If the Nigerian Music Industry was anything like politics, Olamide is definitely Jagaban of the street.
When Olamide dropped “Voice of the Streets” in 2012, he understood the impact he created and was going to create in the street.
Prior to the 2010s, Rapping in a language other than English used to be considered an abomination, earning you the dreaded ‘wack’ label.
However, Lord of Ajasa and ID Cabasa started laying the foundation of what would become Indigenous rap.
In 2009, Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun, popularly known as Da Grin, a young rapper from Ogun State had started making waves on the streets with “Pon Pon Pon”
Before DaGrin, a few rappers had excelled in rapping in their own languages, but he took it to the next level. DaGrin was a rapper who got the common agbero on the street interested in Nigerian rap.
Unfortunately, the cold hands of death snatched away the talented rapper in 2010 sending a shockwave across the music industry.
For the first time in a long time, a musician’s death left a vacuum that many didn’t think would be filled.
Dagrin’s rise to fame and death had opened a door that saw many young ambitious rappers take matters into their hand; one of these men would become Olamide.
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Olamide, a young rapper from Bariga, a Lagos State neighbourhood, embodied ambition and skill; his lyricism and punchlines, mixed with powerful rhythms, set him apart from the crowd and rapidly propelled him to national prominence.
Rapsodi, his debut album, was released in 2011, one year after Da Grin’s, proving that indigenous rap was not a passing phenomenon but a genre that was here to stay.
In ten years, Olamide has not only risen to the top of the industry but has transcended from being a King to a Demigod.
Popularizing Indigenous Rap
While Dagrin is credited as the man who made Indigenous rap look cool, Olamide is the man who made it last.
In an industry propelled by fans with short attention spans, there are only a handful of artists that have managed to remain consistent for close to or at least ten years.
For Olamide, being consistent was just one part, aiding a sub-genre remain alive for that long is the main deal.
While other indigenous artists like Phyno, Reminisce, iLLBliss, Naira Marley, Zlatan e.t.c have also found their way to the top of the mainstream on the back of Indigenous rap, Olamide remains King.
Olamide has a strong discography, critical acclaim, financial success, reputation, impact, and awards to his name (as an added advantage).
The only reason he was not named artist of the decade in the 2010s is because of the juggernaut known as Wizkid. Olamide has pushed the boundaries of culture in every manner possible.
Impact on the street
The dictionary defines Impact as ‘a marked effect or influence’ or ‘having a strong effect on someone or something.’
Scientifically, there are different ways to measure the impact of something but in the Music Industry, the impact is measured by many variables which might include, years of reign, commercial success, Influence on a community, amongst others.
Olamide checks all the factors listed above. His rise to the top might have been stained with scandals and controversies but it has never been a hindrance.
he isn’t just the man who gave the streets hit anthems, he is the man whose lyrics were like scriptures to many, indirectly popularizing a lot of slangs.
What about dance styles; Olamide had a number of dance steps going viral because of his songs and music videos.
Thanks to him, we have the ‘Shakiti Bobo’, ‘Akube‘ and its likes going viral.
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Influence on Upcoming Artists
One reason why Olamide remains love in the music industry is his generous nature and free spirit. he is one artist that has consistently allow upcoming artists to share his platform.
His Label, YBNL remains one of Nigeria’s biggest record companies, consistently producing a host of stars. The likes of Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Chinko Ekun, Lyta, Davolee and Fireboy DML who is currently the star act of the Label.
Aside from the ones he raised the umbrella of his label, Olamide has also been an instrument to the success of some big indigenous stars.
Phyno is one of the many Indigenous stars. The Igbo speaking rapper came into fame after his collaboration with Olamide on “Ghost Mode” become successful.
From there, the two have remained friends, collaborating on more successful singles like “Fada Fada”, “Onyeoma”, “Augment”, “Who You Epp” and even releasing a joint album, “2Kings.”
Apart from Phyno, Olamide has also collaborated with Naira Marley and Zlatan on different occasions.
Alongside him and Lil Kesh, Naira Marley gained fame with his 2017 hit “Issa Goal.” In that same 2017, Olamide was featured on Zlatan’s “My Body.”
He also seems to have laid a blueprint on transforming an upcoming artist into a big star that other big Indigenous rappers are currently copying from.
Aside from his numerous hit songs, Olamide has twelve projects which include, nine solo albums, 2 Joint albums and one EP to his credit.
apart from iLLBliss who has about ten projects to his credit, Olamide is the only Indigenous rapper with a large discography in his arsenal.
He is also one of the few rappers with a perfect trifecta (Raspodi, YBNL, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth) to his credit.
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In an interview with CNN African voices, Olamide revealed that the only competition he has is himself. The rapper says he strives to become better than he was the previous day.
This statement is evident in his evolution over the years. If Olamide isn’t starting a trend, he is either leading or revolutionizing it.
His last two albums, “Carpe Diem” and “Uy Scuti” see the 30+-year-old rapper try and push Indigenous rap to the International music scene.
His label YBNL also has a distribution deal with Empire, a notable feat for the rapper which has is one of the many strategies to see his work go beyond the shores of Nigeria.