Ladipoe, the voice of his generation

by | Aug 15, 2022 | CSA Celebrates, Culture, Entertainment, Music, Music From Africa, Talent, The Wire, Trends

  • Providence: Nigeria
  • “Providence” to “Big Energy”
  • Signing with Mavin Records
  • Artistry
  • Agent of Culture

When LADIPOE arrived on the Nigerian hip hop scene, he was quickly announced as the voice of his generation. Given today’s generous use of platitudes, Ladipoe, however is fantastically talented. His musical journey has culminated in him being also called the leader of “alternative hip hop”, but this was more of a crude shorthand for work that is artistic, expansive, and enriched with intellect.  His growth skyrocketed after the success of his single “Feeling” featuring the singer Buju. “Feeling” also became a club hit in South Africa and is still everyone’s favourite online African song to date, breaking records in accumulating over 80 million streams. Its energy was juggernaut, breaching international borders and earning global impact. The result, a well-earned BET Awards Nomination for Best International Flow, a testimony to his lyrical and poetic delivery. That he did not win, is irrelevant to the phenomenal trajectory at hand. His signing to Mavin Records delivered an EP named “Providence” while “Big Energy” is his highly anticipated 2022 offering.

“Providence” to “Big Energy”

“Providence” arrived thoughtfully packaged. The tracks were curated, with layers of meaning adding to a narrative of growth, introspectiveness, romance, and philosophy. The six tracks belie their grandeur in scope. Self-analytical reflection is contained in “LOTR II” (which stands for ‘Leader of the Revival’ a nom de plume foisted on his shoulders) while; “Afro Jigga” is an anthem of late summer parties and hedonism and; “Law of Attraction” captured the lengths Ladipoe is prepared to go to make his true affections known in a very exposed fashion. The project is styled by experimental Nigerian Afro-fusion and forward-looking Afropop.

This year Ladipoe comes through with a summertime banger called “Big Energy”. Produced by Killertunes, the tune drips with bravado and swagger over sparkling synth arpeggios. Ladipoe says: “I feel like “Big Energy” is an actualised by-product of the “Providence” EP. If “Providence” is the timely preparation for future eventualities, then “Big Energy” is what you feel when those eventualities come to pass. At the end of the song, I say ‘we didn’t come this far to come this far’ which represents exactly how I feel.”

Signing with Mavin Records

Ladipoe’s initial creative output was crafted through the lens of an independent artist. That he would sign with Mavin records boded a new exciting direction for the artist with a label whose stable includes Tiwa Savage. “I felt there was more to offer and I wanted more eyes and ears; I needed a platform to help me achieve that. After observing and hanging around not just the artists but the people that made the decisions, it felt like they were at a crossroads, just like me. I had gotten to a point like I was either going to stop this shit or get more eyes on me cause what’s the point, and they wanted to go global, diversify and legitimize their sound beyond being just an African pop brand. That energy matched mine cause I wanted to go global, but I wasn’t going to sign until I met with Don Jazzy and he heard my music … which happened.”


Ladipoe has been lauded as master of the one-liner. Where others craft a series of lines that build up to a contextualised revelation, Ladipoe’s wordplay is efficient and compact. In “All Falls Down”, he raps: “Gravity’s working harder now…just to hold me down”.

Ladipoe’s musical foundation rings true to today. Whilst completing his studies in the US, he formed a clique called Lyrically Equipped with friends Jeff & Kurt, completing an album called “Rhymes and Reason”. He would also draw inspiration from hip hop artist Phonte from Little Brother. “It was such an inspiration the way he rhymed. I really like Drake, before “So Far Gone”, I gravitated towards a less hectic style of rapping and Drake embodied everything I liked about Phonte. But he also appealed to me because as a young Nigerian I grew up with melodies. Every Nigerian is exposed to different melodies from Wombolombo, to church songs; you have musicality around you.”

Agent of Culture

Ladipoe’s intuitive understanding of hip hop and what the genre means to Africans is succinctly captured in his oeuvre as an artist. “Our hip-hop is fusion, it can’t be American style hip-hop just planted here. It’ll have more melodies, indigenous languages, different bounces and styles.” It is this cultural imperative that positions Ladipoe as a powerful agent of cultural evolution. The Wire believes his international breakout is not far off.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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