This week’s spotlight is on Mabel ‘Bella’ Alubo, a prolific rapper from Jos, who detests being addressed as a ‘female rapper’.
Bella “prefers” to be called a “rapper” because, according to her, gender isn’t used to describe women in other fields and also because she doesn’t want to deal with the burden of such a stereotype.
“Adding any sort of descriptive label puts me in a box which comes with certain expectations that I don’t want to be associated with because I consider myself a unique rapper in a category of my own”, she said.
“People don’t go around saying ‘female teacher’ or ‘female doctor’. Being a rapper is like being anyone else I guess, comes with its own pros and cons but we’d be alright.”
Growing up, she was greatly influenced by M.I Abaga, Jesse Jagz, and Iceprince. At the age of 14, she started turning her poems into song lyrics.
Bella wrote her first rap verse at the age of 16 because she didn’t have “a very great singing voice”.
“My brother was friends with Ice Price, M.I and Jesse Jagz before they moved to Lagos and I used to listen to their music a lot and imagine being an artist.
“When I was about 14, I started trying to convert the poems I used to write into song lyrics, but I didn’t have a very great singing voice. I wrote my first actual rap verse when I was about 16 and have been writing since then.”
SOUNDCLOUD AS A SPRINGBOARD
Bella has gained some semblance of popularity from the songs she records and uploads on SoundCloud, a music streaming platform.
“I didn’t think I was too focused on Soundcloud until some bloggers referred to me as a “Soundcloud artiste”. I think as a millennial in any field, it is more efficient to use the internet than any other medium, and Soundcloud just happens to be one of the best options right now for what I’m doing.
“Especially as an independent budding artiste in a music industry that isn’t very structured yet. Since I’m still self-sponsored with limited funds, internet platforms are a major part of my plans of getting myself out there, and radio”.
Bella has collaborated in one form or the other with Kunem, Terry Tha Rapman, Boogey, Miss Tunes, Minz and Jimmy Wheeler.
After releasing her self-titled EP ‘Bella’ on SoundCloud, she has gotten positive reviews from industry heads across-the-board.
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