West Chester University student and rapper Tunji Ige has been buzzing lately with his remix of “Day2Day.” With his upcoming album The Love Project dropping before the end of the year, we caught up with him to talk to him about a variety of topics. In The Break, Tunji talks about the influence his Nigerian parents had on his music, what he was doing before rapping, and his plans on using his music to change peoples’ perception on African-American men.—Marvin Jules
Name: Tunji Ige
I grew up listening to: My parents are Nigerian, so a lot of African music was played in the household, as well as ’80s dance hits. I was growing up listening to a lot of Fela Kuti, a lot of King Sunny Adé, as far as the African aspect, that’s why I have a lot of call and response in my music. Also Zapp & Roger, Michael Jackson, and Shalamar, stuff like that was like the groove aspect that influenced me. And then when it came to hip-hop, I remember It’s Dark and Hell is Hot by DMX was the first hip-hop album I bought. That really impacted me. I listened to a lot of gritty rap. I guess the whole sound of my music – between the lyrics and my melodies – is because its influenced by the music I grew up listening to. I grew up listening to Philly rap, so anything from early Meek Mill to Ar-Ab, and mixing that with the grooves of African music, and mixing that with the grooves of early ’80s R&B, that’s my music.
Most people don’t know I: Coming up, I was doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes work. I was editing videos, I was doing artwork, I was helping people doing designing and branding. For all the people in Philadelphia, there was a little small hipster spot (I don’t even like using that word!), and I would be that kid at all the events and functions, people thought I was just doing video work, but I was taking notes the whole time. Seeing what I needed to do to get my product on that level when it was time to present it.
My style is compared to: A lot of people are saying that i’m sonically sounding more of like a Kid Cudi or an early Drake.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: Definitely “Day2Day”, the original and the remix. Also “Kingdom.” I’m also releasing a song in the coming days entitled “The Ex Song”, and that should be very interesting. Especially with people breaking up, Wiz and Amber, Nick Cannon and Mariah, so I feel like it’s the best time to release the song we’ve been working on.
My goal in hip-hop is: The ultimate goal is to make this the biggest platform possible and take over. As a Philly artist, we have such a negative connotation, because when we get to that platform we don’t know how to act. What I can do for this whole city is to show hip-hop in another light. Especially being an African-American male, people have such negativity towards us. People gravitate towards hip-hop as a representation of us, rather than other achievements we do as representation of us, so I’m trying to show hip-hop in a better light. I know with “Day2Day” a lot of people call me an EDM artist, but it’s going to be funny because with my upcoming album The Love Project, nothing else on it sounds like “Day2Day”. So i’m curious to see peoples’ reactions with that.
I’m gonna be the next: One influence that i’m trying to reach is Kanye West. I’m really influenced by him as far as the whole aesthetics, from producing to rapping, so I guess an early version of Kanye, but I don’t even wanna say that. I’m trying to get up to that level. As far as making the best product possible, the way Kanye presents it is the way I want to present it, even with the limited resources I have, but I’m trying to aim for that level.
Standout: “Day2Day” (Remix) Featuring Michael Christmas and iLoveMakonnen
Also check out: “The Ex Song”