1984 - 2010 - Popular Nigerian hip-hop star Dagrin , born Olayitan Olanipekun Oladapo. The rising act who has been dubbed Nigeria’s 50Cents died from complications arising from injuries he sustained in a ghastly motor accident on the 14th of April, 2010 when he ran into a stationary truck around 3am at Mushin in Lagos.
Dagrin meant different things to different people
The music community in Nigeria is still mourning, following the passing, last week, of 26 year-old rapper, Olaitan Olaonipekun popularly called Dagrin.
His friends are hitting themselves on the floor, totally refusing to be consoled; his multitude of fans are weeping and wailing, and asking him to get up. His parents are shocked and stranded, lamenting the loss of their son and breadwinner, and hoping to wake up and find it‘s all a dream.
Dagrin meant different things to different people. To his parents, he was a breadwinner and comforter; he was their claim to fame. To his friends, he was a loyal buddie with who they rocked and rolled and shared ideas of what tomorrow should look like. To the media, he was the later Yoruba lyricist whose glory would surpass that of his predecessor; the underrated rapper who would grab fame and success and elope with both when it appeared no one was willing to hand them over to him. To his colleagues, he was a wordsmith; an unusual painter who used words to create pictures that‘ll make even the blind marvel; he was a reliable partner and collaborator, and an inspiration to many who were still struggling to make their first hit.
To the fans Dagrin was not just an entertainer. He was a mentor, a leader, a prophet even. He spoke their minds and narrated their tribulations. Using himself as case study, he highlighted the pros and cons of life in the streets; the pains and gains of a life filled with wine, women and weed; and how, eventually, living right is the only alternative.
He was not ashamed to admit his failings, his excesses. On every lyric he wrote, he did not over-censor himself or attempt to appear polished or sophisticated. Listen to his words; his stories, his diction and pronunciation you‘d easily figure was a product of the streets a scarcely educated young man who struggled to be the best he could be, in spite of overwhelming disadvantages.
There‘s a Dagrin in almost every community from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Kaduna. Gifted and determined young men and women who are passionately screaming yes! Even though their ‘chi‘ is saying nay.
They‘re the friends, fans and followers that‘ve been wailing since Dagrin gave up the ghost last week. They stormed LUTH and threatened to pull the place down. They trooped to the accident spot in Mushin and caused commotion. They‘ve been clad in black since Thursday April 22, and held uncountable candlelight processions. They‘re angry. Angry at the government. Angry at LUTH. Angry at the owner and driver of the truck Dagrin ran under. They‘re angry at the system - and, with Dagrin‘s father pleading with them not to take the law into their hands, they‘re now channelling that anger into different means.
Dagrin memorial T-shirts are out already. Tribute songs and DJ mixes are out already (including one by Sound Sultan). Last weekend, Hip TV dedicated its whole weekend programming to the late rapper. Same for Soundcity and Nigezie. Radio shows dominated their playlists with his discography while on Facebook and Twitter, the extent of love is unbelievable for a man who only secured his first hits few months ago.
Like 2PAC, Fela and Biggie
It’s easy to understand,
when hundreds of thousands of youths take to the streets and mourn without ceasing, when Fela or 2pac or Biggie dies. Accomplished by all definitions, Fela had been around for decades, recruiting fans from everywhere possible and nurturing them robustly; so you would expect the entire nation to shed tears when he passed on in 1997.
2pac and The Notorious B.I.G. were global hip hop icons who - though young at the time they died had topped the charts for years and reached the peak of their careers. Were you surprised when the world seemed to stop for a minute, and millions were mourning like they lost a lover, when Michael Jackson died last year?
That millions of young people around the country are talking about Dagrin at the same time; that notable websites are ‘crashing‘ because of overwhelming hits following the rapper‘s death (thenetng.com which broke the news of the rapper‘s death, was down for hours, after the visits became more than their server could handle); that entertainment who‘s who, government officials and others are falling over themselves to be of help, is a testimony to the fact that Dagrin touched many during his short stay. And not just that. It shows the young man was a true star who rode to fame on the power of his music and message, and not by vainly cultivating the media.
We all thought he was just about to blow. He thought he was rising fastly too, and would quickly get to the top. We thought he was the next big thing, after 9ice and MI and Wande Coal. We were all wrong. Dagrin had blown since last year. He was already a bonafide hitmaker and music star. It had happened before our very eyes. But, we were too blind to see it. Just like Terry G, who was roaming around for years before his music finally became viral, we took Dagrin for granted.
It was not until the unfortunate crash of April 14, and the outpour of emotions, that many saw the extent of the rappers’ fame; his street credibility and immense following. And, by the time he died eight days later, he had occupied his place among the league of bonafide super stars. Sad. He didn‘t have to die to accomplish that. But he‘s lucky to be blessed in death. He‘s lucky he‘s able to earn in death what he struggled to achieve all his life. I know a few who are not that lucky.
Hip hop, too, is lucky to have had an apostle like Dagrin, at a time when pop music was choking the artform. Just like Lord of Ajasa and MI, Dagrin took rap music, and coated it in a garb many who hitherto frowned at hip hop would identify with. He took the culture and the music to a different audience entirely. Dagrin was to rap, what Pasuma is to Fuji music; what Shina Peters was to Juju music. He was to Nigeria‘s hip hop world, what Barack Obama was to the US electorate...
