Short tribute to a living legend eLDee. Written by James Ndu
Lanre Dabiri, (born May 23, 1977) better known as eLDee, is a Nigerian-American rapper, vocalist, music producer and architect. “Lanre” is a diminutive for the Yoruba name “Olanrewaju” (meaning “My wealth is the future”). He is an original member of the group Trybesmen, which was started in 1998 with rappers KB and Freestyle.
The 1st generation of his record label Trybe Records developed artists such as Sasha, who won the Kora’s Most Promising Artist Award in 2004, 2Shots, Trybesmen, eLDee, Lequse, olaDele, Timi, Proto and Dr Sid, who is now a member of the Mavin Records (formerly Mo’hits).
Throughout his musical career spanning over 10 years, eLDee has without a doubt proved to be one of the greatest musicians that have come out of Nigeria. The life and times of this musical icon clearly reveals that to this genius, the whole world appears to be his musical stage and he gains inspiration from everything happening in his society. His music has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. He was a social critic and used his songs to decry the ills of our society such as the life of most Nigerians and corruption, composing lyrics that can be heard in songs like “i go yarn”.
After moving to the United States in 2002, eLDee recorded a solo album titled “Long Time Coming” and followed up with “Return of the King” in 2006. The latter album earned various nominations and awards for both videos and songs, including “I go yarn”, “Champion”, “African Chiquito” and “Bosi Gbangba”. eLDee has produced and directed numerous videos both for Nigerian and international artists.
Indeed, eLDee is exceptionally talented and versatile. His array of singles, albums and videos throughout his career have continuously pushed the creative boundaries and status quo amongst his peers. Though it is sad to know that “Undeniable” will be eLDee’s farewell compilation, the current Trybe Records signees- Eva Allordiah, Sheyman, Sojay, K9 and Sarz ensure eLDee’s legacy of multifaceted musical excellence lives on.
What else can we request for this legendary musical genius? It seems as though his critics are short sighted, failing to be progressive by overlooking his immense contribution to the society at large. Today, musicians are acclaimed as veritable tools in our development and not as dregs of society like before. eLDee has more than delivered on his own contribution to the evolution of artist imagery.
I must admit, I was disappointed in the organisers of music award shows for neglecting to honour this musical icon with a Life Time Achievement Award or equivalent. I therefore suggest to the various award shows to bestow eLDee, not just with an ordinary award, but with an honour that properly recognises what this great man and musician has achieved.
I also suggest that Music bloggers set up a team to conduct a sound documentary into the life and achievements of this great man and put together a comprehensive compilation of his music (as was done for the Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti) so that history can be documented for the generations of Nigerians and Africans yet unborn. This is a way Nigeria can effectively rebrand and showcase itself to the world.
Nevertheless, I make bold to say that as Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles and James Brown are to America, and Tom Jones, Rod Stewart and Sir Paul McCartney are to the UK, so also is our very own eLDee to Nigeria and Africa at large.
Edited by Ajoke Dare
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