“Let’s be honest, this award belongs to Lil Kesh, because Lil Kesh is our own Next Rated artist. F**k that shit!…. The streets ti take over. Every f**king single was a hit back to back. From ‘Lyrically’ to ‘Shoki’ to ‘Efejoku.’ Ko ni dafun iyalaya anybody.”
Headies 2015 will go down as one of the most memorable nights in the Nigerian music industry in the last decade, a night that showed the classism in the industry, the real exposure of the inferiority complex that exists between the islanders and the mainlanders.
“Don’t come to d mainland .. Honestly .. Fuck u !!!!!!!!!!!!! I am fucking mainland” this tweet still resonates in my mind when I see anything from Olamide, the award show was so messy it strained a lot of relationships that still lingers 5 years later.
An award that I still think Ololade” Lil Kesh” Keshinro deserved but was deprived of and given to Don Jazzy’s Reekado Banks by reasons best known to the organizers (one known to me is – Lil Kesh’s fans didn’t vote as much as Reekadicts).
5 years later, and one question stills persists “where is Lil Kesh?”
After leaving YBNL in April 2016 following the expiration of his 2-year recording contract with the label and establishing his own imprint Y.A.G.I. Records (Young and Getting It) named after his debut album, Lil Kesh has surprisingly become a shadow of his former self.
The once heir to the street and epitome to all upcoming artistes nationwide especially Lagos, has been relegated to the sidelines by the same people he once represented with every ounce of blood cells he had so what did he do wrong?
As a music enthusiast and a follower of rapper Lil Kesh, his deviation from what he started with cost him his career.
His early days were pure, undiluted and a victory for the street particularly Bariga (the environment he grew up in) his music was filled with tales of hustle, love, wanton celebration and fights. In fact, his debut album was hinged on these tales that made him loved by both the rich and poor, both islanders and mainlanders and accepted generally by critics. Everything he started with changed immediately he left the coven of his then boss Olamide.
In an interview in 2016, Lil Kesh said he wasn’t a rapper but an entertainer like his mentor – Olamide. That ushered him to diversifying his sounds, a move that saw him increasing his vulgarity (thereby losing teenage fans), reducing his street tales (losing core fans), making club-inclined music (which already has a great number of competitors), having a not credible management, leaving the streets and moving to Lekki (losing his street credibility), staying off social media, being too “huge” and dancing less and not doing any major work on his A&R, media PR forgetting Olamide earned his respect before choosing to be a boss “entertainer”.
These moves greatly reduced the acceptability of his sounds with most of the songs released post YBNL era below par. His music has become a completely different sound from what the fans expect, he is not informing them what is happening in his life but randomly just dropping songs on them, not growing his platform, not collaborating with artistes from different circles, just going the against the blueprint laid for him.
The Nigerian music industry is a cruel place with no loyalty and people quickly moving on to the next wave. As an artiste, he needs his team to use this precarious period to look at how to fix his situation. Lil Kesh started as a rapper with so much to offer but in an effort to sound like Olamide, he messed up everything he stood for. His release began to sound like 0 thought process, just vibes.
I know deep down lyrically still lives in Kesh, all he has to do is visit his roots.