Thursday, June 20, 2024

“Unlocking the Mind of PG Blao: The Journey To ‘The New Guy’ EP”

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Welcome to our exclusive HipHop Africa interview, where we sit down with some of the brightest minds in the HipHop industry. In this issue, we delve deep into the world of PG Blao, a seasoned Nigerian rapper and entrepreneur, as he prepares to release his highly anticipated EP, “The New Guy.” PG Blao opens up about his journey, his evolution as an artist, and the inspiration behind his upcoming project. Join us for an exclusive conversation with the man behind a lot of activities in the Nigerian music industry, yet some people still refer to him as “The New Guy”

Tell us who PG Blao is and why that name is. What does PG stand for?

PG stands for Parental Guidance (laughs). Actually, it’s an abbreviation for the name Paragon (spelt Paragunn), which was the name that most people knew me by earlier in my career. As a kid in PH, I played with different nicknames growing up until my immediate elder brother told me to check out the name Paragon. I loved how it sounded, and when I checked the dictionary, I loved the meaning, so I stuck with it but only used the abbreviation PG as I rebranded. The Blao came as a form of a surname when we started the team Blao Family. Blao is an acronym for Brilliant Lifestyle Activates Opportunities. In the streets, I hear it means something else though (laughs), but I don’t know about that.

You’ve been making music for how long?

I like to always say since ’05 officially because that was when I made up my mind to take it more seriously. But if we’re talking about when I started freestyling, writing, and rapping, it all started back in my Junior school days at Air Force Secondary School in PH, and that’s twenty-something years ago. I recorded my first studio track in 2004 with my high school rap group friends, and since then, I have been recording and putting out tracks. Though I do go on periodic breaks, the game feels like I am always involved in it because now I am involved in a lot more than rapping; I’m in the business (smiles).

How long have you been in the industry?

(Singing) Been doing this since ’05!!!

Why do you think hip-hop music is not thriving in Nigeria?

This question, eh? Nobody has one answer to the problem, but I think we are seriously making progress. Look at the just-concluded Headies; the Hip-hop community took home about 5 awards, and it wasn’t just the usual suspects; it was a new generation, and that’s serious progress if you ask me. Don Jazzy’s newest artiste is a female rapper, Lifesize Teddy, so you can see Hip-hop is seriously growing. Everybody just speculates, so if you ask me, my speculation will be that we need to continue building it together by supporting each other’s platforms sincerely and promoting every Hip-hop-related thing, music, news, PR, business, etc. Not only big names; we should support fast-rising talents too.

What Else?

Also, we were missing out on the PR thing, but shoutouts to the likes of Nigerian Barz, Baarztv, Hip-hop Africa, Rhymes and Reasons, and new impactful Hip-hop personalities like Daygenius, who have allowed battle rappers to earn more and battle on bigger stages than the usual. BigDan and the OGs consistently putting their weight behind the community, like MI did for The Hip-hop Event, IllBliss, Ambassador Elajoe for Str8up Hip-hop, Chuka Obi for a lot, DJ Teckzilla, and many others.

Also on the radio, we have people like Raezy, Real Skills, and many others holding us down on the radio.

Aside from putting out records, I have also been involved in supporting Hip-hop with everything within my power, and I am happy to see it growing.

How many projects have you released so far?

5 Bodies of Work

  • The Corner Piece (Mixtape) – 2011
  • Inner Peace (Mixtape) – 2016
  • The LaunchPad (Collab EP with Real Skills) – 2017
  • Memories Live 4eva (Collab EP with the Canadian-based Nigerian Producer 8ty9) – 2018
  • The Cover EP – 2019
Stream PG Blao’s Projects

I’ve also released lots of official videos, collab singles, and many more.

Your last Body of Work was in 2019. Why the long hiatus? What have you been doing since then?

Omo! “I had to find myself before I lose myself”, so I took some time out to put some things together. Actively, I was still involved in the music business, and event organizing; Also, I am part of the team that organized Battle of the Year Nigeria, The Hip-hop Event, Tha Throw Down Battle rap league, and many platforms focused on helping upcoming artists develop themselves. I managed studios, managed a label, partnered with an international digital distribution company, The Vault Music Group, and many, many things. If I continue to list them, we won’t finish today. (Laughs)

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your upcoming EP “The New Guy” and the themes or messages you aim to convey through your music?

I have a lot of tracks recorded, and I have been trying to drop a body of work since 2019, but many personal things have been stretching the plan. I had thought the title of the EP should be “The Blacksheep,” but between the years I started that plan, I have seen many other tracks and bodies of work with a similar title. In 2021, I recorded a track titled “The New Guy,” inspired by my story. With how long I have been in the game, some people still call me a new guy. Also, there’s a musical part of me that is about to be unveiled with this EP and many releases that I will be putting out afterwards. So, the EP title was inspired by that track and the new styles of Blao you’re about to enjoy.

