Remembering Dagrin… The ghetto champ and chief executive omoita
April 22, made it seven years since the late Oladapo Olaitan Olanipekun well known as Dagrin, head honcho of his record label, Misofunyin Entertainment left. But the attention he added to the rap genre of the Nigerian music has ensured that many others have risen from the template he created.
Born October 21, 1987, he was one rap star, whose style of music ruled the street and airwaves with punch lines that was delivered in English, Pidgin but mainly in Yoruba language. His sophomore album, ‘C.E.O’ was the hottest thing on the streets late 2009 and 2010.
As matter of fact, the self-proclaimed ‘lyrical werre’ was regarded as the new rap messiah, as his brand of rap — a hustler’s dream, ambition and nightmares, reverberated with millions of young Nigerians, who were going through the same struggle. He was indeed their spokesman at the time.
In 2010, the late rapper was nominated for the Nigerian Entertainment Awards for Best Album (C.E.O.); Hottest Single, Pon Pon Pon; Best Rap Act and Best Collaboration with vocals. His album C.E.O. (Chief Executive Omota) won the Hip Hop World Award (now known as the Headies) in 2010 for Best Rap Album.
His music trajectory was however cut short on April 14, 2010, when he had a ghastly motor accident. He went into a coma as a result of the collision and later gave up the ghost on April 22, 2010 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, where was rushed to after the accident.
His vehicle had rammed into a stationary truck at night. And there were reports that he was drunk, as he never saw the truck that was parked opposite a police station.
During his short but impactful career, Dagrin created enough to last a lifetime; he took dialectical (indigenous) rap, ran with and made it better. He transformed and made it popular, taking it from a niche sound to a commercial movement.
Before Dagrin’s emergence, there were Yoruba rap artistes, who had carried the genre as a means of delivery, and created records. Although Lord of Ajasa and AY were reported to have pioneered the indigenous rap movement, they released records with it, and didn’t go pop with it.
Dagrin, finessed it, and blew it up in a way that was so huge and inspiring. He broke through glass ceiling, made the genre so lucrative that it today, inspires an army of young musicians, who have taken the baton, even after the rapper’s death and use it to create a cultural movement, make money and fame.
Today, it the genre parades such stars like Reminisce, Olamide, Phyno, and Lil Kesh among others, who are busy churning out street hits. Olamide noted: “He paved way for people like me.”
“Every now and then, every new set of artistes that come out, they have to pave the way for a new generation. It’s a movement, it has to keep going on,” he added.
According to him, indigenous hip-hop is a movement that will outlive all of its prophets now. “It outlived Dagrin, who put it on this thriving path.”
It need be noted that prior to Dagrin’s death, released two albums, which possess a string of hit tracks, including the popular street bangers, ‘Pon pon pon’, and ‘Kondo’.
With Pon Pon Pon, which has some element of cultural significance and lifestyle of average Lagos ‘Street Arab’ in Agege, Mushin, Oshodi, Shitta (Surulere) and Isale Eko, Dagrin declared his street chiefdom, pushing on the requisite credibility with admirable and infectious braggadocio.
He worked with other Nigerian artistes including Y.Q, 9ice, M.I, Iceberg Slim, Omobaba, Terry G, Code, Mistar Dollar, TMD Entertainment, Omowumi, Chuddy K, Bigiano, and Konga, while he also associated with music producers like Sossick, Dr Frabz, Sheyman, Frenzy and 02.
Dagrin may have died, but his work gets new life with every new release by today’s street-hop acts. He left with us his legacy, as a champion of street rap, a genre he led to his tragic death.
Though his debut album, which dropped in 2006, failed to light up due to lack of adequate promotion. His ‘C.E.O’ album created the blueprint for what the now celebrated and commercialized indigenous rap.