The year 1988 marked the turning point for reggae music in Nigeria. It witnessed the rise of a young man who mesmerized reggae buffs with a clear vocal rendition and sonorous voice likened to that of the late reggae legend, Bob Marley. Fair complexioned and handsome, Majekodunmi Fasheke popularly known as Majek Fashek indeed set the entire country on fire with his debut album, Prisoner of Conscience. The album was philosophical as it was prophetic. It called for rain with the hit track, Send Down the Rain and there was a deluge, thus earning the musician the nickname,Rainmaker. Another song, Let Righteousness Cover the Earth was quintessentially Bob Marley. Within a few weeks of release, the album climbed to the top of the chart and was among the first five on the Jamaican Top 10 chart. Majek soon became a folk hero and a household name in Nigeria.
But that’s the good part of the story.
A few years later, Majek embarked on a musical tour of the United States and his life fell apart like a pack of dominoes. So, where did he get it wrong? What actually derailed the promising career of a shinning star like Majek? Would Majek ever get his groove back? These were the questions on the lips of his fans and admirers, and it seemed nobody could provide answers to them. But now, there appears a light at the end of the tunnel for the reggae artiste, who nine months ago relocated to Nigeria after many years of unprofitable sojourn in America.
Recently, Majek invited TS WEEKEND to his house in Lagos and for four hours bared his mind on several issues including music career, new album, wife,children, sojourn in America, and of course, his experience with hard drugs.This is Majek Fashek you never knew – candid, frank, witty and sagacious.
By Frank Chike
For Nigerian-born international reggae star, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, the days of locust are over. The talented musician seems to have gotten his groove back. After years of unprofitable sojourn in the United States, Majek who relocated to Nigeria nine months ago has rekindled his career and had begun to play big shows for corporate organizations, super rich clients and state governments. All these are courtesy of his new management company, A+ Global Entertainment led by Hajia Amina Dangaji.
Having vowed not to talk to the press any longer, most especially on matters concerning his lifestyle, the Rainmaker recently broke his vow and opened up like never before. He personally invited TS WEEKEND to his house in Lagos and for four hours bared his mind on several issues that he has been keeping close to his chest. Indeed, the encounter was more than an interview.It was a soul-to-soul discussion and confession of a ‘sinful’ past.
Your returned to Nigeria from the United States more than seven months ago, tell us how you have been enjoying your stay here?
I have been thanking Jah for making it possible for me to be here today, courtesy of my sister, Hajia Amina Oluremi Dangaji, the CEO of A+ Global Entertainment who has been the only person sponsoring me, she is God sent, she is the only person that has fully understood me. Hajia is Rastafarian. In fact, she is a music business goddess (laughs). I believe that is why God eventually brought us together to work and rekindle my career. And working with her, we have been able toachieve a lot within a space of nine months.
Haija has given me two cars and a bungalow where I now reside in Lagos and we have recorded a new album, which we are going to release in matter of weeks.
At a stage, many people thought that you wouldn’t be able to bounce back to the stage you were before?
(Sits up) Well, there’s a time the Nigerian press were writing rubbish, telling people that Majek has gone mad, that Majek is a cocaine addict. In fact, they nearly spoiled me before theworld, but Jah said no, that Majek would not die, and here I am today bouncing back to a new glory.
I knew what I passed through during those days that I was in America, when God was punishing me, maybe for my sins, which I think he has forgiven me. And that’s why He told me to come back home for people to witness the blessing He now wants to shower on me, so that those people that were laughing at me, will see a new Majek.
Tell us about the album that you are coming out with?
The new album is coming under A+ Global Entertainment in conjunction with my label and the work when completed in matter of weeks will be titled, Gangsta Rasta. I am doing the record for A+ Global Entertainment based on our understanding because Hajia has been so good to me.
We gathered that there is a song in the album called, I Don’t Want To Die In New York, why such a title?
Yes, New York, people do me wayo. They owe me one million dollars. I mean Sony Music Company (USA) and Interscope Records from the royalty of an album I did for them titled, Sprit of Love, and I am hoping that if I collect that money I will give some amount to Hajia because she has reallysuffered to make me whom I am today, Na she help me to bounce back.
Some years back you sang about Majek Fashek in New York, where you attacked and exposed the ugly side of the city, so why New York again?
You know what happened, I have lived in New York for years and I was disappointed that the city is nearly the opposite of what people outside thought it to be. Could you believe that there are a lot of homeless people in New York? In fact, majority of them are hard drug addicts, sleeping outside in the cold night, with their blankets as shelters. But no matter what, the US government from time to time pays them salaries for their feedings. In short, I saw hell in that city, and I decided to sing something that is satirical about my life experience in New York.
