We lost Dagrin. Too early, at that. Still he remains one of those few hip-hop G.O.A.T contenders, even almost 8 years after his sad passing, in 2010.
Before he died, the yoruba rapper, gave the best indigenous rap album, in Nigeria (C.E.O.) And one of the best hip-hop shii’s ever. He gave the real template of what real indigenous hip-hop should look like.
Infact, most rappers claiming “real hip-hop” today, have something in common with Dagrin – he never betrayed the culture, till his last breath. He doesn’t sing and whenever he’s on beats other than the common hip-hop beats, he raps his soul out, to convince us that the beat notwithstanding, it’s a rap record.
The legend also did some of the best collabos hip-hop would ever have. “Ghetto Dreams,” have one of the best vocals on a rap record, ever, rendered by his producer, Sossick. “Thank God,” has Omawumi, the best vocalist in the country at that time. And it’s one of those hip-hop/gospel shii’s. That wasn’t all he did, anyway. On “Condo,” he showed us how playful a rapper can get, and he at least did a commercial shii. All that from his CEO album (considered as one of the
best albums of the last decade.) BUT, the highlight was … Pon Pon Pon!
Mo lenu bi pon pon pon pon pon pon.
Before Olamide surfaced at all, Dagrin was the voice of the streets.
“Pon Pon Pon,” a revolutionary record for hip-hop, was the song that ushered in the Era we are in now. The Era indigenous rappers will beat all these English rappers, pants down. 2009, and 2010, Pon Pon Pon was
so hot, everybody could sing along to the jam.
The song talks about the streets generally, and it boosted Dagrin’s street cred. “Omo Naija ni mi, ibe l’on bi mi si// Naija ni mo ti bere sini ka ABC// Omo Naija, mo le feyin shi pepsi.” The rhymes were regular, his flow was bool and calm. So cool you can hear everything he was saying clearly. And, it was all over Nigeria.
The instrumental went on to be a classic. Go to any rap battle arena, and just ask for Dagrin’s beat. You’ll get that sick beat.
It was a song that changed the scene, and prepared it for Olamide, and the new wave of rappers that followed after his demise.
So sad, he didn’t live to enjoy the movement he paved the way for, as he passed on, on April 22 2010 in an auto-crash. BUT, he did “Pon Pon Pon,” and TBH, without any prejudice this is Naija’s best rap song ever. “Crowd Mentality,” “Eni Duro,” “Ehen” and “Elbow Room,” should goan queue.
R.I.P Dagrin !!!