It is now five years since the rap star, Dagrin, passed on, nevertheless, his name and legacy has not dissipated from the lips of many. We are still celebrating the greatest proponent of the indigenous rap music genre, who weaved a classic ghetto tale of a young man who made it despite all odds. IVHARUE OFE writes on the late rapper, Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun a.k.a. Dagrin…
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Olaniyi Abolaji Olaonipekun on the 21st of October 1987, Dagrin was the fourth child in a family of nine. His mother, Mrs. Olaonipekun was the second of his father’s three wives.
He attended Meiran Community Primary School, Roseille Nursery and Primary School, Meiran Community High School and Egbado College.
Barack O’Grin, Lyrical Werre, Fi mi le Jo as he was nicknamed by friends was signed to his own label, ‘Missofunyin Entertainment’, which was managed by Edlyne Records. From the release of his first album, “Still on the Matter” to his second album, “Chief Executive Omo-Ita, C.E.O”, he kept his head high and was unique among his contemporaries. He had massive hits during his lifetime and he took this glory on even at his exit from Nigeria’s music scene with the track: “If I die”.
His trade mark style of rapping incorporated Yoruba, English and Pidgin English and had a whole lot of cultural significance, like “Pon Pon Pon” which talks about the life style in Lagos and many other parts of South-western Nigeria, where life in the slums mixes up with life in the affluent parts of town.
Today, indigenous rap is the hottest trend in the Nigerian music scene and Dagrin was the architect of the movement that we now see Olamide, Phyno, Reminisce and others proudly representing.
Before his death 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.
Dagrin worked with an array of A-list Nigerian artists such as Y.Q, 9ice, M.I, Iceberg, Slim, Omobaba, Terry G, Code, MISTAR DOLLAR, TMD Entertainment, Omawumi, Chudy K, Bigiano, Konga. He was also associated with music producers like Sossick, Dr Frabz, Sheyman, and Frenzy.
In the wee hours of April 14, 2010, the late rapper, driving in his ill-fated 2008 model Nissan Maxima car with plate number- DAGRIN 03, rammed into a stationary lorry in front of Alakara Police Station, off Agege Motor Road, Mushin, Lagos. He survived a serious head injury as a result of the crash and was initially admitted at Tai Solarin Hospital, Mushin before being transferred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH) Idi Araba. He was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit and operated upon, and later moved to the private wing of the hospital. There was panic in the minds of his fans as pictures of a lifeless-looking Dagrin flooded the internet and stamped sadness on many faces. At 6:00pm on Thursday, April 22, 2010, exactly eight days after the auto crash, Dagrin died. Doctors at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, LUTH said he survived nine attacks before he finally gave up the ghost. He was age 22 at the time.
Friday, April 30, 2010: The late rapper’s body was brought into the Ebony Millennium Atan Cemetery at 9.00am in a black Ebony Escalade Cadillac ESV 2007 model car. He was finally interned at about 10.45 am that day. He was clad in white hand gloves, white belt and a white T-shirt; black waist coat, black bandana around his neck, a black trouser and a black fez cap, and buried in a private vault. His parents were expectedly both absent at his burial.
The ceremony which was originally designed to have only 150 people in attendance had up to a 1000 as fans stormed the cemetery to pay their last respect. Desperate fans almost tore down the Ebony gate at Atan, when they were initially prevented from getting in; and refused to leave after his burial.
And on April 22, 2015, which was exactly 5 years since Dagrin passed on, the Nigerian industry, paid its respect to the departed rapper. This is but a few of what celebrities in the Industry had to say about the late indigenous rap king:
“5 years on, and his legacy lives on. Dagrin was a musical genius, who inspired the popularity and acceptance of Hiphop music in local tongue, contributing immeasurably towards a new Nigeria, where pride in our collective indigenous identity is on the rise. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. My prayer is that the good Lord continues to comfort them. R.I.P, Dagrin”.
“Emotionally, I’ve missed Dagrin for real. He laid a big legacy in the Nigerian entertainment industry whereby a lot of young, upcoming rappers are rapping in our dialects. So, these young artistes are earning money through the platform Dagrin laid. Dagrin has eliminated poverty by 10 percent. We did a song together, anytime I listen to the song, I always remember him. For real, I miss him.”
“DaGrin was his own prophet. He prophesied that the rendition of Rap music in colloquial/native language would be widely and globally accepted, celebrated and honoured, and it was so. Although, he was not the pioneer, but his lyrical depth and versatility is yet to be surpassed. So, five years after his demise, his genre of rap style is waxing strong and on the rise.”
“Hmmmm. Dagrin’s death is 5years already? Well, all I can say is don’t be afraid to be you because at the end of the day, it’s only you that matters. He died too soon, but I think he fulfilled his destiny because he was and still is massively celebrated. His name is etched in the sands of time.”
Terry Tha Rapman (T.R)
“Dagrin, I would say, was like Nigeria’s Tupac. We know he had the potential of a rap icon. It’s so unfair his life got cut down too soon because he would definitely have remained relevant till date. He created his own rules and still succeeded. He was a game changer, no doubt.”
“Basically, I will be straight and factual. It’s simple! Just like when every other celebrity dies in Nigeria. The career, family ‘n’ fame also dies along. So, nothing cool to say due to the ineptitude of the government we have, which has no love for the entertainment industry. They only use us to make our fans vote for them, and then, dump us where we belong again. Thank God for Olamide, who gives us a reminding thought of Dagrin.”
“5 years after, Dagrin’s music still feels fresher than ever. It feels like yesterday that we were at Aura Club together. That is one great artist Nigeria lost too early, may his soul rest in peace, because his name and music still lives with us. Lyrical we ‘salute”!!!
Conclusively, Dagrin will forever be we celebrated as a legend with his words in mind:
“If I die, if I die
Make you no cry for me
E jen simi, ejo keje n min.”