Creative Soccer Culture

Jim Legxacy On The Beauty Of Nigeria And Football's Universal Language

Someone to look at as a leader for a now generation, Jim Legxacy is a creative and a musician who embraces an all-rounded all-progressive and all-powerful philosophy. Discussing his love for Nigeria, his musical uprising and his remarkable outlook on life, there’s motivation to be taken from every angle of energy. Looking ahead to the release of an EP 'BTO', we sat down with him to take in his unique line of sight.

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Let’s start at the top, tell us about yourself. How would you introduce and describe yourself?

I don’t even know where to start without sounding super narcissistic. I would describe myself as quite introspective. I spend a lot of time thinking. Not like complacent thinking – very much applying that thinking about things I want to do in real life or through creative ventures. I do like to make things. That’s probably my favourite thing in the world. I would probably describe myself as someone who thinks a lot. I apply those thoughts to things I do and make.

On the journey, where did your grounding come from and what cultural influences shaped you?

I remember around the age of 15, straying away from home and I suppose that’s when the dark side of life can creep in, but I guess over time I’ve matured and educated myself. I’ve done a lot of reading. I like to read comic books and things that entertain me but also things that feed my brain – inspiration and information. It’s not just fuel for my music and the creative stuff I’m doing but it has helped me understand people and humanity and all aspects like that. It all started from home. That’s where I learnt the most valuable lessons. Even though I strayed away from them at times, I’ve always returned to the ideas and the lessons I was taught at a young age at home.

The dark side you mention, were you falling into a different path before you found music?

I wouldn’t say I was a bad kid. I was just more mischievous. My parents would tell me to do things and I wouldn’t do them and that sort of stuff. I guess we’re all trying to find ourselves when we’re teenagers. You do stupid things along the way to finding yourself – it’s part of the journey.

Your music is multi-layered. There’s a lot of different influences that come through, how would you describe it?

Yeah multi-layered is so true. I think that my influences are so broad that when it comes to interviews or times when I need to articulate about myself and the music I make, I can’t because it all depends how I’m feeling that day. I consume so many genres of music. From Pop music, to folk, indie, afro-beats, drill, everything is so inspiring to me and when something grabs me, it’s all so intense. When it comes to talking about influences, today, right in this moment, I’m enjoying Fela Kuti, Kate Bush, and people like that. Tomorrow I might say people like Kanye West. That goes to show how intricate things are for me – I like to take in sounds from everywhere. 

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Have you always been someone who goes looking for new music?

No I’m the opposite. I feel like I never go looking for it. I feel like I haven’t found a new song in months. I kind of stumble across things. I only found MF Doom in March and when I did I was like “Oh my god! What is this?!” I dug and dug as soon as I heard his music I couldn’t get enough. Same with Kate Bush. I found her music through a show on YouTube called Posed. That had the same impact on me. Then I went through the soundtrack and it brought up a load of other stuff. It’s all quite a natural way of finding music.

My initial music interest came from wrestling games and FIFA. FIFA always has a crazy good sound track and it always introduces you to new music. It opens the door to so much and has helped me shape my musical interests. From those touch points you start to explore other artists and it becomes this web of things you find. It’s all edgy stuff that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Do you play FIFA a lot?

Yeah I play against my brother and my friends a lot. I’m really bad, I’ll admit that. I dabble in career mode from time to time and when they first did the Alex Hunter thing, that was incredible. I was like, “this is what FIFA was missing”. It’s so sick to live that second life through the game. I love story games so integrating that into FIFA meant I could play the game but also be properly engulfed in the storyline. It’s so sick. I love stories and narratives.

Yeah absolutely – that’s part of the reason people love this Nigeria collection too – there’s a powerful narrative and a strong visual story behind it…

The aesthetics are gorgeous and the art direction is incredible. I think whoever is behind the kit is a genius. It stands out in such a different way to every single other kit. The way you can wear the Nigeria kit as a fashion statement and not be from Nigeria. That’s huge. People might only wear their national team kits because that’s where they’re born. Even if I wasn’t Nigerian I would look at that kit and be blown away. It’s gorgeous.

