The last year and a half has certainly been very exciting for Basketmouth. He is probably Nigeria’s most famous comedian, he has warmed the heart of Nigerians by bringing them joy and laughter with jokes and skits since he emerged on the scene between the late ’90s and the early 2000s. He has sold out shows all over Africa and in other locations all around the world. If there’s one thing that is clear, it is that Basketmouth is an African Comedic Legend, and just like any other great artist he always strives for more. He is constantly thinking of ways to be better and to evolve and take his craft as an entertainer to the next level.
It’s that desire to evolve as an entertainer that led Basketmouth to a stint as an actor/producer. He is one of the main characters in Africa Magic’s show, My Flatmates, a show that started in 2016 and has amassed millions of views. In December 2020, he started his own web series called Papa Benji. He has also been working on a new production with Showmax called Ghana Jollof, a comedy-drama centered around young Nigerians who move to Ghana in search of a better life.
He has used his talent and celebrity status to help forge an acting and producing career, and at the age of 42 he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. His latest venture sees him return to a craft that he tried out but just didn’t work out at the time. In the early ’90s before the thought of being a comedian even crossed his mind, Basketmouth was an aspiring rapper. He loves music and always has, his love for music began with drumming. He says he picked up the interest in church just watching the guy on the drums. “The drummer, his name was Oreva, used to sit down, play the drums, and I would sit down and just watch him play the drums. I was watching him, his movement, timing and I was going there every day”.
Basketmouth later got an opportunity to become the church’s official drummer and that’s where his musical journey began. He then delved into rap and started a group called ‘Da Psychophats’ in 1995. The group had 7 members but they broke up before releasing a single record. He went on to form another rap group with his brother, they called themselves ‘Da Oddz.’
This is where the story of Basketmouth really began. One night they were performing at a show and the crowd was really tough on them and began to boo and throw insults. Basketmouth asked the DJ to stop the music and while on stage he began yabbing (roasting) the audience. To his surprise the audience began to giggle, those frowns were being turned upside down, and so he continued and the audience absolutely loved it, they were laughing non-stop and they forgot about the bad performance. It was like a light bulb moment for him, he would leave his music career behind him and begin his comedic adventure.
Basketmouth loved music and always felt remorseful about it not really working out for him but he never let that negatively impact him. He would still play around with music at home, he says he would play around with mixing different records in his downtime. His brand of music involved mixing highlife and Afrosounds with western rap. At that time, in the 90’s people just didn’t accept that kind of sound.
However, today that brand of music is more widely accepted and is being pushed by the likes of artists like Showdemcamp, BOJ, Ladipoe, and the cavemen. Basketmouth was inspired by the sounds coming out from this new generation of artists so he decided to give it a try. He was going to return to his first love and he did so with a bang. Last year he released a 10-track album that features a host of artists that helped him bring life to his music. Yabasi was a well-crafted project that definitely deserved more attention than it received, but it is worth noting that the Nigerian music industry is insanely competitive and that Basketmouth dropped this project without any thoughts on marketing or promotion in the usual avenues that artists would promote their music. The only thing that really helped him get the music out there and to keen ears was his celebrity status.
Basketmouth has learned his lessons from the release of that project and this new deal that he has signed with EMPIRE Distribution, Records and Publishing Inc. is a sign that he is moving in the right direction and is giving his music a good chance to do well. Basketmouth will be releasing a new project, titled Horoscopes, next month and according to the new deal, he will be getting a bountiful advance and support to amplify his music through videos, promo, playlisting, press, and partnerships. Essentially, all Basketmouth has to do is focus on creating the best music that he can and then the boys behind the desks will help push his music all the way.
Yabasi was arguably one of the best projects by a Nigerian last year but it kind of went under the radar because of that lack of marketing. This deal that Basketmouth has signed provides him with everything that he was lacking from the last project. With new backing and lessons learned, Horoscopes is set to be a banger!