Da Grin died on April 22, 2010, making April 22, 2022 12 years since his demise.
Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun, known professionally as Da Grin was a Nigerian rapper, whose time at the top was cut short by death, but is fondly remembered as one of the most talented rappers straight out of Nigeria.
April 22, 2010 was a dark Thursday for all music and hip hop fans across Nigeria after news of Da Grin’s death via a ghastly motor accident spread across the internet.
Several singles and an album and Da Grin was already being touted as the king of rap in Nigeria. Not that we knew at the time, but the late rapper left during the golden age of hip hop in the country.
Like Afrobeats, the hip hop genre was booming in the early 2010s, with rappers representing from almost every part of the country. MI and his Aboki Bros were holding it down from the North and middle belt, Eastern Nigerian hip hop was also floirishing with the likes of Nigga Raw, Ikechukwu, Naeto C, and Ill Bliss, while a certain Phyno was slowly climbing his way up the ladder, albeit as a director.
The West had a larger share of the representation, and with Lagos serving as Nigeria’s commercial and creative capital, everyone wanted a piece of the pie.
Nonetheless, Da Grin’s imprint spread all over the city, igniting an era of dominance for Western rappers, who like him, their rap style incorporated Yoruba, English and Pidgin.
But towards the mid 2010s, hip hop gradually faded, with the leftover of Da Grin’s legacy moving over to Afrobeats.
Today, the genre is as uninspiring as it is inaccessible and almost non-existent. And any progress that Da Grin’s work may have sparked has been lost.
12 years on from his death, and like the car with which he crashed hip hop has failed to move.