In a recent chitchat with vibe.ng, pop artist ‘John Networq’ talks about how he started music, the kind of music he’s into, his new EP (Son Of Merlin vol 2), his best track on the EP and how he writes. When asked who he would give anything to collaborate with musically he says Burna Boy, as he is (in his opinion) the best.
“Give me a Chris Brown and a Burna Boy, I just might pick Burna Boy, no jokes”
What is music to you?
Music for me is like a way of expression, it’s like painting words. It’s my diary. If you want to know my secret, listen to my music. If you want to know about my life, listen to my music. What I hold dear the most, what I enjoy doing, it’s all in my music. My addiction, it’s all there.
How did music start for you?
“Like play, like play” according to Kelly Hansome. It was all fun, I grew up in a house of five kids, and I was the last. I had big brothers that were hip-hop crazy. I started listening to music from NWA, Dr. Dre, Tupac, Christopher Wallace, you know the whole crew. I listened to everything music, you know the era where we had Jay Z. It was really exciting for me. I could listen to a rap song like three times and the fourth time it plays, I rap it word for word. So music for me was like a way of life while growing up and I decided to try it and it worked. When I got into school, I took it more seriously and here we are.
How did you come about the name John Networq?
John is actually my father’s name, John Coach. I took the John from there and Networq has to do with the formation of my lyrics. Every sentence you hear is connected to the one before and the one after. I aim at delivering a message with each verse so I have a network of lyrics. So John Networq!
What inspired your new EP- Son of Merlin vol 2?
After we put out Son of Merlin vol 1 in 2016, we actually started with the statistic, we looked at the feedback and I made some few trips. I listened to some new sounds and a lot of South African hip-hop. So when I got back into the country, I sat down in the studio with SynX and Andre Vibes and we thought. We wanted to create something that would be different from the regular John Networq. We wanted to make something that kicks out for a wider range of fans, hip-hop fans, alternative music fans, we wanted to create something different. So the inspiration behind it was a renewed vision. Like, we just wanted to do something epic.
What inspired your song “please”? We are aware the video just dropped, what was the concept behind it?
If you listen to please very well, you’ll notice it just a typical rapper rapping. The braggadocios mindset of a rapper. “I am the best, you’re not” “I am hot, you’re cold”, I just wanted to bring that spice into a dance-hall, Afro-pop beat and I was able to do it. That is the inspiration behind Please. I wanted to do a song a regular rapper will do but do it on an Afro-pop beat. And that’s how we got PLEASE.
If you were to be in a celebrity body for 24hrs, who would it be and why?
I’d like to be Jay Z, I’ve been a strong follower, some might even say worshiper. I’ve been listening to Jay Z from reasonable doubts to Holy Grail. Like every album. I’d like to know
what it feels like to own 13/15 solo albums all platinum and I’d want to know how it feels like to be married to a Beyoncé. Jay Z is into a lot of hustle, I’d want to know what it feels like to be him. He’s everything I want to be, everything I hope to be. So Jay Z definitely.
What is the best track on your new EP?
My best track on the EP that I hold most dear to my heart would be ITE SI WAJU. I love PLEASE, I like STILL because it speaks about the government and the second verse talks about the first time I fell in love and how it ended. I still feel it till now so STILL is quite personal in verse two but overall I think I’d say ITE SI WAJU and PLEASE as my favorites.
Is it just music for you and If not music, what would it be?
Right now it’s just music, music is all I do 24/7 but if I wasn’t doing music, I’d be a lecturer because that is what I used to do, I could be a footballer because I love playing football, a chef because I love to cook and from what my friends tell me, I’m not bad at all. So I’d be any of those things in that order.
Despite the fact that you’re known as a rapper, how would you collectively define your kind of music?
First of all, am I really a known rapper? I wouldn’t really say so, I mean, I am still up and coming. I might be coming up quick but I wouldn’t be the judge of that though. But, my kind of music is majorly conscious music because everything you hear in my music is real. Things that have happened to me, things I have seen happen to people, things I have heard about and things I have experienced. So my can of music is majorly conscious but I try to make it enjoyable. Of course, it’s Nigeria music, if people cannot shaku to your song, they don’t care what about what you are saying.
Who would you want to musically collaborate with?
I have said it before, 500 times and I will keep saying it “BURNA BOY”. To me, I think Burna boy is like the greatest artist in this part of the world. Burna Boy is a drum full of talent like I have seen him perform, I have seen him work. Give me a Chris Brown and a Burna Boy, I just might pick Burna Boy, no jokes. I am that into what Burna Boy is doing and I really, really cannot wait to be on a song with him. He is the greatest.
Five artists/ people behind the camera you look up to in the industry?
Artists would be Jay Z, Magic Mike, and M.I. then producer-wise, Andre Vibes, I love his work ethic. Then SynX, I applaud his creativity.
Do you think at some point we would be able to export indigenous rap?
Well, what I think about that is that any great music can be exported. Like, we all listen to Despacito without knowing the meaning. But I thing indigenous rappers in Nigeria have a lot more to do. Either way, I think indigenous rap can be, if not already exported.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?
2018, we just have PLEASE video out, shot in the United States. There could be one more video from the son of Merlin vol 2 EP. Then, I have a host of tracts lined up for this year. One thing I’m going to be doing that I haven’t been doing in the last two years is collaborating. So there is going to be a lot of collaboration, I mean with bigger acts, I can’t talk about it right now. I’m going to release 3 maybe 4 songs alongside some couple of covers. I want to collaborate with more artists, rappers, and singers. Whatever comes and falls into the strategy.