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IN MEMORIAM: THE LEGACY OF MOHBAD

This article by George Ochekwu explores Mohbad's musical journey and legacy, highlighting his contributions to the Nigerian music scene and the impact of his passing.

The untimely passing of Mohbad on September 12, 2023, sent shockwaves through the Nigerian music industry. The 27-year-old artist was a rising star, known for his distinctive fusion of Afrobeat and hip-hop. His death has sparked a wave of reflection on the challenges faced by many artists in the industry and the need for lasting change.

This article by George Ochekwu explores Mohbad’s musical journey and legacy, highlighting his contributions to the Nigerian music scene and the impact of his passing. It will also delve into the complex issues surrounding musical godfatherism, record label oppression, and artist mental well-being.

Mohbad’s Musical Journey

In the vibrant tapestry of Nigerian music, one name that shone bright was Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, better known as Mohbad. A journey that began in the bustling streets of Nigeria’s urban heartland saw Mohbad rise to prominence as a remarkable Afrobeat and hip-hop artist. His distinctive fusion of these genres marked him as a true musical maverick.

As a teenager, Mohbad’s musical odyssey was inspired by the spirited sounds of his surroundings. Local events and open mics became his training ground, where his raw talent and originality soon captivated the attention of industry insiders. In 2019, his journey took a significant turn as he inked a deal with the Marlian Music record label, propelling him into the limelight. His debut single, “Overload,” was an instant hit, setting the stage for his meteoric rise.

With tracks like “KPK” and “Ponmo Sweet,” Mohbad’s versatility and charisma solidified his reputation as an artist who effortlessly blended the vigour of hip hop with the infectious rhythms of Afrobeat. Collaborations with industry giants like Naira Marley, Zinoleesky, Zlatan Ibile, and producer Rexxie further showcased his prowess.

Projects

Beyond his hit singles and creative genius, Mohbad left his imprint on the music scene with projects like “Blessed,” released in June 2023, and his well-received EP “Light,” launched in 2020. Rumours of more groundbreaking projects lingered, a testament to his unyielding dedication to his craft.

The Fallout

However, amidst the crescendo of success, Mohbad faced a tumultuous chapter in his career. In 2022, he made the bold decision to part ways with his record label, Marlian Music, a move that was met with controversy. Rumours swirled about his discontent with label management, creating a rift between him and his former mentor, Naira Marley.

This decision triggered a turbulent period, during which Mohbad endured relentless harassment from Naira Marley’s devoted supporters, including Sam Larry. It was a trying time for Mohbad, with revelations of personal struggles surfacing, including reports of a suicide attempt and a battle with depression. His close friend and compatriot, Bella Shmurda, shed light on these challenges, highlighting the often unseen pressures in the music industry.

Death

Tragically, Mohbad’s journey was cut short at the tender age of 27, as he passed away on the 12th of September, 2023, leaving behind a grieving family, including his wife and young child. His untimely demise has prompted a collective awakening within the Nigerian music industry. It has ignited a resounding call to dismantle the chains of musical godfatherism, end the oppression of artists by record labels, and erase intimidation from the industry’s lexicon.

Conclusion

As we reflect on the life and legacy of Mohbad, the industry is united in its resolve to ensure that artists find their voices, freedom, and mental well-being. Mohbad’s story serves as a stark reminder of the trials faced by many artists and the need for lasting change. In the wake of his passing, the music world stands as one, seeking answers and justice while pledging unwavering support for his memory.

George Ochekwu
George Ochekwu
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