Was just scrolling through my phone, when a news from my UC Browser, had popped up. It was some shit about Ras Kimono. Luckily, I was with a big cousin that had played me classic records of Lucky Dube, many years back. And then I just asked him “Do you know Ras Kimono’s songs?” His head must have sparked in response, as he dropped what he was doing, and starting giving me ‘lectures’ of how he and his friends would go about reciting Ras’ songs, to come back for a contest of chanting the lyrics word-for-word.
He had told me stories, of how he had wanted to grow dreads and become a Rastafarian after watching the likes of Ras Kimono. He then urged us to go on YouTube, and we watched “Rum-Bar Stylee.” As the video played, he had also done the dance along. Then after minutes of a long history class, he asked “Why Ras Kimono all of a sudden?”
“Ras Kimono is dead,” I had said, as softly as possibly. He literally grabbed me, and with a shaky voice had said “Are you serious?” I only nodded. He was sad, afterwards. That was just my cousin, who I’m sure, hasn’t listened to Ras Kimono in years. But he was sad, still, at news of his death. One can only imagine how millions of lovers of Reggae music, all over Nigeria, feel rigth now. One thing is sure, Ras Kimono’s death is a big loss to the entire industry.
Born Ekeleke Elumelu, the Delta-born maestro might have just started music in secondary school due to his passion and talent, his music quickly grew to have wide acceptance, as he chose to communicate the ills of the society, the sufferings of the people and the wrongdoings of the government, with his music. At a time, he was part of the group Jastix Reggae Ital which had another reggae icon, Majek Fashek, Amos McCoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie.
However, in 1988, Ras Kimono released his acclaimed album “Under Pressure,” under Premier Music, a label that was prominent in the 80’s, before the revolution of Kennis, later on. Songs like “Under Pressure,” “Kill Apartheid” “We No Want” are songs with socio-political themes on the album. Particularly, the biggest hit from the album was “Rum-Bar Stylee,” which got a video, and was very popular, across the country. Songs like “Gimme Likkle Sugar” and “Rastafarian” all graced the album, that was an instant hit, as it dropped.
Ras Kimono made a mark with “What’s Gwan” as he talks about the country, and addresses the government. He had also made a hit with “Natty Get Jail” a song that was originally written, when Fela was imprisoned. Before the song could be released, Fela already got bailed, so the maestro changed the direction of the jam.
For Ras, it’s a life for the people. If he didn’t do it for the people, who will? He passed on at the age of 60, leaving his legacy and catalogue of good music for the sould behind. Rest on, papi. You’re a hero. R.I.P. We love you!