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A Retro Trip to When Olamide Burst Into the Scene


It was like any other day, late in the year 2010. I was watching the TV with my siblings when the first verse of the music video started “Olamide is here….”. The vibes and style of this young rapper draws comparison to that of American hip-hop star Lil Wayne, I thought. I recollected in thoughts some video clips of Lil Wayne, where he goes topless, rapping amid fanfare from crowds around, strolling like a honcho in the urban settlements.

In this video, the barely known Olamide is on the streets with his bros. He raps with his native Yoruba language blended with English as he wanders on the red mud sand streets, somewhere in Lagos perhaps. This was no urban settlements, it is more of a ghetto.

You wouldn’t have to understand the Yoruba tune before you trip for this rapper. That was in my case and his style captured my heart. Right there, I felt this guy is someone different. The raw talents were obvious. What I never knew then was that 10 years later, he would become one of the very best in the Nigerian music industry with an empire of a record label in YBNL Nation.

That music video is of ‘Eni Duro’. At the time, Olamide was signed to Coded Tunes and Eni Duro was his first release under the management. The song was widely and positively received across the nation. A star had been born.

7 impressive studio albums and other EPs, 22 major awards won; it is easy to understand Olamide’s greatness. He has become more than a rapper; not for the fact that he sings too. Omaide Baddo has become a Nigerian cultural pillar; a contemporary music icon; one of the greatest rappers ever from the country.

See also: How Oxlade Burst Into the Music Scene at the Point of Nadir

His record label has sprouted many talented artistes like Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold and Fireboy DML lately: giving them a platform to showcase their prowess and flourish. Recently, YBNL signed a joint venture deal with American music distribution company Empire.

Bear in mind that the case of Olamide is nothing new. Many rappers had burst into the scene, going mainstream in the process. But along the line and for one (unfortunate) reason or the other, their time at the echelons did not endure. Dagrin had slipped away earlier in 2010, the same year as Olamide’s breakout. To put into context, Dagrin had made the general Nigerian public more open to listening to Yoruba-English fused rap.

Olamide has been consistent for the best part of a decade. Like I earlier said, you wouldn’t have to understand his native tongue before playing his records. His music traverse round the country. Needless to say, he is still here, and at the top of the business.

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