It is no more news that the Raggae world lost an icon in Ras Kimono on June 10, 2018. Today, we would take time out to appreciate his contributions to the industry and the nation at large.
Ras Kimono was born Ekeleke Elumelu on the 9th of May 1958 in Delta state Nigeria. Born with a wooden spoon in his mouth, he started out in life seeing first hand the adverse effects of poverty. He always wanted to sing and used music as his vehicle for activism and call for change.
His music beginnings can be traced to when he was a student at the Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor. From here, he joined up with other raggae greats like Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie.
He moved on from here and hit international acclaim in 1989 with his debut album Under Pressure, with hit songs such as “Rum-Bar Stylée”, “Under Pressure”, “Natty Get Jail” and “Rhumba Style”. He later released a string of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the United States, promoting his brand of reggae music. He won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more.
But all these rode on a wave of activist type music. He spoke to power and to issues. The theme of the song “Under Pressure” remain relevant in the Nigeria of today. Like conscious musicians in different generations, Ras Kimono showed no fear. He did not resort to euphemisms or metaphors to describe those he feels were the cause of the decay in the system. Ras Kimono named them. He called them out. An example to us all.
Temitayo Otun, popularly known as “Dilo” said that Kimono was in the forefront of a crusade who used his music to preach the need for a better Nigeria.
“He wanted his country to be great and he criticised every regime that was not getting things right with his music.”
It is no wonderthat encomiums keep pouring in as the world comes to terms with the death of a colossus.