Zlatan’s music career has been one of constant evolution and growth. From his early days as the guy with coloured hair and boundless energy in his music videos, he has emerged as a versatile artist with a unique voice and style.
His songs, including hits like Zanku, Killin Dem, Yeye Boyfriend, and Bolanle, have captured the hearts of music lovers worldwide, and his features on tracks like Cash App, Agege, and Spiritual have further cemented his place in the industry.
One of the things that sets Zlatan apart from his peers is his distinctive voice. His energetic dance moves and unique ad-libs have made his sound unmistakable, and his lyric flows and swaggering rhythm always leave listeners intrigued. His melodies are infectious and have a way of enveloping the ears of his audience.
Recently releasing his new EP, Omo Ologo, Zlatan talks about his music, his creative process and what inspires him to do better in an interview with District234. He explains how he came up with the title of his EP Omo Ologo and the motivation behind his opening track.
[P.S: Texts highlighted bold indicate District234 and the ones in italics indicate Zlatan.]
Why do you think Omo Ologo is the most ideal title for your EP?
Well, when I was recording the song, I wasn’t sure I was going to drop an EP but I had it in mind that I was going to do a compilation, like I was going to drop singles and singles, and then if they go well, I’ll just compile all of them together and then make it a body of work.
So when I saw the engagements and how people hopped on the challenge of Omo Ologo, I felt like there was actually no better title and there is no better ideal title for the EP than the Omo Ologo.
The opening track, Omo Ologo, it comes from a revolting place of deep reflection, motivation and thought — how did you feel when creating this masterpiece?
I was far away from Lagos. I was somewhere in Edo state. I was in Auchi, it was during Ramadan I went to one of my friends’ country home, we went to Iran. We went to have fun. His house has a pool, large compound, I went with my skating board. And then it’s always hard for me to go three days without recording. So I just felt like I needed to call my producer. I called him and we went together. The first night we vibed. The second night, just like around like around 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM, there was a Ycee verse I was supposed to do, so I called him and recorded the verse and then something just started ringing in my head like Omo Ologo, so the idea came.
Most of the time when I actually want to challenge myself, I like to do rap songs where I can actually talk or say whatever is in my mind, or what’s on my mind. So at that moment, I just needed to talk.
So if you listen to Omo Ologo, I was talking to myself, I was motivating myself, I was motivating the streets I was passing a message across. So I was actually in that my elements whereby I want to challenge myself without disrupting like I want to do it again. I want to talk. I want to pass a message.
Ever felt the need to change or tone down your imprint on your music— that imprint that when people hear, they most definitely know it’s you. Or you feel it’s one of the sauces of your music, and is what makes Zlatan, Zlatan.
Yeah, but Zlatan can’t be tied down to any anything or any obligation. I remember one time in my career, they said if I changed my hairstyle from blond that people wouldn’t know me again. If you change it from green, people will know you, people are used to your dread, thinking I should not change you know all sorts of things like that. There are some of my songs where you don’t hear kapaichumarimarichupako, and there are some you hear it.
I feel like it’s far beyond that right now. I think I have at least a community that whatsoever Zlatan puts out, they want to listen to, although we’re still trying to reach out to more audience. But I don’t think that has anything to do with the music, it adds source to it definitely, it’s what some people enjoy and at same time these are what makes Zlatan as well.
We recall that ad libs became a well known thing following your vitality with in in your early career days, so why it as one of the core elements of your music?
If I say I remember how the style came to be, I’ll be lying. I just knew I was looking for any means and any way to be out there and to hit and feed my family. So when I’m recording, putting all my energy so I don’t know which producer actually laid my adlibs and use the preset to make it sound like that.
After then, me myself, I’ve always enjoyed it ’cause there are some people that actually always listen to my song, just to cram the adlibs, and they can always do it as I’m doing it as the song is playing.
We typically know you to be in the neutral when it comes to singing on affection in your music; tell us how come you were well settled in Astalavista?
Yeah, actually I have problem with love. Like I feel that’s why I don’t know how to toast girls or know how to talk to ladies sometimes. I didn’t grow up talking to any girl, I grew up fetching water, facing normal daily activities and was trying to know what’s up. I grew up looking for food to eat, not looking for girls. I think that affected my whole affection or being spitting romantic flows but still everything has changed and it’s like you can act, if you can act something like you can actually act it, so even if you’re not that kind of person, you can act it. Astalavista was Young John that did it and I feel like it was one of the verses that I actually liked cause it was more of singing. So I don’t know but, I’m always ready to outdo myself.
