By Ayo Onikoyi
Asake’s recent sold-out performance at the O2 Arena sealed his credentials as one of the musical greats in Nigeria, trailing behind only Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy and perhaps a handful of others. In the last two years, the singer has had a meteoric rise to fame, both locally and internationally. But the music star, Ahmed Ololade’s story can’t be told without mentioning Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Yhemolee, Fireboy, Super Boy Cheque, Chinko Ekun, Blaqbones, Don Jazzy, Tunde Ednut and ultimately, Olamide, the Godfather of YBNL.
His story was told by Yhemolee and highlighted by Sportsdokita Odogwu. According to his friend, Yhemolee, he started off as a floater before gaining admission to read “Dramatic Arts” in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). Dramatic Arts didn’t change his life but the friends he met at OAU did and the change was indeed dramatic.
In OAU, Asake met and became friends with Yhemolee, Fireboy, Super Boy Cheque, Chinko Ekun and Blaqbones. They all started their music journey in OAU and in 2016 when they were done with school, life as an adult dawned on them. Yhemolee decided to head back to Lagos after staying two months in school doing nothing, Super Boy Cheque and Asake followed Yhemolee with no concrete plans.
On their way to Lagos, Yhemolee reached out to a friend staying in Ajah who agreed to allow him to squat in his place for a while. When they got to Berger, Yhemolee gave Asake some money and told him to go back to Lagos Island where his family was staying whilst Super Boy Cheque whose parents were staying somewhere in Ogun State stayed with Yhemolee in his friend’s place.
Yhemolee started posting funny videos on IG and got lucky to be reposted by both Don Jazzy and Tunde Ednut in one day blowing up his IG account. He became an influencer and also ventured into crypto during the pandemic and this made him super comfortable and he brought Asake to stay with him.
Asake on the other hand was pursuing his music career dropping singles that were not really “blowing”. By this time, Super Boy Cheque was already signed by Phyno’s record label Penthauze, Chinko and FireBoy were both signed by Olamide into YBNL.
It just looked like Asake was the only one that wasn’t moving up with his music career but he remained consistent and kept on sending messages to Olamide since 2018 begging him to sign him but he never got a reply. Yhemolee, his friend, became a big time “Night life influencer” and one day Olamide sent him a message asking him about another of his friends.
Yhemolee sent the contact to him and decided to shoot his shot at that moment. He told Olamide that he has an artist he would like him to listen to, if possible give him a verse in one of his songs, this was happening in 2022.
Yhemolee told him about Asake and when Olamide asked for him to send him some of Asake’s works Yhemolee immediately sent him “Omo Ope”, Olamide loved the song. Olamide did a verse on the song and sent it to Yhemolee.
Yhemolee called Asake and told him that Olamide has done a verse for him but he didn’t believe it, until he came down to the vehicle and Yhemolee played the Olamide verse for him and you could see tears swell up in Asake’s eyes before he ran out shouting for joy.
He dropped “Omo Ope” featuring Olamide and it was an instant banger.
Olamide invited him to his house and asked him if he would love to join YBNL, Asake agreed on the spot but Olamide told him to go home and get a lawyer first and Asake told him, he doesn’t need one. He got signed to YBNL and the rest they say is history.
In a space of one year, Asake has gone from an upcoming artist to a global artist selling out the O2 Arena in the UK and it’s thanks to a friend.
Even when it looked like his career was lagging behind and others were all moving ahead, his friend stuck by him, supported him and was the connection that changed his life.