Ruggedman: My friendship with 9ice can never be same again
Nigerian rap artiste, Michael Stephens, widely known as Ruggedman, has said that if fellow musician, 9ice, had not waited for six years before clearing the air on a rumour that he (Stephens) was having an affair with his ex-wife, Toni Payne, their friendship would have still been intact today.
9ice whose real is Abolore Adigun had in 2010, released a song titled ‘Once bitten’ which rumours held was an expose on the illicit affair between Ruggedman and Payne. The couple who married not too long before that time soon went their separate ways following the scandal while 9ice equally labelled Stephens an enemy.
But in a shocking twist of events, the Ogbomoso, Oyo State-born singer, came out recently to absolve Ruggedman and his ex-wife of any wrongdoing, describing the news as mere rumour and the handiwork of detractors.
But Ruggedman whose new single ‘Seyi Shay’ is currently enjoying massive airplay, told Saturday Beats in an exclusive chat on Friday that the long wait by 9ice has strained their once cordial relationship beyond repairs.
He said though he has accepted his colleague’s apology and harbours no ill feeling towards him, their friendship may never be as solid as it used to be before the scandal.
“I asked 9ice to clear the air on the matter six years ago when the rumour broke; he did not but waited until recently to do so. What did it cost him to do that? But I am happy that we are all alive to witness things today,” Ruggedman said.
Asked if the scandal affected his relationship with other colleagues in the industry and if it had any negative effect on his career, Stephens said the news did not change anything significant.
“Many of my colleagues were very professional even though they could have had their own reservations. But, nobody ever came to me to accuse me of any wrongdoing, not even 9ice himself. No woman ever behaved strangely towards me as a result of that rumour. Anybody who is close to me knows the things I can and cannot do. I still enjoy a very good relationship with many of my colleagues especially the females in our industry. And I am glad that a lot of them who knew me knew that I could not do such a thing.
“The scandal did not also affect my music because every time I put out a new song it has always done well. I have a lot of work with top artistes like Oritsefemi, Olamide and the rest that would soon hit the airwaves. A new album is also on the way,” he said.