Olamide’s growth from being the guy trying to out live DaGrin to becoming the voice of the street is quite remarkable. Over the years he has wrapped his fingers tightly around street rap with back to back hits and each being an incremental leap for a relatively successful artistry. This list is not to say that Olamide’s entire career had five good songs, but to highlight five important indicators of Olamide’s inherent destiny for greatness. Check out our list of five of the most career defining songs from Olamide’s expansive catalog.
According to an interview with OAP, Toolz, six years of work in the studio with ID Cabasa was the catalyst to Olamide’s debut album. “Eni Duro”, the lead single off the album came at a time Nigerians needed to get over the loss of Dagrin. Despite the comparisons with the late CEO, “Eni Duro” had a loose freestyle flow that set him apart from the late Dagrin’s grit and thug-ness. The popularity of “Eni Duro” rose through word of mouth and cell phone to cell phone Bluetooth shares until an accompanying video visually introducing Olamide dropped later that year, marking the humble beginnings of the Badoo we know today.
Released at a time Olamide was fresh out of his contract with Coded Tunes studio and slowly pedaling an uphill journey as an independent artist, “Ilefo Illuminati” featured an Olamide ready to damn consequences as he vow to sell his soul for his fame and its fruits. Though its popularity largely leveraged internet hoxes and conspiracies around celebrities said to have made soul deals with the Illuminati at the time, Olamide’s “Ilefo Illuminati” was a deal with the game, an announcement hustlehood more or less. Olamide stayed true to his words in the following months, creating his own record label Yahoo Boy No Laptop(YBNL) and releasing an album with the same name as if to emphasize a point to other rappers that “I’m from the streets and I’m here to snatch your fans however I can”.
By the release of “Durosoke” Olamide who had already mapped indigenous rap as his territory for taking, a singular act he’d performed with Voice Of The Streets, a braggart self-declaration only a few have gotten away with. “Durosoke” marked the end of his transition into a full-fledged jollof artist, who still holds credibility as a good MC. This was a career defining moment in Olamide’s career because he stripped away all foreign influences for an authentically local rap flow from top to bottom. This switch gave birth to other hit songs like “Yemi My Lover”, “Mu Emu” and other tracks off his most inventive album Baddest Guy Ever Liveth album.
There are occasional whispers on the street that speculate Olamide revived indegenous rap, but such discussions are usually kept far from artists like Phyno, who has risen to a staggering level of fame in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. Olamide’s strategic position as an artist who blew up from Lagos therefore made Phyno an unlikely but great collaborator. The duo would later drop a slew of singles and a mediocre 2 Kings joint project to cement their odd relationship in the following years but “Ghost Mode” earmarked the beginning of a highly potent creative relationship. In a country like Nigeria with volatile tribe and ethnic relations, “Ghost Mode” did not only create cultural cross over avenues for both rappers, it also became an hallmark for national unity through music.
Young John became a revelation in 2015 due to the astronomical success Olamide’s “Shakiti Bobo. The impact of this one viral single began to set Olamide’s impact on pop culture in stone, a reputation he would solidify in the coming months with a Kanye-style rant calling out Don Jazzy and painting the Headies stage with colourful new quips for social media to hashtags to jump on. The success of “Shakiti Bobo” made social media relevance a hallmark for measuring the impact of a song on the culture, it granted Olamide the immortality of an internet that never forgets or lets anything go.