Every Nigerian Artist Now Wants To Call Themselves Afrobeat – Jesse Jagz; Speaks With Jaguda On His Album, Royal Niger Company



Jesse Jagz is ready to drop his 3rd studio album interestingly titled, Royal Niger Company, and we were able to catch up with Jesse Jagz (via Ayo Alloh) earlier to talk about a few things to expect from the album, and his mindset as he was putting it together. The album which drops later this week is billed to show a much different side of Jesse Jagz than we are used to, or we saw from his last album.

Jesse Jagz has very polarizing views on things, and he’s never afraid to express them. It’s what makes him unique, and in many ways a special music maker.

Let’s get to his thoughts.

What do we expect from the album?
I mean, what you can expect from the album is what I expect from the album – that is for people who are struggling, who are in queues right now, who are under the hot son to feel it. Folks trying to find fuel from a land that has so much, we supply the world probably 60-50%** of the oil they have, you know what I mean.

Right now I am try to finish my album on the studio, I have my engineers going out in the queues trying to look for fuel and that’s our reality. That’s why I made that up (the name), it’s a 100 years since 1914 since we were officially made Nigeria, but 1914 it was just a company it was a business transaction going on, it was called Royal Niger Company which is now in Uni Leaver Brothers LTD or whatever they call themselves, that is who they are today. I went to school, I am 30 right now, I went to school over 25 years and I did not know anything about Nigerian history, unless I went and learned myself I don’t know who my presidents are. All that is just hidden away from us, Biafra war, the history of NYSC and that’s why I made the album. So that everybody, not just Nigerians, from Cameroon to Ghana to Togo to Benin to Sierra Leone to Gabon to Congo to the DRC to Congo Republic to Zimbabwe to Zambia to Uganda to Rwanda. Everyone  can feel it.

As I speak to you, Boko Haram in Nigeria, there is a war right now in Nigeria, but everybody is just oblivious. We are just walking around. I am just saying Africans need to wake up! Nothing has ever gotten better, we don’t have steady light, we don’t have steady water. I am 30 years old as I speak, I grew up with my parents complaining about the same things. And I just think right now is time, and that is why I am making this album period. Nothing else.


Why are you putting out an album so soon after your previous album?

Well I don’t think it’s so soon. My first album was Jagz of all trades, which was released in 2010. So it was a good 3 years before Thy Nation Come.

Right now, as an individual I’m trying to look outside the borders of just Nigeria. We’re all African, we’re all black skinned. We’re all the same tribe. We came from the same ancestors. Just like the white man, or the asian man there’s really no difference. All of it is just variety. We all have similarities before differences.

My whole thing for this album is like, how do we unite this black thought? We have a history that we can use to project our future. This album is all about Africa. It’s not a naija thing, or a Kenyan thing, or a Lagos thing or Jos thing. We have our history that has been hidden from us for a long time. So this project is a bit different because it’s about knowledge. It’s different so it’s not really following is the same lines as the last one.


What was your mindset when making this album?

My mindset is different. A lot of people when they look at Jesse Jagz now, they say he wants to be like Bob Marley or Fela or whatever, but I think as Africans we have our history in music.

Every musician in Nigeria right now is trying to call themselves an Afrobeat Artist, but we don’t even know what he went through making that album. The soul of Afrobeat. He tried a lot of different things, Jazz etc before he got it right. So if someone is saying that they are an AfroBeat artist right now, If you don’t have a band of 15 members or so, then please shut the F**k up. Don’t even talk.

We know to get back to the days when people like Sunny Ade was not only a musician but an internationally renowned guitarist. Fela was a renowned saxophonist. We must remember the work ethics.

So the mindset I was in was sort of that. I really wanted to name my album the Biafra Mafia, but I didn’t want to do that cos of the whole sentiments attached to Nigeria. When you read the story of Biafra, and the war you learn a lot from that and that’s where my mindset was. That’s what it is about. I mean like the biafrans were refining their own oil for their cars. Locally. It’s the greatest Nigerian story ever. They did their own thing.

As Nigerians we must understand our history. When you go to the museum there’s nothing there. All our history has been taken away from us. So my mind was in all of this so when you listen to it, you can feel where I was coming from. We’re here to let Africans know where they came from so we can shape our future.


What do you have to say to your fans?

To the fans who love the music, those who are rejected by society and For the young Nigerian, the under privileged African.. This album is for those seeking for meaning in a confused world. This album is a testament to hardwork and Artistry. Thanks..