I have read a lot of tribute penned for Dagrin on the remembrance of his death by a lot of those who came in contact with him. I can say that there is truth in every word inked or typed for the late, rapper.
Here is how I came to meet him. Back in my days at Hip Hop World Magazine, a young guy of average height sauntered into the office after he had been cleared at the reception downstairs. Back then, both upcoming and those who were beginning to make a name usually came looking for you and not the other way round like we have today.
I met him and the first thing that hit me was his humility. He wanted me to listen to his songs and I did listen. It was supposed to be his first album, can't recall the title. He had some good tracks, yes good because the production was average. He told me he was signed to a label who couldn't spend so much on mixing and mastering. But one thing was excellent about what I listened to; the rawness of his talent and the punchline he managed to deliver in his lyrics. Then he was doing his rap in both English and Yoruba languages.
I had met Lord of Ajasa long before Dagrin back when we were operating from Ayo Animashaun's house in Ogba, Lagos and it seemed nobody was going to topple the man who made us love Yoruba rap. After listening to Dagrin's averagely produced album that day, I knew Ajasa's time on the throne was going to be short lived. I was right.
Before he left that day, Dagrin handed me his sparsely written profile on a word document and some pictures he had managed to take at a photo studio. I still have them in an old hard drive. He wanted something more; a feature in the biggest music magazine ever produced in Nigeria. He didn't have to do much, he got a little feature in one of the columns in one edition then. He later got a full feature after I left.
Subsequently, I got calls from him and during one of those calls, he said he needed to see me. Back then, artistes were not some of the people I wanted to have as friends because we didn't want anyone to influence our editorial policy and I could not stand their arrogance when they get little fame and money. So it was best to keep them at arm's length.
But with Dagrin, he sounded like a genuine one. So when he didn't relent, I told him to come by the office so we could talk. He did and his request was: "Baba, I wan make you be my manager". That was his exact line. I didn't have to think twice. I declined and told him my job would not allow me to wear two hats but whatever support he needed I was ready to give to him. Moreover, I didn't have the skill to be an artist manager so I didn't regret the decision.
I later left Hip Hop World Magazine to pursue a new hustle in advertising and we lost contact. But we were to reunite on one of those nights when my friends and I used to crawl Victoria Island. It was at Papa's @ Ks Place and he was stepping in while I was gisting with my friends outside. An area boy was trying to harass him but he was having none of it. He was short but never looked flustered. Those who knew him can attest to this. He snapped back at the fellow, and as he walked away, I said Dagrin "Calm down". He turned, saw me and shouted "Bros". We chatted for a few minutes, he said he was just stepping in to have fun that night, we exchanged numbers and that was how we reunited.
Later, he dropped a single "Idi Nla" and it was a banger in my office then. Still one of my favourite in his body of works. So when we were planning our end of the year party, I decided to try my luck and invite him. Dagrin came, he partied with us and mixed with everyone with no airs or chip on his shoulder.
He left that night and his classic album, C.E.O dropped the following year and the rest, as they say, is history.
Just when this Star was about to take off, a dark cloud enveloped him through a car accident.
Continue to Rest In Peace Dagrin.