There are 42 million Yorubas and 32 million Ghanaians. England is 55 million and France 67 million.
Only Yoruba is a vibrant music market.
Then add a few other people who love Yoruba music without being Yoruba.
So you never heard of Dagrin and Mohbad before they died? That is no knock on you or on them. It is okay for you not to know an artiste before they die.
City people Magazine was having an event in Ogun State (Lead Univerisity? I forget). Bigiano’s song “I no go fit invite una come my party make una no shayo” was the biggest song in Nigeria. He was to be the headline artiste.
But on this bus was a quiet dude that was being treated like a God by other artistes and City People. He was sitting in front while we were all at the back. Afolabi was the music writer for the Magazine then.
“Who is that guy” I asked Afolabi.
“You do not know Dagrin”?
Oh. Dagrin. His name was already legendary without us knowing a song by him. Maybe the collabo with YQ produced by the late Dr Frabbs, but that was just a collabo and not his song.
My artistes and other artists went on stage and the crowd was receptive. But they kept Dagrin till almost last.
Again, Bigiano was the nationally-known artist. But then Dagrin stepped on stage.
Listen. Dagrin did not perform. The crowd went on stage with him. I had never seen a thing like that, not even by P Square and 2 Face. The stage was filled with all the students. They were singing every word which was in Yoruba. Those of us who did not understand Yoruba or really know Dagrin were like mumus.
And that day I knew you do not need to “blow nationally” to be a star. There are 42 million Yorubas. It takes one million people to buy your album to be certified Platinuum and two million if it is a single. Again, there are 42 million Yorubas
Yes Dagrin taught me a huge lesson in ignoring a demographic. Lagos may be the spot but there is Abeokuta and Ijebu Ode etc and they are record listeners. And when Dagrin moved to Magodo GRA where we were living, I too joined to treat him like the underground god he waa… with love and awe.
My stay in Ketu then had me develop “Yoruba music ears.” So I know TERRY AKPALA is the person Seyi Vibes copied (Go and listen to Terry Akpala on youtube). So I know Asake’s style was first brought to national view by Jazzman Olofin ft Ayuba “Raise The Roof”. So I argued with my brother Riete Ofugara, who did not come with us to Asake’s concert in Dallas and Aijay Ofugara because they say Asake should sing more in pidgin. Riete and my brothers are big Kizz Daniel fans.
I maintained Asake does not need to sing more in pidgin. That 42 million Yorubas, Cubans and all will convert another 40 million of their non Yoruba friends.
Well Riete and I are right. Asake blew up with majorly Yoruba lyrics. But he has elevated yet again with LONELY AT THE TOP, where he employed more pidgin English and left Yoruba to the bridge etc like Kizz Daniel does.
And so, YES, you did not know Mohbad, that is FINE. Only few artists become national. Still they are bona fide stars, as Mohbad has come to show
Mo lęnu bii
Pon pon pon pon pon pon pon
May these two talented Yoruba artiste that were preoccupied with the concept of death and who died before their peak and yet reached the peak rest in peace.
Emi ti gbera
I drip on Jekanduro