What do you remember about 2010? Nothing? I’ll give you a clue. 2010 was that year we had a lot of color and pop in both music and fashion. The colorful SUPRA sneakers, OBEY face caps, varsity jackets and then…Ice Prince’s Oleku playing at end-of-session school parties.
Oleku was an instant hit. Something special, something different about this record. Is it the underlying dotting piano melody at the beginning of the song or Brymo’s one-of-a-kind chorus, dubbed as the best chorus/hook ever in the industry.
Perhaps it is Ice Prince’s zesty, fiery-cool rap style. His rap style, packed with ing-rhymes was catchy. The first verse was what you’ll call a heated delivery. Sliding in gently, his flow would quicken and his lines more rapid. The delivery had no flaw. It’s a well balanced song—Brymo’s tender hook paired with Ice Prince’s brutal, expressive flow. This pattern would become more noticeable, more occurring later on. The singer-rapper pairing would replicate more, with MI calling up Waje for “One Naira” on his MI 2 album.
But with Oleku, Ice Prince had an official unveiling. With Oleku, he would join the trinity of youngins who strode straight into the mainstream with a debut hit. Wizkid had Holla At Your Boy. Olamide had Eni Duro. For Ice Prince, the magnitude of Oleku was quite higher. Oleku rang around in clubs, serenaded end-of-the-year school parties and turned into a tune which enjoyed heavy rotation on radio. A viral, infectious hit.
But that wasn’t the only impact. A debut hit of that magnitude rarely goes under the radar without an overbearing influence on other regions. Awards would trickle in for Ice Prince. The rapper would grab both Song of the Year and Best Rap Single at the Headies. And according to sources, Oleku was the first Afrobeats song to be played on BBC1Xtra radio.
It’s over ten years since that record came out. But we might not have gotten Oleku according to Ice Prince. The release was eventful.
“When I submitted the song to my label, Chocolate City, it wasn’t like the top choice; it wasn’t a song on the release plan,” Ice Prince reveals.
“There’s a story on how the song was released. It was leaked by Anuel, the official photographer for EME back then. Anuel was in university at the time in Minna and we went to perform in Anuel’s school and I left the song on Anuel’s computer. Somehow the song leaked and it became very big in Anuel’s university, Futminna.
From there on, it just became a global smash and even the record label couldn’t stop it at that point. It just became something that was big. I wouldn’t say “Oh I was thinking about something,” nah it was just God. Inspiration from God, Oleku is not a song, it’s a classic. It’s timeless.”
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here