an interview with Nneka O. Paj keeps it real with NE and
gives us insight on what its like to be in his shoes
PaJ Eskwaya, how are you doing today?
Pa J: I full ground boku...
NE: Tell us a little more about the man behind the
Pa J: Well...Pa J na very simple guy na...born
in Lagos with Ibadan parentage but with a flair for anything
Naija. Attended Mayflower School, Ikenne, Nigeria. Had
a brief stint @ Yaba College of Tech before heading
to Yanki. I love my Amala fluffy, my goat tender and my
palmwine fresh. Avid follower of the Naija Super Eagles
and no dey find wahala unless yanga come tap me...
I am curious, where did the name PaJ come from?
Pa J: I been waka go intanet na im I make detour
go one Naija website...I come dey see people dey use 'foneh'
names wey I no sabi pronounce...so…I borro small leaf
from the comedians from way back and gi my online persona
a razz name: Alagba Jeremaya. But na im one my friend,
Mallam Kongi, come vex after a while sey Alagba Jeremaya
too long for am to dey type, sey shey I fit shorten am
to "Pa J or sontin"..I sey 'ok'...and na so the name stick
Alagba means elder statesman (like pesin wey sabi efritin..or
@ least tink sey E sabi:) and Jeremaya is obviously mispelled…intentionally
though…this was all before I begin do music..
NE: How did it all begin?
Pa J: Well...the idea been start for 2001 when
I wan go do sontin for the NRC Reunion in NYC...normally
I dey follo dem do small participation for anything wey
dem organize so after two years for Reunion na im I sey
make I troway dem somtin diffren…U know? So I enter studio
with three tracks (comedic stuff) but as I dey enter na
im the music mind wey I no sabi sey I get before
sef follo me enter...I enter wiff three tracks and comot
with ten (many of the songs were written while waiting
for the studio guy to begin warm the machine we go take
record) a few weeks later...and since then songs just
dey tap me for shoulder sey make I sing dem.
NE: Where do your musical inspirations come from?
Pa J: Everything...personal experience, sontin
wey I notice wey don happen to anoda pesin, the depth
of Naija culture and what makes us unique, stuff wey dey
happen around me, and some na just fictititous stuff clawed
out of thin air...things wey we both hold sacred and ignore
in life…U know…those minor details people no dey pay attention
to: if U waka roll yansh pass me now I go describe am
in detail for song!
NE: What is a typical day like for you?
Pa J: Weekday: Gym, Work, Traffic (na then I dey
spend quality time orchestrating my moves artistically),
business and family calls and rest.
Gym, Business Meetings, Studio, family time (na every
Sunday I dey go raid my sister fridge), soccer (either
watched or played), guest appearances, stage performances
and occasional kpan- never mind dat part.
You perform a lot. What would you say is the best part
Pa J: The best part is when U get a feeling sey
people dey appreciate who U are and ya music. Like Sting
talk am…Music is its own reward...so when everything is
going right and U can look insai the eye of ya crowd,
and can tell sey no be sey dem dey fake the funk...ya
day good. Maybe someday dem too go know sey no be only
Fuji artists dey appreciate 'spraying' though.
NE: We absolutely loved your first album and the
2 mixtapes but I’m sure a lot of people would like to
know when to expect the second album.
Pa J: God Willing 2006...I hate to say that becos
E don tey wey the first album comot but it takes a lot
to make this happen...when I drop the first one I no sabi
nada..na like NIKE: JUST DO AM! I no set table like
Promotion, Management and other strings wey U need to
pull to make it get to the masses...I record am, E sweet
me…I drop am! But the next one no go be like so...right
now we dey work on promoting that ‘Unleashed’ album via
music videos and promo packages for Naija...once dat moto
begin run well well, I go enter studio go begin record
the next one.
