The above are the words of Sean “Diddy” Combs, on Burna’s Grammy-award-winning LP, “Twice As Tall” from last fall.
Sounds gibberish at first, but perhaps the 50-year-old American rapper has a point?
Because it really is important that people understand the state of mind of an artist, the life they live, where they “at right now.”
It gets to a point where all that matters to an artist is the connection that can be established with the listeners.
But for the late indigenous rapper Dagrin, it was always about that connection. He connected with people on the streets, in the truest way ever.
Little wonder his music became such a problem in the industry. At the time when singing about imaginary money and cars, and big booty was all the rave, Dagrin came with ‘real life‘ music.
With his BIG-esque storytelling skills, he deified the hustle spirit, shedding his ambitious persona on every line he rapped.
Such that the music resonates with everyone who listens and inspires them to, maybe, do more. Hustle more, make more money, and inevitably listen to Dagrin even more.
Dagrin Had A Successful Career At The Time Of His Death
Born Olaitan Olaonipekun, Dagrin broke out and cracked the scene like no one before him has ever done.
He released a commercially successful and critically acclaimed album, CEO (Chief Executive Omo-Ita), without having to infuse heavy afro sounds with his ‘strict’ hip-hop music.
In and around 2010, tracks from his “CEO” album disturbed the airwaves.
With big hits like “Ghetto Dream”, “Pon Pon Pon”, “Thank God”, “Everyday” and “Kondo” banging on the streets, he rose to become the hottest rapper around.
He also became the most sought-after rapper in the country at the time. If you needed to fix your song with a quick rap verse, it just had to be Dagrin. Doesn’t matter if you were Oritse Femi, or Ruggedman or Konga, or Pype.
He had a successful career, and at the time of his death in 2010, he wasn’t only loved; he was revered by all and sundry.
He died, though. The word on the street is that he’s got a legacy; he made many others want to rap in Yoruba, and that he paved the way for especially, Olamide.
Is Dagrin’s Legacy In Nigeria’s Music Industry Too Over-Hyped?
Every year, we mourn the death of a ‘legend’ who would’ve done more than just pave the way, if not for the grim reaper.
Still, maybe at the time of his death, what he’s done with the music was a bit unprecedented and very inspiring, it is no doubt that we do a lot of over-hype when we talk of his music and his supposed legacy, today.
Even though we don’t have Neilsen Soundscan (an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products) to tell us how those albums performed on the market.
There is no doubt that many that came after him have sold more records than he’ll ever be able to sell (may his soul rest in peace.)
They haven’t only surpassed him in streaming numbers (or album sales), some guys have even out-rapped him, and explored more styles, with even more proficiency than he had.
What about consistency? Guys have been out here, rapping their hearts out for a decade and even longer, without getting the accolades they deserve.
But Dagrin, made one successful album, a couple of hits, and we somehow think he’s on the level of 2Pac?
We don’t even have a single post-humous project to back up those claims of “he is to Nigeria what Tupac Shakur is to America.”
Achievement Before Death Is What Makes A Legend Not Death Itself
Furthermore, Dagrin doesn’t deserve our respect because he died. He deserves to be respected because he rapped and represented the streets; something that we all appreciate to this day.
And that we’ve continued to appreciate in the works of guys like Olamide, Reminisce, and Seriki.
We love him. Unfortunately, though, in an industry where Olamide is often being left out of the hip-hop greatest conversations, just because he did some pop stuff along the way.
In an industry where we often scrutinize people’s catalogs and then give the verdict that they’re not relevant anymore because they’ve not been consistent.
In an industry, where you still have to think twice before saying Modenine is the greatest rapper of all time, even after all his years of being on top of his game.
I don’t think Dagrin should be mentioned in these GOAT Talks. That would be conferring too much on one album, because of an unfortunate demise.
God bless the dead!
Be sincere 👇
Do You Think Dagrin Is A True Legend?