Gilbert Bani (born August 1, 1986) popularly known by his stage name A-Q, is a prolific Nigerian rapper, recording artist, dancer, songwriter, and performer. A-Q was nominated for The_Headies music awards for best rap song artist 2016, for his song Agu Ji Ndi Men A-Q started his music career at the age of 12 listening to other artiste and miming their songs. He was then advised to start writing his own lyrics by friends while in Kings College Lagos.
Born into a family of six as the last child, A-Q real name Gilbert Bani was raised in Surulere where he has lived for most of his life. Growing up in this environment exposed him to different social classes rich, middle class and poor, which has influenced his ability to socialise within any class he finds himself.
A-Q attended Fountain nursery and primary school, Kings College Lagos, and had his tertiary education at the University of Lagos. Being the last child of his family he caught up to hip-hop at a young age largely influenced from watching his elder siblings react to different genres of music. He started collecting hip-hop tracks, learning the lyrics and miming them and was soon able to mime almost any track out at that time. It didn’t take long before he started writing his own lyrics on advice from friends and thus his sojourn into entertainment. ”.
A-Q started professional music quite early signing his 1st record deal in 2001 with BIG LEAF RECORDS where he was for two years before he started working on his own in 2003. His 1st single ‘(W)rap Nigeria’, produced by kraftmatics, debuted in 2004 followed by a music video which exposed the hip-hop artiste to the public for the first time. He subsequently released a full compilation album LISTEN AND OVERSTAND in 2005 followed by another single ‘Things That We Do’, which sold about 5000 copies and got him an international online distribution deal. The album LISTEN AND OVERSTAND can still be found in many online digital stores. In 2006 A-Q put out a mix tape titled MAGA MUST PAY vol 1. which sold about 3000 copies. Both works did not get much radio and television rotation because of the developing and lopsided nature of the industry at the time.
A-Q took a break from music to finish his education in University of Lagos but still managed to release a single and a video for a track titled MAKE MONEY in 2008 produced by Laylow and featuring Morachi and Xtrim off an online mixtape titled LOVE AND MONEY which was exclusive to Trusport an online social entertainment portal, hosting radio shows, music tracks and videos of largely African content (www.mytruspot.com)
A-Q graduated in 2010 and went back fully into the entertainment industry this time co-floating a record label ‘HUSTLE INC’ on whose platform he started BLACK FRIDAY TWITTER FREESTYLES a weekly online release for free download every Friday. This became a trending topic on Twitter as track after track were heavy hitters and got him online acknowledgement including from ace producer Don Jazzy who styled him “one of the sickest rappers alive”. Capitalising on the new hype he recorded and released THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE album in December 2010 which had hit singles NAMES and CHAMPAGNE AND RUM. This album received critical acclaim and was rated as one of the best hip-hop albums released that year. A-Q had claimed his spot in the Nigerian hip-hop industry and he would not stop there, releasing hit after hit including tracks like Distractions featuring Vector in 2012 that would go on to be one of the best Hip-hop joints ever released in Nigeria, Machine Gun Flow which trended worldwide on Twitter, 555 (5beats 5verses and 5blessings) which created a record in the Nigerian hip-hop history, and WHY featuring Pamela a single from his forthcoming album.
Now adjudged one of the best lyricists on the scene, A-Q recently dropped an EP in December 2012 titled MAKE YOUR BEST RAPPER LOOK STUPID which most termed the EP of all EPs. He is currently working on his sophomore album Titled G.I.L.B.E.R.T (GRACE AND GLORY) and promises to rewrite history.
2005 LISTEN AND OVERSTAND
2010 THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE
2017 BLESSED FOREVER
2006 MAGA MUST PAY MIXTAPE
2008 LOVE AND MONEY
2012 MAKE YOUR BEST RAPPER LOOK STUPID
2014 SON OF JOHN
2015 SON OF JOHN 2
2005 (W)RAP NIGERIA
2007 MAKE MONEY
2011 CHAMPAGNE AND RUM