It’s been 10 years plus since Barrack O’grin, the real king of the streets has died, but the argument about who makes better rap music between him and Olamide, the new king of street rap continues to wax stronger. It is time to put an end to this once and for all!
While it will be largely unfair to DaGrin to compare his craft with Olamide who has successfully ruled streets rap since 2010, we will make it briefly about the albums which introduced them both to the industry; CEO (Chief Executive Omo Ita) by DaGrin & Rapsody by Olamide.
One of the easiest ways to compare DaGrin and Olamide is to draw out a line between the veterans they sound like, and after giving CEO and Rapsody a very good listen, I humbly opine that while Olamide gives you a little mix of JayZ & Tupac, DaGrin gives you goosebumps similar to those of Biggie and Lil Wayne.
You can hear how much influence these rappers have on both artistes in their albums. (It’s just a loose comparison to those veterans, so y’all hip-hop advocates can calm down).
Although it is very essential to point out that DaGrin is one of the greatest that ever did it in Afro Hip-Hop Fusion, Olamide would have been a very worthy adversary had DaGrin lived to keep shining while the youngster was on the come up.
Here are some of the reasons why I think Olamide would deserve a higher seat in Hip-Hop heaven if there’s ever one;
1. Consistency: This is one of the most important criteria for choosing the better rapper between two heavyweights. RAP is all about Bragging Rights, and (with all due respect to the dead), your dead best rapper with just one major project to his name already lost the round to Olamide who has blessed the industry with numerous stellar Hip-Hop projects.
2. Diverse Flows: When it comes to the versatility of flows, Olamide makes better time than DaGrin. DaGrin is best known for just two different kinds of flow; Conscious & Carnality. If he’s not advocating, then he’s talking about booty. I think on the Rapsody album, we saw Olamide do so much more from helping the industry grow with deep & multi-faceted flows with each beat pushing him to go harder.
3. Punchlines: Yeah Yeah Yeah, we all know how deeply loved DaGrin is, and how much we all miss his lines, but it’s safe to say that Olamide is much better with Punchlines while DaGrin takes home the wordplay award.
DaGrin is a much better rhymer, (Biggie & Lil Wayne) influence, but when it comes to bars that make you pause, the Olamide of Rapsody definitely dropped more punches. (If they don’t, then you’re in the REMA generation).
4. Experimentation: It is equally important to note that on CEO, DaGrin was basically a rapper, nothing more. He basically talked about Booty, Money, Hustle.
Rapsody, on the other hand, was a classic tale of a hungry street boy who loved to experiment and was ready to do anything to get the spotlight including singing, raps, hooks, and we saw an Olamide that told the story perfectly from Eni Duro down to Gapa.
5. Quotables: “Omo ti Reverend Sister Ri Ton Blush”, “Eni Duro”, “Emi n lo mi”, “Fori Fori” “Apa ti Jabo o Jesu”, e.t.c, are some of the few Quotables from Olamide’s Rapsodi. It is worth a mention that even with his debut album, the then youngster was already the captain of the street lingua.
6. Dynamics: DaGrin was a rapper that stuck to Yankee-style hip hop beats. Till today, his beat for PON PON PON is still used in rap battles. Olamide, on the other hand, had a really dynamic album that saw him giving his best on each track as they all sounded unique and different from each other.
7. Mastery of Content Forms: If there is one thing that DaGrin was good at, it was spontaneity, and I think if he had lived much longer, he’d probably have issues with the quality of lyrics especially since Yoruba makes it even much easier to rhyme. DaGrin was a famous one-take rapper, but musicians who grow dependent on their freestyle power end up shooting themselves in the leg when exhaustion, anxiety, or mid-life sets in. He did not live long enough to show us how well he could do with other content forms apart from the bars.
8. Influence: I think it is safe to say that a rappers’ ability to galvanize a crowd plays a huge role, the street’s response to Eni Duro was sensational and its influence on local hip-hop listeners was overwhelming.
Before you come for me, dear reader, 80% of DaGrin’s music success came after his death; his death had even more influence than the actual rap, so please rest.
9. Beat Selection/Production: Although both the Rapsody and CEO albums had average production efforts all through, Olamide did a much better job with ID Cabasa than the half-baked trash that Sossick gave us. 60% of the songs on CEO didn’t even sound like they were mixed and mastered.
10. Charisma: In life, DaGrin could have probably passed as an overfed version of Naira Marley before 2018-2019, or an underfed version of Lil Wayne before he met Christina Milan, he had more charisma in death than alive. And the last time I checked, dead men don’t have charisma.
To be honest, we all know that we only refer to DaGrin as the greatest because of affirmative action, the “best rapper” wasn’t even a street sensation until he died, which is not so much considering the number of people who see him as a legend.
Olamide’s rap style is essentially different from DaGrin’s, therefore the idea of one blowing without the other is fundamentally wrong. If anyone raps like DaGrin, then it will be Reminisce!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he isn’t. But do we have to wait till Olamide dies before we realize that he’s a better rapper? If DaGrin had been alive till now, he would probably be begging Olamide for a feature so he can get one more comeback hit before he finally fades off. (Na JOKE I dey o, respect to the dead). But dear Nigerians, please move on and give credit to whom it is due.