A conversation with the artist
The other day a friend of mine asked me if I had heard of someone called Namebe Soul. I hadn’t. So he played me one of his tracks on SoundCloud called Posers .ii.
From the moment he pressed play I could hear the smoothness of the melody as it grew in sound and intensity. I began to fall in love. It brought me back to the feeling I felt when I listened to BJ the Chicago Kid’s mixtape The M.A.F.E Project. The feeling of being immersed in a soulful beat that has you lost in thought and song. Then Namebe comes in preaching with ‘I speak with the voice of an elder’ and lyrics and rhymes that tell his story. I was blown away by his talent in that one song. ‘I want people to hear about this guy’, I told a friend. I just had to get an interview with him…
Hey Namebe. Tell the readers about yourself in a couple of sentences.
I go by the rap name of NamebeSoul. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria on the 15th September 1994. I fell in love with music from a young age and would later fall in love with rap at around the age of 15.
For readers who are hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe your sound?
My sound has been all over the place coming up but has settled around soul and jazz. Though, I believe in growth and development so my sound can be expected to take different shapes as I reach different points in my career. I specifically wanted this project to sound like what a child from Kunte Kinte and Maya Angelou, also raised with the help of your not so average black woman (my mum) would sound like if he rapped. But I have noticed I just naturally find my ear sitting with jazz influenced sounds.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest music inspirations include Michael Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Black Thought and Kanye West. I mean Kanye was the main reason I even started rapping in the first place…around that graduation point. I just thought, man. I wanna do this. Since then the rest and many more just came to inspire me. I’d say my biggest inspiration right, at this very moment is Kendrick Lamar. The guy is just different. Everyday my aspirations are to reach his level. To ball on the same court as him.
What do you hope to bring to the music industry?
What do I hope to bring to the industry? I wanna bring hard work. I want the industry to work harder. I want rappers to feel nervous if I get on a verse with them. I want everyone to raise their game. I know it sounds pretentious, but I want us to further this thing called Hip-hop. So, I will push myself and hope that will push others to be more creative. To push more boundaries. To be uncomfortable…
What do you want the youth to take from your music?
I want the youth to take the same. Just like how Kendrick inspires me by pushing himself. I also want the youth to once again pay attention to lyrics. That would be my dream. To get across the messages from my bodies of work in a clear and defined manner. I want the youth to know that having a mixture of hardwork, persistence along with talent is the key. It wasn’t easy when I started rapping. It still isn’t easy now, but if you love something you keep working. You will reap from the work you put in.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
Hopefully in the next five years I hope to be working on my 2nd album. I hope to be around some of the best musicians in the world, who would also be involved. If in doing all this, I’m independent on a label created by my brother Scott Xylo, I would be grateful. I just want to see myself earning from my music and doing what I love to feed myself and my family.
You can keep up with the artist on his SoundCloud: