Ladipoe is a confident young man. When he returned home to Lagos from studying biochemistry in North Carolina, he was told that his US-influenced sound was not going to fly with the Nigerian public.
But he was not put off.
“Every rapper goes through an identity crisis, but I came out of mine saying ‘wait a minute, there’s over 200 million people in this my country, are you trying to tell me I can’t have people who believe in what I do?’ No.
“And I’m bringing back that belief system that it’s valid, the fact that diversity is good in music, so I’m leading that revival. The name just stuck.”
The Leader of the Revival is part of the alté movement towards a more melodic sound, more akin to R&B.
One very important individual who believes in Ladipoe is legendary producer Don Jazzy. Ladipoe is the first rapper he signed, and Ladipoe says he has been hugely supportive.
Ladipoe’s career also benefitted from collaboration with ShowDem Camp – including the gorgeous track Feel Alright.
But the song that really put Ladipoe firmly on the map is his duet with Simi, Know You, released a year ago, on which he sings as well as raps.
“Simi is very strict – to get the singing right was not easy-oh!,” he says.
Know You is a story about a boy and a girl who have feelings for each other but don’t know each other well.
“I love the writing aspect of what I do, and Simi loves being a writer as well, and Simi was asking me all these questions, kind of getting to know me. I was like ‘anybody else I’d be telling them I don’t know you well enough to be answering these questions,’ and from there I said that’s a mad idea for a song.”
Know You has now been viewed nearly 11 million times on YouTube. And Ladipoe’s latest drop, a feel-good song called Feeling featuring Buju, has racked up over a million views in just a few weeks.