Fuji music star, Abass Akande, aka Obesere, speaks on his career, family and style
What have you been up to lately?
I just released an album titled Aja 1 but my 18 track hip-hop album will be released during the Eid-el-Kabir festival. The hip-hop album is just to prove to people that I can do other forms of music despite being a Fuji artiste. I want to show people that I am a professional.
Is that why you have been working with Olamide?
Apart from Olamide, I featured 9ice, Lord of Ajasa, and Timaya on the album. I also have a lot of up-and-coming artistes on my record label — Sidophobia Entertainment. My label is to promote myself and up-and-coming music artistes too. Presently, I have a lot of artistes on my record label because a lot of them come to me but I only select those who are talented.
How have your fans reacted to this change?
People have always accepted my music because I am a professional artiste. This is my chance to prove that I am worthy of being called the ‘Paramount King’, as my fans always address me.
Tell us more about the title?
For example, we have a lot of kings in Lagos but Oba Rilwan Akiolu is the paramount ruler. In Fuji music, we have a lot of people who refer to themselves as ‘King’, but I was crowned the Paramount King by the people.
What do you think about the rivalry in the Fuji music industry?
There is nothing bad in calling yourself the king or queen of your profession. You can’t refuse being called a king when people give you that title, and you can also choose to call yourself a king. I don’t see any rivalry because I do my music in a unique way. Everything I do comes to me naturally.
How would you describe your relationship with other Fuji artistes?
I love them so much. I am the national chairman of Fuji artistes. I am close to every one of them but I don’t have favourites or look up to anyone because I come from a family of musicians. Music is in my blood. Kwam 1 is a friend and colleague; Pasuma is a brother to me, and I love him so much. I love Saheed Osupa and every other person.
If you weren’t a Fuji star, what would you have been?
If I wasn’t into Fuji music, I would have been a lawyer because I know God created me in a way that makes it hard for me to be defeated. I know that if I represent a client in court, that person won’t be defeated.
How did your journey into music start?
I come from a home that loves music, and I never knew that I was going to become a musician. I just found myself in the music line. God showed me the way.
Why did you choose Fuji as your genre of music?
My family is known for Apala music, but you know music advances with time. Apala advanced to what we now call Fuji.
What kind of upbringing did you have?
I was born in Ibadan but I grew up in Lagos. I attended St Paul Primary School, Ebute-Metta, and Jubril Martins Secondary School, which is now known as Iponri Grammar School, Surulere. I couldn’t get a university education because there was no time for that; music had taken over by then. I’d love to attend a university, but I do not have the time.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a responsible person. When people see me on stage, they think I’m irresponsible. The truth is that when you see me performing on stage, I’m working to put food on the table for my family. When you see me behind the scenes, you get to know that I’m a complete gentleman. I love my family so much, and they come first. Most people judge me by what they see on stage, but that is not who I really am. That is how I make a living.
How do you cope with your female fans?
I’ve been coping with my female fans for a long time, and God has been helping me. We can’t do without women, but we just need to understand that we don’t need to chase everything in skirt.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I have been in the industry for more than 30 years. It was very tough at the beginning, but I thank God for his blessings.
Can you share some of your experiences in the last three decades with us?
It has been God. My kind of music is very unique, and I have a special voice. You cannot compare me to any other artiste, because I am a unique performer. My character has also contributed to my success because I relate very well with people. I don’t look down on people.
How many albums do you have to your credit?
I’ve lost count.
As a devout Muslim, how do you balance your life as a Fuji star that is known for vulgar lyrics and your religion?
Religion is different from the profession, but I thank God for allowing me to serve Him. Before coming out today, I’ve prayed to God and asked for his protection. On Fridays, people come to my house for Jumat service, because I have a mosque there. I love my God, and I like to announce that he is there for everyone.
How did you get the aliases Obesere, Papa Tosibe, and Omo Rapala?
I got the nickname Papa Tosibe about 22 years ago; I came across a guy who wanted to urinate in public, I advised him not to do so, because it was boldly written on the wall. He moved away, and asked me if it was okay to pee there so I told him “Yes, Papa Tosibe, so that was how the name stuck. I got the Omo Rapala title when I was in secondary school; my seniors used to come to my class to fetch me to sing for them. I always managed to slip away from them anytime I sang for them without their notice. I would wait till they got carried away with my music, then slip away from them, so they gave me the nick name Omo Rapala. I got the Obesere name from one of my boys, Captain Adeleke Akinsanya. He was the one bearing that name which he got from his area friends. He didn’t like the name and always fought anyone who referred to him as Obesere. I realised this name made him popular but he didn’t like it, so I took the name from him and it stuck.
Have you heard anything new from the lady who alleged you raped her a while back?
I have not heard anything from her since the Police found out she cooked up the story to blackmail me. I don’t know her whereabouts, and the Police haven’t seen her since then.
What lessons did you learn from that experience?
It is one of those things in life. You just need to be prayerful to get God’s guidance. Once you have God’s guidance, you’ll be able to overcome all challenges that come your way. It was God that helped me when I was going through that phase of my life. It is a lesson to celebrities because some people believe they can swindle entertainers with such stories. They tell you to negotiate with them, but I refused to negotiate with anyone because I wanted to see the end of the whole thing.
Has the experience affected your relationship with your female fans?
No, because I can’t decide not to associate with ladies just because of the bad experience I had with one lady. I have a lot of female fans. You can’t live in this life without challenges; I thank God that I’ve been able to overcome that challenge. I still love women, but I don’t chase everything in skirt.
What exactly transpired between the both of you?
It was a case of blackmail, and I believe that is what the lady does to earn a living. She made up a story and wanted everyone to believe it.
How do you love to dress?
As an entertainer, you need to always look good. Looking good is part of showbiz, so I love to always look good. I dress to suit the occasion; my dressing at a particular time is according to the event.
As a busy musician, how do you relax?
I don’t really have much time to myself, but I ensure I devote some time for vacation. I love to spend time with my family.