Basement cuts: Rapper PayBac talks culture, influences and selling out


Surulere-born rapper, PayBac, talks to about his childhood, early musical and cultural influences and inspiration behind his latest mixtape, “The Other Side of the Radio”

The Nigerian music scene is most notorious for frustrating talents of conscious music. This makes PayBac’s Basement Cut story a familiar one. The rapper grew up in Festac listening to Don Moen, Ron Kenoly and other gospel artists introduced by his parents. He also took a keen interest in rock songs from the 60s & 70s and anything else that piqued his interest, ranging from legends like Tupac and Fela to more contemporary sounds like Kendrick Lamar. Some of the above influences and the long hours he spent watching his sister  pen down lyrics from Notorious B.I.G drove him into the rap genre.

PayBac recognizes that industry dynamics may require him to resort to making popular style of music in the future. His focus at the moment, however, is making sure his music reaches its audience. The rapper was on the Hennessey Cypher headlined by Vector. He has also been featured on songs by Reminisce, Ruby Gyang and Boogey.


The self-dubbed writer currently has three critically acclaimed mixtapes; Broken Symphonies, The Iboro Tape and his latest The Other Side of the Radio. Despite the appeal of the three LPs to hip-hop pundits, PayBac feels he might have strayed from his early influences. He  however manages to find a balance between his Western and Nigerian cultural influences.

“I think I have been influenced by Western culture just as much as my Nigerian culture,” he says, “I have stayed close  to both of them, though, the Nigerian culture more so now than before. This is obvious in my music and life” he adds.

PayBac’s latest body of work, The Other Side of the Radio, plays like an audio book collection of short stories. You can immerse yourself in the LP as each new song is more relatable than the last. PayBac sums up the mixtape with Hey Ghana, one of the last two songs on the LP. According to him, The Other Side of the Radio was a soul searching experience for him.  He, however, admits that although he found something at the end of the soul search, he is uncertain if that is what he was looking for. He must, therefore, remain restless in his search because the journey according to him, is in the destination.

PayBac hails from Akwa-Ibom and lives in Ago-Okota area of mainland Lagos. You can view all of his music Here



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