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ZLATAN | “LAGOS ANTHEM,” PROMOTING UNITY, & #ENDSARS MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA

January 12, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Zlatan is an international superstar, here to spread love and joy any chance he can. With his  Instagram name reading “World President” and over 4 million fans following his page, the Nigerian recording artist injects pure talent and culture into his music—one banger at a time. As the creator of the viral, feel-good Zanku dance, the 26-year-old continues to push the boundaries and reach new heights daily.

Most recently, Zlatan unveiled his most powerful record yet: “Lagos Anthem.” Pairing it with an equally cinematic music video directed by Dammy Twitch, the indigenous rapper heads to the streets as he performs and brings the song to life. Beyond the African terrain, it’s the themes of unity and abundance that speaks volumes to the country’s ongoing fight to #EndSars. With his huge platform, Zlatan has been vocal in support of this movement, even spearheading a recent protest at the Nigerian High Commission.

Beyond that, Zlatan is a father, son, friend, and lover of life, who prefers to separate his personal life from his celebrity self. Flaunt caught up with Zlatan via Instagram Live, who was sipping on Hennessy in Nigeria wrapping up a jampacked Monday. Read below as we discuss his roots in Nigeria, inventing the Zanku dance, the story behind “Lagos Anthem,” shooting the visual, fashion inspo, studio essentials, the #EndSARS movement, and more!

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

What does Nigeria mean to you?

Nigeria’s everything to me because there’s no place like home. I don’t feel more comfortable anywhere else than Nigeria, that’s home. This is my comfort zone.

Bring us back to the moment you invented the Zanku dance.

Firstly, Zanku is an acronym for Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us. It means Zlatan, please don’t take our life with your swag, with your dance, with your lyrics, with your lifestyle. People say please don’t take our life, this is getting too much. It’s a movement as well as a dance. I’ve always wanted to invent a dance. I came up with the Zanku dance in 2018, I made it official with my name in it so no one’s going to take it away from me. Abeg in English is please don’t kill us. Zanku dance is a culture, a very crazy movement here in Africa that everyone in the world is now doing.

Can we get a preview of the dance? 

I’m a very shy person.

How do you deal with the attention?

When I get on stage and everyone’s screaming my name already, “yeah!!” It’s so easy to be in my zone and connect with my fans.

What are you drinking?

Hennessy. After the interview, we’re hitting the road and going out to the strip club.

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

Zlatan is an international superstar, here to spread love and joy any chance he can. With his  Instagram name reading “World President” and over 4 million fans following his page, the Nigerian recording artist injects pure talent and culture into his music—one banger at a time. As the creator of the viral, feel-good Zanku dance, the 26-year-old continues to push the boundaries and reach new heights daily.

Most recently, Zlatan unveiled his most powerful record yet: “Lagos Anthem.” Pairing it with an equally cinematic music video directed by Dammy Twitch, the indigenous rapper heads to the streets as he performs and brings the song to life. Beyond the African terrain, it’s the themes of unity and abundance that speaks volumes to the country’s ongoing fight to #EndSars. With his huge platform, Zlatan has been vocal in support of this movement, even spearheading a recent protest at the Nigerian High Commission.

Beyond that, Zlatan is a father, son, friend, and lover of life, who prefers to separate his personal life from his celebrity self. Flaunt caught up with Zlatan via Instagram Live, who was sipping on Hennessy in Nigeria wrapping up a jampacked Monday. Read below as we discuss his roots in Nigeria, inventing the Zanku dance, the story behind “Lagos Anthem,” shooting the visual, fashion inspo, studio essentials, the #EndSARS movement, and more!

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

What does Nigeria mean to you?

Nigeria’s everything to me because there’s no place like home. I don’t feel more comfortable anywhere else than Nigeria, that’s home. This is my comfort zone.

Bring us back to the moment you invented the Zanku dance.

Firstly, Zanku is an acronym for Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us. It means Zlatan, please don’t take our life with your swag, with your dance, with your lyrics, with your lifestyle. People say please don’t take our life, this is getting too much. It’s a movement as well as a dance. I’ve always wanted to invent a dance. I came up with the Zanku dance in 2018, I made it official with my name in it so no one’s going to take it away from me. Abeg in English is please don’t kill us. Zanku dance is a culture, a very crazy movement here in Africa that everyone in the world is now doing.

Can we get a preview of the dance? 

I’m a very shy person.

How do you deal with the attention?

