Unarguably one of the countryâ€™s â€” an indeed the continentâ€™s â€” most celebrated and adored artistes, 2Face has been involved with music for nearly two decades. In the period, he has not only earned himself cult followership among music fans all over the world but has gone on to become a figure of inspiration to several thousand young, aspiring musicians. But the transcontinental success, fame and acceptability that have come to define the 2Face brand were anything but meteoric!BirthBorn Innocent Ujah Idibia in the infa ...
Unarguably one of the countryâ€™s â€” an indeed the continentâ€™s â€” most celebrated and adored artistes, 2Face has been involved with music for nearly two decades. In the period, he has not only earned himself cult followership among music fans all over the world but has gone on to become a figure of inspiration to several thousand young, aspiring musicians. But the transcontinental success, fame and acceptability that have come to define the 2Face brand were anything but meteoric!
Born Innocent Ujah Idibia in the infamously volatile city of Jos, Plateau State in Nigeriaâ€™s middle belt, 2Face is a native of Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, Mid-eastern Nigeria. He is of the Idoma ethnic group.
2Face attended Mount Saint Gabriel's Secondary School in Makurdi, Benue State. He then studied at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) for a National Diploma certificate in Business Administration. A music-crazy 2Face would then jettison his education to concentrate on honing his musical talent, seeing the huge prospects for a career in music as signposted by the warm crowd reception during his performances at shows and parties organised by the IMT and other tertiary institutions of learning in the city, such as Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu (ESUT) and the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
But before ditching his studies, he had unsurprisingly hit regional limelight while composing and singing jingles for the then-famous radio show, GB Fan Club, on the Enugu State Broadcasting Services (ESBS) in 1996.
He then relocated to Lagos to reunite with Black Face (Ahmedu Augustine Obiabo), with whom he had studied at IMT and Mount Saint Gabriel's. Together, they founded Plantashun Boyz, a hip-hop band that would go on to become one of the industryâ€™s most famed music groups of all time (The group was then completed by Chibuzor Orji, better known as Faze.). He adopted the false name 2Face in 1996, later explaining â€” in an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) â€” the name as a demarcation of his personal life from his business life.
â€œThe name to me just refers to the outside and inside: when you first see me you see the outside but when you get to know me, you see the inside,â€ he added in the interview.
2face began running a solo career after the split of Plantashun Boiz; and his first album, Face 2 Face, released in 2004, was an enormous success, first in Nigeria, then Africa, Europe, and the rest of the world. In fact, a country-specific version of a total five songs on the album was re-released in South Africa. The international acclaim of the album is reputed to be largely driven by hit track African Queen, which was used in the soundtrack for internationally circulated American film, Phat Girlz.
In 2006, he followed up Face 2 Faceâ€™s success with the release of Grass 2 Grace, which sold more than a million copies within just a week of release. Although the three members of Plantashun Boiz briefly reunited in 2007 to record Plan B, their third album, each of them afterwards continued their solo careers â€” with 2Face going on to release The Unstoppable (2008), The Unstoppable International Edition (2010) and Away and Beyond (2012) â€” three albums that recorded successes typical of the 2Face brand and validated his fond admiration by the public as 2Baba.
Among the many feats he pioneered in the Nigerian music industry, 2Face is reputed to be the first Nigerian artist to have an appropriately priced international album. He is also the first non-Liberian to be honoured with honorary membership of the Liberian Music Society, due to his immense contribution to the growth of music on the continent. He has also recorded songs with a number of foreign artistes, including Beenie Man and Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly. After quitting music label Kennis Music, he set up his own record label, Hypertek Entertainment.
2Face established the Tuface Idibia Foundation, his vehicle of extending charity to the less privileged in line with its motto: service to humanity. Also, he has been an ambassador for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) since 2009. Not long after his appointment to the post, he released the track â€˜Man Unkind,â€™ to drum support for the campaign against fake and substandard food and drug products in the country. These contributions have been recognised by the public, leading to his naming as an International Youth Ambassador for Peace Summit. He has also been honoured with the Nigeria Youth Merit Award by the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
2Face has won several awards. Some of them are:
- Best Male Vocalist 2002, Affinity Awards
- Music of the Year 2004, Excellence Recognition Awards
- Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment Industry 2004, Award for Excellence
- Best Male Vocalist 2004, A.M.E.N Awards
- Song of the Year 2004, A.M.E.N Awards
- Best New Act Male 2004, A.M.E.N Awards
- Best Video 2004, A.M.E.N Awards
- Song of the Year for â€˜African Queenâ€™ 2004, Nigeria Entertainment Awards New York
- Best Album of the Year 2004, Nigeria Entertainment Awards New York
- Best Hip Hop and R&B Artiste 2004, Nigeria Entertainment Awards New York
- Musician of the Year 2004, City People Awards for Excellence
- Best Male Video 2005, Channel O Music Video Awards
- Best African Video of the Year 2005, Channel O Music Video Awards