11 years ago, a neighbour concluded that Olukayode Odesanya would grow up to become an armed robber, due to his trouser-sagging habit. A decade later and his neighbour’s prophecy could not be more wrong and apt at the same time. Not only has Kayode snatched the attention of the global Afropop community under the name Kida Kudz; he has also stolen many hearts in the process.
A surf through Kida’s Twitter will instantly confirm this, and more.
“Let me have your Kidss plzz” begs one of his followers.
“A crumb of c*ck please”, says another.
On a deeper and more serious note, Olayinka tweets: “(I) can’t believe I dulled on Kida Kudz all these years. Boy’s good.”
The phrase “all these years” dates back to when 14-year-old Kida Kudz emerged the winner of Peak’s Talent Show in 2010; the same platform that gifted us Yemi Alade the year before.
D’ Truce – a prolific rapper the world desperately needs to listen to- recently shared another valid fact about Kida’s years of hustle in the industry.
“Glad @KidKingpin made his big comeback last year. All that work a Nigga put in bruh.”
“Make una no use new cat eye dey look am.”
“Being in the public eye isn’t something that I could prepare for, it almost became something that was normal. It’s like I knew what I was set out to do and that was to entertain…”
Kida Kudz spent nearly 8 years doing the right things, with very little to show for it. It now seems that due to his age, his art was a tad too futuristic for the way the industry was structured at the time. Experimental, however, is a word that definitely describes the foundation of his artistry. One minute he was rapping, and the very next, he was straight mixing Fuji and trap with some dancehall. The experiments improved by every track, his choice of guest artistes remained premium and once in a while, the mainstream picked him up fully like in the case of Le Boo (featuring Ice Prince on the remix) and Dab It featuring Reekado Banks.
By 2017, Kida had blended all his musical qualities into a sound that still retained most of his essence as a rapper. Issa Vibe popularized his new style and a remix featuring the U.K.’s Geko and African giant Burna Boy further strengthened his already teeming international clout. While Kida seemed invisible in the scheme of things, his consistency, his relentlessness and the dynamics of his music all make up the dots that connect to create the big picture of his relevance today.
“Although my time at (university) was extremely frustrating because I knew what I wanted to do with my life, it helped me a lot…”
His next monster release (Again) further pushed the envelope with the original version featuring returning guest act Geko and a remix enlisting the rap magic of YBNL’s head honcho, Olamide. Regardless of the different versions and in the absence of both artistes featured, Kida’s fans and stans sapped and spat back his lyrics at his super successful concert in the winding days of 2018. Kida Kudz arguably had the best urban music show in Nigeria last year and while many might credit the mammoth crowd on the free access to the show, chances are, the same number of people would have turned up if it was a paid show.
The show started right on time, the sets saw no delays, the transition music was perfectly curated to keep the crowd raving and the energy that ping-ponged between Kida and his fans was real, raw, uncut and undiluted.
Burna Boy and his fans also share this rare flow of energy, and this might be one of the many factors that make people believe Kida is Nigeria’s next “Burna”. While this sentiment is very well understood, it runs much deeper.
If the correct strategies are properly applied, the early signs below prove that Kida can become the most valuable and influential music brand of the next decade.
- Setting out at a young age, Kida learned the industry’s ropes (on the homefront and on a global scale), and he is privileged to apply them now, in his early prime.
- His brand represents the ideal lifestyle of a balanced teenager/young adult: mixing positive vibes (style, confident body image, faith, ambition) with a decent amount of vices, legal and otherwise. This affords the social acceptance that will help to keep expanding his community of genuine supporters who would pay top dollar for his music and his show tickets.
- Kida’s sound is double-edged, cutting across local and international markets with remarkable ease.
- Sex appeal is another tool that Kida Kudz wields effortlessly. As a result of prioritizing fitness in his incubatory days, Kida is now pleasantly notorious for constantly being shirtless and flaunting his ripped King Kong frame. On the day of his concert, the crowd gasped for air as he peeled the fabric off his upper body while two female fans sat at the foot of the stage; one feeling up his crotch at every chance and the other stroking his footwear in a spiritual manner, as though they were the shoes of a Messiah.
“I was born with the saucceeee baby, you can’t style a stylist yanstan? “
There might be bad news for the girls whose digital underwear litter Kida Kudz’s social media though. He recently posted the photo of a lady sporting an orange bikini on his Instagram, accompanied by the following words:
“Bye Bye to my old life. Learnt my lessons and have found the one who understands a thug ❤ Please keep me grounded + zero distractions. 1 million focus on my music and my supporters too.”
Although the caption could pass for the introduction of a new addition to his team, the picture definitely stirs up a mild controversy around the love life of the Jiggy Boyz FC captain.
His vacation timeout would not permit him to spill some Valentine related tea but he definitely shares with Vibe.ng his current state of mind, his gratitude for his humble Ibadan days, his low moments while away studying, his perception of his style, his biggest influences, his 2019 game plan, his collaboration wishlist and the exact mission of his Jiggy Boyz movement.
