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Deto Black: the Avant- Garde Nigerian Rapper on the Uprising.

Four years ago, Odunsi (the Engine) was the catalytic force responsible for my discovery of Deto Black. The often acclaimed Alte’ pioneer’s oeuvre, “Everything You Heard Is True”, enlisted Deto Black on the lascivious anthem, ‘Body Count’, alongside Ghanaian singer, Amaarae & fellow Nigerian singer, Gigi Atlantis.  

Deto Black’s spat on ‘Body Count’ took the cake for me. Deto’s rhythmic flow on the Odunsi single stood out, and was only matched by her alluring vocal texture coupled with jarring lyrical display. For me, the US born – UK based Nigerian rapper’s sheer genius was as palpable as the generic meaning of the word.

The rapper’s dexterity merged with her oozing sex appeal, gave ‘Body Count’ a playback value that nearly eroded it and her part was one of the most talked about verses on the then recent Odunsi’s project, generating the singer with much needed buzz as many hailed her prowess.

In its component, Adetoun Tejuoso’s art strikes a resonance with the average Lagos “Bougie” babe whose version of female empowerment might strike a dissonance to the conventional crowd. Her thematic expressions of effeminate freedom usually come across as bold, raw, raunchy, and frankly, a bit superficial.

But when listened to with a tint of objectivity, Deto’s message becomes clear and the depth is recognized. Her sound is a mere reflection of her realities, and that is as deep as art goes.

Growing up, Deto had a nomadic upbringing that saw her shuffle from the states, to the UK, and back home in Nigeria. Having a computer engineer Dad, a lawyer mum, and a bunch of Super model pals ( a model herself) does leave for an acquired taste in lifestyle, and it shows in the messages conveyed through her music- it’s either expensive or nothing. And who could blame her? we all love fancy things, especially if you were a Deto Black.

Her expensive taste isn’t singular to lifestyle alone. She transcends this desire for the crème de la crème into her music as well. Deto Black’s music sounds like a rich flex suitable for a Yacht get-away with a lover or close friends. There is a certain pizzaz to her sound; an experimental collage of hip-hop, psychedelic rock, and alternative pop.

Deto Black rocking a Red Leathered Gown alongside a Yves Saint Laurent high heel. Courtesy: Instagram

Deto Black’s latest single, ‘Just Like Deto’ is the perfect ‘baddie’ anthem that best describes her personnae, ”Real bitch, real lips, real hips, real dips, real cash”. The song is a self-gratifying hip-hop bop that is just the right amount of catchy. It is also her first solo release since ‘Drop Off’ (2022). In my interview with the talented rapper, fashion model, and entrepeneur, she talks about the song’s creative process, her music pet peeves, plan for the future, and more.

Summarize your early beginnings, especially as a maverick who chose creative pursuit over the traditional expectations of her polymath family.

Well, at first, my Parents were strongly in disapproval of some of the choices I made. Which is normal in a Nigerian household. They had certain expectations and dreams for my life that weren’t necessarily the kind that I desired for myself. It was rough in the beginning. But as time went by, and having seen how serious I was about choosing a different path, they began to come around. Now, my parents are my biggest supporters.

You sort of had a mild breakthrough circa 2020 with your killer verse in Odunsi the Engine’s ‘Body Count’, and honestly, from my standpoint, It felt like the perfect momentum to build on. Do you share the same reservation?

Oh yes I do. ‘Body Count’ gave me that exposure, you know. And I am grateful for the collaboration. Shoutout to Odunsi.

You seem to have a tight knitted bond with Mowalola and Chivirgo. What is the relationship dynamic like?

I have known Mo since I was yay high. We basically went to the same elementary school and have been friends since then. She is basically my best, and longest friend. Chivirgo is awesome. I met her later on. we instantly clicked and have been besties ever since.

What is the craziest public misconception about you? 

uhhh, that I don’t deserve my wins. People tend to think that since I came from privilege, I don’t grind and hustle just like everyone else. And that is truly laughable, because I work so hard for my wins. Nothing has been given to me on a platter.

Odunsi or Santi?

You want me to choose?

Yes, preferably.

Honestly, I love both of them. They are both geniuses and in my opinion, do not get enough credit.

Do you have musical pet peeves?

Yes. I do. I don’t like when a collaborator tries to limit or dictate how far a sound can be explored. It kills the artistic vision and you know, entire vibe. If we are working together, you have to come correct. All I am saying is, be open-minded or its nothing at all. I like to experiment a lot when I am in the studio, and when I get a sort of lazy or complacent vibe, it really acts as a buzzkill.

One of the things that I have found peculiar about your feed online, Is your solidarity towards the Queer community. From your perspective, how would you describe the disdain and marginalization often shown to people who belong to this group.

I have so many friends who are Queer, and it irks me seeing what they go through on a day to day basis. I strongly believe in human rights, and I believe every one is entitled to their sexual preferences and orientations. It is sad the level of hypocrisy that is circling around. Especially in a country like Nigeria, where human rights isn’t valued and majority of the lawbreakers are culpable of breaking the very laws that they put into fruition. It’s honestly repulsive.

I however feel there is hope. Thanks to persons such as Bobrisky. Before him, people were afraid to express themselves. Sure, he gets a large amount of backlash online, but the truth is that the naysayers can’t deny his impact and they secretly love him. Everybody loves him.

Now, I don’t know about everybody loving him. It’s quite dicey.

(laughs). Come on, they do.

You know how most creatives like to pretend that they do not need artistic validation, when the reality is quite the opposite.

Yh. We tend to do that a lot (laughs).

Yh, Whose Validation on your craft has resonated with you the most?

I will say my Parents’. You have to understand how much I value their opinions, and how much joy I get knowing that they like my music. I will gladly take their review over anyone else’s in a heart beat.

Really? That’s Fantastic! What song (s) did they enjoy?

My Mum really vibes with my latest song, ‘Just Like Deto’. She sings it all the time. My Dad likes ‘three5zero’ off my ‘Yung Everything’ (2021) Ep.

Speaking of ‘Yung Everything’, When should your fans be expecting a sophomore project?

I am working on something this year. When the time is right, I will definitely keep my fans in the loop. I do not take their love for granted and i want to give them the best. This is why making a great project is paramount to me. And great projects take time.

Watch the lyric video to Deto Black’s ‘Just Like Deto’ here:

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