Dagrin did not start Yoruba rap. He finessed it, and blew it up in a way that was so huge and inspiring, that 7 years after his demise, it is grown into more than a genre.
It’s a culture. A phenomenon. A lifestyle. A community.
Saturday marks the 7 anniversary of Dagrin’s death. The rapper gave up the ghost on April 22, 2010 at a hospital in Lagos, after an auto crash. Dagrin who is survived by his parents and siblings, had released two albums, which possess a string of hit songs, including the great ‘Pon pon pon’.
Before Dagrin there was Yoruba rap. Other artists had carried it as a means of delivery, and created records before he even showed up on the scene. Lord of Ajasa and AY began this movement and pioneered it. And although they created the genre and released records with it, they didn’t go pop.
But entered Dagrin.
Dagrin’s home was in Meiran, Alagbado, Lagos. His style of rapping incorporated Yoruba, English and Pidgin English. In 2010 he 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 2010 for best rap album.
From it came the singles ‘Pon Pon Pon’, and ‘Kondo’. Dagrin also worked with other Nigerian artists such as Y.Q, 9ice, M.I, Iceberg Slim, Omobaba, Terry G, Code, Mistar Dollar, TMD Entertainment, Omowumi, Chuddy K, Bigiano, and Konga. He is associated with music producers like Sossick, Dr Frabz, Sheyman, Frenzy and 02.
During his short career he created enough to last a lifetime. Dagrin took dialectical rap, ran with and made it better. He made it popular, transformed it from a niche sound to a commercial movement, made it look cool to the public, and made money.
But the most important part of it all was how he broke through glass ceilings and made a genre so lucrative that it inspired a generation of young musicians to take the baton after his death and utilize it to create a cultural movement and phenomenon. Dialectical indigenous rap is a money-maker in Nigeria, and it has had stars such as Olamide and Reminisce.
Olamide himself, did not meet Dagrin, but he was inspired by the work he put in.
“He paved way for people like me, as well as Lord of Ajasa. Lord of Ajasa paved the way for people like me, Idris Abdulkareem, the likes of AY, Junior & Pretty. It’s a movement, it has to keep going on. Every now and then, every new set of artistes that come out, they have to pave the way for a new generation.” Olamide said.
He speaks the truth. Indigenous dialectical Hip hop is a movement that will outlive all of its prophets now. It outlived Dagrin, who put it on this thriving path.
It’s 7 years on since Dagrin left, but the flourish he added to the genre has ensured that many others have risen from his template. This is immortality. This is the reason for human existence; to live the world a better place than you met it.
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This Piece was written by Pulse NG