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Monday, August 23, 2010

Da Grin: Made Popular by Death

Late Da Grin

The first time to hear that a young man called Olaitan Olaonipekun, popularly known as Da Grin was living was when he died, but not the last to hear the name. He was a Nigerian rap act who was stolen by death in a ghastly accident in his own car – Maxima. He died on April 22 2010. Until his death, his music was not popular as Da Grin is popular today. He is awash on the Nigerian news, and indeed, international. Some people who will not cry for a lost relation were forced to cry. Many thought that the news of his death was a mere joke; some thought it was an expensive one. Some were saying that God should let it be a rumour. All the radio stations were slamming or jamming his music – back-to-back and front-to-front. We’ll never understand why you have to go now.

Da Grin was a huge talent, according to his admirers. He was rapping mostly in his native language – Yoruba – and scantly in English Language. His music is the trend of the epoch in the western part of Nigeria he came from. Some of his Yoruba brethren who don’t or were misled by western world not to understand Yoruba and can’t speak were jealous when they first heard his music. One of them said: When I heard the guy, spit in Yoruba I kind of used to get jealous that I couldn't speak Yoruba that well. He made me so proud to be a Yoruba guy. He made it so cool. He connected with his fans on such a real level. You just felt he was talking directly to you... you actually "felt" him. His energy came through in every word he uttered. I have video footage on my phone of my oyinbo female friends singing the hook, and some of his lyrics to idi-nla. That's how much I used to bump this guy. He was just oozing talent and originality. TBH I don't take an overwhelming majority of Nigerian rappers seriously. Even the most mainstream and heralded ones. Dagrin is pretty much the only one I comment about because I think most of the others are just clowning wannabes and cheap imitations of western rappers.

His death is affecting a lot of his admirers and has spoilt days for them. He died when they are beginning to enjoy his music – just 23. His death make many have lumps in their throat and can’t not cry again. Some feel like crying, but lose their voices and senses. The fear of not seeing him again envelopes the entire limited team of his fans. They are asking, so Da Grin is nowhere to be found in this world again?

They are hoping the doctor's incessant strike didn't contribute to the early exit of Da Grin? They are asking why his manager didn’t or other artistes think ahead and transfer him to hospitals like Eko Hospital, St. Nicholas etcetera.
They are saying that they are really disappointed.
They are feeling that the Police contributed their own quota but they are not sure of the medical team.
But they are consoling themselves, saying, we are just unhappy for your demise. Da Grin, you'll never be gone to those you loved and have touched their hearts in many ways. Your "thought-provoking" renditions are still with us in every steps of the hustle...

Some persons are asking how strong death is. They are rhetorically asking why Da Grin will die when he is needed most and was already reaching the acme of his music career. Those who love the rap genre are finding it hard to believe that he is gone forever. They see him as somebody that would have made a change in the Nigerian music industry. They wish they have a wand of power that can bring him back, they will not hesitate. Can anyone fill the vacuum Da Grin has left in the hearts of his fans? It hurts so bad that Da Grin was lost so soon!

One George Austin sees Da Grin as a legend no matter what the opinions of others are. He sees him as a mentor of a sort whom death was so envious about. Austin writes: “Like a fire that burnt through the field of an industry called music; particularly the rap genre, Da Grin came, he saw, but he never conquered death. For the short time he had reigned, where even legends strive to; he created a style that none could imitate; touched the lives of music lovers like no one else; and gave hope to the teeming youths that it is possible to make it in this country if you got style. But, he went up in a blaze of glory when we least expected it at 23”.

One Wales Loniskolobo sings a different song from Austin. For him, Da Grin is not dead. He sees Da Grin as coming back from a show-travel very soon. His words: “Hmmm! Firstly, Da Grin is not dead, is not dead, is not dead. He went for a show in heaven, so he is coming back soon…friends be ready to see him again...”

Loniskolobo’s expectation that Da Grin will come back soon seems to be a hope in one Bolo who says he can’t wait to see him, and he says, “Da Grin, words can’t express what you mean to me. Even though you’re gone, we are still a team. In the future, I can’t wait to see you. When it’s real, feelings are hard to conceal. Can’t imagine all the pain you feel… Give anything to hear half your breath. I know you’re still living your life, after death... soldier boy.”

Da Grin didn’t deserve death at this time; he deserved to reap the fruits of his hard labour of unrelenting exploration of the musical art. His death seems to be a portal to unifying those in the music industry he left to mourn him, and it calls for such. One Benson Gideon says, “It is time we foster unity among ourselves (artistes in Nigeria) and stop being biased against one another. Da Grin’s death is a wake-up call in the Nigeria’s music industry... when he was alive he had few thousands of fans but now that he is dead, the whole country is Da Grin’s fans... What a world?”

