By Lolade Sowoolu
Strings of impromptu activities have pervaded this outgoing week, all organised to celebrate the brief but impacting life of late 26 year old rapper Olaonipekun Olaitan a.k.a Dagrin, who passed on 6pm, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), penultimate Thursday after surviving a horrendous car crash.
The events held both at home and abroad were organised by different stakeholders in the Nigerian entertainment industry and many of Dagrinâ€™s ex-colleagues, fans and industry patrons tookÂ time to attend these functions in memory of the dead.
After the press and fans besieged LUTH on Friday (23rd April), hoping to see his body moved out of the morgue, Dagrinâ€™s family and friends released official burial plans for the late CEO. His father, Comrade Olaniyi Olaonipekun appealed to aggrieved fans- many who insisted on seeing the deceasedâ€™s body before leaving the hospital premise, promising that he would not be buried in secret.
He was quoted as saying, â€œI am not mourning please. I want everybody to know that Da Grin is a national loss. So itâ€™s Nigeria that is mourningâ€.
Organised activities in Dagrinâ€™s honour began on Sunday with a candle-light procession to his parents house in Meiran, Lagos from the late rapperâ€™s last residence in Sunshine Estate, Agege.
Apart from friendsâ€™ changing their profile pictures to those of Da Grinâ€™s, many statuses have been dedicated to saying something directly or indirectly, on Facebook and Twitter, all about the life and time of the rapper and his untimely and painful demise.
Pre-burial activities began on Wednesday with â€˜Industry Nite in memory of Da Grinâ€™ at popular Lagos club, Tribecca. It had in attendance a couple of the CEOâ€™s contemporaries like General Pype, Sasha, Kaha and even seniors like Sound sultan, Baba Dee and Ras Kimono, even though the popular A-listers, like Dâ€™banj and Darey were absent.
Donations were collected for the family of the dead. The Place, another celebrity hang out spot in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, held a tribute party at 7pm, same day in the late rapperâ€™s memory. Thursday was candle light procession from akogunâ€™s one-time residence in Surulere to popular hang out spot, Ojez at 6pm while his body was laid to rest on Friday at the Ebony Private Vault in Atan cemetery, Yaba, Lagos.
And today, at the Swe Bar & Lounge, Onikan, Lagos- a place Da Grin frequented in his days as an artiste, an event tagged â€œDa Grin, The Man & His Musicâ€ will begin by 6pm till dawn. The event packaged by the management of the lounge in conjunction with ACE magazine will feature special Karaoke editions of Da Grinâ€™s songs.
â€œItâ€™s a tribute to a man who was not only a friend of the house but an extremely gifted artiste. We want to celebrate his achievements, his life and all that he stood forâ€, the statement by organisers read in part.
Sunday has been set aside as the official visiting day at Mr and Mrs Olaniyi Olanipekunâ€™s residence in Meiran, Lagos.
*Da grinâ€™s official tribute song
To properly immortalize the Chief Executive Omo-ita (CEO), barrack Oâ€™Da Grin, colleagues have put together a two part song as an all starsâ€™ tribute to Da Grin. The song is titled â€˜My Painâ€™ and features Sheyman, Reminise, Durella, El Dee, Omawunmi, Jahbless, Ajasa, Ruggedman, Banky W and T-Code in the first part and in this order. The other part parades Dude Tetsola, Waje, Bigiano, Kel, AY.Com and Jaywon all pouring out their hearts in memory of the late rapper. The song is produced by Sheyman.
*His death and the HHWA
Even though living is better than dying, like Michael Jackson, like Elvis Presley, Da Grinâ€™s death is whipping up massive sentiments which just might help him wins his three nominations at this yearâ€™s Hip Hop World Awards; even if post-humus.
The late rapper is nominated in the Album of the Year, Artiste of the Year and Best Rap Album categories. Intensive vote campaign is on-going by fans on Facebook asking all to win the first award(s) for the rapperâ€™s in memory of his impact on the Nigerian music scene.
*Did he live expecting death?
Da grin worked tirelessly like he knew he had a short time to live. In the few months of fame that music brought him while he was alive, he recorded more collaborations than any other known artiste in Nigeria.
And he didnâ€™t just rap on others songsâ€™, he asserted himself with each word winning fans all the way and making such songs become almost compelling each time they played on radio or were shown on Tv. His first video appearance was on YQâ€™s E fi mi le, No wonder YQ is yet to come around since Dagrinâ€™s demise.
Pon pon pon, Kondo, Mo ti gboro and lately Ghetto Dreams are perhaps the most popular of his songs and now slowly but gradually, â€˜If I dieâ€™ is filtering in.
The song, If I die, a new track recorded by Da Grin perhaps for his new album, leaked on the internet few hours after he passed on, as though pre-planned. The lyrics are as gruesome as the rapperâ€™s death with chorus lines like â€˜If I die, make you no cry for me. E jeâ€™n sinmi (let me rest).
If I die They pretending like my friend. But they wanna see the end. Ko le ye won (They canâ€™t understand).â€™â€˜ The song suggests that the rapper had many haters and that he perhaps, lived everyday expecting and unafraid of dying.