9 June 2023

Ike (from) Pluto: bumping fists and spitting bars

| James Day
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Profile shot of Ikenna wearing a white singlet, small golden chain, black satchel, and baseball cap backwards, with a bronze background and light shining onto him from the left hand side of the image.

Early last year Ikenna Enyi organised and ran ‘The Landing’, an event dedicated to the ACT hip-hop community. The event sold out in Canberra and Sydney. Photo: Jamie Morris – Burrows CBR.

There’s a lot of crossover between the worlds of hip-hop and boxing. They require absolute commitment from one’s mind and body. Ikenna Enyi, AKA Ike (from) Pluto, has pursued both and achieved excellence at the age of 24.

The rapper who just returned from his second international trip as one of Australia’s finest gloved champions, sat down with Region to offer his insight into how and why he does what he does.

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Ikenna was born and raised in Canberra. But his family’s story began when his 19-year-old Nigerian/Trinidadian father arrived in Australia and met a woman in Townsville where they welcomed their first child into the world. They then moved to the Territory and produced a second boy, Ikenna, and two more children.

Ikenna’s upbringing gave him the idea for the latter half of his moniker ‘(from) Pluto’, which certainly shows when listening to his broadly influenced sound that gives the impression it’s from the edge of our solar system.

“I think a lot of people have this idea of musicians being super social butterflies that are always out for a good time, but that’s not really me,” Ikenna says.

“For the most part I’m a behind-the-scenes guy, I like to go to bed early.”

This discipline, which he credits to his life-long passion for boxing and a father who introduced him to the ring at the age of 12, has earned Ikenna multiple National Golden Glove titles and a musical discography that has garnered him respect from across the country as one of Australia’s best MCs (a master of the art of rap).

Ike in red boxing gear fighting in a ring with the fighter from Guinea in blue.

Ikenna competes at the IBA World Championship for Australia against Guinea. Photo: IBA.

Before his solo music career he performed in line-ups for GTM and Spilt Milk with the now defunct ‘WeirdoGvng’. But that collaboration only became possible due to his time writing poetry as a teenager when he also indulged a variety of other creative pursuits including film and photography.

But what defines him is his competitive spirit, which he recently harnessed by fighting on the Australian national team at the International Boxing Association (IBA) World championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“We were sent to an isolated facility in the middle of nowhere before the championship, where for 10 days we trained alongside the Kazakhstani and a number of other different national teams,” he says.

“I had two bouts in an elimination tournament, the first of which I won against Guinea. But the second against Cuba I lost. I thought I did well in my performance and it was a great experience, but he definitely got the better of it.”

Ike in blue on the left throwing a left hook at the Cuban fighter on the right in red.

Ikenna fights in his second round bout against the two-time Olympic Gold medallist boxer from Cuba. Photo: IBA.

Now back in Australia, Ikenna is focused on preparing for Olympic selections this Sunday (4 June) at the AIS Combat Centre.

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“It doesn’t pay the bills, in fact boxing doesn’t pay at all, but it has always been my first love,” he says.

“Yet it obviously has an expiry date, so I’m still creating music and preparing some future releases to come out later this year.”

Ikenna’s newest single ‘Piss Take’ comments on the facade of personality seen often in today’s social media, a facade for which he has no patience.

“I think boxing and rapping definitely beat that sort of attitude out of you, even with the focus on marketing your personality as a brand.”

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