“Why prolong greatness? Why wait-list a genius?”
These questions, in form of a rap verse, are asked by none other than 23-year-old rapper by the name of O-Slice. Born and raised in Nigeria and currently in the DMV, Opeyemi a.k.a. O-Slice has been making a name for herself and is making art her own way. If you ever find yourself on your timeline and stumble upon a viral video of a girl delivering some of the most fire bars you’ve ever heard, it’s probably her. Even more so, her live performances are a breath of fresh air, packed with energy and crowd interaction that will make any stranger an instant fan. We linked up with the artist to find out more about her music, what makes her tick, her inspirations, and more. Check out our interview below!
What got you into music?
It happened when I was 9 years old. One day on the back of the bus, I noticed some kids having a rap battle. I liked the attention that they were getting and how impressed the other kids were. They spoke with courage and seeing how I was really shy, I admired their confidence. I used to write poetry for my family so I used that writing experience and started writing raps. The day I felt like I finally wrote something good enough, I got on the bus and spit my rhyme. The whole bus went crazy and my life hasn’t been the same since. From then on, I used my raps as an icebreaker. It helped me out of my shell and it’s grown to what it is today.
What does “O-Slice” mean and how did you come up with that?
I’ve been rapping since I was 9 years old. One of my first raps led off with the line, “My name is O-Slice”. That was one of my introductory bars, for when I would go around places and rap for people. It grew to be a nickname for me, started being used by my basketball team. When I was in 10th grade there was this talent show, and I couldn’t find the sign-up sheet, so my friends ended up entering me in it. They didn’t know what name to put, and one of my teammates suggested they just put “O-Slice”. So when I won the show, everyone started calling me that. I tried explaining to people that it wasn’t my rap name, and no one cared, they kept referring to me as O-Slice.
How would you describe your music?
Bars with bounce. Music with heart. Music with substance. Substance with flavor.
Do you remember the first song you ever made?
I was 9 the first time I made a song by myself, it was a boom-bap sounding track. A-B-A-B rhyme scheme type. I actually wrote some songs with my cousins prior to that, but those are ancient memories. One of them was called “Da lil cousins”, another was “Sky is falling”. All of those songs were ridiculous, but fun.
Looking back at “#UpTheAnte” from 5 years ago, it’s evident that your flow, vocals, quality, and even style have all greatly improved since then. Where do you think you’ll be in the next 5 years?
It’s funny and interesting that you see it that way because I still think that #UpTheAnte is my best verse that I’ve put out so far. I think more access to resources and making the right connections have allowed for my ability as an artist to grow. 5 years from now though? I’d be locked in on music. working on multiple projects. I’d also like to be known as an established director. I hope by that time, I’ve already helped my community, and have mentored/co-signed other artists. I also hope that within 5 years, I’ve already given
back to PG County and Nigeria. 5 years from now, I’d like for my family to be financially secure. By that time, I want to solidify myself as the best rapper alive, and I’d be best friends with Kendrick.
You’ve managed to be a crowd favorite around the area, whether you’re at a pop-up concert or an ASA show. Where does your energy come from?
The way I look at shows, my perception comes from a place where I know my skill, but the audience may not know that. So when I’m on stage, I’m making the argument as to why I’m great, as to why they should be paying attention to me and should be a fan of mine and support me. If I get on stage and give a weak argument, then I’d be contradicting myself. At that point, I shouldn’t even be there. When I perform, I want to leave people in awe. I want people to depart the show thinking to themselves, “how have I gone this long without knowing about O-Slice?”
What is your creative process when developing songs/videos?
When it comes to songs, I have to be hooked in by the beat. Once I’m feeling the beat, I start to come up with a type of flow that I feel is best suitable for the track, from there I establish the mood of the direction I go in, which leads to the topic of the song. For me, the beat plus the flow equals the topic. After I’ve got the topic, I go in on the hook and write my verses after. Videos to me come much easier because when I’m writing the song, I usually envision the manifestation of the lyrics and the story behind what I’m saying. Granted, making music videos is difficult because I feel like my records deserve the best visuals possible.
One of my personal favorites songs of yours, “Get it Correct“, samples Lauryn Hill. Is she an inspiration for you?
I appreciate your love for “Get It Correct”. Lauryn Hill is an inspiration of mine for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that she was the first female rapper that I got hip to. I cherished the way that people respected her for her craft. She’s known as one of the GOATs, and as a black woman, it showed me that I can be just as great, if not better, than her. To me, she’s a great example on how to be a female artist without compromising who they are as a person.
Your 2015 song “African Booty Scratchers” talked about the issue of how some Africans were treated growing up in America. Do you still feel that same sentiment? How do you feel about “African culture” being pretty mainstream today?
I’m honestly split on this issue. I think ABS is still relevant today. I think there are many conversations that still need to be had. I still remember some of my peers making me feel bad for being from Africa, and it hurt. It’s great, for representation sake, that African culture is pretty much in the mainstream today. I like that people are more interested in the motherland, that they’re searching for their ancestral history and are looking to connect with their roots. The issue is that there’s a fair amount of people out there who now want access to African culture, without investing anything back into it. Until we have the right conversations and heal the divisions that exist between the two communities, I won’t feel completely comfortable about African culture being in the mainstream.
From a Nigerian parent’s viewpoint, being a rapper is not on the list of acceptable things to pursue as a career. How did your parents feel about you making music? And how do they feel now?
For a long time, they didn’t take it seriously. The thing was, I always had great grades in school so they couldn’t keep me from rapping! I remember that I used to walk around the house with my iPod, mumbling lyrics and what not. My mother HATED that, it drove her crazy. It took my parents a while to come around, but now they’re my biggest fans. My mom’s got her own favorite O-Slice song now. Same goes with my
family, like my grandma? She called my mom from Nigeria raving about the “BANK” video. I’ve got family members who don’t even call me by my real name anymore. They’re all on board, they all want me to succeed.
How did you come up with “Noprah Nimfrey” and is that a character we can expect to make an appearance again?
I didn’t expect people to love Noprah as much as they did. I made Noprah to show y’all a different shade of my personality, the more animated side of me. Since y’all love her so much, maybe in another year or two I’ll make another appearance on the Noprah Nimfrey show.
You’ve put out a lot of impressive singles including “10 Toes” and “Bank”, when can we expect a project to be released?
It takes time, and it’s not my timing.
What’s the overall purpose for O-Slice?
My purpose is to use the gifts that God gave me as tools to help my family and to make an impact on the people and places that made an impact on me.
All Photography by Kanmiwest