I can see you repping the Jiggy Boyz cap on. Jiggy Boyz! Yanstand!” Kida Kudz energetically points out, creating a stellar moment between an avid fan and his musical idol, and setting the tone for a wonderful conversation yet to happen.
Over the last few years, Nigeria has continued to birth some of the most star-studded musical acts and cultural trendsetters the world has seen, and it’s no shock Kida Kudz is among the few. His music is as mesmerising as it is intimate. “I want my music to make people dance away their sorrows, to touch them spiritually, and for them to connect with it on a different level,” Kida explains, searching for more words to describe his hopes for his listeners as they play his songs.
Creating a whole new genre for himself, “Afro Jiggy”, which paints itself as a fine blend of Afrobeats, rap, and Kida’s own distinct sound, the budding artist has shunned any doubt of his lyrical and artistic genius. From “Jiggy Bop” to “1 AM”, from “Issa Vibe” to “Bounce (feat. Wiley)”, Kida’s ability to layer hypnotising melodies over head-bopping drums and catchy choruses is limitless.
Starting with his latest single, “Makaveli”, which serves as another testament to his creative mind as an artist, and was made as a heartfelt tribute music video to his idol 2Pac. “I made that during the pandemic, and I shot that with literally no budget and styled it by myself. I grew up on 2Pac energy as a kid and Hit Em Up was probably my first 2Pac track. Though, my mum didn’t really like all of that stuff,” he says.
“He’s a big influence in my career — my fashion even more than my music because I don’t rap. In the fashion world and who he was, and the legacy he left at a very young age, I guess that’s what I could aim at and I’d say I’m doing it well. I still live in the 90s in my head so it was easy for me to order and style all the clothes.”
Kida has also motioned towards what resonated with him as a child listening to 2Pac and the energy he radiated, citing legends like Fela Kuti and Lil Wayne as being some of his idols growing up. “I just feel like it’s a spiritual thing. It’s more of what I didn’t plan for than what I did,” Kida explains, touching on how he’s able to blend all their different sounds into his own. “Listening to a lot of great music as a kid, and now being my turn to also make music, it’s not me but almost like the forces just coming out.”
“THEY SAY YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT...I’M ALWAYS CAREFUL OF WHAT I DIGEST”
Where’d the name Top Memba originally come from?
Kida Kudz: I was actually in LA at the time with a producer called SOS, and basically I told him I wanted to make an anthem for the Jiggy Boyz. I have to be honest with you, I really don’t know why that came to my head, I’ve never thought about it before. The beat came on and my first line was just “JBFC Top Memba”. I swear to God, I don’t even know what made me say that first. It just happened. It was just organic and I stuck with that. I would say it’s the best way to describe me, my music, and my supporters. We’re all Top Membas.
What’s your favourite song on the mixtape? And why?
Kida Kudz: Erm...I think “Never Saw Us” is probably my favourite. Anytime I play that song, it gives me a little nostalgic feeling of when I was younger. I used to be in the hood, dancing, and my neighbours didn’t really care about me but always wondered what the hell was this kid doing. I was a kid but I was very aware of them not rating me, acting like they never saw us. People that know me when I was younger would probably understand it more because I referenced where I used to dance in the song. I guess that’s what I love about that song. It's a personal track and I want my fans to know more about me through my music.
Which comes first for you: the song titles and the tracklist or the words and the music?
Kida Kudz: Sometimes you could be sitting down and a name or a chorus might come to your head. Other times you’ve got to hear a beat first before you can make the music, you just never know. Something like Jiggy Bop, for example, I had the name in my head long before I actually made the song. When I started we used to write with no beats, but now it’s a lot easier. You can go to a producer and hear a couple of beats then start working, but back then you write first, pay for your session, and you rarely had second chances for that cause it was much more expensive. Depends on what kind of vibe I’m on.
In the making of the upcoming mixtape, would you say you learnt anything new about yourself?
