Let’s meet you, Name, age, sex, family background, educational background etc.
My names are Temitope Mavilah Sadiq alias Torpedo Mascaw, I’m half Nigerian and half Ghanaian, studied statistics and sociology from University of Ilorin and Edo state University.
How did u come about the nick name – Torpedo Mascaw?
I attended a course in Russia and every time i gave a presentation, there would be shouts of Torpedo from Moscow. It became Torpedo Moscow which is my facebook page name but then the Americans pronounce that as Mascaw, and so i became Torpedo Mascaw or Torpedo from Mascaw.
What is poetry to you? What lead you to poetry and who were your major influences in the art of performing poetry?
Poetry to me is the ultimate form of expression, it’s the art form which directly communicates the soul mind and body to the outside world, be it in written form or spoken word. My influences in the art of performance poetry are not performance poets but they inspired the way I’m able to express myself, people like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bob Nesta Marley, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Adolph Hitler, Barack Obama and Jesus Christ.
What is the difference between Rap, Poetry and Spoken Word? How would you classify yourself? Why?
The difference between Rap, Spoken Word and Poetry, the lines are very thin, Poetry has form and shape and in terms of sonnets and what have you, poetry can also be written and not spoken or performed, while Rap and Spoken word have to be spoken to make meaning, note they can also be written but that’s not the emphasis. Now when the Words are surrounded strongly by music and is divided into form like 16 bars, then it’s Rap, but Spoken word is free, and can also have music as a an accompanying feature and it’s this art form I subscribe too, the one our forefathers used to pass down knowledge and culture of who we are through the ages. And so I stand for not letting that culture and tradition die, I stand for bringing back the Tales Beneath the Moonlight in the village square, I stand for Spoken Word in its true form. The Almighty God also used the Spoken Word to create, He could have written “Let there be light” but He didn’t, instead He said “Let There Be Light” and it was.
You are known as the King of Freestyle when it comes to poetry performance, how do you manage to put words together on the spot and make them rhyme?
I don’t know about freestyle King ooh, I know I am best when I’m allowed to simply flow, and it’s always been like that for me, I guess it’s my gift, earlier on in my career, I started attending freestyle battles, and i would be the best until the final rounds when they said face another person and battle meaning insult the person, and there I always lost cause my words aren’t for cursing but actually to Bless, and so I had to find another medium.
Do you have a special ritual that you go through when preparing to perform? What is the ritual? and what makes you keep to it?
Hmm special ritual? No, I know that most times I just think of a topic and then when I go to the stage, I just close my eyes and let it go, many many times, I actually surprise myself with the words that come out. And so honestly you see it isn’t me, but I believe The Spirit of God that just moves.
You have been running FREEDOM HALL for over 5 years now, please tell us, what is FREEDOM HALL about? What was your inspiration to birthing FREEDOM HALL? and what has been your motivation in keeping it going?
FreedomHall, let me tell you a secret, I started FreedomHall out of totally selfish reasons, I wanted a place where someone like me could go to and do his/her thing and be appreciated simple. As in where everyday people go to sing, rap, do comedy or spoken word, or anything, without having to be a professional artist or a member of a choir and so FreedomHall was born. Now it is home to those with gifts that need expression, those artists looking for a platform to hone their craft, as a meeting melting point of culture and tradition, as a networking hub, as an entertainment venue, as a content exchange forum between Africa and the rest of the world, especially those in diaspora .
My motivation for keeping it going has been the need of the people and the joy I see it bring to thousands of Nigerians all over the world every time, the marriages and business opportunities that have happened on account of the Hall are to numerous to count and finally, financially FreedomHall has started generating revenue and believe me there is no greater joy than to get paid for doing what you love.
How is FREEDOM HALL in Lagos different from FREEDOM HALL in Abuja? Can we put you on the spot and ask, which poets are better, Lagos or Abuja?
FreedomHall Lagos and Abuja differ in terms of just exposure, in Abuja they aren’t yet used to what we have been seeing in Lagos for some time and so the excitement in Abuja is off the chains, while Lagos has a soul that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. But if I were to say where I found the best poets, I would say in FreedomHall Jos, those people are on a totally different level, it must be the water …lol.
As one of the respected poet in Nigeria, how do you cope with fans, especially the female ones?
Female fans like fans everywhere can be a bit distracting, I’ve noticed that they wax the ego a bit stronger than the males and one always needs to stay humble. But the majority especially after a good performance just wants you to show them how they can be like you or use their own gifts as well and that is one of the major reasons for doing it, allowing others to freely become themselves.
If you were given the opportunity to perform anywhere you wanted, what cities or countries would definitely be on your poetry tour? Which poets would you take along?
The countries on the tour would include a lot of the countries in Africa, Jamaica, Canada and Australia, places where the spoken Word isn’t yet saturated with a particular style.
I would take with me Donna the Poet, Titi Shonuga, Ivori the African Poet and Sage Hassan coz these guys have a theme which could resound anywhere on Earth and even many parts of Heaven. Lol.
What advice do you have for young people who want to be poets today? How would you encourage the youths of Nigeria to feel comfortable performing poetry as a form of creative expression?
My advice for young people who want to be poets today would be to just begin to begin and then they would ultimately win, free themselves from sin and decrease the din of those who aren’t in. Do what’s beneath the skin.
What are your plans for the next 5 years? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years we see FreedomHall and Spoken Word going worldwide, kind of the way our comedy, music and film have infiltrated the international airwaves so would our poetry and spoken word ..Amen.
Can we get a lil personal and ask about your family, i.e. wife and kids? How do they cope with your weekly open mic events? Are they also actively into arts?
I am presently single and I have found that it helps my creativity, the humdrum of domestic life tends to cap my performance juices, that’s for me, except I feed off the drama at home and take that to the stage, the pressure of having to provide for the family also takes away from the creativity of poets since the industry hasn’t been able to support itself on a full time basis.
All poets have several words that come up over and over again, words or sentences that they just can’t help but use in their work. What are 3 of your absolute favorite words?
Some of mine include “as I begin to begin freeing myself of sin in order to win,” “love from above is all I think of” and a couple of other catch phrases like “haha hahaaaaa,” “I like that” or “it’s Time.”
They say that to see the world with complete honesty one should look to comedians, artists and poets, what do you think emerges naturally from your work?
What I’ve been told emerges from my work is that people begin to see themselves as more than they actually are and potential overcomers forgive the cliché, they also begin to look outside themselves at Creation as a whole.
Poets are often said to be eccentric, and I support that…please end this interview by creating 2 sentences poetic, strange or quietly profound…your choice.
If fifty lives decide to stand side by Side by the seaside, hoping that they standing there could stop the ebb and flow of the tide, if they died while standing at the seaside, would you say they tried????
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for having me. It’s Time.