Nigerians woke up to the devasting news of the crossing over of the phenomenal artiste with the stage name Sound Sultan.

Aside from his spectacular artistry, he was well-known for songs that target social evils such as corruption, poverty, and poor governance. Mathematics and Motherland are two of his most notable tracks.

Who was Sound Sultan?

Born Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi, Sound Sultan was a Nigerian rapper, singer, composer, actor and comedian. He was regarded as one of Nigeria’s pioneers of modern hip hop music. By using his music as a vehicle to express social concerns in Nigeria, he attracted an audience that relates to his style of music.

Early life and career

Sound Sultan was born on November 27, 1976 in Jos, Plateau State as the fourth child in a family of five. After his birth, the family relocated to Lagos, where he completed his primary school education at Stepping Stone Nursery and Primary School.

He attended the Federal Government College in Ogbomoso, in his native state of origin, Oyo State, for his secondary school education. There, he joined a band, and then he began to develop an interest in music. In 1999, Sound Sultan graduated from the Lagos State University with a degree in Geography and Regional Planning.

His artistic adventure began in 1991 with him writing music and lyrics and miming at school gatherings. At this point, he had received numerous music-related accolades at school. In the past, Sound Sultan ascribed his love in music to his multitalented elder brother, Dare Fasasi, also known as Baba Dee, who studied theatre arts at a university.

Sound Sultan is one of many outstanding Nigerian artists who began experimenting with their creativity at a young age. He had won many local talent shows and was learning to play the guitar by the time he was 23 years old.

He began releasing singles independently and appearing in hit songs by other artistes before the age of 25. In 2008, he founded the Naija Ninjas record label, alongside his older brother. Together, they published a number of albums and signed a number of other artistes, like Karma Da Rapper and Young GreyC. Later, he signed to Kennis Music among other recording artistes such as 2Face Idibia.

A pioneer

Sound Sultan is one well-known music figure who helped to establish hip hop as a popular and explored genre in Nigeria. Through hit songs like Jagbajantis, which was a massive hit in the early 2000s, he began experimenting with the genre. The lyrics of the song depicted the political climate in Nigeria at the time, as well as the experiences of its people. One of the things that set his music apart was his use of relatable themes, which were popular in many Nigerian households.

The musical godfather

The majority of his songs were written to convey societal themes. His most popular songs are about poverty, corruption, societal ills, and bad governance, all of which are problems in Nigeria. Some of his most well-known tunes are: Mathematics, Jagbajantis, Ole, Natural Something, and Kokose which features Wizkid. Sound Sultan has also mentored a number of well-known figures in the business. There are claims that he guided musicians like Wizkid and Dbanj back in 2017.

“So many artistes that are big now, when they were budding artistes I inspired and motivated them. From P-Square to Wizkid, Dbanj, Timaya, Asa, and all the other guys. That I want to mentor young up-and-coming artistes doesn’t stop my own movement; it’s more like a positive energy. It’s not something you need to take a break from,” he said in a 2017 interview with Showtime.

Through this, he was able to maintain his status as a godfather figure in the industry.

Sound Sultan has collaborated with a number of well-known worldwide acts, notably Haitian/American Wyclef Jean. His collaboration with Wyclef, Proud to be African, also featured 2Baba and Faze. They also worked together on two further projects, King of My Country and People Bad.

The Man And The Art

Sound Sultan used a variety of media including acting to express his creativity, including acting. The artiste starred with Akpororo, 2baba, Basketmouth, and Pappy Luwe in Baba Dee’s critically praised comedy film, Head Gone, which he produced and directed. They were among the finest entertainers featured in the comedy film.

He also appeared in The Washerman (2018), Campus Queen (2004), Basketmouth’s Papa Benji, and also The Flatmates online series (2020). He had revealed several of his upcoming projects, including music collections and sitcoms, in a February 2021 interview. These projects were not released due to his untimely demise.

Family Life

In 2009, Sound Sultan married his wife, Chichi Morah, now known as Farida Fasasi. They have three children together. On social media, the artiste always highlighted the life he had established with his family. You could see the family as an unified front in the videos he posted. Clearly, he was passing on his artistic and creative side to his children.

In their family videos, his children were frequently seen chorusing his tunes. There were early rumours around his marriage that he forced his wife to convert to Islam, which he officially denied.

What friends and colleagues had to say

Shocked by his demise, friends and colleagues have shared their grief by recalling their time with him.

Innocent Idibia, also known as 2Baba, a close friend of Sound Sultan, stated in a post that his death still feels unreal. “Couldn’t bring myself to do this, but what can we do. Rest well. Till we meet again my dear friend and brother,” he said.

“Still so unreal. I will never stop celebrating you. I promise you, your family will be safe and good. Grateful for you and the blessings that you represented in my life,” he added.

Efe Omorogbe, a close friend of Sound Sultan and manager of 2Baba, portrays him as a multidimensional creative and exceptional human being. “Sultan was simply selfless, dependable, trustworthy and exemplary in conduct,” he said.

Omorogbe also shared the experience of their first meeting with He said, “Sultan had a warm and charming personality when I first met him. I met him at a sprite ball event in Surulere in the late 1990s. He was a basketballer, and I was the MC of the event. We connected immediately. He kept us laughing the entire time he spent with us.”

On why his music became so significant, Omorogbe expressed the feeling that Sound Sultan’s music stands out due to his insight. “It’s sheer quality in subject matter, perspective, insight, composition, lyrical dexterity, depth, consciousness, wit and mass appeal that makes his music standout,” he said.

More condolences

Frontline comedian Basketmouth, another friend of Sound Sultan, recalled their 20-year friendship on his page. He wrote, “For over 20 years, not once did I see you lose your cool. A wise, humble, kind-hearted man. A true definition of a good friend.”

“I will definitely miss those early hours of the day that I call you and share my crazy ideas with you, while you take notes and add your genius touch. You were selfless, disciplined and professional. Unarguably one of the best writers I’ve seen, a brilliant actor, musician, and comedian. We lost a good man today. We lost a great man. You were the best of us all, and I will miss you so much,” Basketmouth added.

Seyi Shay used Instagram to express her grief on the death of her musical “godfather”. She wrote, “You lived an exemplary life. You were humble, and you were there for everyone.” She continued, “You brought me to Nigeria. You and Cecil created “Seyi Shay” in 2012. And you have been my guardian and godfather ever since.”

Seyi Shay also spoke about how Sound Sultan mentored her at the start of her career. “Baba my mentor, my confidant, my small daddy, my defender, my peace, my brother, and my inspiration. The only one who never jugged me. You forgave me and welcomed me home with open arms when I went astray. I’ll miss your fatherly hugs and smiles and fatherly discipline you gave me,” she added.

Sound Sultan’s death has been a huge loss to the Nigerian creative industry, and the legacy he has left with his art will live on. He will go down in history as a legend who will not be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends in their time of bereavement.