Talk about standing the test of time, Christian rapper Provabs surely knows about that. From the days of gracing the British Council/One Management W.A.P.I stage back in 2008 till present days, Provabs did not only stepped into the game at the nick of time for Christian Hip Hop music but also for Hip Hop music in Nigeria!
Born Aina Olasubomi Anthony, Provabs remains one of the most audible voices in Christian Hip Hop music, notwithstanding, he has managed to keep his ever rising profile bridled from pushing against his ego. The award winning rapper has in his portfolio hits such as “Bless Me (Dey Go),” “I Surrender”, “Imela,” “Heaven Knows” and has worked worked with a wide range of artistes from different genres including Onyeka Onwenu, Infinity, Jedi, M.I, Samklef, Dekunle Fuji, Vector, TIV and more.
In this chat with Alex Amos, Provabs reveals the source of his success as being dependent on God for his every single move. He further revealed his 2015 plans which includes a new album and the “Be’Live System” initiative.
SelahAfrik: You are not one to stay within the confines of religion. Your musical expression has stretch the borders of Christian music as we have it today, however, this has not gone without raising some eyebrows, how do you deal with the pressure and criticism from the Gospel community?
Provabs: I deal with no pressure. I do what I am being lead to do. My hunger is for the young needing hearts and minds out there and when God wants to reach out to them its mostly not about you and your comfort zone. HE instructs and you obey unless HE would raise up stones to do it in your place. No one said serving God is easy. But if my pleasing God does not please man,then I have no apologies. Its Obedience that has gotten me this far and all I am today is because of GOD. I give all Glory back to HIM. sometimes I feel I have not done effectively all HE has asked me to do and I ask for the grace to do more. Amen!
SelahAfrik: In one of your interviews, you said: “Being a gospel artiste isn’t being judgmental, it’s about saying – I had this experience; it’s been good for me, have a share of it too.” For someone who has faced a number of criticisms himself, will you say most Gospel artiste understands this?
Provabs: Christianity is about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. How can you share what you haven’t experienced? Or how do you force what you have experienced or believe down peoples throat? The answer is your approach. The easiest approach is by your results. People look at your life and decide by themselves if they want the peace or the goodness that is dwelling within and around you to posses them. They should be the ones to decide if they want the kind of results you get. We are the Good book (Bible) people read, through our life style. We tell them about christ and the joy we have found, while the Holy spirit does the rest by convicting them heart, body & soul.
SelahAfrik: A lot of Gospel artistes these days are adapting the term “inspirational artiste” so as to allow them extend their tentacles, as an artiste who cuts across various subject matter, is that a term you will like to employ too?
Provabs: I like to be me. As original as possible. And whatsoever strategy I employ has to been gotten from my quiet time behind closed doors between I & my father. Without any idea from Him, I can’t run. It would be fruitless and a struggle so I won’t do it. What ever name or strategy used by any other artiste should be explained by them. I can only give account for myself. But what ever God tells you to do, Please do! Jesus did not die only for christians. He died for ALL Sinners. God is not only interested in your Sundays, HE is interested in your everyday. That is, the hours, minutes, second of your week, He does not only care about your religion, HE cares about your social, educational, Financial, physical & mental state and Lifestyle. He will use any means whatsoever to cut across because He is GOD. He can not be boxed.
SelahAfrik: How will you rate the acceptance of Gospel Rap and Hip Hop these days compare to when you started?
Provabs: CHH (Christian Hip Hop) has evolved massively. It was a genre of music so many people were not interested in it initially. But now we have a whole army and new revelations like the likes of Nolly, Limoblaze just to mention a few. We all marching on the front line, spreading the gospel through the language the young people of the world understand. I see growth, I see unity because we have realised that we can not do it alone but also, I see avenue for improvement and structure so that royalties are rewarded for hard work. By God’s grace, we would get there.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about when you started and how you came about the management deal with One Management
Provabs: I started Music as a hobby. My love for music and God grew this into something serious. Thank God for the likes of Rooftop MC’s, Bouqui who mentored & made me believe that I could do this. They have been great guides and have helped me find my strength from within. Also thank God for One Management & their huge investment in me. May they never run dry. I don’t move without God because I can do nothing without God. And once you take God out of my music, I have nothing else to say. I met One management executives on one of my outings to British council. They ran a youth empowerment initiative called W.A.P.I (Words and Picture initiative) set aside to build up talents and gifts in young people. The initiative was executed by One management executives as at that time. They loved what they saw in me and we struck a deal. I’m still working with them.
SelahAfrik: Why the name “Provabs?”
