With Zlantan, Naira Marley: Is Olamide Under Threat?

Since the entry of Zlatan Ibile and Naira Marley into the Nigeria music scene, it’s been grace all the way. But one artiste is not finding the fame of these young lads funny as it seems they are stylishly shoving him away from the industry.

Before the likes of Olamide, Lil Mesh, Zlatan , Naira Marley and others, there was a guy called Dagrin (Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun) a Nigerian rapper from Ogun State.

The street culture didn’t come into play as a force until 2009 when he released his classic sophomore effort ‘C.E.O’, the album majorly produced by Sossick is the haunting tale of a gifted young rapper trapped in the web of the lower side of the society.

Though he wasn’t the originator of street pop culture, he developed and made it what it is today.

He incorporated Yoruba, English and Pidgin English into his style of rap making it a dream come through for ghetto artistes.

Dagrin made streets rap enjoyable that every contemporary musicians wanted a collaboration with him. He was a darling of the streets. His hottest single “Pon Pon Pon”, C.E.O album were a national anthem.

He worked with other Nigerian artistes such as Y.Q, 9ice, M.I, Iceberg Slim, Omobaba, Terry G, Ms Chief, Owen G, K01, code, MISTAR DOLLAR, TMD entertainment, Omawumi, Chudy K, Bigiano, and Konga.

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He never looked back making a name for himself, at the same time, opening up the industry for local rap content.

His death came as a surprise to many on April 22, 2010 after a ghastly car accident in Lagos at the young age of 25 years. His death marked a new era for the genre of music and the industry as others who were underground wanting to “blow” finally started becoming famous and one of them is Olamide Badoo.

Olamide was born in Bariga, Lagos State and he decided in 2000 to pursue a career in music. When asked why music, he said: “I found out I was gifted in it so I had to explore it. It’s my life, my hustle, my world”. With that said, in 2010, Olamide released ‘Eni Duro’ under the Coded Tunes record label which he was signed unto at the time. The song received nationwide critical acclaim and instantly shot Olamide to limelight, prompting a consciousness that became obvious that a new Dagrin has been born.

Olamide’s debut album, Rapsodi, led to massive collaborations with numerous artistes, including Wizkid, ID Cabasa, 9ice, Reminisce and D’banj. The album was released in 2011. Its lead single “Omo To Shan” charted on several radio stations in Lagos and across Nigeria.

He has gone further to release YNBL(2012), Baddest Guy Ever Liveth (2013), Street OT (2014),Eyan Mayweather (2015), The Glory (2016),Lagos Nawa (2017) and YBNL Mafia Family (2018).

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Olamide has trained and groomed lots of artistes including Lil Kesh who is still making wave in the industry.

But something isn’t right, the game seems to be changing. Some new entrants are now making more waves not just in Nigeria but abroad.

The generalissimo of the streets, Olamide, was behind the shakitibobo dance. He also popularised the ‘shaku shaku’, another dance move which originated from Agege.

But one of his signees in 2014, rapper Lil Kesh would popularize the dance step ‘Shoki’, that originated from Agege, making it a fave in Africa and certain parts of the world.

These breed of street rappers just like Dagrin have used their native tongues to create personal and intimate relationships with listeners, creating vignettes about life at the rock bottom.

But all that would change as Zlatan who is the man of the moment and  unarguably, the hottest rapper on the streets of Lagos right now enters. When ‘Able God’ was released people were not as dazed as his collaboration with Burna Boy ‘Killing Dem’.

His ‘Zanku’ dance steps (which he claims is an abbreviation for Zlatan Abeg don’t Kill Us’) has taken over from the viral ‘Shaku Shaku’. It is the latest influence of street culture in Nigerian rap music.

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He has particular slangs that all the streets are now used to.

Signed under Davido’s DMW record label, he has been the talk of town. He is more spoken about now that any other artistes in the genre of music. Just like him, his colleague , Naira Marley, has been famed up with negative publicity which later became a positive achievement for him.

He closes down shows with his Soapy dance steps which has received negative reviews but positive attention from fans. He’s now a strong contender with Zlantan, stylishly shoving away the present king of street rap.

Many have said it might be due to Olamide’s stint in politics, (working with his state governor) that has prompted his slow slide in the industry. But the king of the jungle would always be a king.

For his fans who are fretting that it is becoming the end of an era, he might drop one of those his bangers and show that though he’s not visibly contesting with Zlantan and Naira Marley, he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the traditional ghetto streets rap music.

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