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Born Michael Ugochukwu Stephens on the 20th of September in Ebem Ohafia, Abia state, all levels of schooling were done in Lagos state. I am a graduate of Political Science Lagos State University Ojo. I started loving rap music from around 1989 when I was learning the words in rap tracks I liked and rapping along to their instrumentals - until I decided that I could do mine, then I started writing my own lyrics. 1999 was when I put out my first cd for air play. The cd contained two tracks: 1, What If? - which was produced by and also featured Paul Play Dairo; and 2, "Gwo-gwo". These two tracks got massive airplay. Then in 2002 I decided to do a track criticizing a couple of Nigerian rappers and the track titled Ehen Part 1 has blown sky high nation wide.
My two new songs “BIG BROS” (in which I took on a so-called music mogul in Nigeria for trying to stop my song getting played on radio stations 'cos I talked about him) and “WHAT YOU GOT” (which is a dance track for people who said all I can do is diss) are both getting mega air play in Nigeria and abroad. My dance track is a favourite in a couple of Clubs in London and Ireland.
RUGGEDMAN is a no-nonsense, speak-my-mind type of nigga that stands up for the improvement and promotion of good Nigerian music no matter how much big men try to hold him down.
The name came when I was in high school and fresh into the rap game proper.
Every one wanted a name that didn’t sound weak and Ruggedman was the one I came up with, after I thought Rugged Soul was a bit too deep and the tag 'Mc' a bit over flogged.
My early influences came from NWA, KRS One, Poor Righteous Teachers, Leaders Of The New School, King Sun… etc. Now they are Nas, DMX, Eminem, Dr. Dre and especially all the wack rappers in Nigeria.
My very first performance was at a secondary school ceremony in 1992. From
then on it's been performances in clubs and tertiary institutions. Other places of performance are: Mr. Macho - University Of Lagos (UNILAG) - 1994; Nigerian Carnival - National Stadium - 1994; Home movie soundtracks; Lyricist Lounge - held at club 11:45 for the Rap Legend Guru from America, Eve and Kc & Jojo - show (performed alongside Tony Tetuila).
Some others are: part of the opening act for Lagbaja some months back; a bit of acting in a Francis Agu movie, waka pass (movie extra) too because I wanted to know how it’s done; radio jingle; TV music show theme song (did the rap).
I also directed my first music video 2002, which was D’Banj’s “Kiss me again video”. I addition, opening act again for Lagbaja on 31st January 2003, where I started the sales of my “Ehen” singles cd - which is doing quite well now. I also organized a mock celebrity soccer match for The Kanu Heart Foundation, where I got other Nigerian artistes and celebrities like Plantashun Boiz, Paul Ik Dairo, Mr. Kool, Emma Ugolee, Maideena, Trybesmen, Nomoreloss, e.t.c, to play football. It was mad fun.
I've likewise performed at the national stadium at the Guinness stand for Coja All African Games; and have also performed alongside Dance hall sensation Sean Paul. Ruggedman's been performing all over Nigeria right now and is Nigeria's most wanted rap act.
"I am the most featured rap artist in Nigeria and the hottest out right now."
He's been on almost every newspaper, and the radio and tv stations love him being in their place cos he gets calls from the audience like crazy.
My video, Peace Or War is the best video ever done by a Nigerian and was number one for two and a half months on MBI top ten video count down. Ehen has so far spent a year on the MTN top ten count down on Cool fm. My new dance track “WHAT YOU GOT” has been #1 two months running on Star 101.5 fm's World New Flavour chart show and is on all the radio station charts.
I recently just got back from Ireland, Europe where I went to chill out a while and also promote myself and my music. I spread my cds to Near fm 101.6 Dublin - where I was also interviewed, and Today fm 100-102 Dublin. I shot clips for my new song Big Bros and met Raekwon The Chef of Wu Tang Clan.
I won the Nigerian Fanta Fame Award for best new rap act/group or duo 2003 on the 31st of October. I also added to that, three awards at the just concluded Gbedu music awards for RAP ARTIST OF THE YEAR, BEST VIDEO OF THE YEAR, AND SONG OF THE YEAR. Awards have also been given to me by high schools and tertiary institutions for my contribution to the development of Nigerian rap music.
ARTISTES I HAVE FEATURED ON THEIR SONGS RELEASED & UNRELEASED:
Believe it or not, I am the most featured Nigerian rapper. I have rapped on over 20 tracks for people. Most of these were done before I even released Ehen part 1.
"...meaning my voice is going to be heard for a long time to come in this country and wherever the music is taken to…feel me?"
Tony Tetuila (2 Tracks on his latest album), Paul Play Dairo, Tony Tonnero, Lexzy Doo - formerly of the group X-Appeal, Sabina Jabari, D’Banj’, Segun Fakeye (Gospel), P-Flow (Gospel), Niyi (Gospel), Shawa, Chi Chi, Artquake, Nutty Pin,
OJB Jezreel, Magnum (London based rapper), George Nathaniel, Slam, Mr. Kool.
ARTISTES I HAVE FEATURED ON MY ALBUM PROJECT SO FAR:
Paul Play Dairo, C-Mion, Abounce, Jaffar, Azadus, Frank Ogbebor, Harmony,
Josh (A Congolese rapper).
PRODUCERS I HAVE WORKED WITH SO FAR:
Paul Play Dairo, Omololu, Ojb, Jezreel, Freestyle and Xaviar.