Provabs: “Provabs” means : Prophetic Rhymes Offering Values Access Blunt-truth & Salvation. It stands for Truth in every area of life. Jesus is the only way & truth. He is interested in every area of our lives from politics to religion, family, relationship, finances… everything God wants to fellowship with man concerning everything. My advice to everyone is that no one should hold back and that is what Provabs stands for.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about your childhood and education, your parents and siblings, etc
Provabs: I was born, buttered and bread in Lagos Nigeria. I am from a family of 10 (ten). Dad, mum and eight siblings. Four boys and four ladies. I lost a brother some years past. May His gentle soul rest in peace. Growing up was good. My parents worked hard to give us the best in life and for that we are forever grateful.
SelahAfrik: What other ventures are you into aside music?
Provabs: I am into the promotion of GOD’s kingdom lifestyle through fashion; I have a T-shirt clothing line. Also; photography, I love to document happy, great or special moments and artistic creativity through pictures, I’m an OAP on PraiseWorld Radio. I handle the Hip Hop Lounge with Gamie, I do MC for weddings, I’m a writer etc. Anything that has to do with good quality entertainment has me involved.
SelahAfrik: As a Hip Hop initiate, you are a rapper, and entrepreneur and your fashion style is definitely urban, can you tell us about the misconception of this culture juxtaposing it with the Christian lifestyle?
Provabs: I dress how I want to be addressed. I dress how I want to be accepted. neat, responsible, matured, down to earth but very comfortable. Because Comfort is key. Now fashion has evolved rapidly in our society and it sometimes favours culture, in other cases, it does not. But what I would say is this, as a christian, there are certain behaviours and dress sense you can not exhibit. What is expected of you is to dress responsibly because once you have their attention with your appearance, then you can have their heart with the honesty of your Words.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about the album “Mind the GAP”
Provabs: Mind the G.A.P (Gospel According to Provabs). Its a documentation of my life experiences in my walk with GOD and how those experiences have helped me grow, conquer and overcome. Its simply the evidence that man’s life without GOD is empty & unproductive. So if you want to be all HE created you to be, invite HIM into your heart and HE would direct your path.
SelahAfrik: What should we be expecting from provabs in 2015?
Provabs: You should be expecting the new album, the Tour, New T-Shirt line, new videos, and the Provabs Empowerment Initiative for equipping young minds to “Be’Live” in themselves. Its called “The Be’Live System”
SelahAfrik: Being one of the pioneers of the Gospel rap music must be a big shoe to fill. How do you manage to keep such a level head through it all?
Provabs: Well the word of God has helped to keep me in line. The bible says,” those that exhalt themselves shall be brought down, but those who humble themselves, shall be lifted up”. My prayer is that we all remain humble before the Lord.
SelahAfrik: The first time I saw you perform was at WAPI organized at the British council by One Management, the energy you bring to the stage then has not diminished a bit even after all this years, being a Christian artiste and definitely not using stimulants, how do you get yourself revved up for your performances/ministrations?
Provabs: The holy spirit is my drive, passion and my intoxicant. I can not drink from His fountain and not remain energetic and alive when I am ministering in service to Him. He is my all time high and joy when I see millions being blessed through HIS works in me.
SelahAfrik: Last year you added OAP to your repertoire when you started hosting the Hip Hop Lounge alongside Gameman on Praiseworld Radio, How does that feel?
Provabs: It feels great to serve sir. God used Hip-Hop to serve purpose in making me a voice to my generation. Its my turn to give my service back to my generation by creating an effective platform to promote, sustain & distribute God given talents to the world at large. I used to say, “no more excuse” to those who say Good music is the reason why they do not serve GOD. Now you have loads of great Christian edifying Hip-Hop music to give you sweet flava in your ears. Thanks to Praiseworld platform & CEO, also thanks to my hommies Gamie & A-verse. Its a honour serving with them.
SelahAfrik: Where would you say is your most favourite relaxation spot?
Provabs: The Beach
SelahAfrik: Which do you ordinarily prefer; suit, traditional attire or denim?
Provabs: Classy T-Shirt & Denim.
SelahAfrik: What’s a regular Sunday in your life like?
Provabs: My Sundays are Church & Family time. Unless I have a ministration to attend to.
SelahAfrik: Is Provabs engaged or seeing anyone? If so, who is the special person?
Provabs: Provabs is single for now and not searching. That special person knows herself. *wink*
SelahAfrik: Most Nigerian men are enthusiastic about football, what gets Provabs?
Provabs: Music and Movies Get the enthusiasm of Provabs.
SelahAfrik: If you were to rate your top 3 artistes amongst Nigerian Gospel artistes, who amongst the majority will make your list?
Provabs: Frank Edwards, Ty Bello, Nathaniel Bassey, Let me do ojoro and add number 4; Nosa… Now I’m satisfied. Thanks SelahAfrik for having me, promoting my songs and thanks for answering “The Call”. God bless you as you continue to bless lives. Amen!!
Get “Walk with Me” by Provabs