- Augustine Ahmedu (BlackFace Naija)
Augustine Ahmedu (BlackFace Naija)
Augustine Ahmedu also known as BlackFace Naija was born in Obalende Lagos in 1974. He completed his early education at Army Children School Otukpo in 1985 and had his O’ Levels from Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School Makurdi in 1991. In 1996, he graduated from Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu with a National Diploma (ND) in Business Administration and Management.
Though BlackFace Naija attended same secondary school with Innocent Idibia (2Face), their musical partnership grew after they left high school. BlackFace Naija, known back then as “Barrister the Pirate” and 2Face, who was known as “Inni Raps”, were a regular feature in secondary schools social functions around Otukpo and Makurdi. BlackFace Naija’s first major performance outside school circuits in Otukpo was on 23rd December 1994 at the Most Beautiful Girl in Otukpo Beauty Contest at El Duniya Hotel where alongside 2Face & Spikes Ugbabe, he held the crowd spellbound with a headline performance.
While at IMT, BlackFace Naija (who was later joined in Enugu by 2Face) was a regular presence at social functions in the tertiary institution campuses in Enugu. These performances attracted the attention of radio DJs and he was singing standout jingles on 96.1 FM Station Enugu. Before leaving Enugu for Lagos in January 1997, BlackFace Naija & 2Face had formed the group Plantashun Boiz and changed their stage names from “Barrister the Pirate” to “BlackFace” and “Inni Raps” to “2Face” respectively.
On arrival in Lagos and with crucial financial support for BlackFace Naija’s elder brother, Plantashun Boiz, was able to produce demo tapes which enabled them to showcase their talents to TV show hosts, radio DJs and event promoters. Though their first performance in Lagos was at a DJ Jimmy Jatt’s show, Plantashun Boiz finally got the attention of music loving people of Lagos when they began making regular appearances on Cally Ikpe’s TV show.
The whole country first heard Plantashun Boiz on tape in 1999 when the duo featured heavily on Tony Tetuila’s first solo album “Morning Tyme” and BlackFace Naija’s rhymes on the hit track “Omode Meta” was critically acclaimed and the clamour for a Plantashun Boiz album grew.
In 2000, Plantashun Boiz (which now included a third member Chibuzor Orji, also known as “Faze”) released their debut album “Body and Soul” on Dive Records. The album was a monumental success with hit tracks “You & I”, “Iwo Ni Mo Fe”, “Don’t You Know” and “Ememma”.
In 2002, BlackFace Naija was featured on Marvellous Benjy’s hit song “Situation”, a song that addressed societal ills. This was the first sign that BlackFace Naija was leaning towards social crusade by preaching against poverty and oppression in his music.
In 2003, Plantashun Boiz released their second album titled “Sold Out” with hit tracks such as “One & Only”, “Only You” and “Oklobimatete”. Unfortunately, after the release of their second album, Plantashun Boiz broke up when 2Face opted for a solo career. Despite the break-up of the group, BlackFace Naija still lent his voice to one of the tracks “Odi Ya” on 2Face’s first solo album “Face 2 Face” BlackFace Naija is also widely acclaimed to have co-written the monster song “African Queen”, a song that changed the face of Nigerian music, won numerous awards as well as turned 2Face into one of the biggest stars in Africa.
Aside from assisting with 2Face’s first solo effort, BlackFace Naija was also working on his own debut solo album and his status as a social crusader was confirmed when he released the first single “Hard Life” in early 2004, a classic heart touching song which chronicled the suffering of the masses. When he finally released the album titled “Ghetto Child”, it contained other hit tracks like “Carry Us”, “E Dey Pain Me”, “Eneme” and “Be Ur Man”.
In 2006, he came out with his second album titled “Ever Green” which had hot tracks like “Ahead of the Game”, Elanaka” and “So Special”. While still promoting his second album and working on his third album, Plantashun Boiz came reunited to release an album titled “Plan B” and had hit tracks “Ocean of Passion”, “Say You Believe Me” and “If You Want It”.
In 2008, BlackFace Naija released his third album titled “Me, Music & I” which contained hit tracks like “Wine Am 4 Me”, “The Way You Move” and “Ghetto Girls”. In 2010, now known as BlackFace Naija, he released his fourth album “Dancehall Business” with hit tracks “Gen 4 My Head”, “Like the Way” and “Non Stop to the Top”.
In December 2010, He released a single titled “Good Life” which featured Seun Kuti and in early 2011, he released two more singles “Knock Me Off My Feet” featuring Kelly Handsome and “Defender” featuring Mas. With the quality of these singles, Nigerians are eagerly awaiting BlackFace Naija’s fifth album.