ABUJA: Legendary singer, known for the hit singles like Under Pressure and ‘Rumba Stylee’ Ras Kimono is dead.
The renown singer who was in the fore front of the Nigerian music revolution of the 90’s is one of the most accomplished Raggae acts Nigeria has ever produced. He died today in Lagos.
Metro News reports that was to travel to United States last night, and he complained of not feeling too well. He was rushed to an hospital in Ikeja, Lagos then later taken to Lagoon Hospital in the Island.
As at press time , music veterans Tony Okoroji, Sir Shina Peters, others are meeting to make burial plans.
Ras Kimono’s debut album Under Pressure, led by the single “Rum-Bar Stylée”, was a big hit in the Nigerian music scene in 1989.
Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles, before making his late 80s breakthrough as a reggae singer. Together with his Massive Dread Reggae Band, Kimono released his debut album, Under Pressure, in 1989. Accompanied by the popular single, ‘Rum-Bar Stylee’, this revealed both a Jamaican and native African influence (the latter particularly evident in his ‘patois’ delivery, as frequently employed by Fela Kuti to communicate with the urban underclass). His strongly polemical lyrics produced album sales of over 100, 000 copies, and a fervent following for his advocacy of social change. What’s Gwan proved even more successful, with the topics selected including legalisation of marijuana, and the need for Africans to intellectually repel colonialism and its arbitrary boundaries between tribes. Most controversially, he was not averse to naming directly those in power he saw as synonymous with backdoor imperialism.
Despite his success and achievement’s he remained level heads, which is perhaps why was very respected in the music industry. In a recent chat with Sunday Scoop, he said,
“I have never smoked and I don’t drink alcohol. I tell people I have been a vegetarian for 37 years. Even when my friends were having sex with two girls at the same time in those days, I didn’t join them. I have never done what these girls and boys call threesome despite being famous and I am sure there are other people who have never done that too.
“When people attribute recklessness to youthful exuberance, I get worried because I once passed through that stage too. I believe it is all about your upbringing. The fact that you are young doesn’t mean you should be wayward.”
Speaking about his unwillingness to change his music to appeal to a younger audience, Kimono stated,
“I have been playing reggae music for years and I don’t plan to change my style or dilute it. Those who want to listen will surely do. The truth is that you can force a horse to the river, but you can’t force it to drink from it. We still have a lot of youths who know my value. I don’t believe that all the youths are senseless.
“I believe two million youths out of five million youths know the difference between good and bad. If I had changed my style, I would probably not be here talking to you. I am certain the media would have crucified me that I did it for the love of money. My brand of music has kept me alive and still makes me relevant.”