Do you think it stays true and reflects Nigerian culture well?

It does. The patterns and the textures, the design as a whole has so many visual references that are made to Nigerian culture over generations. That nod to the culture paired up with the contemporary design I think is so so good. I grew up watching Nigeria play – it was always an event when Nigeria played. Even when we would lose, it was just like “it is what it is, I’m seeing my team play”. There’s so much pride that comes with it.

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Can you set the scene for us? What was it like for you to watch Nigeria play?

I remember the 2010 World Cup so vividly. I remember specifically everyone sitting down and watching that in the sun. It was such a sick experience for me growing up because it was all about community. You’d go to school the next day and talk to your friends who are also Nigerian about the game. It was at a time when I was a kid and all I wanted to be was a professional footballer as well. It all just meant so much to me.

Was everyone into football in your household? How big was it for you and your family?

I was really into it. We all were. I’ve loved football all my life. I kind of started to lose interest when I started to play video games and find more and more interests. My whole family supported Man Utd. Well nearly all of us. Me, my mum, my dad and my little brother all supported Man U. My older brother supported Man City and younger brother supported Liverpool. When the teams played each other it would be like head on at home. If Man City ever beat Man U, I just wouldn’t talk to my brother [laughs]. There were so many dramatics. Football has always been a thing in my household and it’s been a thing that brings the family together.

That’s the nail on the head. The beautiful thing about football is how it brings everyone together.

The way football is a universal language no matter what language you talk. One thing I’ve noticed is that you could play football against someone who has no idea what language you are speaking but there are things about body language connected to football that you will both recognise and appreciate.

Even when I went to Nigeria, I specifically remember these kids who didn’t have any goal posts. They had these giant rocks that they were using as a goal. Me and my brother got involved and played with them. It was just so sick because I didn’t know these people directly but we could all just get involved and play football. We were all from different places, different backgrounds, different villages but we were able to connect. It’s a universal language that everyone can talk. That’s one of the things with sports and music – you don’t have to know the language or know the genre everyone can consume it.

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With genres, the world has become so much smaller – it’s not like we all just like one type of music and can only like the genre we choose. That’s quite reflective of your sound isn’t it?

Everything is so integrated. Societal integration of cultures has created all these subcultures in music and what we listen to. It’s effect on sport is amazing too. It’s a beautiful thing how cultures and nationalities can mix and blend naturally. Take the French squad and a lot of them have African backgrounds, or the Jamaican and African players in the England team, it’s all a result of societal integration.

I think it’s important we celebrate what that has brought that and we continue to mix as much as possible. We have to look forward with a positive mind and be progressive as well as respectful of everyone’s culture. It’s so important that we’re not shunning anyone away.

When the world is the way it is right now, it’s a great analogy. How do you think sport can play its part in pushing society forward?

There’s a lot of racial politics going on. I think people are feeling more comfortable about saying things now which is incredibly important. Especially when you look at football. Although people say don’t put politics in everything, it is naturally in everything. There’s a lot in football. Everyone just needs to try that little bit harder. It’s about respect, paying homage and education. Try and understand the history behind everything.

Looking forward, what’s the ambition? Do you look at things track by track or do you have a big picture of where you’d like to get?

I have an idea in my head as to where I would like to get. I think if I’m sitting here and I’m always thinking about where I’m supposed to be, that’s not positive. What happens is I’ll get there one day and look back and think I didn’t embrace any of that. I think I used to look at things just aiming for the end goal but now I’m thinking a bit more progressively.

I’m just going to embrace everything, embrace every experience but also keep that tunnel vision there in knowing where I am headed. Just keep working on the now because the present becomes the future. If you’re doing the most you can in the present, where you want to be in the future will happen. That’s the way I visualise it. 

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Shop the full Nike x Nigeria 2020 collection at
Photography by Kay Ibrahim and Pete Martin
Pre-order the debut EP from Jim Legxacy 'BTO' here


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