A LONG WAY FROM HOME
In reality, US-based Mathias Aihiokhai is a long way away from home where the music industry continues to evolve, blessing apostles with fame and fortune and leaving apostates to mope their fate. In order not to be classed with apostates, Mathias, known from his days in the University of Benin as Tripo 9, is making a stealthy but promising comeback to his roots.
Though his return has no definite date, his first single is about making a debut on Nigerian airwaves. Entitled 'How do people live', the song, he tells E-Punch, 'is about our everyday struggle as we try to live our dream.' He said further that the video of the song, shot in North Carolina and New York by Hollywood director, Ramon Boutviseth, would be available to the Nigerian audience in a few weeks.
Back in his days in Benin, E-Punch gathered that Tripo 9, which stands for urgency, emergency and a much needed positive intervention into a phenomenon called civilisation, was one of the most-sought after artistes with cult followership. While performing all over Nigerian clubs trying to propagate his raga gospel, he was absorbed as a backup singer by Sir Shina Peters and, later, King Sunny Ade, with whom he travelled extensively. In fact, his first album was sponsored by KSA but it never saw the light of day. He went back to school (the University of Utah Medical School) and graduated as a respiratory therapist but not for once abandoning his passion.
It is not in doubt that a better understanding of the dynamics of the Nigerian music terrain with its predilection for commercial songs might turn Tripo 9 into another returnee that made good. But not by losing his true essence which might keep him longer in the US.