Nigeria is a melting pot of talent! It takes something special to be the primus inter pares in this trove of creatives and geniuses! Asake has something special. In 2022, his rise has been remarkable, and the musical genius is inching closer and closer to the summit of the mountain of talents Nigeria has to offer the world.
His name, Asake, is a tribute to his mother whose first name he has adopted as his stage name. Born Ahmed Ololade in Lagos, the 27-year-old is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University where he studied Theatre & Performing Arts.
Asake can be described as a man of his roots. His iconic sound is inspired by his upbringing, a fusion of Lagos, Yoruba, and Fuji. He is regarded as a live wire linguistic conduit, with the exceptional ability to mix the Yoruba language with rich unadulterated expressions with street lingo and the adroitness of a master weaver.
The Islamic-influenced south-west Nigerian popular music style known as Fuji is another essential component of Asake’s music. His lyrics are also influenced by Lagosian urban hood culture. He appeals to streets and the ghetto youth who subscribe to the ideals of social rebellion, and you will notice traces of downtown Lagos’ army of idolos in his mannerisms and even diction. We cannot leave out Afrobeats when we talk about Asake’s music style and influences.
There are external influences too. South Africa’s amapiano is a common feature in most of his songs although he has managed to adapt it to make it Asakeic. For readers unfamiliar with amapiano, it is a South African house music subgenre that has spread across the continent and is redefining and re-energizing popular dance music. It has a blend of jazz, blues and house grooves complimented with long drum combinations. His music also has hints of urban sounds of black America.
Asake’s first foray into music was in 2018 when he released his first song. The market did not embrace him then. Fueled by a strong desire to succeed and knowing the importance of consistency, the YBNL Nation and Empire Distribution artiste continued to put music out until he commercially released “Lady”, which made the world hear his name for the first time.
Since “Lady”, his name and music have gotten louder and louder on the music scene in Nigeria and has even crossed over to the international community. His self-named Extended Play “Ololade” and studio album “Mr. Money With the Vibe” is cementing his place in the ears, hearts and minds of music patrons.
What contributed to Asake’s current rise and success is his record label owned by rapper Olamide which is also home to another special creative Fireboy DML. Olamide and Asake have a few things in common and they have found a way to build on their shared interests for success.
Mr. Money With the Vibe, with hit songs such as “Terminator”, “Peace Be Unto You” and the “Sungba” remix with Burna Boy, reached number 66 on the US Billboard 200. The artiste’s album tour across the world has been hugely successful with sold-out venues and breathtaking performances.
You know it is an artiste’s year when he smashes existing records, sets new ones, and breaks his own records again. That’s the kind of year Asake has had. A week after his album was released, it claimed the number one spot in twenty-six countries on Apple Music. Within that same period, it debuted on the UK Albums Chart, entering at number 22 albeit being the first Nigerian album to debut on the chart. Mr. Money With the Vibe also made an appearance on the US Billboard 200 at number 66 within the first week of its release and became the highest-debuting Nigerian album on the Billboard.
Asake’s rise extends beyond his incredible streaming numbers. He is bagging some awards too. In November this year, he was adjudged Artist of the Year at the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) 2022, beating Burna Boy, Rema, Diamond Platnumz and Fally Ipupa. He also got a worthy international nomination for the Best African Music Act award at the MOBO Awards. He is in the running with Burna Boy, Tems, Fireboy DML and Rema.
In the short time since his breakout, Asake is already a trailblazer and is elevating the Nigerian and African music industry to new heights. He is charting a path only he can take but is also inspiring many others to find themselves, their x-factor and work hard to achieve their aspirations. At only 28, one can only imagine what the young star will go on to do. Whatever it is, there is no question that a musical icon is on the horizon!