Choc City’s Major AJ born Ajogwu Boluwatife Vincent is a Nigerian songwriter, rapper, and singer whose sound is embedded in Afro Fusion.
He is fondly called Retrobaby and his new project Retroverse mirrors this name. Major AJ brings in a whole new sound that sets him apart from his contemporaries and finds a way to stay on replay in your mind. Getting signed to Chocolate city was a dream come true for him. He describes it as payment for all the hard work and sacrifices he has put into his music.
“It was a dream come true. It felt like pay for all the hard work and sacrifices. I grew up listening to MI, Iceprinece and the Choc Boys. I never imagined I would be signed to the label. I got an Instagram DM from one of the A&Rs on the team who invited me to the label office and the rest has been history.”
With his new project- Retroverse, he hopes that his listeners hear how much growth his sound has undergone.
RADR had the chance to speak with Major Aj about his music and how his experiences have helped shape his art.
I know you are smack in the middle of promo for your EP. How’s that been for you?
The reception and feedback have been great. People love my work, it makes me feel good as an artist.
Congratulations. What would you say has changed for you as an artist since you got signed?
A lot. As an independent artist, there’s a lot of weight to carry. I did everything for myself. Having a team working on your behalf, brainstorming and coming up with strategies to market your music is amazing. There’s also more structure and direction.
You’ve been in the industry since university. How was that for you?
I wanted to be an artist before university. I knew it was my calling from secondary school. Going to university was me just trying to get it done and give my mum the certificate (laughs). It was tough actually. The entertainment scene in Ilorin [where I went to university] is just growing. So, I would perform at every opportunity I got including ‘Unilorin’s got talent. The fan base I built from school has been amazing. so, I guess going to school paid off.
So, It’s music full time now?
Definitely. I’m a graduate now. I’m all about shutting down shows now.
How did you choose your stage name?
My Dad’s death changed the trajectory of my life. He died when I was 7. He was a Major in the Army so everyone called him Major Ajogwu. I wanted a name that connected with me so I chose Major AJ because of my Dad.
I’m so sorry for your loss. What would you call your style of music?
Afro-Fusion. It’s afro beats with different flavours. This is the retro era for me. You would see it in the elements, sounds, and styles in my songs and videos.
Why did you choose to take us on a trip to the old times on this new project?
I’ve always been a fan of retro stuff. I feel there are so many gems. I listen to the new stuff too but I sync into the oldies like Jackson 5 and many other different genres. For Retroverse, I linked up with Dunni [my amazing producer] at recording camp and we made Afrodisco and that gave a retro direction and I wanted to see that sound through.
I knew that people were looking for something different and I felt that it would be something great to show people.
When did you begin working on Retroverse?
I started making Retroverse in recording camp in January. There was a lot of creative learning and unlearning to do. I completed the project in March.
What was your favourite part in the whole album creation process?
The sweetest part was making the music. Linking up with producers, especially those I had looked up to for a while was awesome. But nothing beat the actual creation process of the music, for me.
What producers did you work with?
Two. Dunni and Steff. They are awesome.
What was your Favourite song to create?
Every song hit differently for me. When I made superstar, I was emotional but with Taboo we were all dancing. I guess Omnirascal and Superstar were my favourites to create.
I could tell that you had a lot to say on Superstar. We got some insight into your journey as an artist. How have your upbringing and experiences influenced your music?
So much. When I heard the beat for Superstar, I knew I wanted to tell my story.
I grew up with my grandma and I was the only child of my parents so I had to be on my own and music was the comfort. It helped me through the dark times after my dad died. All those events have made me the artist I am today.
I know with artists, there’s always something cooking. Are you working on any new projects?
Of course! Round the clock, we are working. This doesn’t mean we are in the studio all the time. There’s a lot of research, planning, and trying to experiment. Then I go back to the studio to refuel my creativity, you know? I’m always cooking.
Who are the artists you hope to collaborate with?
Anyone that does good music, to be honest. To mention a few names: Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tems, Davido, J Hus, Ckay, Rema, Ruger. Afrobeats is at a point where collaboration is important to make amazing music.
That’s a long list. What are your favorite things to do outside music?
I like to play Call Of Duty and other online games. I like to watch stuff on Netflix too.
What are your hopes for the project?
I hope the fans get a clear vision of how much growth my sound has undergone. I’m sure anyone that listens to Retroverse would want to know what more I’m capable of. I want them to know Choc City’s Major AJ has not come to play and that I’m bringing new dimensions.