In recent years we’ve seen the Irish rap scene bless us with talented artists such as Pat Lagoon, RikShaw, Dennie Valentino and many more. However, 7th Obi is an artist that has caught our attention the most. Originally born in Nigeria and hailing from Waterford, Ireland, the 20 year-old rising star has been releasing music since late 2015, dropping a series of tracks on SoundCloud. Although his music has an American-feel to it with his contemporary trap sounds and melodic flow, most of Obi’s production, which is handled by frequent collaborator LHK, has this otherworldly and ethereal vibe to it which makes his music standout from his peers.
With support from Spotify and a positive reception from outlets such as The Irish Times, Native Mag and RTE, 7th Obi not only has the potential to become one of the biggest names in Irish hip hop but one of the biggest in the world if he remains consistent with his music releases and builds a global following. We had the opportunity to pick his brain and get to know him, read our interview below.
How are you doing?
Life is good right now, I feel blessed.
Nice. What’s the story behind your name?
One of the first beats I ever made a song over was by a producer called 9th Wonder and his beats just really had a way of getting the best and most meaningful lyrics out of me so I modelled my name like his. I used 7 because it’s lucky and holds a lot of significance to me. The Obi part is really just part of my fascination with sci-fi and space.
That’s dope man. Where are you currently based?
I’m based in Essex (United Kingdom) right now.
Cool. How would you describe your sound to a complete stranger?
I think my sound is just deeply emotive, I try to create moods within my music that take people out of their everyday life. Similar to how sci-fi is an escape for me.
What was it like growing up in Ireland?
It sucked for the most part but it made me the person I am today. Being the only black kid around a load of white kids meant that I was automatically singled out and made to feel different. As weird as it sounds, I’m so grateful people didn’t fuck with me because now being alone and not needing the validation of others is my superpower.
Ah, I hear you man.How did you get into hip-hop music?
I had always been into Kanye, Wayne and the likes but one day one of the olders at school told me I looked like Tyler The Creator and this was around 2010 so if you know anything about Odd Future at that time you know how cult like their following was.
Shout out to Odd Future man. Are there any Irish rappers you looked up to growing up?
There wasn’t many growing up but guys like Rejjie Snow and Jafaris were really influential.
Although it’s a smaller country than the UK, US, Germany etc, Irish rappers seem to find a lot of success in terms of being playlisted on Spotify, Apple Music etc. Is the music scene generally supportive of emerging artists there?
Yeah for sure people show love here but most of the love is external right now, I don’t believe the vast majority of kids in Ireland really know about many of the rappers on the scene here like kids do in the UK. So we’re still in that process of getting more and more Irish people really engaged in what we do but so far it all feels very positive.
Hope that all changes soon.What would you change about the Irish music scene?
If I could change one thing I’d have more black taste makers, as black people we set the standard or norm for what’s good in hip hop and here in Ireland we don’t really have much of that, to a certain degree it’s like the scene here is hella gentrified. Obviously there’s not as many black people here as the UK so that also plays a factor.
I understand.You’ve recently released your new single “Holly Road”, what message are you trying to convey on that song?
Every guy has had that one girl that they kinda play games with until the point where she doesn’t want to play anymore. By the time you realise she was what you wanted it’s all a bit too late so that was the inspiration behind the song.
Can we expect visuals for the single?
Most likely not but 2020 is the year of visuals for me so I’ve got some real bangers on the way that will have their own lil movies to go along side so be on the look out.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Can never predict the future but I’m making decisions now that hopefully will see me enjoying the fruits of my labour and sacrifice in the future, hopefully living my life from what I love to do best.