‘The Paradox of Life’ by Amao Faridah

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I see them,
I see them all around
Some of them crawling
Some walking
Some running
Some falling at the last minute
“Wait for me”, they say
We just need a little hoist
I’m sorry, I can’t stop
I’m already going too fast
Forgive me.

“Forgive you?” they snort
With all your power and stamina
You overtake us, the weak ones
And leave us on the ground
Lifeless, like fallen palm fronds
Trampled on by the “mighty elephants”
The violent sun shining his light
Turning our once vibrant colours to ash
Before the last hour comes upon us
And the unwelcome guest comes-a-visiting

Forgiveness is merely but a facade
A deceitful mask of recovery
Can the shards of a broken vase be recovered?
Can sweat, tears and broken bones ever be replaced?

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We have the opportunity to chat with Robert Mafeni, popularly known as ‘Mafeni’. In this chat, we find out more about Mafeni, his music and upcoming projects. He also tells us about his most recent song ‘Gold Grillz’.

Mafeni is a 20 year old Nigerian, born and raised in Lagos State. He is an upcoming rapper who put the social media on a stand-still some months ago, with the release of ‘Fresh’ which presently has over 8,000 plays on Soundcloud. Although he lived in Lagos, Mafeni attended Loyola Jesuit College in the outskirt of FCT Abuja, but, for the most part, he didn’t really enjoy it. He currently majors in Business Administration with a Computer Science minor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Music really is my life”

When asked about his music background, Mafeni answers “I used to read a lot and write poetry as a kid. I was very shy about it. When I was 7 or 8, I discovered hip hop, and I noticed it was poetry with a rhythm. I knew a lot of words, so it came easy. I wrote many raps and I have almost every rap I’ve written since I was 14”. His childhood wasn’t limited to hip hop. He would often listen to his dad’s CD collection, which had music from artistes such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Wyclef Jean and many others. His mum would seize his CDs because of the language, he, determinedly rebellious, would steal them back and replace them with random CDs.

“I was always singing or writing or coming up with a melody. From early, I promised myself that this music thing would work no matter how hard it got. I made sure I got into the habit of always playing a song in my head”. At Loyola, he continued writing raps and learning the art of song writing. He reached a point, after writing so much, that freestyling for him became as easy as breathing. In 2011, he released a mixtape “The Rise” with his good friend, Oche. “It was wack as hell, but I’m glad we did it because it kept me motivated to get better,” he says about the mixtape.

“Art is felt not explained”

Mafeni main inspiration for making music is the people. “I make background music for different moments in life, like a movie scene almost. So my songs are here for people to apply them in some way to their life”.  In the future, he would love to work with upcoming artistes, such as Odunsi, his cousin AYLO, Lady Donli, Bantu Collective, Dami Oniru (he says she can be his Iyawo anytime) and basically anyone who is more about the craft than all the extra things attached to it. He gives an illustration of artistes who spend money on photo shoots and other frivolous thing, but want free beats/studio time, and he ends by saying “I’m not with that”.

Mafeni’s new single ‘Gold Grillz’ tells a story of the frustrations of growing up, yet still being restricted. Aided by amazing production from DOZ and very relatable lyrics, it shows Mafeni to be a diverse and creative artiste. “I wrote the song last Christmas, when I went to my mom’s house for the vacation. DOZ did the beat and I think it has a J-Cole sample, but I’m not completely certain”. The second verse talks about the people that support his music and he raps about them as though they are strange to him, as they were not present when he started his struggle but is happy and thankful for their love and support.

“3 years ago, no one supported my music, and that’s when I needed it the most. It’s good to see things got better”

He is currently working on an EP out this summer, which is a collage of the songs he recorded at Sparemonkey studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also tells us about Roy, the engineer at the studio who he learnt a lot from in the past year. Roy let him know he had to get more serious with his music. In his words: “The EP is just an appetizer though. FREE 99 (1st Mixtape) is the first thing I want people to judge me off. It’s gonna be epic”.

We asked Mafeni to tell us his other interests other than music and here’s what he said:

“I like movies, cartoons, anime, comic books, video games, TV etc. I’m an OG nerd; when I was younger I used to imitate voices if I liked them, you should hear me do accents. I’d say I’m very good with computers. I like fashion (sometimes). I love women, but they don’t seem to love me back. I love food (you can tell from my appearance). I enjoy trips to the museum but not as much as I enjoy trips to the ATM”

And just for the ladies who might get interested from listening to his music and reading more about him, we asked if he is single or in a relationship. He says he is “very single and very content” but he does “accept nudes and gives with no strings attached”.

Mafeni concluded by saying: “Big thank you to my friend/business partner Kalin for believing in me”

You can connect with Mafeni on Twitter: @Mafeni_and on Instagram:

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