- Candy Bleakz is fanning the flames of street-hop in an industry with a declining appreciation for rap music
- The female rapper is currently enjoying the fruits of her labour with her hit single, Tikuku, turning the attention of music lovers in her direction
- In a chat with Legit.ng’s Adeyinka Odutuyo, Bleakz, who once worked as a filling station attendant, shares her grass-to-grace story
Akiode Blessing known professionally as Candy Bleakz is buzzing in the music scene at the moment, but just as it was for many before her, she crawled before finding her feet in the industry.
“I’ve been on this for a very long time,” the flamboyant rapper who is in her 20s admits as her chat with Legit.ng kicked off.
She continues with a voice laced with fine lines of gratitude:
“I’ve been pushing and grinding, and I’m glad that I’m finally here. I’m also really glad that everyone accepts my sound.”
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What Tikuku means
The rapper’s journey has been been a challenging one, but her prayers appeared to have arrived at the firmament when her 2022 single, Tikuku, struck a chord in the hearts of music lovers.
For the indigenous rap act, the song carries a subtle message of her struggles and the need for people to finally accept what she brings to the table.
“I've been in the game for a very long time making music without some people knowing. I've been releasing music, hustling and giving off energy so Tikuku sort of came from a place of pain—whether you like it or not, you must listen to my song, you must dance.
“Tikuku in Yoruba means when you don't have a choice but to do something and I wanted people to listen to my music and enjoy themselves. My pain inspired the track.”
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With the acceptance of the track, it was only right for the rapper to show the world more of what she could offer, especially since she now had the attention of a large audience.
Bleakz went on to release her debut EP, Fire, and the reception has been a driving fuel for her to keep at music.
“It feels amazing you know. It keeps me going. I tell myself that another name for a miracle is effort, so it just honestly keeps me on track,” the rapper said as we discussed the six-track project.
Bleakz wants to make feel-good music
When asked about the noticeable amapiano vibes in the project, Bleakz maintained that she was mostly engulfed with the thoughts of making good music for her fans.
"I just woke up one day and I decided to change the sound. I kept on making music and making music and sometimes, I just flowed. Then I had to check the people making amapiano music and compare the kind of songs I was making. That was when I realized that most of my songs were actually very good like a lot of these songs out right now.
"For tracks like Tikuku, Red, And Dragon anthem off my EP they leaned more towards the amapiano side because all I wanted to do for my fans is make feel-good music that would make them enjoy themselves. I wanted to make a project that I would comfortably release to the world and be happy, and the world would also be happy to listen to.”
Candy Bleakz’s Fire EP has no guest artistes and this was particularly because of past experiences that soured the rapper’s efforts.
This time around, it was important to make it a solo effort.
“My first EP that I was supposed to release earlier didn't come out because there were a lot of delays from management issues with featured artists and some other issues. So for this project, I was like: ‘let's just take everyone off and let's give everyone Candy alone’. That's why we have only me on the project.”
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It has not been easy for Bleakz
There have been arguments in the recent past about Nigerian rap music taking a back seat, especially now that the afrobeats genre is aiming for global domination.
However, even more disturbing is the dwindling presence of female rappers in the rap scene.
For Candy Bleakz, carrying on with the torch hasn’t been a jolly ride.
“It's not been easy—to be honest. I'm the only one doing this right now in Nigeria and it's a bit hard because I'm trying to tell them I'm a rapper and also make good music that they can dance to. A lot of people aren't paying attention and that makes it very stressful. It's just a lot of stress and it is discouraging, but the passion keeps me going harder and pushing.”
Currently signed to the popular record label, Chocolate City co-founded by Audu Maikori, Bleakz said she knew they were the right option when she was approached with a deal.
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“I've known Chocolate City for a while. I’ve been close to them, been by their side doing my thing and they've been quite observing. So when they came for me I knew I couldn't do it alone and I needed someone to work with. It feels extremely great and it keeps me going to have them as my team.”
Music wasn’t my day one calling
Unlike a number of music stars who swear that they’ve always known that they were born to do music, Candy Bleakz says she happened upon the path by chance.
“Music happened for me by chance. It wasn’t my day one calling. I actually wanted to become a medical doctor, so music just happened.”
The Tikuku hitmaker, who would have been a medical doctor but had to drop out of school due to financial constraints, says she is not sure if she wants to return to the four walls of an academic institution.
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“I don't know if I want to go back to school yet or not. I really don't know because I have other dreams asides from music so it depends on what life brings to me.”
Her decision to pursue music has also been supported by her entire family members, Bleak says.
“My mum, my dad, my brothers my sisters. In fact, my whole family has been really supportive on my journey as an artist.”
Bleakz style of fashion is flashy
The female rap star has a rather flamboyant approach to fashion that easily draws attention to her.
When asked if it’s all for the show, Bleakz maintains that she has always loved attention as a kid, and one would most likely find her dressed in a similar way even in the confines of her home.
“This is 24/7 CandyBleakz style. Right from when I was a kid, I’ve loved attention. I love when I pass by people and they take a look at me. This is why my style is flashy.”
Bleakz who now enjoys a large-than-life kind of lifestyle recounts her days of humble hustling.
"Omo my trenches story plenty o, I've sold rice at Ikorodu. I was once a filling station attendant and I once learnt video directing. I've done a lot of hustles but the ugliest thing was when I got slapped & bounced by a bouncer or when I had to sleep under the stage at Fela shrine. At the end of the day street is street and it's just the hustle..."
CDQ on meeting American rapper Rick Ross
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that rapper CDQ made a bold claim about him being the most worthy rapper to attend Rick Ross' show.
The claim came after CDQ emerged as the only Nigerian rapper that was invited to perform at Rick Ross’ concert in Lagos.
He stressed that it was the work of God as stressing that he was invited despite not being an English rapper.