By Anifowose George for Golden Icons
Michael Jackson, Bob- Marley, Lucky Dube, 2Pac Shakur, Dagrin and Notorious B.I.G all have a couple of things in common. Apart from the fact that they all dominated the music world at one time or the other in their life, they have all departed this world leaving a gaping hole and their mark in the sands of time.
Needless to say life is short and death is a debt every mortal must pay but the suspense that surrounds life and death makes each day a gift. When death visits, it does so without prior announcement neither does it leaves room for negotiation.
Death does not respect age, success, creed or race. It strikes whenever it deems fit!
The news came as a rude shock on the evening of Thursday April 22. Like wild fire in harmattan weather, the unsavory news of wave- making rapper Dagrin’s death had swept across Lagos, Ogun and in fact the whole of Nigeria. Even fans and music enthusiasts from outside the shores of Nigeria- U.K and America who had caught the bug of Dagrin’s infectious music started making frantic calls to confirm the news.
To many of his fans who had been praying and wishing for a miracle, the news was a rumour – as far as they were concerned, Dagrin was going to recorver from the ghastly accident and return to bless their ears with more melodious and witty rap songs.
Alas!, it was not meant to be as the fast burgeoning rapper was confirmed dead in a statement from the family which read thus:
‘‘We regret to announce the passing of our son, friend, partner and brother Mr. Olaitan Oladapo Olaonipekun A.K.A. Dagrin.
He died at 6:00pm on Thursday April 22 – exactly eight days after he was involved in a ghastly accident in front of Alakara Police station, off Agege motor road, Mushin, Lagos.
He survived a serious head injury, as a result of the crash.
He was initially admitted at Tai Solarin Hospital, Baba Olosha Bus stop, Mushin before he was transferred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi Araba where Doctors made serious efforts to save his life. He was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit and operated upon, and later moved to the private wing of the hospital.
Doctors worked day and night; we fasted and prayed, but all efforts to save his life proved abortive. We lost him on Thursday April 22, 2010 at 6:00PM.’’
I recall the last time I saw him on Friday, April 02, 2010 at the annual KENNIS music Easter fiesta held at Oriental Hotel, Lekki. Dagrin was in his usual elements cracking jokes, chatting with friends and leaving me in amazement at his humility even as his status as one of Nigeria’s most wanted artiste was rising at an alarming rate.
As usual, he posted an energetic and crowd frenzy performance. To say the fans loved him would be an understatement. The fans adored him!
Born Olaitan Olaonipekun to a polygamous family, life was far from rosy for young Olaitan- life never gave him anything on a platter of gold but Dagrin as he was to be popularly known later was bent on sniffing the best out of life.
In one of his songs, he was never shy to tell his story, to relay to his fans tales of hardship where he had to do menial jobs to keep body and soul together. Dagrin hustled his way through the streets, through the hardship laced road to success and sadly when success was knocking on his door, his life was cut short- a glowing star was dimmed.
The aspiring rapper went to Rosemary Nursery and Primary School and Good Shepherd Nursery and Primary School before attaining his secondary school education at the Community High School, Egbado College. Dagrin’s mother was the second of his father’s three wives, in a home full of strife thus higher education was a luxury Dagrin’s family could never afford. He did however study in a computer institution somewhere around Lagos, but Dagrin’s heart was always somewhere else entirely, he found music at an early age and since then, they have been inseperable.
Initially the beginning was rough for Dagrin but he was resolute. His debut album Still On the matter dropped without much buzz or success as the album failed to hit the bulls eye. But Dagrin saw light at the end of the tunnel. He continued hustling on the streets residing in Surulere, Lagos where he was able to meet a lot of industry players and fellow artistes. In 2008, he teamed up with fellow up and coming artiste YQ to release the track ‘‘fimile’’. The track did not only become a street anthem, it catapulted Dagrin from obscurity to celebrity making many music fans sit up to take note of his awesome talent.
His second album, C.E.O (Chief Executive Omoita) released in September 2009 under his own imprint Mi So Fu Yin Entertainment cemented Dagrin’s place as one of the best artiste’s to recently emerge from Nigeria. Fame and financial success were both trailing, seeking him passionately and Dagrin was also ready to court them both.
But no one expected that the C.E.O album would be Dagrin’s last with the rate at which he was performing at shows, featuring in collaboration and riding on the back of the success of the hits songs pon pon pon and Kondo. Dagrin was poised to join the A-list of musicians in Nigeria but sadly, it was not to be.
‘‘Wot do u guyz xpect from my next album? More of english rap pidgin or d yoruba tin?’’
He asked his fans on social networking site twitter on 24th march @4:25am. Although Dagrin never invented rapping in Yoruba, he brought a new identity to the art with his natural swagger, ability to effortlessly weave Yoruba words and make it rhyme. When he rapped, he made it looked so easy and who could forget the funny way he mocked the beat with his witty trademark laughter. Dagrin perfected rapping in Yoruba; he stood out from other Yoruba rapper and endeared himself to the streets where he belonged to. His song cut across the different people on the streets- the hustlers, the street urchins, the hawkers and the gangstars. Few days before the accident that claimed his life, Dagrin was unveiled as one of the nominees for the 2010 Hip-Hop world awards. He had three nominations to his name.
His childhood dream which he had suffered to achieve was gradually coming true and his parents were sitting back to reap the fruit of their labour but death had other plans. It has been a bitter pill for his fans to swallow, more bitter news for his parents to comprehend but Dagrin left a huge impression in the hearts of his fans and everyone who was privileged to know him.
Dagrin is probably in heaven sharing a seat with the likes of Notorious B.I.G and 2pac. And who knows, they could be planning a rap song together right there in heaven. He’ll live on in our hearts and in his music!
Click play to listen to some his Tracks:
Thank God Ft. Omawumi [sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=http://goldenicons.com/audio/dagrin/Dagrin_-_Thank_God_ft._Omawumi.mp3]
Kondo [sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=http://goldenicons.com/audio/dagrin/Dagrin_-_Kondo.mp3]