2Face@47: All you need to know about 2Baba – Legacies, awards, baby mamas, children

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Born in Jos, Plateau State on 18th September 1975, Innocent Ujah Idibia -professionally known as 2Baba– is the second of four children born to Mr. Michael and Mrs. Rose Idibia of Amufu-Ejeba, Edumoga Ehaje, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State. His father was a civil servant in the ministry of Agriculture in the then Benue-Plateau State while his mother was a primary school teacher. Following the creation of Benue State from Benue-Plateau State in 1976, the Idibias relocated to Makurdi, the capital of the new state.

From an early age, the star in the young Innocent began to manifest; he would mimic songs from TV and Radio. His great singing prowess did not go unnoticed during his stint at Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School, Makurdi. But not until his college days before he started music professionally-at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, where he did his preliminary National Diploma course in Business Administration and Management. He juggled between work and study – singing and writing jingles and performing at local shows and parties like GB fan club at the Enugu State Broadcasting Services (ESBS).

Innocent who was first known by the stage name “InniRap”, eventually dropped out of college to face music full time.

In 1996, Innocent adopted the new stage name “2Face”, after relocating to Nigeria’s entertainment nerve centre and culture hub; Lagos. In 1999, Tony Tetuila broke away from ‘The Remedies’, and recruited 2Face, Blackface and rap group, Ruff, Rugged and Raw on his solo hit “Omode Meta”, said to be one of the biggest songs to have evolved in the early year of hip-hop history in Nigeria.

In 2000, 2Face and two other friends from Enugu, Amedu Augustine Obiabo, alias “Blackface”, and Chibuzor Orji, alias “Faze”, formed the ‘Pantashun Boiz’ band. The group was managed by Owoyemi Akinwale Nathaniel (Natz), Ifeanyi Oji (Odogwu), and Obasi Leonard (Baba Leo). Between 2000 and 2003, the band released two albums; ‘Body and Soul’ (2000) and ‘Sold Out’ (2003) under the imprint Dove Records. The albums were produced by Nelson Brown. ‘Body and Soul’ housed iconic songs like ‘You And I’, ‘Knock Mi Off’, ‘Don’t You Know’, ‘If Life’, and ‘Emmema’ which was performed in Idoma by 2Face and his kinsman, BlackFace. 2003 ‘Sold Out’ album with hit songs like; ‘One And Only’, and ‘Only You’.

In 2004, 2Face launched his solo career after exiting Pantashun Boiz leading to the break up of the band; attracting a beef from his former bandmates. The beef would go on to be known as “Faze vs. Tuface” beef, and later metamorphosed to “BlackFace and 2Face” beef. Same year, 2Face released his debut solo album “Face 2 Face” heavily supported by the iconic hit song “African Queen” which gained worldwide acceptance becoming the “goal” afropop song this generation and making 2Face not just an instant star but also “The greatest musician of the African New School Music”. This earned him a MOBO award nod in 2005, but he lost to Youssou N’dour. That same year, 2Face made history as the first artiste to win the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act.

His sophomore album “Grass 2 Grace” which was released in 2006, was also widely received solidifying 2Face’s place as a leading African and international artist. The album housed several hits like; “If Love Is A Crime”, “4 Instance”, “No Shaking”, and “Ocho” which was performed in Idoma language. The album also cemented 2Face’s place as a cultural influencer as it introduced words like; “No shaking”, “Nothing dey happen”, “Naso!”, etc into Nigerian pidgin vocabulary. That same year, “African Queen” was used in the American comedy film “Phat Girlz” and received an international release. In 2007, 2Face made history as the first Nigerian to win the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards. He won the Best African Act category following the success of his “Grass 2 Grace” album.

In 2008 Plantashun Boiz reunited to record a third and final album, Plan B, before going their separate ways again. The album contained popular songs like “Ocean of Passion”, “Like Her Better”, “Say You Believe Me”. Nigerian entertainment buff, PulseNg described the it as “an album that had crashed even before take-off, promising much yet offering very little. The poor commerciality could be attributed to divided fan base.
Having left the Kennis label, 2face founded his own company, Hypertek Entertainment in 2009. That same year he released his third studio album “The Unstoppable” which featured contributions from American superstar, R. Kelly among others. The album contained hits like “Enter the Place” featuring Sound Sultan, “Flex” featuring R. Kelly. “The Unstoppable” had its International Edition released in 2010 with two additional singles- “Only Me” and “Implication” which was performed in Idoma, English and Tiv. Still riding on the success of the album, 2Face made joint history with D’Banj as the first artistes to win the Best International Act (Africa) award in 2011.

2Face’s fifth album “Away and Beyond” was released in 2012. The album housed hits like “My Rainbow”, “Ihe Neme”, ans “Dance Floor”. “Rainbow” was the theme song of 2Face and his long-time heartrob, Nollywood actress Annie Macaulay wedding. The two legalized their union secretly in a Lagos Registry on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. They later had their traditional wedding in Akwa Ibom on Friday 8th March, 2013. The white wedding took place in Dubai on Saturday, 23 March, 2013. That same year, 2Face remixed “Rainbow” with American artiste, T-Pain.

His 6th album “The Ascension” was released in 2014. The album housed hits like “Let Somebody Love You” featuring Bridget Kelly, “Diaspora Woman” featuring Fally Ipupa, “Go” featuring Michael Montano, “International Loving” featuring Kim Almarcha, “Boulay Boulay” featuring Shurwayne Winchester, “Jeke Lesse Passe” featuring Sir Victor Uwaifo among others. Later in 2014, he began using the name 2Baba and the following year celebrated his 40th birthday with a star-studded ‘FORTYfied’ tribute concert in Lagos with performances by artistes like Wizkid, Burna Boy, D’banj among others. He also continued his philanthropic work, partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2017. In 2020, six years after his previous release, he issued Warriors, his first album under the 2Baba name. “Warriors” housed hits like “Opo” featuring Wizkid, “Amaka” featuring Peruzzi, and “Oyi” featuring his brother, Hi-Idibia, which was performed in Idoma and English. In 2015, 2Baba was crowned the Tafidan Kudenda which means Ambassador of Peace in Kaduna.

In September 2021, 2Baba released a brand new single “Searching” featuring the legendary iconic musician and his Idoma elder, Chief Bongos Ikwue; with a video shot it Otukpo, the metropolitan capital city of the Idoma Nation. He song was performed in Idoma and English with Idoma culture fully showcased in the video. This delighted most of his Idoma kiths and kins who took to various media platforms to express their joy, pride and Idomaness.

2baba is blessed with seven children by three different women; Sumbo Ajaba has two children for 2Face Idibia – two boys named Nino (born in 2006) and Zion (born in 2008); Pero Adeniyi and 2Face have three children together – a daughter named Ehibenzy Rose Idibia (born in 2006) and two sons named Innocent (born in 2012) and Justin Idibia (born in 2013); 2face’s legal wife, Annie Macaulay-Idibia has two daughters for him – Isabella Idibia (born in 2008) and Olivia Idibia (born in 2014).