With visuals for some of his earlier projects hailed as ‘mesmerising’ and ‘powerful’ it feels a bit inane to call DAP The Contract just talented. With a self possession that belies his age as well as a clear understanding of what he wants his music to say, it’s hard to see the shyness or awkwardness he has referenced in past interviews. There’s a self assuredness and awareness when he speaks of his music as well as his place in the world. He clearly understands the privilege he has and weaponises that unique perspective in his music. His ability to ‘shapeshift with culture’ as insider, outsider and creator is fascinating to watch.

 His education is as varied as his influences- with a background at once typical and atypical of an affluent Nigerian – after Harrow (typical), his gap year saw him take two semesters at Berklee College of Music (atypical) and then finally graduated from Brown University with a BA in Classics (Latin & Greek) and Computer Music & Multimedia. He is currently finishing up Grad School at Columbia Law in New York.

Citing Kanye West and Andre 3000 as some of his very favourite artists, as well as the ones he would most like to work with. DAP’s rising star has seen him not work only with Mark Ronson (due to a collaboration with Noisey and Converse Rubber Tracks) and record at the legendary Abbey Road studios (The Beatles famously recorded there almost exclusively). The Lagos-born artist chats with BN Style on the evolution of his style and his sound.

…I really enjoy the more poignant, quieter moments in my show…

Age – 24

Where did you go to school?

High School – Harrow School (London, UK)

College – Brown University (Providence, RI, U.S.)

Grad School – Columbia Law School (New York, NY, U.S.)

Siblings?  – 2

Kaliné, singer/songwriter/film scorer

Akinkunle Akinkugbe

What was your first big break?

I did the Converse Rubber Tracks competition and got to record at Abbey Road Studios in the U.K. with Mark Ronson.

You can watch the documentary here

On New Releases
My latest release was a series called Contract Thursdays, and it can be found here.
On His Biggest Performances To Date
Saatchi Gallery, London UK as the duo The Contract
Irving Plaza, New York NY with Lawrence (band)
Headline Show at Colosseum, Providence RI

On How He Got Into Music
My whole family is very musical. My mother and both my siblings are all highly qualified pianists. In high school, my friends started rapping and I naturally became the producer, and as time went on I began writing my own raps and songs and became my own artist.
On His Performance Style
I demand a lot of energy from myself and the audience, but I really enjoy the more poignant, quieter moments in my show where the audience can really just listen to the lyrics and enjoy the music.
On What He Does In His Downtime
When I’m not making music, I love to play football (soccer) and I also really enjoy watching interviews or performances of my favorite artists.
On His Personal Style
I love dressing comfortably so to speak. I’m a big fan of converse and vans, and I keep it simple with jeans and preferably a longline T, long or short sleeve. Most importantly, I am known for always wearing a hat, usually hats I make myself that have gold wings on the front of them. I am a creature of habit, so I often find a new style and stick to it for a while until something else catches my eye. I always have a favorite color for about a year or so before it changes and love wearing that color consistently as much as I can.


I have started to get more creative and experiment with different styles I wasn’t brave enough to wear back in the day.

On His Personal Style Evolution
I have started to get more creative and experiment with different styles I wasn’t brave enough to wear back in the day. I try to wear whatever I please and stay away from what’s hot at the time or what people expect me to wear. I have also enjoyed incorporating more Nigerian fabrics into my dress.
On What Inspires His Music
I am most inspired by other music, but I really draw inspiration from everywhere. I get inspired by interviews, by specific quotes in books, by life experiences, by things people tell me in conversation and much more. I always find myself stuck on a particular thing that helps me start making the beat and forming an idea, and then everything snowballs from that point into whatever creation comes from it.

What’s in the pipeline for your music?

I’m working on a visual album to be released in 2018.

Where can we listen to your music?

DAP The Contract on Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, and my website. And recently under Hi-Lo Jack, a collaborative group I formed with a  couple [of] friends.

Follow the rest of the series here: The Cutting Edge