Micheal Ugochukwu Stephen, popularly known as Ruggedman sits with host of viral TV show #WithChude, Chude Jideonwo to discuss the evolution of his career, the viral attack he faced in London, and what happened between him, 9ice and 9ice’s ex-wife, Tony Payne.

Speaking of how his career has evolved in the industry, he shared, “I am an entertainer. When I came up, I was rapper but now I am into acting, I have a radio show, and I have a character that I created in skit making. I have always acted, my first feature in a movie was before I became Ruggedman. This was from 1993 to 1995, with late Francis Agu. He used to live on my street in Akoka. I woke up one morning and asked myself ‘what haven’t I done’, and acting was one of the things that came to mind. I spoke to him about it, and he invited me for an audition”. He also shared about he has gotten to feature in movies like, Jim Iyke’s No Bad Comment, and Toyin Abraham’s Ghost and The Tout too.”

Ruggedman reacts to people saying that his time has passed, and the lessons he picked along the way. “The industry didn’t leave me behind. Things changed, music changed, production changed, and that was exactly what happened to us. What happens is that you come out, God gives you the big ‘blow’, you become famous. Nobody reigns forever. I knew that nobody reigns forever, so the best thing you can do for yourself as an entertainer and in life is that you make the best of it. Build the bridges you can build, invest. Although I didn’t invest, because there was nobody around me who could have advised me when I was coming up.”

Sharing the full details of the attack he faced from “Naira Marley fans” at a London restaurant, and how he fought his way out of that situation, he said he believed the attackers intended to embarrass him for personal gain, not necessarily at Naira Marley’s behest. He explained that they edited the video, and to control the narrative, he posted it himself, sending it to blogs along with a selfie taken with the responding police officers. He emphasized that the video did not achieve its intended purpose, despite the allegations that it was a publicity stunt for his concert.

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Ruggedman, speaks on the relationship he had with 9ice and his ex-wife, Toni Payne. He revealed that he introduced 9ice to Toni to promote his music on her website. He later discovered they were involved but had no issue with it. However, in 2010, he noticed a situation that caused him concern, leading to a rift between him and 9ice. He shared that he wasn’t even invited to their wedding, which further fueled the tension. Later, he recalled receiving a call from Toni, urging him to get a lawyer, but was confused as he hadn’t done anything wrong. She clarified that she wasn’t the one suing him but sent him a magazine cover claiming “Ruggedman destroys 9ice’s marriage.” He purchased the magazine, anxiously searching for evidence of his ‘wrongdoing’, but found only speculations and hearsay. 9ice had released the song “Once Beaten Twice Shy,” with lyrics seemingly referencing the infidelity situation. However, upon listening to the song, Ruggedman realized 9ice was likely referring to a different ex-girlfriend from a time predating his introduction to Toni.

“The saddest part for me was the fact that it now dawned on me that when that album came out, ‘The Tradition,’ it wasn’t moving until that rumor started. From ‘have you heard the song where 9ice said he caught his wife’, it moved to ‘have you heard the song where 9ice said ‘Ruggedman and his wife’.”  Ruggedman recounted calling 9ice and expressing his concern about the song and how people were misinterpreting the lyrics, believing they were about 9ice’s wife and him. He expressed his shock at 9ice’s refusal, and 9ice’s insisting that everyone handle their own reputation. “A lot of people started buying the album just to hear what he was supposed to have said. It really hurt me because I felt like he threw me and his wife under the bus just so he could sell CDs”. He mentioned that 9ice apologized six years later, but he felt like they both lost a lot because of that season.

Watch the excerpt: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3Is65gt4K3/


#WithChude is a network of media products across TV, Film and podcasts telling stories that enable and strengthen the mind, the heart, and the spirit. The weekly interviews are widely syndicated across terrestrial television and social media platforms reaching an average of 8 million people weekly – positioning it as the most watched and most syndicated weekly talk show (digital + traditional) in the region. It has become a safe space for guests to talk about things publicly for the first time. Actor Joke Silva revealed that her husband Olu Jacobs was dealing with dementia with Lewy body for the first time on the show, and producer Kemi Afolabi opened up about her experience dealing with Lupus on #WithChude. That month, Lupus and Kemi Afolabi were among the top Google Nigeria searches. The interviews have been featured everywhere, from the BBC to the New York Times. The documentary and travelogue series #ChudeExplains has tackled issues from criminal justice reform to Gen Z coming of age.

All past and new episodes of #WithChude can be watched at watch.withchude.com. You can also watch the premiere of new episodes every Saturday on Channels TV at 1 pm, with reruns every Sunday on Wazobia TV Channel 98 at 5 pm, and every Tuesday on Rave Tv at 5 pm.

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