TBT: Remembering Dagrin & the Birth of Nigeria’s Indigenous Rap

The present-day Nigerian music scene is currently proliferated with indigenous rappers. With the likes of Olamide, Phyno, Zorro, and Reminisce leading the genre. Before now, it took a slow and painful growth to bring indigenous Nigerian music to a place of wide acceptance. And one of those painful incidents was the death of Dagrin.

Born on 21 October 1987 as Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun, Dagrin was an award-winning Nigerian rapper from Ogun, Nigeria. The late Rapper attended Meiran community primary school, Roseille Nursery, and Primary School, Meiran Community High school and Egbado College.

His style of rapping fused Yoruba, English and Pidgin English for which he soon gained prominence and that was shortly before his tragic death in an auto crash in 2010. He was 22. His death was widely covered and lamented by fellow artists and fans.

In tribute songs and speeches Dagrin was often referred to as Nigeria’s 2pac. This was because of the numerous similarities he shared in many ways to the late American rapper. Just like 2Pac, Dagrin grew up in a ghetto and had to work his way up to limelight. Also, like 2Pac, Dagrin became a source of inspiration for the people who grew up in slums experience crime and gang violence. And finally, the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

While Dagrin was not assassinated like 2Pac, they both died tragically and at very young ages too – they were both in their early twenties. Similarly, their popularity grew exponentially after their deaths. Today, as we remember him, it is important to know that while Dagrin did not start Yoruba rap, he finessed it, and very popular and mainstream. Several years after his demise, it has become more than just a genre. It has become a movement. This was something his forebears didn’t dream of achieving.

He swept numerous awards and nominations with his hit album C.E.O. (Chief Executive Omota), and hit singles “Pon Pon Pon” and “Kondo”.

He was a star we couldn’t have for very long. But his music and general contribution to the industry has made Nigerian music better. We will all remember him for it.

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