When I get on stage and everyone’s screaming my name already, “yeah!!” It’s so easy to be in my zone and connect with my fans.

What are you drinking?

Hennessy. After the interview, we’re hitting the road and going out to the strip club.

Are they playing “Lagos Anthem” in the strip clubs?

Definitely, because there’s actually no money in Lagos for some people. Why do only some people live lavish with money in Lagos?

Bring us back to when you made the record, it’s such a vibe.

The song has a very catchy chorus, it says “money no dey Lagos.” It means there are people in Lagos living fine, why is it hard for some people in Lagos to live a very peaceful and comfortable life? The rich ones are getting whatever they want, they’re living the life. A lot of people are struggling, most of the people in Lagos are struggling to live their life. The lyrics say “Every night Bentley, every night Rolls Royce.” We have 20 cars on the road. Going to the club, we see people spend thousands of dollars over the night. That’s some people’s salaries over 5 years. Life is good for some people in Lagos, why’s life hard for some people in Lagos? The song’s for me like me who doesn’t have money in Lagos, who’s striving to have. But for some people, there’s actually money in Lagos. The money the government allocates is crazy. To make $800 for some people in Lagos is hard.

What was your upbringing like coming up?

Growing up for me is crazy. From the onset, I never thought I was going to be this big. From getting pennies, it was hard for me to get into a proper studio to record a song. I grew up in an environment where it’s hard to see people that are motivated to do great things. The internet helped. There’s little money to get data so we could see what was going on out there, outside the country. Another artist Olamide came from the trenches as well.

I interviewed him!

He’s someone who made it from nothing. He’s one of those who motivated me that you can make it. It wasn’t easy for me.

What were you dreaming when you were a kid? 

When I was a kid, I wanted to play football. I felt I was great for Barcelona, Spain or Manchester City in England. Due to my background, it was hard for me to push out that dream. I started getting into the studio with one of my friends, I never thought I’d be an artist. One way or the other, I got myself into it. One day they told me to get in the booth and try to record. When I recorded the first song, everyone was gasping: “yo, how did you get the song so nice?!”

You sounded fire?

Yeah, it totally made no sense to me because it was whack. [laughs] They wanted a second track. I had to sell my phone to make sure I could pay for the studio the second time.

Photos by Sammy Agofure (@22.jumpstr)

3 things you need in the studio?

A producer that’s never going to get tired of making music, an energetic producer who can go for hours. If I want to go for hours and my producer’s not ready, it’s going to kill the vibe. Steady electricity where there’s light, a generator, a power supply. And beats, and we’re good.

The “Lagos Anthem” video looked like a full-blown party. Best memory from that day?

I came up with my concept the same way I came up with my Zanku dance. Before I make the song, I’m already thinking about how I want the video to be in my head. I come up with my ideas before I sing the song. I already have a mockup of the video in my head when I’m making the song. Most of the time, I get my ideas out from up here, I tell my director how I want the video to be.

How easy is it for you to bring it to life?

It’s God’s gift. Sometimes I wonder how these ideas come to my head, I appreciate God for that.

How would you describe your fashion style?

When I was growing up, I liked less clothes so it’s hard for me. When I was 19, I had only two shoes. I used to switch between those two shoes. I had one Italian shoe that even if I get to wear it for 20 years, there’s nothing that’s going to happen to it as long as I polish the shoe. I always wanted to look good, I looked up to people who looked good. Now that God has blessed me a little, I always want to look good. That has nothing to do with my music, it’s my personality.

Do you have a stylist?

“No Stylist!” [sings French Montana song] I style myself.

Talk about how “Lagos Anthem” promotes unity and the #EndSARS movement.

The funny thing is I recorded that song in February of this year, I shot the video before the whole #EndSARS protest. I shot the video before I left Nigeria to Ghana for the #EndSARS protest. There’s no timeline. I posted a freestyle of #EndSARS on my page, I’ve been saying #EndSARS for a while now. Everything came to work for each other. What’s happening in the country was similar to what I’m saying in the song, so I dropped the song.

How is working with Burna Boy?

It’s nice working with Burna Boy. I worked with Davido, Olamide, Burna Boy, these people are putting Nigeria on the map. You should listen to Bella Shmurda, he’s the hottest artist in Nigeria right now. Check out “Cash App” featuring Zlatan and Lincoln.

Why are you the World President?

Because I have my own world. I don’t give a fuck who the Nigerian president is because it’s something unreal, or who the American president is. I’m my own president from my own world.

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