TUFACE IS NO BIG DEAL —BLACK FACE
Q: Black Face, why did you decide to record your own version of African Queen, which had been recorded by Tuface Idibia?
A: I knew the song was going to fetch him that fame and make him known both locally and internationally, but I had to do another version of the song because of the fact that the publishing right of the song does not belong to Kennis Music. Apart from that, I have a right to do another version of the song. I just want people to understand that Kennis has no right over the song.
Q: So, does the reggae version of African Queen, which you have just recorded, contain the same lyrics with that of Tuface?
A: Yes, the same lyrics, to where we got to, before Tuface released his own version and additional lyrics, which Tuface also did in his. So, it is normal that I put some additional lyrics. The song belongs to both of us (Tuface and I) and not Kennis Music, so we can do it any way we like. If Tuface decides to do a 'Jazz' version of the song, he can go ahead.
Q: But you seem to have rested your case on the track after tackling Kennis Music with African Prince, a similar track by Essence?
A: No case about African Queen then. I was only against African Prince recorded by Essence. That was another case entirely, because of the fact that it shouldn't be. I cannot imagine a situation where I wrote You Are My African Queen and another artiste comes out with You Are My African Prince, with same melody, because her melody was the same with ours, that doesn't really go. You know, she should have changed the song and for me, I did not consider it necessary at first, but because of the fact the record company wanted to make money and perhaps thought if they release different versions of the same song, they will make more money, while the original writer of the song gets nothing from his intellectual work. Things are not done that way. I am seizing this opportunity to advise other youths out there that the publishing, creativity and mechanical right of a song belongs to them, not the recording company.
Q: Now, don't you think releasing your own version of the song may bring up a case?
A: Bring up what case? That my property is no more mine, or what?
Q: Are you sure there is no hidden agenda on the publishing issue you are now trying to make the whole world know about?
A: The truth is that as a writer of the song, there should be a particular percentage allocated to me for being co-writer of the song, because it is my intellectual property, which means that I am part of it. But if in any case they act as if I am not part of it, let's wait and see.
Q: Now I get your point. Are you trying to say you're not particularly concerned about a written acknowledgment on the song but rather some monetary gains?
A: No, the issue is not as if I am not concerned about written acknowledgments, but they have to know that there must be a written acknowledgment and what is good for the goose is also be good for the gander. What is due to everybody should be given to him or her, at least, one must get his credit in terms of monetary gains, recognition, acknowledgment and other things that have to shown that you are part of the song.
Q: What was your agreement with Tuface on the song?
A: The right thing was to put the acknowledgment on the album and the song especially. So, putting the song on the album does not mean the publishing right should belong to Kennis Music because publishing is different from recording agreement. What I mean is that, if you have a recording contract, it is different from publishing contract.
Q: Don't you think Tuface did not open up to Kennis Music on the original writer of the song?
A: No. He told them. They know about it, but they just decided to ignore it. They decided not to give honour to whom it is due. I don't know if my friend, Tuface, signed his publishing right to Kennis Music, but for me, I did not sign mine to anybody. So, I have my publishing and sound rights to myself.
Q: Did you have any disagreement with Kennis Music before Tuface's version of African Queen was released?
A: No. But we had an agreement where they said I should just allow Essence to do the African Prince track and I rested my case because it later dawned on me that it depends on what Tuface had signed with them on the publishing of African Queen. And maybe he has signed that a version of every song he releases can be released by any other artiste on the record label. I don't know if they have such an agreement. I only rested my case because I thought it is a company thing and let them just run their company, but I am going to do my own thing. So, anybody that wants to listen to my own version of the song can do that just like Bob Marley did Get up, stand up and Peter Tosh also did the song in another version. Now, you see that it is possible for two people to release different versions of a particular track. It does not matter if we repeat the song over and over again or maybe this is the way I really want the song to be in the first place, but when they went to the studio, I was not there and even when the production was done. So, they did not do it the way they should have done it. And now, I have just decided to do it in my own way. I can tell you I have just done it the way the song should be done.
Q: Let's digress a bit now, there have been speculations recently that the defunct Plantashun Boyz may soon stage a comeback, how true is that?
A: Yes, it's for real. We are doing an album together and it is very soon. Right now, we are on the modalities and set to go to the studio and days of recording will be fixed. We intend to make people discard the idea that when groups break up, they can never return in business. In our own case, some people even thought we became sworn enemies after the parting of ways, as some were saying, “Tuface and Faze were at loggerheads.” But I can tell you authoritatively that they are just doing their music. Everyone wanted to do an individual album, so we went ahead. But we are coming back to prove critics wrong. For instance, some even said “without Tuface, there's no Plantashun Boyz.” The truth is that, there was no major person controlling the group.
Q: But a lot of people believe that you were the major person in the group and that you wrote most of the songs?
A: The fact that I wrote some songs does not mean that the other members are not creative because I could write some that I couldn't really sing alone. That Michael Jackson had some of his songs written by R. Kelly does not mean Jackson is not creative and cannot write songs. Now, it's time for people to see how good the Plantashun Boys are. They have once felt us together, then as individuals and now, as a better Plantashun Boys group. Everyone will now master his own act.
Q: Don't you guys think it will affect your individual solo careers?
A: I am still going on with my solo career, but the new Plantashun Boyz will now be like a clan. It will no longer be like a group as we now have different fan base.
Q: Have you ever had cause to envy Tuface, seeing him as a rumoured world music star through the track you wrote?
A: No. I never envied him. Why should I? I knew it was going to be like that but the only thing is...It would have been better if we were to receive the awards together because it would have been a time for us to show the world that Plantashun Boyz have arrived. And Kennis Music is to blame for that because they thought they could take Tuface away and make him have all the shine.
Q: But has he ever given you any credit after winning laurels with African Queen?
A: Yes, he normally calls me and I usually tell him “remember, I told you, man!” And I also advise him from time to time.
Q: Why were you not celebrated live?
A: It is because I am a workaholic. I am always caught up with work. I am not the type of person that you will see in a place that is not very important to me. There are some awards they organise in this country that are not credible.
Q: You mean, like the Hip-Hop World Awards where you were the only Plantashun Boyz member that did not win an award?
A: What is in the Hip-Hop World Awards? Are they giving any credible award? Or is it because Tuface and Faze won some of the awards? Come on, that's not hip-hop.
Q: Is that why you didn't attend it?
A: Yes, because their award is not credible! If they could say my album is not popular, I don't have to be there. How can you give people who are not even doing anything in music, awards and tell me it is properly and impartially organised?
Q: Can we now say Plantashun Boyz parted ways because the three of you disagreed?
A: It is not because we disagreed. Tuface said he wanted to go solo at that time. Although we tried to convince him, he said he wanted to make a move and we also went our own way.
Q: Having said you did not disagree, what was your reaction when Faze claimed you all disagreed in his track Faze Alone?
A: Eeh! That was just music sense, I mean it's an ordinary song. Faze only did that track because he was feeling the pain of our break-up, since he joined the group a little before we broke up. He felt we needed to be together rather than part ways, but I can tell you he added fiction to the lyrics, as his mother never told him we would break up someday, as he claimed in the track.
Q: Did you feel any pain when you guys broke up?
A: No, because I made new friends, more money and even fame.
Q: You wrote most of the songs the Plantashun Boyz were popular for. Who is writing the songs in your comeback album?
A: All of us, since we have been together for a long time before breaking up. We have a lot of songs in our kitty.