It was supposed to be a Sunday billed for a gladiatorial spectacle of soccer, and any other issue would be secondary. Even people who are not cut out for ‘all that football conversation’ could not avoid the fliers and banters thrown in their face. No one, save for maybe the doctors of music legend, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi, could have envisaged that dark clouds were gathering, and would have people drenched in mourning of one of their all-time music favourites.
The trend in the morning of July 11 had been about Messi cementing his GOAT status in football, but it would soon be overtaken by the passing of one of Nigeria’s music GOAT with an announcement from his family.
Sound Sultan, as Olanrewaju Fasasi was fondly called, undoubtedly one of the pioneer figures of modern hip-hop in Nigeria, started making music at the turn of the millennium and was part of the generation that gave the Nigerian music industry the solid foundations that birthed the global phenomenon in Afrobeats we now have today.
Along with the likes of 2face, PSquare, Weird MC, D’banj, Ruggedman and Eedris Abdulkareem, to name but a few of the early 2000s stars, Sound Sultan took the industry by storm and, with prolonged years of success and relevance, became an icon for the generation of musicians to come after him.
Sound Sultan’s first album, Kpsshew, came in 2001 after dropping hit single Jagbajantis a year before. In all, he would have eight studio albums to his credit, with the last one, 8th Wonda, coming in 2020, after some years of hiatus, suggesting that he is taking it gently on the music scene, with his status as a legend already cemented.
From his debut hit, it was obvious that the Mathematician saw music as more than just entertainment. He saw it as a tool to speak to the ills in the society and communicate values. This stood him out and it was no surprise he was announced as a United Nations Ambassador for Peace in 2012.
Fans of Sound Sultan would remember his performance at 2Baba’s FORTYfied concert and attest to his all-round entertainment talent as he showed off his adeptness as an MC and comedian.
From Ole (Bushmeat) to Natural Something, Motherland and Monsura, the list of hits would be an endless one as airwaves are dedicated to the memory of Sound Sultan who was courageous in his battle with Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma (throat cancer).
Survived by his wife and three children, the Jos-born singer’s legacies are up there for all to see and tributes from family, friends and associates tell us he was one of the nicest, humblest and most selfless persons one could come across.
The Sultan may have passed but his legacies will surely live on.
You can catch up with some of the tributes below.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.