So whilst in Unilag struggling through a tough time because my mum was the only one carrying the burden and the load was heavy I would reach out to my cousin in his shanty room. Ariyo was a struggling mechanic in a tiny but comfortable cubicle he managed near his father’s room and parlour. There I would be treated like royalty to drinks, snacks and Fuji music. It was loud and raucous. It felt uncomfortable from my Nat King Cole and Nana Mouskouri background but my needs at the time made me endure, then gradually like a toad set in a pot of cold water and fire set to the stove I started to enjoy and know the difference between Muri Thunder, Saeed Osupa, Sefiu Alao, Remi Aluko, Sule Alao Malaika, Atawewe etc.
Then one day on campus I saw Tee.A doing a joke and trying to mimic Pasuma and Teju Babyface likewise singing the Pasuma ‘Introduction’ album lyrics comfortably, that was when I finally felt at home, afterall my birth certificate reads Sulemono Ayinde.
My eyes opened and I started to notice the corner piece at Adekunle junction just before you turn into Third mainland bridge where the Fuji boys played their jump.
Then in the course of my duty and hustling as a neighbourhood Tape Jockey in Jakande Estate Lekki (At the time my pop ‘Daddy Nepa’ invested in renting out speakers and decks for parties, so I went with the equipment and played to earn some change) Obesere came back again with ‘Overthrow’ in 2001. God!, How?
At that time I had just introduced Sweet Experience by Yinka Ayefele to Teju in my Eni Njoku hostel room along with some Eminem and DMX “Y’all gonn make me loose my mind”, it sounded reminiscent of Ebenezer Obey and we were all just settling in and out of nowhere this dude that had hibernated came to scatter everywhere again, and drop the liner ‘Egungun be careful’ some years later and that slang would resurface about 20 years later as a social media trend gimmick. How?
Immediately I insert ‘Ilu l’epo mi’ at any party in Jakande everyone left what they were doing for the first few minutes of that groove, Muslim, Christian, Traditional, Atheist, Unbeliever, Passer-by, Onlooker, Mo gbo mo ya….everyyyyy one.
The music didn’t know tribe or ethnic colouration. It simply brought joy to rich and poor. Maybe not so much the elites who at the time decided to stick to Oko Faaji by Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, K.1 The Ultimate.
Then Ariyo’s elder brother had a party at Ajiran (It had not developed to the commercial residential it is now) and a Fuji act I couldn’t remember but information reaching says it was Kolotiti, came to play.( He also played at the final burial party for my Grandmother Alhaja Bintu Rosula Raimi, who passed at 105, but her younger sister rebutted the age we put on the Obituary claiming her sister was way older because she was at the time more than 107). Then the murravhuking with the sticks started playing the drums and giving rim shots like Obesere did on ‘Omorapala ti gba ijoba’. The ‘Pa_pa’ sound drew my attention so much that all I did was immerse myself in the skills of the drummer all night. I don’t remember eating or knowing what we went to celebrate. I was Fuji gone. Juju music please forgive me. Maybe in another life.
Jamiu lefty Jnr was my dad’s upstairs neighbour and friend in Jakande so his Apala was welcome in our decks but he also lost me that night. Musiliu Haruna Ishola would later bring me back with ‘Opon Apala ti sun’ on the Soyoyo album of 2001 but it was because I had known him as a Fuji artiste in 94 in ijebu Igbo when he came to play at the famous ‘station’ multipurpose park.
Fuji finally found its way into pop culture through a lot of the youngings on the block from Small Doctor to Q.Dot to CDQ, ever heard of Bella Shmurda?
In fact let me call Ariyo, I forgive him…
To enjoy some of my ethnic Medley renditions check out Ayinde Okin: Muludun Medley 1,2,3 volume 4 side B will be dedicated to Fuji music
NB : Apologies for any error in dates.