Remembering the Musical Legacy of Mohbad: 8 Unforgettable Hits That Echo Till This Day
The Nigerian music scene is still reeling from the tragic passing of its beloved young musical icon, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji AKA Mohbad, on September 12, 2023. The questionable circumstances surrounding his death heightened with the fall out of his label, Marlian Records, led to the #JusticeforMohbad movement, which has reverberated beyond the boundaries of the continent.
Famous for his unique take on Afrobeats, Mohbad’s style, charm and raw lyrics birthed hit songs that cemented his position as one of the princes of Nigerian street music. Amidst the controversy, we celebrate the indelible mark he left through his memorable songs that echoed throughout the country and beyond: many of which have experienced an explosion in popularity and streams since his demise.
Below are some of Mohbad’s best songs.
Kor Po Ke (2020)
“Kor Po Ke” arguably stands at the summit of Mohbad’s hit songs. It may be remembered as the song that catapulted him to mainstream success, climbing to the top of various charts in Nigeria. The song is an ode to the streets, evident from the opening line and chorus: “Talo so pe ko por ke,” which translates to “Who said it is not plenty”?
The infectious beat and rhythm is a product of his collaboration with popular producer, Rexxie, to deliver a street anthem that shakes parties to this day.
In the opening track of his critically acclaimed debut EP, “Light,” titled “Sorry,” Mohbad narrates his sad backstory over a glissade of guitar and soft African percussions. The lines, “This life don tire, Daddy no get salary/ Ten years I no see money/ stepmother no care,” greet the listener and set the tone for what is a sober reflection of his difficult upbringing. He highlights his passion for music over academics and apologizes to his father for not following the conventional path despite the latter’s best to see him through. In the end, though, it seems it was for the best.
Mohbad takes a playful dig at the extremes some women go to seek pleasure as well as the allure of the female body in “Ponmo.” Flanked by Naira Marley and Lil Kesh, “Ponmo” hints at using sweeteners to amplify the sexual experience, highlighting a carefree and pleasure-centric way of life.
Beast and Peace (2023)
“Beast and Peace,” the first song of his second EP, “Blessed,” sees Mohbad speaking from his inner soul. The oxymoronic title of this 2-minute and 25-second lyrical serenade represents his dual personality: a beast that can withstand any trial and tribulations, but one that embraces peace at first sight.
In “Beast and Peace,” Mohbad never forgets to give credit where it is due, first to God and his fellow artists by acknowledging their role in his growth.
Following his unexpected passing, “Beast & Peace” rapidly soared to the top of both Apple Music Nigeria and Spotify Nigeria charts.
“Sabi” is the second song of Mohbad’s critically acclaimed EP, “Blessed,” released in June 2023. Featuring swaying rhythms, “Sabi” encapsulates the spirit of self-confidence and embracing one’s triumphs. Mohbad affirms his competence and expertise, standing firm against anyone attempting to belittle his capabilities.
Ask About Me (2023)
This track, spanning nearly three minutes, is Mohbad’s way of reaffirming his pledge to succeed at all costs. He defiantly sings, “I’m still getting my mula/ Dollar pe’lu Naira” implying that his fallout with Marlian Records didn’t crumble his career as some might have believed.
The assurance and fearlessness that Mohbad showcases in “Ask About Me” resonate even more profoundly now that he has passed away.
Marlians Anthem (2020)
Released when things were still good with his boss and “marlians” was still a thing, “Marlians Anthem” was an instant banger when it dropped.
As the second track on his inaugural EP “Light,” “Marlians Anthem” salutes street culture and the Marlian movement, lauding their resilience and passion for success.
No song captures Mohbad’s emotional struggle and resolve as poignantly as “Peace.”
At its core are themes of resilience, and the pursuit of inner tranquility in the face of life’s trials He sings “Wetin be this one like this? / Been through many things/ many many gists” reflecting the stormy seas he has had to swim through. However, he concludes with, “But I still find my peace,” indicating his commitment to find inner peace.
Going through lyrics like, “I dey do like say me I no dey see/ Like say me I no dey hear, / Which kind person be this? /I be dealin’ with frenemies,” one can’t help but recall the intense feud between him and Marlian Records, and all the manhandling that came with it.
Although the song became quite popular in Nigeria–especially the sped-up version on TikTok–Mohbad, sadly, never got to witness the unbridled success that “Peace” currently is, as the song surged to number one on the Spotify Nigeria charts shortly after his passing. This is his second chart-topper.
The tunes and contemplative lyrics strengthen its appeal and replay value that further proves the genius that is Mohbad.