NE: What makes it different from your first album, “Paj
Pa J: Well...E go get the same approach…mixed vibes
a la multi-genre stuff but this one go get some of wetin
the first one no get: CLUB BANGERS! No be sey I dey crossover
O! U will still get a VERY NIGERIAN style of music but
the way wey we go cook am na to give U plenty variety...with
a somewhat more commercial approach if I may. Some of
the things people liked in the first one will still be
there though...for instance I don pen encore for Matrimonial
Palaver already and there are some singles in the works
for your typical melodic African style, however...the
reggae and dancehall part is deemed to be a lot different
from the first album.
NE: Are you satisfied with the level of support you’ve
been getting or do you feel like there could be more?
Pa J: Well...I do get some support from my peeps
but honestly there could be more....and this no dey exclusive
to Me. E get some things wey need to change for everyone
in the Naija music scene to begin benefit in more ways...but
changes dey come sha...I don dey see some things happening
already amongst the movers and shakers in our society...some
peeps like dem Ariztos Inc dem, dem Solitude dem, dem
Chichi dem, dem Omoge Entertainment dem don dey pull strings
wey go bring more awareness to wetin dey happen...and
dat na just for Yanki...so...no shakin'.
NE: How do you handle the occasional negativity?
Pa J: ...of course naturally I go vex and skatta if
pesin dey intentionally yan opaks with intent to denigrate
and una sabi how my mouth be...however…with the recent
developments wey don dey take place now dem kin' tings
na minor issue especially when I know sey na Baba
God send me and no be pesin.
NE: Any plans of breaking out into the music scene
Pa J: Of course! Haba...na home chop dey now!!
God willing sometime by the end of this year sha...I go
go introdoze masef to my people.
NE: Who is hot and who is not? Name 3 Nigerian artists
in each category
Pa J: Chei! U wan make Areaboyz come jump me for
MM Airport shey?? kai! Ok.. I like Maintain, I like 2face
(who no like 2face music?) and Eldee of Trybesmen...and
dat na for artists wey people don sabi well well…as for
those wey dem go soon sabi well I like Damask, Ronnie
(the sweetest female voice in Naija music if U asked me!),
and Rukus....as for those wey I no tink sey dem hot? hmmm...I
like my knees the way dem dey so make I sharrap for dat
one, by the way my pal Asha is also a voice to watch out
for...in many ways.
NE: What artists would you like to work with?
Pa J: Wow! Well...Maintain comes to mind, Rukus
comes to mind, Rappatainer comes to mind, and of course
make U expect future more works between Pa J and Damask,
a collab with Asha dey hide for the corner corner of my
mind already...I fit work with anybody as long as we get
musical chemistry. Now..outside Naija...it'd be nice to
drop verses with my idol: Buju!
NE: How do you feel about Kennis music?
Pa J: U know...I never really paid Kennis Music
much attention till I been see some music video compilations
from Naija and I tell U…they're doing a really good job,
especially with 2Face. I, however, hope sey @ some
point sha dem go begin spread wings and move things globally
mainstream sha...with the right artists dem go be a major
force in effecting the spread of Naija art everywhere.
NE: What’s on your playlist right now?
Pa J: Fuji Ropopo--Chief Kollington Ayinla
NE: What are your short and long term goals?
Pa J: Short term: Drop my next two albums and watch
my people miliki from dusk to dawn. Long term: Play my
part to spread Naija art globally...take the gift God
has given me as far as I can..
NE: Apart from your love of music, what else gets
Pa J: Soccer! I tell U...when Naija dey play and
AIT dey show am here, my oga don know sey I no dey come
work! And...just as an exclusive for NE...I don pen anthem
for the Super Eagles. If only the yeye sports stores here
go carry some Naija track suits maaaaan.....*mad*
NE: Any plans for a future MaJ?
Pa J: I dey take application...U wan try am? If
U sabi roll yansh, no spill Palmwine when U pour am and
ya stew no dey dey watery, U fit qualify!
Here’s a little rap I made up
My name is tina
I come from argentina
I eat sardines for dinner
And I aint no sinner
-I reckon I’ll make it in the industry. What do you think?
Chei!Ya Name No be Tina
And U come from Katsina..
Ya favorite na Semolina
and na tief U tief ya Cortina!
..I see collab for awa future O!!! Well..if JLo still
dey sing U sef fit make am!