With your craft, are you more fixated on the pursuit of international hits and deals, or making music just out of love for it, nothing more or less.
Yes. So like it is always good that one evolves, but at the same time if you’re trying to evolve, make sure you don’t forget your background, like I always tell my friends that before you say you wanna pursue international hits or deals or you want to be out there. Make sure you don’t forsake your background, which is the Nigeria where everything is tight.
Hold your Nigeria tight rather than trying to seek for the international deals, or else you lose both. So if it comes, it comes. I think the only thing that will not make it come is when you’re not consistent and you don’t work hard.
And I’m playing my part patiently waiting for the right one so I can take my craft to the next level.
The concept of Oganigwe follows a pattern you’re not typically into, except when featured. Does this go to say it’s one born by the featured artists?
Before we recorded Picanto, when Odumodublvck said he was coming, I enjoyed his flow, but I could just hear it on a Phyno or Flavour song and I know what he was going to do, so just even before he came, I told my producer that I wanted to make the Phyno kind of sound and they started making it and Odumodublvck came, I recorded the Picanto verse, played it and said this is one I want us to work with, and then if you check my Instagram page, you’ll see the making is on YouTube as well.
We worked on it together, daily score, as per I did my verse. I was in Paris when my friend said everything needs to be on Oganigwe and yes, he is the perfect person to be in the song so I reached out to him and that was how we made Oganigwe.
Zlatan x Odumodublvck x JeriQ bringing that East side heat with 'OGANIGWE' on Friday.🇳🇬— district234 (@district234wrld) April 24, 2023
Let's go 🚀💚pic.twitter.com/uCoqOqsrfS
Do you still have to reiterate to Nigerians that you’re a rapper? As many are still in the bleak of this fact?
I think they are accepting now because I keep getting truths about the Picanto verse like my style and for the fact that a lot of people jumped on Omo Ologo, then there was the streets rapping to the the challenge that went viral. Now I think the way people that actually know music, but there are just some people that just don’t want to accept anything when it comes to other people’s success just because of their own personal life challenges and frustrations. So yeah, I’m a rapper. I’m a proud rapper. I’m happy to say anywhere.
Seeing how many Nigerians slam the hip-hop genre and undermine artists towing this lane, what is your take on the current state of Hip-Hop in Nigeria? Do you feel there is still a future for this genre?
The way I am now at this stage, I’m not ready to fight for anybody or join with anybody to say anything. At this stage that I am, I just want to make my own music and then focus and then channel my energy on what concerns me a lot. And I don’t follow multitude. I’m not just gonna follow the multitude because the fans are gonna criticise or they are gonna shout or the fact that they say I’m quiet. Right now, the stage I am in life, I can only focus and participate n things that concerns me personally.
On your son’s birthday, you said he is the reason for your now calm self, in what way do you think having a child has influenced your evolved self?
Everyone knows Zlatan to be a crazy guy that goes on the road to dance, to promote his songs, can go to the market to promote his song. He can do crazy things to promote his songs. He replies comments and bashing people and all of that. You can’t say something and then he would not say it back but after I had my son, I had to sit back and have a rethink. I said to myself, let go of what isn’t really needed.
Actually, he toned down everything in a good way. I feel anyone that has been in that position can l understand what I’m saying.
Thanks for toning down the werey wey dey my body HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON ❤️ pic.twitter.com/5lLyaaf8WD— #WorldPresident 🌎 (@Zlatan_Ibile) March 29, 2023
Your role as Kash in Gangs of Lagos was enjoyed thoroughly by Nigerians, saying you were made for the role and your effortless execution was top-notch. Do you ever see yourself taking more roles in the movie industry?
Definitely, but nice ones and exclusive ones, just like Gangs of Lagos, I had opportunity to have been in so many scenes but I actually took my time to wait for the perfect one as acting has always been something I have always had interest in.
So yeah, watch out! There are so many roles; then I feel I’m gonna have my own movie one day as well. God bless and peace out.
Check out “Omo Ologo” on your favourite streaming platforms here