Eni Duro. That’s when he started. That was his first hit single. Olamide rapped all through the song. His Yoruba was strong. It reminded most people of the deceased Da Grin. Other singles such as Apa ti jabo, young erikina, Omo to shan (featuring WizKid) also made strong wave. Those days of his humble beginnings, Olamide was a blazing rapper with hot Yoruba rhymes like freshly baked bread from the oven. For many, he would be the new Da Grin who had died in April of 2010. With back to back hit singles, Olamide sealed his place in the street. As a young rapper that was just trying to cut his teeth in the music industry, he appeared to be consistent than both Seriki and Lord of Ajasa who themselves are top rappers with the Yoruba language. Those days, Olamide was hot. Every lyric of every song was dope (that could not be boldly said of him these days). When he released his second album, Yahoo Boy No Laptop, in 2012 with songs such as Pa Numo (featuring Davido), Omije oju mi, he had never disappeared from the street since then. And by dropping street anthems every now and then in the past seven to eight years, he had shown himself to be truly talented and cemented his place in the heart of the street by giving the street what to talk about. He has since featured other popular acts such as WizKid and Davido. He has also featured in songs that has Wale, Rude Boy, Reminisce, Iyanya, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage, Phyno, among others. For a fact, life of Olamide Badoo could not be discussed in a single piece as this because he is a big music act with much love from the street.
What endeared me to Olamide was not only because we are both Yorubas and we share the same cultural heritage, but also because of the sanity in most of his songs in those early days. Though he was never an activist like Fela, yet he never sang any song in those days that would make you doubt the form of intelligence that are embedded in his thoughts neither could you doubt his morality and what he held esteem. For example, when he released Eleda Mi in 2013 or 2014, I always play it every morning on my way to work. It’s a prayer that one should not be implicated and that God should make it easy for one to do great things. I can’t remember most of his old songs again since I have stopped listening to them altogether with the latest ones. I no longer understand what he is singing about. Also, the standard of his lyrics are now despicable that I wouldn’t want to feed them to my soul. I’m not saying he is a bad person. It is just that for my own benefit, I had to stop listening to his latest songs from 2017 till date.
When he released Bobo in 2015, he dropped a line that I would never forget and had also prompted me to write this piece. He said in the song that he said before he would do anything silly he would think about his mother first. That mother had died in early 2017. Thus, or could easily infer from his previous sentence that he could now act silly without having to think about his mother that is resting in peace. Perhaps it was the mother that had always been telling him to make sure he make good songs with good lyrics. The mother is no more. Not only has his lyrics changed but so is his appearance.
Let me start with his appearance. When he started as a new rapper in those days when his mother was still alive, finding his way into the heart of the street with his rap style, he was always on low cut. Now, I am not saying being on a low cut hair makes one a good or a bad person. It’s just a matter of perspective.
From my perspective, most cool-headed people I have met and those in the world society that I hold in high esteem still impressing people with the type of hair they have on. His music videos don’t contain strong sexual contents, and his lyrics offensive slangs. Nobody smokes in his videos, either himself or someone else. Though he could have been smoking all along even when his mother was alive, he never showed it in his music videos. And in his early days, his videos often have weird scenes such as in Ilefo Illuminati where he was hospitalised and Young Erikina where he wore one big shoe and his body was made to look like that of a dwarf. Even in Eni Duro, he rapped across the street while some guys acted out the lyrics. His growing goatie and low cut hair made him look like an innocent guy that mistakenly got off the street. Yet his words were powerful than he appeared.
In 2017, he began dyeing his hair in gold colour. The size of his hair was increased so that the dye could be visible on his head. Yet, that didn’t last for long as he now has dreadlocks on. Anybody just finding out about Olamide Badoo could never know he once had a different kind of hairstyle on and was not born a Rastafarian. There is truly confusion in the world for when some people that were born with natural dreadlocks wanted to barb it off or trim it, some others are making artificial dreadlocks on their heads.
Many people on the street now have artificial deadlocks on including harmless guys that are fascinated by the looks of some of their favourite artiste such as Olamide, Runtown, Naira Marley, Yahoo boys that somehow wanted to appear as being little badoos and some that are just flowing with the trend because they now have a modicum of control over their bodies.
Olamide’s new hairstyle is part of his evolution. He has changed from that cool looking guy to one that now has greater control over his body for he now has a tattoo on his body and even a small one on his cheek bones. As I watched Olamide transformed from a slim and athletic guy with a neatly cut hair from 2010 when I had known him to a guy that has grown to have ‘more flesh’ on his body, an evidence of a guy enjoying his life, I could but wonder if his mother could have watched him turned himself to an artificial Rastafarian.
I thought I have had the best of disappointments from Olamide when he released songs such as Wo, Woske, See Mary See Jesus, featured in Pata ni Logo Benz alongside Lil Kesh and did Ege with Naira Marley, but I was wrong. His latest song, ‘Oil and Gas‘, for me is a great disappointment from a singer of Olamide’s calibre. Apart from completely lacking in good sense that called my attention to Olamide, I can’t fathom the inspiration behind such a song. Apart from hearing names such as Femi Otedola and Honourable Shina Peller, the other things I heard are that some people have oil on their palms and he pleaded to lick out of it. Of course, it’s a figurative use. But I see no sense in it.
Like I have said before, much have changed about Olamide. His songs and videos are now full of obscene and vulgar words, and the message of his songs are becoming all the more questionable because the inspiration behind them are from an impure heart. Now that he has introduced smoking to his videos, his disappointment could no longer be measured.
All of these are clearly a divergence from the Olamide Badoo that always has a message to pass in his songs. If one listens to Melo Melo and then to Woske, the decline in his lyrical content cannot but be noticed. For me, two things could be attributed to this. The first is the lack of motherly role in his life which he had mentioned in his 2015 hit song, Bobo.
The second one is that he is caught up in the wave of moral and ethical decline that is ravaging the society. A man would always reflect his society either consciously or unconsciously. But Olamide Badoo who many youths are looking up as an iconic figure in Nigeria music world should not fail them by what he says in his music and what he allows in his videos. Sometimes, it is better to be quiet than to be singing that which when listened to for a long time would corrupt the soul. Music is powerful. I respect Olamide. He is a great talent. But he should use that to improve the quality of lifestyle of those that are listening to him by improving the quality of what comes out of him. Nothing can substitute good music as it heals the soul.
Segun Ogunlade writes from University of Ibadan, Ibadan. He is a final year student of the department of Religious Studies. He could be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or his number +2348085851773.
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