By Rita Okoye
Burgeoning female Nigerian hip hop act, Daniella Napoleon aka NappyGirl recently returned to the music scene with the release of her debut EP, BBL808 after a hiatus. The curvy Afro hip-hop artiste in this interview opens up on her new project, surviving as a female artiste and her sexuality.
Can you tell us about NappyGirl’s musical journey?
My journey has been a bumpy one. The Nigerian music industry is not an easy one and added to that is the fact that my sound is not conventional and besides, I am a female in a male dominated industry. The rap genre in Nigeria is still growing and luckily for me, I don’t only rap, I sing trap and patois as well so I am looking forward to my audience grow with my sound organically. However, my most challenging stage in my career is right now I must confess, it gets more challenging every step of the way and there is always a twist every time. I strongly believe in my talent and I am trusting God for that breakthrough that my sound needs.
Female rappers typically find it tough to stay in the spotlight for a long time. What is your plan to stick around and stand out?
The NappyGirl brand embodies so much which goes way beyond music. I have so much in store to share with the world and trust me, in due time the industry will be the one trying to keep up with me and not the other way around (laughter).
Why the name NappyGirl?
(Laughter) that is because I am a NappyGirl. Actually, Nappy is short for my surname name, Napoleon. It was originally just my Instagram handle but when I starred in a relationship series alongside Magnito, everyone started calling me NappyGirl and the name just stuck!
What has been the response to your EP?
The response has been quite encouraging. The EP features tracks like Envy, featuring Larry Gaga and Vito Rali; Rain On You, Hustler, Gang Gang, Bless You featuring Magnito, Yeba, Boss B, TVCH and Paper. The lyrics are bold and sensational.
How would you describe your sound?
I have had fans compare my style to that of Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B and I am honestly very flattered but my style is a representation of who I am and how I want the world to see me. I see style as an art of expression so all I do is express myself.
Your style of music is quite unique and daring. Has your uniqueness helped in the acceptability of your brand?
It actually has because I know that my fans genuinely vibe to my sound. I am not making music to be generally accepted. I want outstanding appreciation for my work.
Have you fears that any of your songs will be banned due to the sensational nature of the language?
Well, I have never been worried about my music being banned even though I know the possibility is high. We exist in a very conservative environment but the NappyGirl brand is a global one. I have sound without borders and these days, music moves around digitally so I am not worried about that even if it does happen in the future.
You have an amazing body, a spec for the typical Nigerian man. How have you been able to handle the male folk?
Well, I am aware of my sexuality so I won’t even try to act ignorant about it. I am a professional and I keep my interactions with my colleagues strictly professional.
Your latest EP, BBL808 packed a handful of pop elements blended with grime and Afro-fusion. What was it like working on that joint?
It was incredible! I really wanted to be able to share my sound without being limited by genre. So I worked really hard to ensure that my first body of work represented that because I felt like the world needed to know that there is so much I could do with my voice.
Our society is quite conservative on sex and sexuality but you are quite unapologetic about flaunting what you have got. Do you get any backlash?
Well, I have had not so friendly comments from people who do not feel comfortable with how I express my sexuality but I can’t please everyone and I am not here to do that. My sound is for people who want to see a brand like mine; sexy and boldly unapologetic!
How has it been with family and friends, do they support your style?
Well, my family and friends have been my founding pillars. They hype and give me a reason to keep going. The support I get from them is the reason I am relentless in my quest for success in this industry.
You recently did a cover of Pa Salieu’s My Family. Is that a dedication to your folks?
Yes it is. Family is everything and I come from a closely knitted one.
Any man in the picture?
Yes, there is a man in the picture and I would like to think that he appreciates my expressiveness because he supports me but to be honest, I feel a lot of men are intimidated by a woman that is daring in nature.
What part of your body do you think attracts the male folks the most?
Well, it is my backside that draws most of them. I think there is something essentially primordial about the male’s attraction to the female backside especially a pronounced behind with nice curves like mine.