Why Afrobeats is the future – JargoKush

Clifford Dickson Idemive, professionally known as JargoKush, is a Nigerian artiste based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The performing artist, who is also the founder of KUSHEMPIRE ENTERTAINMENT, was a member of TSN (TeamScoobyNero) where he dropped his first single titled “Dem Boiz”.

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Jargokush is among the new set of musicians ready to get the better of the music industry with his resourcefulness.

In this interview with Soltesh Iyere for The Guardian, Jargokush, who is currently working on his second project, speaks on his music career, his first album SWAMYB, how he was influenced by Fela and Femi Kuti among others.

Tell us a bit about your background
I was born and brought up in Lagos, Akowonjo, and I was surrounded by music growing up as my father had a collection of oldies which he played every day.

What year did you start your music, and how would you describe your struggle over the years?
I have always been a fan of good music, but I started music professionally 6years ago, and it hasn’t been easy being an independent artist and independent label owner. Getting airplay, getting playlisted and getting interviews…it has not been easy for me as an independent act.

Who are some of the artists you’ve been able to collaborate with over the years?
I have had the privilege to collaborate with Scoobynero, Payseen, Supa Dupa Swain, Omoba Lee, GWF (Godspo Wurld Famous) and a host of other talented acts.

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You released your first album in 2020, Smoke Weed and Mind Your Business, what’s the project all about?
My first project titled Smoke Weed and Mind Your Business is a project about minding your business and smoking some herbs. These days too many people poke nose into other people’s affairs that are none of their business .Hence I titled my project smoke weed and mind your business as that’s how I operate. I don’t intervene in other people’s affairs, I just do my thing.

What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my second project titled THERAPY the EP.

Why the title?
Music to me is therapeutic. I was going through a series of heartbreaks and emotional turmoil when I recorded this project and I can’t wait for the fans to listen to it.

Who influences you in the music industry?
I have a lot of influences, but I’m the most influential artists are the great Fela and his son, Femi Kuti and of this new age group of talent I’m highly influenced by Burna boy.

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What do you think the future holds for the Nigerian music industry?
I think the Nigerian music industry is going to be bigger than it currently is. Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro emo and a lot of subs Afro genres are being recognised worldwide. I mean Beyoncé Made an Afrobeat album who could have thought? Burna Boy just won a Grammy Award, who could have thought? So I’m really excited about where the Nigerian music industry is at right now, and we can only hope it goes better and It grows bigger for upcoming acts like myself to make a name and a lot of quids.

What was your parents’ reaction to your decision to go into music?
My parents at first didn’t support my career in music, as many parents want their kids to go to school and get a degree and get a good job. But overtime they welcomed the idea, and they are fully behind me now My father knows most of my lyrics to my music.

If you’re not doing music, what will you be doing?
I would probably be playing soccer as I’m a big football fan and player or working in a bank.

COVID-19 has affected the industry, how have you been coping?
COVID-19 really did a number on the live event aspect of music which is a very lucrative part of the music business. I wouldn’t lie, it hasn’t been easy coping with just streaming and a few online live streaming shows. But I hope things go back to normal and I can go back on stage and performing for my KUSHERZ. Because there is nothing like being in front of a live crowd, dancing, and singing along to your songs.

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Do you have a record label deal?
Currently, I don’t have a record deal, as I own my own record label KUSH EMPIRE ENTERTAINMENT.

Who are the top artistes you want to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Burna Boy of course, Davido and Wizkid. I also would love to work with Buju, Bella Shmurda, Olamide, and in South Africa, I would love to collaborate with Nadia Nakia, Cassper Nyovest and AKA.

As an artiste, you must have had your fair share of police brutality?
Yes, back in Nigeria I have had a couple of unfriendly encounters with the police. The police have arrested me and put me in their cell for 3 days. My parents had to come to bail me out. Even here in South Africa, I have had a lot of police unpleasant encounters.

Tell us about Cuffed Tuesday
Cuffed Tuesday is my baby. It’s started one Tuesday when I was invited to perform at 11:45, a club in Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. The owner loved my performance, and he asked if I would love to host a weekly event on Tuesdays, where I would have other upcoming acts coming to grace the stage and perform. My team and I saw this as an opportunity we couldn’t decline, and it’s been going strong for months now.

Your advice to upcoming artists like you
My advice would be: consistency is the game, keep working on yourself and on your craft. At first, people wouldn’t take you seriously, your numbers might look depressing but keep working on your craft and on yourself. As I said, consistency is the game so eventually, people will come on board and will feel your sound and music.

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