MP3: Ikey – “When We Were Kings”

Premiered by DJBooth, Nigerian-American Rapper Ikey Sounds Like Royalty On the Third Single from His Forthcoming Green Card EPReleasing in March



Critical Praise for Ikey:

“His delivery is cool and calm with a bite… Ikey takes this shit to the next level.” – Pigeons & Planes

The Song:

As Nigerian-American rapper Ikey states, “When We Were Kings” is a song for the killers, drug dealers, winners, saints, sinners and losers. Ikey brings his Nigerian upbringing to the forefront on the 3rd single from his forthcoming Green Card EP. Premiered by DJBooth, the song follows the release of visuals for the EP’s first two singles, “Timbuktu,” which Pigeons & Planes praised Ikey’s “delivery is cool and calm with a bite,” and “Olodo,” which debuted via Complex.

“When We Were Kings” is a song steeped in history. It’s an ode to Africa’s royal heritage. “The artist uses sung and rapped vocals to evoke the glorious past of the place he calls home,” stated DJBooth, adding that “Ikey is uniquely suited to offer a little perspective, and that’s exactly what he does.” Showing his penchant for effortlessly weaving through rhymes and melody, while delivering a story with universal themes, the track’s production glides through peaks and valleys as drums rumble beneath heavyhearted rhymes and melodies from Ikey, who professes “Niger is what raised me, America no fi change me, noooo/ and I ride around in my way, I’m from the land where they bring the gun and they pull it straight to yo’ face.”

Whether it’s the effects of the Nigerian Civil War and the impact it has had on his home 45 years later or the current struggle with Boko Haram, Ikey’s rhymes teach as much as they entertain. In Ikey’s own words, “This was the last song written and recorded for the project. It was recorded about 6 months after we had completed the other tracks. I felt like the project was missing an unfiltered [and] raw view of Lagos. Boko Haram had just bombed Jos not long ago and I remember talking to my Mom on the phone and hearing that the power had gone out. I felt a mixture of sadness, anger and defiance knowing that Nigeria was almost the same as it was years ago when I lived there. I feel like this song takes you there.” His upcoming album, The Green Card, is slated to release March 2015.

Listen to “When We Were Kings”:

Check out the DJBooth premiere:

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Please contact Michelle or Rory if interested in talking with Ikey.

Ikey Background:

For Ikey, it’s all about the story. Born in New York, with roots in both Spanish Harlem and Lagos, Nigeria, Ike Obioha connected with music at an early age. The diverse palette of his father’s music collection painted a musical canvas that pays homage to everything from Elton John and Journey to the Neville Brothers and Igbo Nigerian highlife singer Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe.

Ikey’s unique, 1.5 generation immigrant experience influenced both the subject matter and creation of his music. Despite pressure to embark upon a more scholarly career, Ikey would ultimately find himself opening for the likes of Big Sean and have his music covered in the Washington City Paper. He balances his penchant for music representing all aspects of the human experience over tracks representative of hip-hop’s golden era while maintaining his unique Nigerian-American identity. “I’m just a young kid straight out of Lagos,” Ikey says. “When I see people like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie being sampled on Beyonce records, it makes me feel people want that true African story. I just feel there are a lot of Nigerian-Americans trying to tell that story, and I’m trying to tell it the right way.”

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“When We Were Kings”:



Bio, photos, and more info on Ikey: