Friday, May 24, 2024

HipHop Africa ManCrushMonday: AQ – The Multi Award Winning Lyricist On The Roll

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Founder & Chief Creative Mind at Hiphop Africa

Gilbert Bani (born August 1, 1986), popularly known by his stage name A-Q, is a Nigerian rapper and songwriter. His single “Agu Ji Ndi Men” was nominated for Best Rap Single at The Headies 2016.

Born into a family of six as the last child, A-Q real name Gilbert Bani was raised in Surulere where he has lived for most of his life.


A-Q attended Kings College Lagos and had his tertiary education at the University of Lagos. At a young age, he started collecting hip-hop tracks, learning the lyrics and miming them. It didn’t take long before he started writing his own lyrics.

Music career

A-Q signed his first record deal in 2001 with Big Leaf Records where he was for two years before he started working on his own in 2003. His first single “(W)rap Nigeria“, produced by kraftmatics, debuted in 2004 followed by a music video. He subsequently released a full compilation album Listen and Understand in 2005 followed by another single, “Things That We Do”, which got him an international online distribution deal. In 2006 A-Q put out a mixtape titled Maga Must Pay vol 1.

A-Q took a break from music to finish his education at the University of Lagos but still managed to release a single, “Make Money“, and accompanying video in 2008 produced by Laylow and featuring Morachi and Xtrim off an online mixtape titled Love and Money.

A-Q graduated in 2010 and returned to the entertainment industry, this time co-floating a record label, Hustle Inc, on whose platform he started Black Friday Twitter Freestyles, a weekly free download release. This got him online acknowledgement including from producer Don Jazzy who styled him “one of the sickest rappers alive”. He recorded and released The Past Present and Future album in December 2010 which had the singles “Names” and “Champagne and Rum“. He released more music including “Distractions” featuring Vector in 2012, “Machine Gun Flow“, “555 (5beats 5verses and 5blessings)“, and “Why” featuring Pamela.

He released an EP in December 2012 titled Make Your Best Rapper Look Stupid.

In 2018, A-Q was part of LAMBAugust, a rap campaign in Nigeria, and released an album with Chocolate city rapper Loose Kaynon called Crown.

A-Q won Lyricist on the Roll for “Crown” at the 13th edition of The Headies.

He left the Chocolate city record label in 2020 and said “I had a wholesome experience at Chocolate City, and I’m happy to have been part of the label’s journey to profitability”. He went further setting up a music incubator for African artists.

In February 2021, A-Q won the Best Rap Album award for his 2020 album “God’s Engineering” at the 14 Edition of The Headies awards.

In September 2022, A-Q won the Lyricist on the Roll award for his performance on “The Last Cypher” single off the “Behold The Lamb” album at the 15th Edition of The Headies Awards in Atlanta, US.

Studio albums
Listen and Overstand (2005)
The Past Present and Future (2010)
Rose (2016)
Blessed Forever (2017)
Crown (with Loose Kaynon) (2018)
God’s Engineering (2020)
GOLDEN (2021)
ETHOS (with Brymo) (2022)

Mixtapes and EPs
Maga Must Pay Mixtape (2006)
Love and Money (2008)
Make Your Best Rapper Look Stupid (2012)
Son of John (2014)
Son of John 2 (2015)
The Live Report (with M.I Abaga) (2020)

“(W)rap Nigeria” (2005)
“Make Money” (2007)
“Names” (2010)
“Champagne and Rum” (2011)[13]
“Why” (2012)
“God’s Work” (2019)
“L.A.M.B Cypher” (2019) with M.I Abaga, Loose Kaynon and Blaqbonez
“You Must Feel Am” (2020) ft Oxlade
“Breathe” (2021) ft Chike


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Daniji Emmanuel is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles on various niches focusing on Entertainment topics. He’s also published interviews, conducted research and written opinions on the creative industry. BigDan, fondly called, also consults and handles brand promotions for people and organizations in the creative industry. 

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