In the Nigerian Music Industry, there are kings and there are kingmakers. One name that we can all agree can confidently assume both roles is YBNL boss, Olamide.
Coming from an artist who gave us several hit songs with incredible albums in his name, Olamide has somehow transitioned from being just an artist to a label boss who pushes those signed under him to stardom.
Whenever a conversation like this comes up, the first and most important question people ask is “how easy is it to build your own musical career and build others too?”
Unless the 33-year-old rap icon wants to explain how he has been doing it over the years to us, we might never be able to figure it out. But to some of us, this skill and foresight is something worthy of study.
In this article, we will look at the artists that Olamide was able to push from the ‘upcoming’ status into the spotlight as well as those whom the power of his feature helped boost their musical career.
In 2014, Keshinro Ololade, popularly known as Lil Kesh became a superstar. Prior to this, he had success on his single titled ‘Lyrically’ which made waves in Nigerian universities but his affiliation to YBNL immediately changed the trajectory he was heading.
After signing with YBNL, Lil Kesh dropped a series of hit songs including Shoki – which Olamide himself featured on the remix, winning Lil Kesh two awards as well as topping charts – Efejoku, Gbese, and his debut studio album titled ‘Yagi.’
Talking during an interview, Lil Kesh revealed how Olamide found him and how the song ‘Lyrically’ was made.
“Baddo finding me was pure grace. I was never in the industry, attending shows and hoping to meet artists. Fam, I was in Bariga when I got the call from Baddo and it all came from ‘Lyrically.’ I downloaded the beat online because I had no money and recorded on it.”
So far, it is safe to say the best years in Lil Leah’s musical career were between 2014 to 2016.
For someone who loves everything creative, Adekunle Gold can be said to have paid his dues. His rise to stardom in 2015 was not a mistake. He worked his way through it, first with his cover of One Direction’s ‘Story of my Life’ which he titled ‘Sade’, and then his first official single through YBNL titled ‘Orente.’
Creating a path for success with his previous songs, Adekunle Gold released his first studio album in 2016 which had sixteen songs and big production names such as Masterkraft, B Banks, and Pheelz on it.
Also, the album peaked at #7 on the Billboard World Album Chart for the week of 13 August 2016.
In an interview, while promoting his album shortly after leaving YBNL, Adekunle Gold spoke very highly of Olamide as well as YBNL and the impact the two had on his musical career.
“YBNL moved me. I had Sade before YBNL and it was already getting popular. When I got signed to the label, we shot the video and it became a sensation everywhere. Getting signed to YBNL took me to London for the first time. That was in 2015. So, YBNL changed everything for me. I am grateful to Olamide for all the support and inspiration.”
All that was needed to show Fireboy DML’s talent to the world was an appearance on YBNL Nation’s collaborative album in 2018 titled ‘Mafia Family.’ The song titled ‘Jealous’ was then re-released in 2019 to an already buzzing fan base Fireboy DML has built due to his brilliance on the song and affiliation to YBNL. Since then, his story has not remained the same.
He released ‘What If I Say’ with the video directed by TG Omori and then his debut studio album titled ‘Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps’ with no guest feature but managed to get 6 million streams on Spotify three days after its release.
From the artist who sang ‘Jealous’ in 2018 to his best hit track so far titled ‘Peru,’ Fireboy DML has enjoyed stardom.
In a Twitter post made by Fireboy DML in 2021, the singer praised Olamide while also calling him the ‘Greatest of all Time.’
“Forever grateful to Baddo for being such a good human being. da Goat 4L.”
If you live under the rock, you would have heard about an artist called ‘Ololade mi Asake.’ He is one of the hot sensations in the Nigerian music industry right now with a series of hit songs like Sungba, Terminator, Omo Ope, PBUY, amongst others.
Coming from his single with Zlatan and Peruzzi in 2020, to who he is now, there are several arguments about the influence of Olamide on his music.
Asake continues to drop music sweet to the ears. His first EP, ‘Ololade Asake’ had four songs on it and they were all great songs. He followed it with his first studio album, ‘Mr. Money With The Vibe‘ which has dominated streaming platforms’ charts all over the world.
In a tweet posted on Asake’s Twitter page, he recounts how Olamide changed his life.
“One call from Olamide and everything changed.”
The Power Of Olamide’s Features
Recently, when popular Nigerian singer, Zlatan Ibile heaped praises on YBNL boss, Olamide, we all could relate to it. After all, Baddo as he is fondly called didn’t just help artists signed to his label alone but also used his influence on songs with others to push them into the spotlight or help them build a wider fan base.
Some of those artists include Zlatan Ibile, Phyno, Bella Shmurda, and Portable.
Phyno – Ghost Mode
Phyno in all his right was already doing good for himself, especially with a feature of his song ‘Multiply’ with big names like Flavour, Timaya, and M.I, but a feature with Olamide exposed him to a wider fan base, especially in the western part of the country where Olamide is regarded as ‘the king of the street.’
Ghost Mode won the Best Collabo at that year’s Headies Awards.
Recently, Zlatan Ibile was seen in a viral video praising Olamide for helping his musical career and many others without bragging about it.
“My song, first song, he called me on phone on Instagram, took me to another state. Till I was recording I didn’t believe I was going to record that song. He changed my life, he changed my career till today.”
Although Zlatan Ibile has been singing before his encounter with Olamide, his breakthrough was when Olamide featured on ‘My Body.’ This song was so big and one would have thought it gave the singer the inspiration to keep going stronger.
He has released more hits songs since then.
You might not know the name ‘Portable’ but there is no way you are current with news in the Nigerian Music Industry and you don’t know ‘ZaZoo Zehh.’
Portable is one of those street singers that has been doing his own thing for quite a while but with a small fanbase on his social media platform. It took only a verse from Olamide on a remix of the song for Portable to become a nationwide sensation.
Ordinarily, his affiliation with the YBNL boss alone has opened lots of doors for him with big artists in the industry as well as music promoters.
In the Nigerian Music Industry of today, there is no way you talk about the living legends and not mention the name of Olamide, primarily because of his talent as a musician and also because of his ability to spot talent and nurture it till it grows.
From being called ‘the king of the street’ to making kings on the street, Olamide is a force in the industry.