I love great hip-hop come-up stories and there’s arguably none better than GOOD Music artist Big Sean’s. The story goes that, in his native Detroit, Sean was alerted by a friend that Kanye West was visiting a local radio station, so the aspiring rapper dropped all he was doing and chased after his dreams.
Sean was a telemarketer at the time but when he got that call, he got to the station with immediate alacrity and used his relationship with his friend, who was a staff, to get next to Kanye. He then requested to perform. West initially denied him, then told him he had 16 seconds — that turned into 10 minutes. At the end of Sean’s freestyle, Kanye said to him:
I’mma sign you
And the rest is hip-hop history.
BarelyAnyHook – an aspiring, returnee MC – had his own chance to meet up with a rap star. But the venue was Lagos and not Detroit and the rapper who provided a listening ear was Jidenna and not Kanye West.
Still out promoting his debut album The Chief – and while in the country for a show last weekend – Jidenna made a stopover at Beat 99.9 FM for an interview with Dami Elebe. Invoking the spirit of Big Sean, BarelyAnyHook seized the opportunity to perform a nearly one-minute long, fully-animated freestyle which seemed to impress the Classic man.
— THE BEAT 99.9FM (@THEBEAT999FM) April 4, 2017
No word on how this freestyle got setup but it’s a one in a million chance for any aspiring MC to get in front of a major artist like Jidenna and show what they’re made of, and I don’t think there’ll be too many arguments about whether or not he took it well.
BarelyAnyHook, real name Ejiro Ekperigin, is an MC worth keeping your eye on. He has a lyric-driven style of rap that makes him sound like he’s reciting poetry to you at times. His delivery could be clearer but that could come with time. Still in his mid-20’s, the MC readily admits that he is still in development and is still trying to figure out his sound.
BarelyAnyHook released a 3-track EP 22 in 2015 that served as a significant milestone on his musical journey. He hasn’t released any solo projects since then but he has had a number of important moments, including being featured on AYLØ’s Honest Conversation’s EP, working with Charles Nkanga – widely respected as Kenya’s J. Cole – and being featured on Gold Keyz’ “Blunt Deals”, a flaming new song that has made its way to our Best of April playlist.
Listen to his features in that order:
BarelyAnyHook is currently unsigned and is actually auditioning for the Hennessy VS Class on Twitter – so he definitely wouldn’t mind a record deal. Jidenna himself is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records but he does have an imprint/collective called Fear & Fancy, so who knows what might happen in the future?