While Gideon may be insinuating that it could be the perceived enmity in the industry that might have contributed to Da Grin’s untimely death, he was perhaps oblivious that the dearth of equipments in the Nigerian hospitals could be why Da Grin died. Someone suspected to be a Kenyan suggested thus: “So sad, saw the pictures the other day after the accident. Couldn’t believe how terrible the accident was. But the most shocking was the bed he was lying on. He had to sort of help or support wires and cables which I usually see when someone is in intensive care after accident. I pray for his family and friends, but mostly for Nigeria. Light Up Nigeria! Light up your roads!! Light up your streets, your hospitals, your buildings!!! And such sad scenarios will be avoided. He was young, talented, and so much potential. Robbed away. When will enough be enough? Your country has so much money. Where is it going? You all drive around in flashy cars, but you are all denying yourselves of your social economic rights. Healthcare, security…”

This other person says, “may God punish those bloody animals that always park their trucks indiscriminately on the roads; punish the government officials that were supposed to control such criminally-vehicle-parking and the ones that misappropriate funds meant for street lights and proper ICU equipment at the hell-hole called government hospital. May God punish the sick profiteering auto dealer that sold him a previously accidented and refurbished Maximum with no air bags”.

However, it’s so sad to lose Da Grin, let alone, say good-bye. But, what can we do? According a statement, “we are like pencil in the hands of God, God giveth and taketh, and pray God will console his family and make them heal fast, though it is not easy...
No matter how we pray against death, it’ll come…it’s inevitable…So, please tell people how much u love them while they can still hear it…show them how much you care when they are alive...”

But, one thing remains as a bet in people’s minds: Da Grin could have won an MTV or Grammy awards if he was alive.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author and Media Consultant, is a Columnist and the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State, Nigeria.

Story by Odimegwu Onwumere/

P-Square Complete N100 Million Mansion!

The P-Square Mansion is finally ready...

Fresh off an extended tour of the United States, the Okoye brothers recently took delivery of some brand new wheels courtesy of Coscharis Motors. As the family moved into their newly completed Omole mansion, all four brand new auto mobiles moved in with them, relegating their previous fleet (which included Hummer jeeps ) to the background. So the equation is finally complete; brand new home, brand new cars, it’s a brand new P. Square!

According to their spokesperson, the Kora Award winners have just taken delivery of two Range Rover Sports, one X6 BMW and a Jaguar, all 2010 models which set them back a cool N50 million. This calculation is apparently without their eye-popping N100 million home located at Lola Holloway Street, Omole Estate Phase 1 where they’ve finally moved to after months of living in a hotel.

The Okoye’s accommodation problem unravelled in the most public when the twins were evicted from their rented duplex in the same estate; the owner of the duplex alleged that the Okoyes messed his house up.

Thankfully, all that’s in the past now, Paul and Peter Okoye were reportedly attacked with love and accolades in the United States by their Nigerian and American fans, while on their 45-day musical tour which ended July 24.

‘I don’t actually know how to explain how successful the tour was because aside the fact that all the shows were sold-out, the passion shown by the fans, particularly the white ones, was incredible. I never knew the Americans love us that much. Surprisingly, they know the lyrics of our songs and were singing along’, Peter enthused.

Work In Progress: While the Mansion was under construction

Their former house undergoing renovation

Psquare former house To Let


JIm Iyke

That the gangling Nollywood actor, Jim Iyke is controversial in nature can not be contested. His fights, arrogance, women battering, to mention a few, during his teenage period, testified to the man he would grow up to be and he has wonderfully displayed this traits at adulthood, especially as an actor and one of the well to do dudes in the entertainment industry in Nigeria.

Jim’s secret lover, Sally, a Sierra Leonean based in Essen in Germany, is reported to have been tested positive to the dreaded disease, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus popularly referred as HIV. The highly controversial actor, Jim Iyke, before now, information at our disposal reveals, has been involved in a lovey-dovey with this married Sierra Leonean without the knowledge of the public until the affair now became a mumbo-jumbo.

Sally, we learnt, having got entangled in an illicit affair with Jim Iyke during one of his visits to Germany, couldn’t resist the crush she had on him. She became so attached to Jim to the extent that whenever Jim was in town, she would lie to her husband that she needed to travel out of town, whereas, she would be locked in a hotel room with the brand Ambassador, Jim. In return of such good gesture, Sally, many times, would come to Nigeria to see her friend, Success, who is based in Lagos, but would sneaked out to see Jim without Success getting to know.

The relationship between Jim and Sally, gathered, later became public knowledge when the husband got wind of his wife’s adulterous moves with Jim and the quite but rich dude asked her to leave his house. The whole matter later became so complicated when the wife, Sally, told the husband that she was already carrying a baby for him.

The paternity of the baby was declined by the husband and that, we learnt, marked the beginning of her woes. After a lot of persuasions from friends and family, Sally, after she had been delivered of the baby, we gathered, opened up that Jim Iyke was responsible for the pregnancy and that he’s automatically the father of her baby. She further explained how she visited Jim in Nigeria three times without the knowledge of her husband or her friend’s, Success.

During the pregnancy period, rumour has it that, Sally contacted Jim in Nigeria to intimate him about the pregnancy only for Jim to have distanced himself immediately from her and warned her never to come to him or even call him for any reason again. Now, the baby is alive, an alleged split-image of Jim, but the sad tale about this whole story is that, Sally has now been diagnosed to be HIV positive and there is strong indication that Jim Iyke himself is likely to be sharing same status with Sally. Call it triple tragedy for Sally and you are not far from the truth. Effort to reach Jim Iyke to comment on this matter was aborted.

Story by Alonge Michael