Born Innocent Ujah Idibia in Jos, Nigeria, Nigerian afrobeat sensation 2Face “2Baba” always knew he wanted to be a musician.
“The beginning of everything is very difficult,” says the 44-year-old singer-songwriter. “You have so many different challenges. For me, I had a dream.”
From Rising Star to Nigerian Superstar
2Baba—known as 2Face until 2016—is of humble origins.
“I didn’t want to just jump to the top,” he says. “I had the understanding that I had to start from somewhere.”
The artist did his preliminary National Diploma course at the Institute of Management & Technology, Enugu (IMT), where he began performing at school-organized events.
In 1996, 2Baba started composing and singing for Enugu State Broadcasting Services (ESBS). It was around this time he picked up the stage name “2Face”—in an effort to “demarcate [his] personal life with [his] business life,” he explains.
He then made the commitment to pursue music full-time.
“I was just like, ‘I’m going to follow this thing,’” he says. “‘Let me just see where it takes me.’”
With millions of Spotify streams and a loyal fan base, there’s no arguing it’s taken him far.
Insights into 2Baba’s Discography
In the late 1990s, the artist moved to Lagos and started performing with rapper Blackface Naija, whom he met in secondary school in Benue. He then went on to form the Plantashun Boiz trio with Blackface and fellow artist Faze.
Plantashun Boiz released two albums before disbanding in 2004. 2Face dropped his first solo album Face 2 Face to critical acclaim that same year.
His hit single “African Queen” brought Nigerian music to the international stage in 2005 and the rest was history, so to speak.
Today 2Baba runs his own record label called Hypertek Entertainment. Beloved by his fans and colleagues, the artist is as much a role model as he is an entertainer.
2Baba on Fame and Finding Your Passion
The hardest part about fame, the artist shares, is the loss of privacy.
“People are going to have opinions about what you should and shouldn’t do,” he says. “So you just have to grow a thick skin.”
2Baba has done just that. Rather than addressing his critics, he takes things in stride. He’s also made a point of congratulating others when they succeed—of being happy for them.
Most importantly, 2Baba encourages people to believe in themselves and work hard.
“You have to have a knowledge of what you want to do,” he says. “You have to be able to identify what you really can do. And you must work. There’s no shortcut to success.”
Philanthropy & Giving Back
“I’m a fan of people who want to do good,” claims 2Baba. “For people. For society.”
The artist himself is deeply committed to giving back. He personally established The 2Baba Foundation, an NGO whose motto is “service to humanity.”
He also became an ambassador of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in 2009. 2Baba even released a song called “Man Unkind,” to raise awareness of subpar food and drugs in Nigeria. It’s clear the artist has—in addition to a love of music—a desire to leverage his fame for good and help empower the people in his home country.
This isn’t to say the musician doesn’t advocate for people of other nationalities. In fact, he is a longstanding partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). And he supported the first-ever African Rising Stars Scholarship Foundation (ARSSF), helping to build a better future for Africa one scholarship at a time.
But ultimately, 2Baba values his personal relationships as much as he does his fans and community. When he isn’t giving back, 2Baba enjoys spending time with his wife, award-winning actress Annie Macaulay-Idibia, and their two daughters.
In the interview above, you can see firsthand just how much the artist cares about his fans. From finding one’s passion to dealing with fame, 2Baba offers advice and guidance we can all benefit from.