He was touted by many to become one of the biggest sensations in Nigeria’s rap industry. But just when he seemed to be within touching distance of his best, he was clawed to the great beyond by the cold hands of death.

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This was the story of Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun, Nigerian rapper, better known as Dagrin. Growing up in the streets of Meiran, Alagbado, a suburb in Lagos state, Dagrin had many dreams.

He wanted to be a voice for the voiceless, a force for the black race and an inspiration to several Nigerians going through tick and thin to make ends meet.

Journey to stardom

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Born on October 25, 1984 in Ogun state, Dagrin took the Nigerian music industry by storm in the early 2000s before his death in 2010.

The gifted rapper rode to the spotlight on the groundswell of several amazing songs which resonated with many Nigerians.

One of such is ‘Efimile’ a hit song by YQ, Nigerian rapper. Released in 2008, ‘Efimile’ fetched Dagrin a huge popularity and also an increased fan base with many commending his lyrical prowess.

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It also opened the floodgates for more achievements. Dagrin continued his impressive music career with strings of other hit songs including ‘Pon Pon Pon’, a song off ‘Chief Executive Omoita’, the rapper’s album.

Other of his hit songs include ‘Kondo’, ‘Ghetto Dreams’ and ‘If I Die’. The singer also collaborated with several Nigerian artistes including 9ice, MI Abaga, Iceberg Slim Omobaba and Terry G.

Dagrin’s short spell in the music landscape saw him snagged several awards and recognition. In 2010, ‘CEO’, his hit project, won him ‘Best Rap Album’ at the Hip Hop World Award (HHWA) in 2010.

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Dagrin is considered as one of the pioneers of modern rap and street songs

That same year, 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.

The short-lived ‘rap messiah’

Dagrin will be remembered for many things, one of which was his short-lived life. More intriguing, perhaps, was the situation surrounding his death.

On April 22, 2010, Dagrin passed away after battling injuries from a ghastly auto crash. His death, however, came on the heels of the release of ‘If I Die’, one of his hit songs, wherein the singer had asked his fans not to mourn him when he dies.

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“If I die my guy, make you no cry for me… God na my creator Fela na my mentor, money no dey drive me, money na my conductor…,” he had said in the song released shortly before his death.

Legacy

Dagrin may not have lived up to the expectations of many of his fans, but his impact on the Nigerian music landscape will remain evergreen for years to come.

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In one of his hit songs, Dagrin had asked his fans not to mourn him when he dies

The 25-year-old singer is considered as one of the pioneers of modern rap and street songs in Nigeria. He was also considered an inspiration to several other Nigerian music superstars such has Olamide, Lil kesh, who have continued to blaze the trail in the contemporary times.

Dagrin’s songs are mostly a reflection of the hustling and bustling of most Nigerian streets and the tales of survival of the people against the odds.

In ‘Pon Pon Pon’ for instance, Dagrin mirrors on the the lifestyle and struggles of people in the slums and the luxuries obtainable in highbrow areas of Lagos and other cities.

Dagrin is also known promoting culture through his songs. His unique style of rapping in Yoruba and as well as a blend of Pidgin and English inspired the development of indigenous rap in Nigeria.

Tributes from Nigerians

Several Nigerians have taken to social media platform to pay tribute to the late rap legend, 10 years after his demise.

“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Dagrin passed on. When I remember him laying there, tied to a bed and struggling, in a so called ‘private ward,’ no machines to monitor or help him – absolutely nothing, it reminds me how senseless his death was. He was such a great guy, a Twitter user wrote.

Hear is what other Nigerians had to say:



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