Celebrating a decade of YBNL

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10 years since YBNL was created by a 23 years old Olamide Adedeji, the streets have seen several Yahoo boys without laptops. Young men who are using their talents and drive to make a good life for themselves. Going from nothing to something. Making ‘Yahoo’ money without laptops.

On the viral 2021 street jam, ‘ZaZoo Zehh’ that saw street music royalty and Afrobeats legend Olamide lend a helping hand to then relatively unknown artist Portable, one of the lines of the verse of the multi-colored haired act was “Yahoo Boy no Laptop”.

It’s remarkable that after a decade since the legend Olamide AKA Baddo coined the phrase, it’s still echoed by a new crop of artists whose reality continues to soundtrack.

In November 2012, Olamide created Yahoo Boy No Laptop (YBNL) Records and simultaneously released his first album under the label he called ‘YBNL’. This was a move that will forever alter the cause of Nigerian mainstream music.

10 years later, we take a look at how it all began and how Olamide came to own the narrative labeled on street boys such as himself.

When Olamide emerged as a fresh-faced teenager under the tutelage of ace music producer ID Cabasa, he embodied the identity of the streets from where his talent and personality were forged.

His music carried the sonic influences of Yoruba street music and he was profiled just like other street boys exposed to the hustles of the streets which usually faded the lines between right and wrong.

Olamide broke into mainstream Nigerian music at a time when online fraud or Yahoo Yahoo as it’s widely and colloquially known was a growing viable option for young men and teenagers across Nigerian streets. Even students of higher institutions of learning were leaning towards this fast and relatively easy way to make good money.

In society, artists tend to sing about the dominant socio-cultural reality. And for Nigeria, the social scene was dominated by these young multi-millionaires whose money kept nightlife establishments afloat and also bought them influence within the music scene.

Olamide was on the receiving end of eyebrows about his involvement with ‘Yahoo’ boys and even being one himself. It was a suspicion he almost couldn’t escape due to his background and style of music.

Olamide grew up in Bariga area of Lagos and he understood the struggle of the streets. He has seen young boys turn to ‘Yahoo’ and he understood the suspicion that he was no better than those boys even though he was a generational talent.

He accepted this tag and owned the narrative. He accepted that like other ‘Yahoo’ Boys, he was desperate to make it out of the hood and although he has no laptop, he had great talent and drive.

In November 2012, he released his sophomore album ‘Yahoo Boy No Laptop’ under his label Yahoo Boy No Laptop (YBNL). The album would propel him to nationwide fame and the label will forever alter the cause of Nigerian music.

10 years since YBNL was created by a 23 years old Olamide Adedeji, the street has seen several Yahoo boys without laptops. Young men who are using their talents and drive to make a good life for themselves. Going from nothing to something. Making ‘Yahoo’ money without laptops.

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