It took me a while to find my way to the Sewage Road, Gowon Estate residence of Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek.
As I knocked on the gate, a young man named Ogaga came to attend to me. I introduced myself as a Journalist from Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET) and explained my mission. He tried to dissuade me from seeing the rainmaker, insisting that I needed to speak with the management before I could chat with him.
But Majek heard our dialogue, rushed to the gate and insisted that I come in. The nineties hit-maker was dressed in a denim shirt and jeans. It was 10am in the morning of Friday January 25. Majek was already reeking of alchohol.
Since Ogaga had warned me against having an interview with the veteran reggae artiste, I left the premises and waited not too far from the house, hoping to catch Majek coming out of the apartment.
I was determined to speak with the man who many say has become mentally imbalanced, about to roam the streets.
And it was my lucky day, as 25 minutes later, Majek wandered out of the house. I approached him and he readily suggested a place we could go and talk.
For a man who was admired all over the world, and tipped to be the next big thing after Bob marley, Majek has become a shadow of himself.
After agreeing to buy him a bottle of Big Stout, while also giving him N500 (he asked for N4,000), we get to sit down for a quick, albeit revealing chat…
Your album was scheduled to be released sometime this month, is that still possible?
The album is ready. It will be released next month. It is titled ‘I Am Not Afraid.’
Who are the artistes that you featured on the album?
I featured Blackface and Tuface.
Reports have it that you are having problems with your label?
Yes, we are having problems. Haija (his manager) wants to cheat me. We had an agreement that she would get me accommodation, a car and other things. I’m in this house now and there’s no light (electricity). I have been here suffering. They also monitor my movement as if I am a child. The Mercedes Benz they gave me is lying out there broken.
They say they need four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) to repair the vehicle. Here I am, I have nothing. Little Wizkid has a jeep while I have nothing. I have a green card, I can always go back to America, but God said I should not go yet. I allow Hajia to do as she pleases because she is a woman and she is like a daughter to me.
Do you have children or family you could have been staying with?
I have four boys, and they are all in America with their mother, an Igbo woman. I can’t ask my children to come to Nigeria because if they experience NEPA, they won’t like me again. The eldest is in college now and he is a rapper. He has just been signed by the American rapper, Lil Wayne. You know you can’t compare American rap with Nigerian rap. Nigerians can rap but they don’t have the swagger of the Americans.
So which young Nigerian artistes that you like?
You know these days they use a drum machine. There are hardly any real musicians amongst them. I like Wizkid and 2face. They play good music. I don’t like that other boy they call D’banj; those ones that went to join Illuminati. How can you go and sell your soul to the devil because you want to be famous? I don’t even like his music anyway.
Have you read stories saying you’re going mad?
I didn’t read it, I was told by my boys in this beer parlour. Look at me, am I mad? I’m a strong man. I may look old and rough right now, but I know what I’m saying and what I’m doing. Many people think that Majek has gone and that Majek is no more, but I’m still here and I’m probably going to live longer than a lot of you.
Your label also reported you missing. Where were you the whole time?
I was in heaven. I went to see Fela Anikulapo Kuti in heaven. I was in heaven the whole time they were looking for me. Fela was not happy with me. He told me that some people want to kill Femi (Kuti). He said that Femi is his heir and that there are some elements that are trying to assassinate him. He told me that he will hold me responsible if anything should happen to Femi. He even gave me this ring I’m wearing.
Did he say who was trying to kill Femi?
He said the government.
Did he mention a specific name?
He just said the government.
Do you still use cocaine?
I have never ever used cocaine. I don’t do drugs. It is just me, my beer and my ogogoro (local gin).
Are you saying you didn’t do drugs in America?
I never did drugs. It was just a conspiracy to get me off my music because I was speaking and singing the truth.
Conspiracy by whom?
By the powers that be. Powers in high places.
You sound like a very spiritual person…
I am a very spiritual man. I am a ‘juju’ on my own. Sometimes I can go into a trance and relate with spirits in the spirit world. The ‘Cele’ tried to stop me, they couldn’t. The ‘aladura’ also tried but they couldn’t tame me. As I am, no spirit can do anything [to me].
Do you miss the glory days when you were one of the biggest artistes in Africa?
I’m still in my glory days. I’m still a legend. I still play my music every Friday night in this joint. In America we have what we call royalties, money paid the artiste for each time his music or video is played. I still get my royalties. I still have my guitar and I play it all the time