James Dean (24), Tupac Amaru Shakur (25), Bob Marley (36), Bruce Lee (33) and a host of other superstars died very young. Sadly, our own Dagrin joined the list.
Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun a.k.a Dagrin would have been 36 looking forward to 37 by October this year if he were to be alive. He’s the first street superstar as far as Hip Hop in Nigeria is concerned. As as soon as Dagrin’s music took off and he was at the absolute peak of his powers, his life was cut short via a tragic car crash. Until his untimely death on April 22, 2010, Dagrin was the hottest artist in Nigeria for many people. In an era of 9ice, Tuface, MI, Don jazzy, Dbanj and their Mo Hits crew at the height of their careers, Dagrin rose to the top.
Nigerian Hip hop enthusiasts in the past listened to only foreign rap music by the likes of 50 Cent, Eminem, Jay-Z, DMX and others. But when Dagrin came like a train fresh from the factory, every lover of Hip hop in the country jumped on board. He revolutionised the rap game in Nigeria.
His style was unique with a lot of energy. People on the streets finally had a rapper they could relate to. There were many rappers before Dagrin, but the streets didn’t feel them. Lack of street credibility i think.
Although there are many rappers who incorporate Yoruba to their rap today, lovers of rap music say “unlike Dagrin, they aren’t hardcore enough.” Dagrin was special and it would be difficult for someone like him to come forth again. He was real. He was a correct guy in every sense of the word.
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 English: Chief Executive Thug) won the Hip hop World Award 2010 for best rap album.
From it came the singles “Pon Pon Pon”, and “Kondo”. Dagrin worked with other Nigerian artists such as Y.Q, 9ice, M.I, Iceberg Slim, Omobaba, Terry G, Ms Chief, Owen G, K01, code, MISTAR DOLLAR, TMD entertainment, Omawumi, Chudy K, Bigiano, and Konga. He associated with music producers like Sossick, Dr Frabz, Sheyman, Frenzy and 02. One of the song he sang from the album C.E.O. was If I Die, it was as if he knew he was going to actually die after the release of that album.
RIP Dagrin. If all newspapers and blogs in Nigeria forget, The Columnist Ng never forgets.