PS, Someone crowned Kida Kudz as the Prince of Afrobeats on Twitter and while the gesture tells so much of this fan’s adoration, I think this broad classification vaguely captures the distinct nature of his art.
Considering his fusion of grimy hip-hop and the melodic nuances of Afrobeats (and judging from his old and most recent releases like Hate Me Now freestyle, Hell Razor and Lingo Out which features Jevon and Diggy Simmons), his music sure deserves a special genre dedication.
That said, do we all agree to name his style the Afro Jiggy Vibe?
Vibe: How would you compare working and performing in the U.K. vs in Nigeria?
Kida Kudz: I feel like working in the UK vs Nigeria is a lot different. Nigeria is my home and they have forever got my back and I love every one of my supporters no matter where they are from because without them I wouldn’t be here today. I love Nigeria though, you guys show me so much love and I’m forever grateful.
Vibe: You spoke about hustling and performing within Ibadan along with other artistes such as Dremo? How did those experiences shape you as an artiste and your journey?
Kida Kudz: My time in IB definitely had a big impact on who I am today, I will never forget where I am from. IB (Ibadan) was where I did a lot for the first time and those memories, good and bad will live with me forever.
Vibe: How have African/Nigerian musicians influenced the UK music landscape?
Kida Kudz: There’s still a lot of work to be done as the scene is still growing but I’m very happy to be a part of it and proud to call myself a Nigerian. It’s not easy but it’s a lot easier for the new wave of artistes who make afro beats to come through as it’s now being accepted worldwide!
Vibe: How did you link up with Burna Boy and Geko for the Issa Vibe remix and what is your favourite collaboration so far?
Kida Kudz: The team and I reached out to both parties and we made magic, simples. I still feel like that song is lowkey overlooked however I am proud of what we put together. My favourite collaboration so far isn’t out yet haha wait and see!
“Jiggy Boyz will be one of the most renowned companies internationally, it’s bigger than the music.”
Vibe: Are there any artistes, both local and international that you look forward to collaborating with?
Kida Kudz: There are a lot of talented musicians I’d love to work with but it would be fun to work with Asha, D’banj, Playboi Carti, Post Malone, Chip, Trippie Reid & Ella Mai just to name a few.
Vibe: You have been in the public eye for a long time, from the Peak Talent Show win in 2010. How did you handle visibility from such a young age?
Kida Kudz: Being in the public eye isn’t something that I could prepare for, it almost became something that was normal. It’s like I knew what I was set out to do and that was to entertain.
Vibe: You’ve definitely made a transition from pure rap to a more Afrobeat-inspired sound. We’re big fans here at Vibe and we wanted to know what inspired you to make the transition?
Kida Kudz: I wouldn’t say anything inspired the transition however I can say after taking some time out during 2017 for me to find myself, Kida Kudz was reborn when I released “Issa Vibe”.
Vibe: Which artistes will you say have been the biggest influences through your career?
Kida Kudz: Lil Wayne & Burna Boy.
Vibe: You studied music technology in school. How would you say formal music education has influenced your journey and career?
Kida Kudz: Although my time at Uni was extremely frustrating because I knew what I wanted to do with my life, it helped me a lot, as most of the records you will hear from me today are recorded by myself.
Vibe: You had an extremely successful show last year that was, in our opinion, the best concert of the year. Did you have any challenges pulling off a headlining show? How do you stay organized and keep your energy?
Kida Kudz: Thank you so much, we give thanks to God! There were a few challenges here and there but we had everything under control. My team and I stay organized by firstly praying, knowing exactly what we want from any situation and just giving it our all. We are always 100% in everything we do, always.
Vibe: When are you most in your element? Performing for a hype crowd or in the studio with a dope producer?
Kida Kudz: In the studio.
Vibe: You’re definitely known for your signature style. How do you get your fashion inspiration and what’s the relationship between music and fashion within your career?
Kida Kudz: I was born with the saucceeee baby, you can’t style a stylist yanstan? (You understand?)
Vibe: What’s in store for Kida Kudz in 2019?
Kida Kudz: Nasty, the EP drops this year and I’ve got a few more surprises in store for you all! Stay tuned!
Vibe: What was the idea behind the Jiggy Boyz brand? Is it a vibe, a sound, a brand, a movement?
Kida Kudz: Number 1 you gotta stay JIGGY! Jiggy Boyz is a movement, it’s a place where musicians, artistes, stylists, fashion designers, writers and all-round creatives can come and feel free to express their art in any way they feel fit. Jiggy Boyz will be one of the most renowned companies internationally, it’s bigger than the music.
Cover Story: Cyclone Artemis
Styling: Johnson Gold
Assistant Stylist: Rhysselects
Cover Design: Slimkiss