people would shy away from being insulted, but Abdul Bello chose
to be known as 'JJC', a term that is used to describe naïve
African newcomers to countries such as Britain. "It means
Johnny Just Come. It's a tag for people who've just
come from Africa and who have no clue about, in this case, England,
how to speak English properly, how to get themselves around.
It's the most common insult that African people get by other
Abdul Bello was born in Kano, Nigeria and music was an important
part of his upbringing as his dad listened to country music,
and he started appreciating popular Nigerian music like juju
'JJC' came to England aged 14 and started getting heavily into
hip-hop and rapping. He began producing music at Dick Shepherd
School in Brixton where the music room became his escape. Together
with a school friend JJC formed a group, performed at numerous
talent shows, and eventually set up Big Brovaz, initially a
production company and hip-hop/R'n'B collective. When he's wearing
his producer hat JJC goes under his alias Skillz. Most of the
Big Brovaz crew grew up in South London but some were born in
countries as diverse as Jamaica, Nigeria, USA and Uganda, thereby
representing the true multicultural spirit of London. By 2002
Big Brovaz scored a long running chart hit with 'Nu Flow'. Their
latest single, 'Favourite Things' will without doubt be another
smash for Big Brovaz.
JJC is also committed to bringing modern African music to a
wider audience. In 2003 he was the host of the bi-monthly African
Vibes radio show on BBC Radio 1's digital, black music station
1Xtra, where he presented hip-hop, afrobeat, Raï, hip-life,
kwaito, juju and lots more. JJC is now one of the hosts of BBC
Radio 3's Africa
On Your Street website.
JJC is moving on to the next chapter in his career with the
CD Atide, released in 2002 by Big Ballaz Entertainment,
a label he co-founded, and their aim is to reach a wide, multi-cultural
on the album are the talents of the 419 Squad, JJC’s new
crew, which consists of 7 young Nigerian singers and rappers.
JJC’s fusion of African music is fresh,
fun and, above all, very varied with elements of salsa in 'Malemicita'
and afro-(UK) garage in 'Gbenue'. While
like 'Jekalo' and 'Majaye' contain traditional elements,
the album as a whole goes far beyond what’s usually described
as World music. Party tracks are also part of JJC's repertoire,
('Where’s The Faji At' and 'Birthday'). Many of the tracks
have beeen used as sound tracks in movies and TV dramas. Lyrically,
JJC concentrates on the perspective of young Nigerians outside
their home country and addresses the ethnic and language divides
among Nigerians, a topic that is even more relevant in the light
of recent events in Nigeria.
For more info, including JJC & 419 Squad's live performance
dates check out JJC’s official web site which is packed
with great features, sound and video samples: www.jjc2uk.com
and also www.bigbrovaz.com
JJC was on stage at many of the London summer festivals in 2003
and 2004, including the Respect Festival at the Millenium Dome
in Greenwich and WOMAD Reading.
At the 5th GAB (Gathering of Africa's Best) Awards 2003, JJC
& 419 Squad were honoured to receive an Award for Excellence
for outstanding contribution to the positive image of Africa
and Africans in the UK. Internationally the group have performed
in Paris, Maryland/ USA (at the Momentum MV Magazine Award Show
where they picked up the Best Artist award) as well as Lagos
and Abuja/ Nigeria (Femi Kuti’s New Africa Shrine, Do
It All and The Dome). 2004
ended on a fantastic note for JJC & 419 Squad
when they were announced winners of the 'Best African Group'
category in the KORA awards in Johannesburg.
name he goes by: Abdul Bello, Skillz or JJC, he's a very big
part of the current UK music scene.