TeeZee [@teezeedrb]: The prince of Lasgidi preparing to be king

Teezee is the proclaimed prince of Lasgidi, having pioneered the Nigerian Alte scene through music, media, and entertainment. Despite this title, there is so much more Teezee plans to do, “it’s an honour to be viewed as that, but now we’re trying to be the king of Lasgidi”. Alte defines a generation of African youth whose style and expression defies the outdated and regressive leadership. In a country such as Nigeria where there is an expectation to conform, the alte movement embodies the youth being able to kick back against a system that has no shame in showcasing its disdain for them.

 Teezee, born in Lagos, spent a lot of time back and forth between his home city and London, spending time in Westbourne Park, Croydon, and Maida vale before moving to London for college when he was 16. He credits this move as the start of the cultural exchange he experienced in the UK, he was inspired by the likes of BBK and So solid crew and claims that it “was harder to dream when I was back home”.

Teezee was intrigued by the likes of BBK, Odd future, and ASAP Mob while studying in the UK and dreamed of a collective like this to come out of Africa. Alongside school friends, who similarly to Teezee were all African natives studying in England, they formed DRB in 2009 a collective of singers, rappers, and producers who despite living in the UK were all deeply connected to their homes in Africa.

Photographer: Dom sesto

 Teezee, Boj, and Fresh L formed DRB Lasgidi, an alte music group, and moved back to Nigeria spreading the alte sound and working with young alte stars such as Santi, Odunsi, and Tems. Despite the formation in 2009 the group only released their debut album ‘Pioneers’ last year which according to TeeZee was a “case of right place, right time”. He explained how before putting out a project they wanted to make sure there was a structure in the Nigerian music industry and worked with other aspiring artists, putting on shows and mixing young artists with international African stars.

This led on to become Nativeland and Homecoming two of the biggest music festivals in the Nigerian calendar. The groups timing to drop their debut project wasn’t misguided as they were recently nominated for the best alternative album at the Headies (The Nigerian equivalent of the Brits). 

Teezee impact does not stop with music, the Nigerian pioneer is the co-founder of one of Africa’s largest magazines, Native.  The magazine acts as ‘The reliable pulse of the African millennial’, celebrating the music, style, and accomplishments of the aspiring African youth. Native mag aims to give the youth a voice, something Teezee finds his passion in.

We spoke in-depth about the recent protest in Nigeria and how it affected him, “Lagos is lit, Lagos is phenomenal, but the underbelly is what people hadn’t seen” he goes on to say, “it’s not only important when it’s the football jerseys, it’s not only important when Wizkid does something”. Ends SARS has been a movement in Nigeria since 2017 and opposes the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) for their corruption and force.

In October of 2020, the Nigerian youth-led protests across the country after becoming tired of the constant profiling and mistreatment at the hands of SARS. The nation stood together and was supported internationally, not only by Nigerians in the diaspora but all those who saw a problem with these wrongdoings.

Photographer: Dom sesto

Teezee who was in London during this time told me that the End SARS protest “was something that was so inspiring to me, I really saw unity in my people”, however he goes on to say that Nigeria has such a long way to go. On the 20th of October 2020, thousands of Nigerian protesters took to Lekki toll gate to continue their protest, they were met by armed soldiers who fired into crowds of peaceful protestors, who were holding hands and singing the national anthem. The massacre was lied about by the government who claimed only 2 people died, a statement that is heavily argued by everyone involved.

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 Teezee hopes to connect the dots, with Nigeria being the biggest black nation in the world and with millions of Nigerians living in differing countries, Teezee hopes to bring them all together. Having worked with the likes of Skepta, Mowalola, and Davido, the young pioneer is certain of the impact his nation has on the world. “Nigerians globally we have such a high impact”, culturally, in business and art. He says, “it would be negligible to not connect those dots”, and while he teased a solo Teezee EP, he also speaks on his plans to create a Native album this year. He plans to connect the Alte and mainstream in Nigeria as well as those artists in the rest of the world whose roots lead back to the great nation.

It seems that with all Teezee is doing it is only a matter of time before his accession from the prince of Lasgidi to the King.

Follow Teezee on Instagram and Twitter.

Written by Noah F

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