2face Idibia

SPECIAL REPORT

By Ayo Onikoyi

INNOCENT Ujah Idibia better known as 2Baba is arguably the most consistent Nigerian singer who is still ruling the music space.

But his credentials go beyond making music. He is a man of many parts who has essentially turned everything he touched into gold. Apart from being a singer, songwriter and record producer, he is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist, humanitarian and social activist.

Innocent Idibia has impacted the lives of many around the world with his music, preaching love and peace while at the same time bringing undiluted, untainted and healthy entertainment to our doors. He is an iconic African singer respected across generations of African singers. It was thus no surprise when he emerged as the first winner of MTV Europe, Best African Act Award in 2015.

Early life: Innocent Ujah Idibia was born in Jos, Nigeria. He is from the Idoma ethnic group in the southern part of Benue State, in central Nigeria. He attended Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School in Makurdi, Benue State. 2Baba enrolled at the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, IMT, where he did his preliminary National Diploma course in Business Administration and Management.

Early music career: His professional music career started with a group known as Plantashun Boiz (now defunct), consisting of himself and two others, known as Blackface and Faze. Plantashun Boiz released two successful albums: Body and Soul (2000) and Sold Out (2003) under Nelson Brown’s label, Dove Records, before disbanding in 2004. After the disbandment of Plantashun Boyz in 2004, all band members sought separate musical careers. 2Baba released his debut solo album Face 2 Face in 2004 which established him as a viable solo artist. Since then, there has been no looking back for the son of Idibia as accolades and honours trailed him to this day.

Musical works: Following the release of his debut album, he released his second album Grass 2 Grace in 2006 which contained popular hits like “One Love”, “True Love”, “4 Instance”. 2Face as he was called then founded Hypertek Entertainment for the business of his music upon leaving his record label, Kennis Music. In 2006, his song ” African Queen” was used in the soundtrack for the film Phat Girlz, which was released internationally.

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2Baba released an experimental album in 2009 called The Unstoppable which includes the single “Enter the Place”. In 2010, 2Baba released an “International Edition” of the same album with the title “The Unstoppable” International Edition, making him the first Nigerian artist to have an appropriately priced international album.

2face released two more singles from the international version of his “The Unstoppable” album. The international edition of the album won two awards at the 2010 SoundCity Music Video Awards. 2Baba also won the Channel O Music Video Awards, Best African Western award and the MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Male and Artist of the year.

Beyond music: 2Baba has established an NGO called the 2Baba Foundation whose motto is “service to humanity”. Formerly known as the 2Face Reachout Foundation, and eventually the 2Face Foundation, the foundation underwent a name change in September 2016 and is now known as the 2Baba Foundation.

‘The foundation’s work is centred around nation-building, peaceful co-existence, and accountability in governance. In 2009, 2Baba was appointed as ambassador by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

He released the song “Man Unkind” to raise awareness of the menace of fake and sub-standard food and drug products in Nigeria. In the same year, Idibia was presented with the prestigious International Youth Ambassador for Peace Summit and the Nigeria Youth Merit Award by the National Youth Council of Nigeria in recognition of his contributions to youth development in Nigeria.

In January 2017, 2Baba announced a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR.

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