studios, Audio Engineer Assistant: Henrik Holst Hansen, Audio Mix + Master: Dyre Gormsen at Eastcote Mastering, Drone Operator: Barney Clark at Stem Studios, Drone Assistant: Quincy, Music Programming: James Craigie, Location: LAYLOW