As Dagrin is laid to rest today, many that have died before him will look down and wish they were so celebrated when they departed. And many of his colleagues who are still living will say a silent prayer to God, begging him to let them die at the right time; at a time when death would shower them with glory, honour and blessing.
Now, who profits?
Unfortunately, Dagrin‘s death brings to the fore again, the lack of requisite structures in our music industry. The poor boy is now dead and gone, leaving his family with a lot of fame, and little in cash and materials. His parents are not exactly comfortable, and on the day he died, his father referred to him repeatedly as his breadwinner.
If this was the US or UK, his label and family would already be reaping the benefits even before they take off their mourning clothes. Talk about royalties from radio and TV airplay, ringtones and caller tunes et cetera. They‘d be brokering merchandise deals and maybe even looking at the possibility of a memorial album. His label would be able to recoup their investment; and his family would never know want again. But since last week, when the rapper died, the only people that have profited have been those who had no stake in his life at all. Pirated copies of his CDs have surfaced everywhere, memorial T-shirts and souvenirs are showing up every day with neither the label nor family in the know. One of his last recorded songs, If I Die has leaked into radio and the internet and found its way into a thousand-and-one phones without his label or family knowing how it happened nor standing to benefit in any way.
His unfulfilled dreams
- He was just planning to shoot the video for his hit track, ‘Kondo.’
- He‘ll never get to perform at his April 30 concert at Indigo, 02 in London.
- He was scheduled to attend a visa application interview at the American embassy.
- His hope of winning the Hip Hop World Awards never came through. He was up for three awards this year. He was also scheduled to perform.
A doctor’s perspective
Looking at the crashed car, the front of the vehicle was crushed and would have compressed the person sitting in front of the car. There would have been a lot of bleeding, cuts on different parts of the body which is a source of infection, bone fractures, tissue damage, injury to the abdomen (stomach). Injury to the abdomen could be open in which contents of the abdomen are exposed to the atmosphere or blunt, in which case it looks like nothing has happened but there‘s a lot of damage to the structures inside which include; the spleen (rupture of the spleen causes massive internal bleeding), intestines( damage to which will make its contents spill into the abdomen and cause a lot of infection), liver (damage to the liver can lead to prolonged bleeding).
With the level of impact, he could also have sustained head injury. As we all know the head houses the brain which controls all the body functions including breathing, movement, consciousness etc. Irreversible brain damage may be fatal.
The accident he was involved in is one which can cause a multiorgan dysfunction which means that almost all the organs in the body are affected and they may be damaged beyond repair.
He was admitted at LUTH on Thursday April 15, 2010 and the resident doctors went on strike at 12am that same day. Senior, junior and interns are the three categories that made up the resident doctors. When a patient is admitted, the resident doctors are always the one that take care of him/her when the consultants have left. Consultants don‘t do 24 hours. Resident doctors and the interns are the ones that work. Interns are just fresh graduates who have not had much experience and undergoing training in the field.
In most hospitals, when the strike started they discharged their patients. If you visit most of the hospitals now, many wards will be empty, because resident doctors are on strike. Most patients are being sent to private hospitals. Even if he looks like he was getting better, something might be going on in his system. He might have had an ‘Embolus, ‘in his kind of accident. (E.g. a pipe which is blocked by a stone. If water is passed through such pipe, it will prevent easy or free flow)
Dagrin will be buried today at the Ebony Private Vault, Atan Cemetery, Lagos.
Dagrin: 26 quick facts
1. He was 26 years old; born in 1984, according to his birth document.
2. He had two albums to his name: ‘Still on the matter’ and ‘CEO’
3. His father has three wives.
4. He was up for three awards at this year‘s HHWA.
5. He was an indigene of Abeokuta in Ogun State.
6. His Nissan Maxima was just two weeks old at the time of the crash.
7. His number plate was Dagrin 03.
8. His Facebook and Twitter ID was ‘Dagrinfimilejo.
9. He was signed to his own label, Missofunyin Entertainment.
10. He chose rapping in Yoruba because he was not versatile in English Language.
11. He recorded a tragically prophetic song titled ‘If I die’ about two months before his death.
12. He was in ICU at LUTH for four days, before he was moved into the private wing of the hospital.
13. He left home when he was still very young, and was not very close to his family until recently.
14. His last tweet was to a fan named Yewande Sobamowo. He simply wrote ‘lol.’
15. He had three videos of his own: Pon pon pon, Kowale and Rap rule.
16. His mother is the second of his father‘s three wives.
17. He attended Rosemary Primary School and Good Shepherd Nursery and Primary School.
18. He had his secondary education at Community High school, Egbado.
19. He was already recording materials for his third album before his death.
20. Some of his closest friends and collaborators are YQ, Tilaman, Zeez and Sossick.
21. Dagrin was not an amateur driver; he had been driving for long before his label bought him the ill-fated Maxima.
22. One of his favourite aliases was Barack O’Grin
23. Although Dagrin was a heavy drinker who preferred spirits to wine, it has not been confirmed that he was drunk or tipsy at the time of the crash.
24. He was alone in the car when the accident happened.
25. Dagrin’s album, CEO, was the most successful rap album of 2009, and one of the most successful hip hop CDS since Ruggedman ‘Thy Album Come’ and MI’s ‘Let’s Talk About It.’
26. He died around 6PM on Thursday April 22, at the private wing of LUTH.
- Culled From Punch Newspaper