Wasiu Balogun a.k.a. Saheed Osupa is the Balogun of Amukoko/Mosafejo town in Lagos. He got the traditional title, no doubt, for doing what he knows how to do best-playing his kind of fuji music.
This controversial musician told Deputy Editor, Charles Okogene why he calls himself king of fuji music and explained the reason controversy seems to go wherever he finds himself.
We hear you are celebrating Mosafejo Day 2009, what is your impression of the crowd turn out?
Honestly, I am highly impressed; and this is the first edition. You know Saheed Osupa is a crowd-puller and I pray almighty God to take control of everything.
What is the essence of the day?
We initiated the celebration because Mosafejo used to be a village that has grown into a city. I was born here; so was my father. This is the community where I come from.
Congratulations for attracting such a huge crowd to the first ever Mosafejo Day celebration.
Thank you. It is normal. As a megastar that is how it is supposed to be.
Before now, the impression we got was that over the years you have refused to identify with people from Mosafejo, which incidentally is your place of birth. So, what made you take out time to be here today?
Normally, we are supposed to celebrate Ajegunle Day today not Mosafejo because Ajegunle includes Mosafejo, Amukoko and other areas. I was planning for Ajegunle Day but some of them later told me to start with Mosafejo Day and that if it is successful others will be willing to join us and that it will be easy for us to do Ajegunle Day because if we are going to celebrate Ajegunle Day, all the Ajegunle musicians like Daddy Showkey and others will be present.
You seem to always court controversy.
It is normal; when you are progressing in life people are bound to be jealous of you. They erect all kinds of obstacles just to stop you from progressing; that is why people keep saying that I am involved in controversy.
I listened carefully to one of your live recordings few days ago in which you were saying that you are comfortable with people calling you ‘alagidi of arigidi’ (the stubborn one of arigidi), why do you decide to identify with such a name?
No matter how diplomatic you are when you are doing things, people will still provoke you. When you are doing the right thing and people say you are wrong, but you know you are doing the right thing, keep doing it. This is because if you are doing the right thing, people will still try to deceive and frustrate you. Just keep on keeping on because at last people will know that you are on the right track.
So, you mean you are doing the right thing by getting enmeshed in all the controversy and bearing such a name like the ‘alagidi of arigidi’?
Yes. I am not fighting anybody. They are just jealous of me because I am progressing.
Some call you Dr. Saheed Osupa others ascribe the title of Oba to you, which of these titles do you really prefer?
I like all of the titles. That of doctorate was given to me because people believe that all my lyrics are philosophical. They believe I am a philosophy doctor. Those that call me King or Oba believe I am the king of music (fuji).
But we have a reigning king of fuji music in the person of Wasiu Ayinde (K1 de Ultimate)?
Wasiu Ayinde (K1 de Ultimate) is the king of his own kind of fuji music and Saheed Osupa is the king of his own kind of music. My own music is full of philosophical messages while Wasiu Ayinde’s has only danceable songs.
Some people said you hit stardom and made more enemies because you despise some of your colleagues…
Respect begets respect, it is reciprocal; what you do to me I return to you. If you don’t respect me, you don’t expect me to respect you. If I am not jealous of you while you are progressing, why are you jealous of me?
Could it be this lack of reciprocal respect that is responsible for the sour relationship between you and Wasiu Alabi (Pasuma)?
When I returned from America about five years ago, after spending a little more than a year, people said Pasuma had become the Otunba of K1 de Ultimate and normally he is not supposed to be the next man to K1 because his music is not as good as mine. But one way or the other, he maneuvered his way and he was made the next man to Wasiu Ayinde. When I came back I didn’t say anything but people were calling me and saying ‘so you are now the next man to Paso (Pasuma)’ and I told them ‘whatever you like you can say.’ It was after then that a little boy, Muri Thunder, whom I trained, started looking for ways to make himself king of fuji too. He invited Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister to crown him; he invited me too. He wanted Barrister to crown him king of fuji music in my presence. But when I got there, Barrister said, ‘Saheed Osupa, I love your music÷you are supposed to be made the king of music.’ After that comment, when I got on the stage, Muri became hostile and I was like what is the problem. It was then that one of his boys told me that he was not happy with what Barrister said about me because his plan was to be crowned the king of fuji music at the event. Then I called Barrister and said, ‘that king of music you said the other time, I want you to crown me that king of music now.’ Then he said he will do it later and I said, ‘no Baba, procrastination is the thief of time, do it now.’ Then he said, ‘okay, in that case Osupa is the king of music’ and everybody went home.
Your albums have been selling doing very well in the market, why are you still bothered with the controversy of who is the king of fuji music?
I am not bothered. It was a week later when I went to Ibadan to attend a burial by my in-law, and Wasiu Ayinde (K1) was playing. He started abusing me and even said that as soon as he finishes performing, he would crown Wasiu Alabi (Pasuma) as the next king. It was then I saw the importance of that kingship; before then I thought it was just a joke. That was why I started addressing myself as the king of fuji music.
How come you allow Pasuma to always raise the bar? He went to Mecca and released an album in which he said that going there is not a child’s play; he said the same thing when he went to America. You responded by going to Mecca and America and came out with the song that you have been to the two places?
Pasuma is someone that looks down on people. He believed I didn’t have money to go to Mecca then. That was why I decided to go to Saudi Arabia. After that I went to America.
Is this rivalry between you real or is it a strategy to promote and sell your works?
Before now we were doing it to promote our albums and ourselves but things have changed.
Recently, you were at LTV and a fight broke out and you were said to be responsible, why is it that anywhere you go, there is always crisis?
Let me tell you something about this people; they are apostles of dirty propaganda. They will watch you and tell a perfect lie against you. I went to the show and as I was driving out, they broke the windscreen of my car and I went to the police instead of taking the law into my hand. Is there anything bad in that? I had bodyguards who would have retaliated on my behalf, but I chose to go to the police. I am not a fool by not taking the law into my hand. So, let’s forget about them; as long as I am making progress I don’t care about them.
Which state are you from?
My dad is from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital; my mother is from Mosafejo here in Lagos State.
How did you start your musical career?
I started singing when I was in secondary school because I was in the cultural group. I first started by reciting Yoruba poems (ewi), then I started acting and singing.