The messages and themes of the EP have me touching on different topics. It’s a 6-track EP, and I was able to tell my stories in different tracks. I also have lots of gems that will help listeners take charge of their lives and focus on what really matters.

How has your musical journey led you to the creation of “The New Guy,” and what sets this project apart from your previous work?

The musical journey has been everything (laughs), ups, downs, left, right, depressing, exciting, and many things that have led me to decide to drop this EP this year. It got to a point in my career when a friend and former business partner who used to be in the game with me said he was mad at me and disappointed in me for still continuing in the music. Though the statement didn’t come off as offensive to me, I believe his reasons for such a statement are from a good place because I am not mainstream success yet, but we are heading there.

In this project, I was more open-minded with blending my lyrical prowess with melodic vibes to give the listeners a new part of me that I newly found.

Why is the EP titled The New Guy? Is it a response to MI’s The Guy?

You sabi me before? No. So to everyone who never knew me before now, I am obviously a New Guy. It has nothing to do with MI’s “The Guy.” I recorded the “New Guy” track long before MI dropped his album “The Guy,” and even though the EP title was during the final selection process, it has nothing to do with MI’s album.

Could you share some insights into your creative process? How do you approach crafting lyrics and beats that resonate with your audience?

My creative process is very flexible. Sometimes I get the beat before creating the song, sometimes I create the song before the beat. I write some on the spot, and I write some before the session. So, I am flexible with the process while trying to balance what I really have to say and what I think the people will like to hear.

“The New Guy” suggests a fresh perspective. How are you pushing boundaries and experimenting with your sound to bring something unique to your listeners?

Considering the comments and suggestions of fans and listeners of my previous works, I tried some new things, and surprisingly, it was amazing. You should listen to the EP when it drops to find that out. I am proud of myself.

Collaboration often adds depth to the music. Can we expect any exciting features on your EP, and what do these collaborations bring to the project?

I featured amazing fast-rising artists and producers, like Janas XS and Austin Sinister aka Sinister Beats aka ChukwuChilly, who happens to be a producer everyone needs to pay attention to. He has produced tracks for Terry Tha Rapman, Lil Kesh, Ashake, Mohbad, Balloranking, and many more.

In today’s music landscape, how do you navigate between staying true to your artistic vision and adapting to evolving trends?

The reality is that “person wey never chop no fit survives this game” (laughs). So I am involved in a lot of businesses that help put food on my table while I try to blend my vision with the times to ensure I am musically relevant, not just to the Hip-hop community alone but to my variety of fans out there.

Your fans are eagerly awaiting this release. Can you tease any specific tracks or moments from the EP they can look forward to?

All of the tracks on the EP are beautifully made. The previously released singles like “You’re Lucky” and “On My Own” are teasers compared to the unreleased tracks like “Grind” and “OT.”

Visuals can enhance the impact of music. Are there any plans for music videos or other visual content that will accompany the songs from “The New Guy”?

Hmmm, plans plenty o, but I am doing all these with personal funds, and you know say we are in Tinubu times, e no too easy to “Breaf” like that. But I have a team “Blao family,” and together I believe we will make a lot happen.

Reflecting on your growth as an artist, how do you see yourself evolving with this EP, and what doors do you hope it will open for your future endeavours?

Listening to the final compilation of this EP – The New Guy – wasn’t easy to do because we had a lot of amazing works to choose from. I can say I have come a long way as an artist, and now I can guarantee success with a mainstream level of partnership because that’s the goal now. I feel like I have stayed too long as an underground artiste, and it’s time to compete on a mainstream level.

Finally, after the release of “The New Guy,” what do you aspire to achieve next in your music career? Are there any larger goals or projects on the horizon?

The release of this EP is the beginning of another phase for me. Like onions, I am multi-layered, with no intention to make you cry sha o, but if you mess around, you go sure find out. I hope to attract the attention of more audiences with this body of work and have the opportunity to partner with more people on a bigger level. Aside from being a great rapper, I am also good with managing and grooming artists for the company Blao Family Entertainment Group. We have released bodies of works and singles for them, and we will continue to do our best to make things easier for talents who have talent, and passion, and are ready to put in work.

[ICYMI] HipHopAfrica ThrowBackThursday: 2016 – The Era PG Blao Hosted The Battle Of The Year And Found “Inner Peace”

I am also part of major Hip-hop events and many more, and I intend to keep supporting the culture in any way I can to give opportunities to more upcoming talent. If you know me, you will know everywhere my name comes up in Hip-hop; it’s mostly for the right reasons (smiles).

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