Kida Kudz: Yeah for sure. I picked up a couple of books and started reading a lot more. I’m trying to educate myself more, learning things about my career and those who’ve done it, and really just finding ways to make myself better than what I am now. I’m also
really learning more by spending time with my kids since I haven’t been travelling as much
On fatherhood, Kida is gladfully candid about his appreciation of the moments he is blessed to spend with his two sons. “Fatherhood is just beautiful. I feel like I was made to do this because it never gets in my way, it’s not a stress to me at all, and it doesn’t affect my lifestyle,” he explains as his tone seems to soften, expressing a graceful feeling of joy. Though his video is turned off, I could picture the smile spread across his face as the memories of his sons rolled through his mind. “Only thing that is frustrating is when they don’t wanna go to bed and you’re completely exhausted, ” he chuckles. “ In the end though, it’s really beautiful because it’s a testament of creation. They weren’t here before but they’re here now, it’s mad. I just feel highly gifted with the opportunity to have kids.”
He continues: “My first boy comes to the studio with me, and he knows my voice. I’m not sure I want them to do music though. I want my kids to be boxers or maybe footballers or something I wasn’t able to do. I’d love to train my son and be his coach.
The impact as a father on Kida’s music isn’t exactly evident, however. “Right now I’m not gonna say I started making different music because of my kids. I’m not really open yet with my personal life when it comes to my music because I guess I'm still enjoying the moment. I think as things progress and my music spreads across the globe, and I start making more albums, then yeah maybe things would change. I wanna start a podcast too eventually; I want my people to know me more. Right now I’m working for my kids and I’m happy.
Outside of music, Kida is also a fashion enthusiast getting his hands dirty as he happily opens up about his plans for upcoming merch. “I’m working on a lot of fashion stuff for Jiggy Boyz right now, trying to tap into my fashion side like crazy,” he says, pausing momentarily to gather his thoughts. “Daily Paper was a successful one so I think I can definitely do more, and I’m really just working with a lot of things at the moment. There’s also Stay Jiggy Vintage. If you know me, you know I love vintage clothes, and I want my people here in Nigeria to have access to the same things.”
“I’M JUST TRYING TO MAKE MY COUNTRY COOLER”
Three emojis that describe yourself best are...
Kida Kudz: Gorilla because I’m animalistic in my nature, Fire because all I spit is fire,
and the Eagle because I’m a Nigerian Eagle. Yanstand? (You Understand?)
Outside of music, video shoots, exciting fashion endeavours, and the swiftly growing
spotlight, what do you enjoy doing in your own time?
Kida Kudz: Meditate. I did that this morning. I like to be still and just be at a pause for a second. I like to be by myself but I guess now with a family I can’t really do that. Now though, I meditate with my kids and make them understand it too. You’ve gotta take your time and just relax. You can’t really rush the process, and that’s why many are going nowhere fast. You’ve got to wait for your turn. I like to go to the gym too but that’s normal for me now.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but obviously being a Lagos boy at heart, do you ever miss
the food when you’re in the UK, or do you still cook for yourself?
Kida Kudz: 100 percent, I miss the food but I could cook as well. I’m in Nigeria now so I’m eating like crazy. I’ve been in the UK for 11 years and I’ll always find Nigerian food, but like it’s luxurious over there. It’s meant to be like a local food seller down the road for easy money you know? My partner is also Jamaican so we also eat a lot of food that’s close to what I eat when I’m here.
What has been your weirdest interaction with a fan? If any
Kida Kudz: I’m always on the chill side so none really. People also never come to me with anything crazy because they also know I’d rather have an honest or deep conversation with them. Anything they do to me is not necessarily mad, it’s just expressing their love. No matter how crazy it might come out sometimes, it’s what we prayed for back then on the come up.
Are there any plans for a Kida Kudz tour this year?
Kida Kudz: Yeah, definitely. I’m ready to get on the road. I’m trying to tour the states in Nigeria first so we’ve got like 36 dates in mind right now, and then obviously some places around Europe and the States. Beyond those, I’d say I wanna drop a couple more singles before the year is up.
Stay tuned for the release of Kida Kudz’s “Top Memba” mixtape on July 23rd