Tell us about other songs in the new album?
I won’t tell you, why don’t you wait until madam releases the album in the first week of November 2012. So that you can play and hear more, yes, lest I forget, the production was handled by Chris Okon, Yes, I have not also told you that we are planning to do a musical tour of some cities in Nigeria, come December this year. The tour is for my fans to see the new Majek Fashek, the Majek that they used to know.
Is it true that your kids are also doing music in the US?
Yes, my first son, Randy Majekodunmi is a music producer, while his juniors, Destiny and Susan are doing hip hop, and they are currently recording theirdebut album, which is being produced for them by their brother, Randy (brings out the CD to show us). I participated in doing some of their tracks.
What kind of father are you to them, are they comfortable with your life style?
(Angry) See, you must be a fool for asking this question, but I forgive you because you are my paddy.
Now answer the question, Majek?
My kids love me very well, and they have revolutionary minds like me, and they always treat me like an egg. They hate doing anything that will hurt me, even though we are not living together, as they are already on their own. I do go to their houses anytime I like and they do entertain me, buying wine for me, and when I am going they do give me big amount of money. In fact, they have never allowed me to go broke, and just last week they sent me some big amount of money.
Is your wife, Rita not missing you? Don’t you think that your absence can make her abandon you?
Yes, she is missing me, because the romance I give her anytime I am around is too much. I dey romance her well, but I am sure that she is not too worried about my relocation to Nigeria.
I learnt she was here in Lagos some weeks ago?
What I am trying to tell you is that no matter what happens nobody can take my wife away from me. Never mind those guys over there. They cannot enter because I have used love to padlock them away. They cannot enter because me and Rita are under a kind of love oath. No be juju o.
How old is your first child, Randy?
He is about 37 years old now. He is about to get married, I know his girlfriend.
Is any of your children smoking India hemp?
No, right from when they were kids I have been advising them not to smoke Indian hemp because of its effect on the brain. As you can see, since I began to reduce my rate of smoking India hemp, I have been looking healthy. That’s one good thing that Hajia has done for me since I returned to Nigeria.In short, Igbo (Indian hemp) is not good for the health. Now, what I smoke is cigarette.
It’s like what you are telling us is a white lie?
Who told you I am telling lies? Do you think that I am Ras Kimono who said that he is a vegetarian or Rastafarian whereas he is not? Although, he used tobe one but at a stage he failed the law(laughter)
You have not said much about your experience with Igbo (India hemp)?
Igbo and cocaine dey scatter brain. I don’t use cocaine.
You just said something about Ras Kimono?
Yes, Kimono go eat goat, dey come catch am. Now his belly don be like thatof a pregnant woman. He is suffering for failing the laws of the Rastas. His friend, Black Rice did the same thing but he’s smarter than Ras Kimono that is why his belly has not begun to protrude (laughs). What I am saying is that I am a true Rastafarian, I keep the laws.
Back to what I was telling you about India hemp. Yes, when I was young, I was a habitual Indian hemp smoker till I became hooked to specie of hemp produced in Delta State, a harsh one for that matter, which nearly ruined my life. It’s by God’s grace that I gave up the habit, if not I would have run mad by now. That’s why I have been telling my kids and other musicians around me to drink alcohol instead of taking Indian hemp or sniffing cocaine because alcohol don’t damage brain like those hard drugs would do.
Many of your contemporaries in the music business are dead, why do you think God still allows you to be alive?
I think it’s because Jah has special plans for me. As you can see, I am the last Rastafarian prophet that is still standing in Africa and God is working through Hajia to fulfill his plans for me.
I bought a saxophone last year when I was in America but I don’t want to be playing it anyhow here in Nigeria because I don’t want to compete with Femi Kuti or to show that I can play more than him, that’s why I only go about with my guitar.
How soon would Rita, your wife be coming to Nigeria again?
I don’t know yet, but if I buy the house that I am planning to buy soon, she would come and stay for like one month with me.
In one of your songs, you warned of fire and revolution hitting Africa, now do you still believe something like that will happen, going by the wind of democracy blowing across the continent?
Yes, that my prophecy has not come to pass. But Jah still warned me to continue to tell my people that bloody revolution would hit Nigeria soon and that the blood of evil men will be sacrificed to the gods of war. How it will happen I don’t know. Even the time it will happen I don’t know but Area boys, the poor masses will lead that revolution and the fight will not be a war of ethnicity when it starts. In fact,J.J Rawlings’ revolution is Ghana will look like a child’s play when Nigeria’s own comes. Nigerians would soon rise to fight.
Culled from the sun