The North has been a hotbed for hip-hop talents in Nigeria, so when an emcee from Abuja emerges with enough energy to burn down a building, the rest of the country is on red alert.

Enter Hotyce, a graduate of Economics from the University of Abuja who claims to have taken to the art right from his secondary school days. He caught the attention of rap fans when he released the single “10 o’clock in VGC”.

The young rapper, who is signed to K20 Entertainment, has dropped further singles like “Kilofoshi” and “The Man”, and recently enhanced his CV with his dope verse on “Dirty” off Jesse Jagz’ Odysseus album.

Hotyce also emerged winner of the ‘16bars’ underground battle league in Abuja but now has his sights set on the bigger picture. The talented had a chat with FilterFree on his journey, the music and his expectations.

Why the name Hotyce?

Well, when I decided to take the music a little bit more serious, I knew I needed a name that explained me because I could be so intense yet so cool. Also, around the same time I was reading a book called ‘Cold fire’ and the story in a way related to me, so I coined HOTICE from there before going further to personalize the name into HOTYCE. You know when it’s too cold, it burns. Initially my close friends called me ‘Drae’ because I liked Dr. Dre.

Shed some light into your background and where you grew up

I am the last child out of 7 children, born in Lagos but I spent most of my childhood in Abuja. And I would like to add that my first words were probably the lyrics to Snoop’s “Gin and Juice”, (laughs)

Who were your early music influences and what albums did you listen to growing up?

The list is endless but I can vividly remember listening to Dr. Dre’s Chronic album, Snoop’s Doggy Style with a little mix of Sade and Fela Kuti.

Okay, so you here now, what are your thoughts on the industry?

I think there is plenty of room for improvement in the business angle of the industry especially in terms of majority of the artists being able to turn their craft and hard work into some form of royalties, plus the industry could be biased sometimes.

Your single, ’10 0 Clock in VGC’ was like the one that got you through the industry doors, take us through the process of recording the song?

Yeah, I was on a trip to Lagos and I told myself while on the trip that I was gonna make a song immediately after touchdown with the time of my arrival at VGC as the title. My producer Emmeno already had the beat on lock so I just listened and wrote about the situation of my life as at that time and yeah, it did feel like we were making something really special.

So, when should we be expecting the REDHOTYCECOLD album and kindly clarify if this is going to be an album, EP or a mixtape?

Expect the album before the year runs out and yeah, it is an album.

How was it like working with an artist like Jesse Jagz on ‘Dirty’? Did you feel intimidated at any point?

It was really magical, we knocked off nearly three joints in the first session. Jesse Jagz is a genius. I never felt intimidated at any point but ut was really inspiring being in the studio with Jargo.

Any thoughts on mumble rap and other variations of rap ruling the airwaves

Honestly, it don’t matter how you rap as long as you say something remarkable.

What would you say makes you different?

When you listen to me talk on the microphone, you can tell I’m fearless. I am at that self actualization stage in my career plus I am past the trial and error stage with my craft and I always say something remarkable. So for me, I must be what I can be.

Lemme bring you into the Nigerian and South African rap debate, what are your thoughts?

South Africans put more proper hip-hop in the mainstream more than Nigerians do. In fact most of our rappers don’t rap no more, so it’s very safe to say at this point that they make doper hip-hop records than us.

You can follow him on twitter @iamhotyce for his latest works.