So much more than words could explain and beyond a fleeting dream, the death of multi-talented entertainment legend Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi, popularly known as Sound Sultan pinched deep in the hearts of Nigerians, leaving them dazed and in disbelief. Many who did not know him personally while alive have confessed that his death bites them like they knew him one-on-one, how much more his loved ones and close associates and those who have at one point or the other, enjoyed his sagacity and acts?
Aside the fact that Sound Sultan was young and the death of a youngie pains differently, the versatile singer, songwriter, comedian, rhymist, actor and basketball lover, carried a depth of intelligence, wisdom, powerful lyrics with deep meanings, and embodied a great personality and diverse talents and skills, all of which he blessed the planet earth with. Young and old – Gen Z, Millennials and the generations before all resonated with his sounds and talents and this is what only a legend could have done.He was regarded as one of the pacesetters of modern hip hop music in Nigeria, and was notable for using his music to speak against poverty, corruption, bad governance and societal ills in the nation. To think that all of these and more that he possessed have just vanished from the face of the earth and the world is left with only memories of him aches the heart. No wonder his death pinches much more than normal.
After he got out of Secondary School, Sound Sultan started learning how to play the guitar, and by 1999 when he got his degree, he was in a band already. Sound Sultan started his music career in the early ’90s and began hosting shows to raise money for studio sessions. He took interest in music in 1991, started miming at school parties and writing his own lyrics. He attributed his early influence to his elder brother Baba Dee who studied Theatre Arts, saying he received most of his early stage experience through him.By 1999, he had won numerous local talent-hunt shows and was sort of ready for the next phase – going professional. Sound Sultan released his first single “Jagbajantis” in 2000, a dope hit that travelled far and wide across the nation in the era when the hip hop culture was finding its footing in the country. After releasing other singles and featuring in other artistes’ hit song, he met with the legendary Broadcaster and Music Executive Kenny Ogungbe, and got signed into his Kennis Music label, where he released four of his 7 albums.
His contract with the label expired by 2007, then he partnered with his elder brother and musician, Dare Fasasi, popularly known as Baba Dee to start Naija Ninjas, a parent organization for a record label, production outfit and clothing line. After starting as a rapper, he has worked in different musical genres from R&B to Afrobeat, soul and Nigerian Fuji music. Sound Sultan was of the opinion artists shouldn’t be judged on the genre in which they perform, but the message conveyed in their music. Under Naija Ninjas, he released Back From The Future (2010) and signed artists such as Karma Da Rapper, Young GreyC, Shawn and Black.Sound Sultan began a working relationship with big international artistes including Wyclef Jean when featured alongside 2face Idibia and Faze on “Proud to be African” from Wyclef’s Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101 album. They also collaborated on two other projects,”King of My Country” (2009) and “People Bad” (2012). In 2015, Sound Sultan released the rap single “Remember” after a long absence from the music scene. In 2019, Sound Sultan featured on Honorebel’s single “Bridal” with Joe-El.
Sound Sultan did not only made a mark in the music industry, he also proved his worth at movie sets. In 2014, he stared in the universally acclaimed comedy movie, “Head Gone” which he produced and was directed by his brother, Dare Fasasi. The Comedy film featured elite entertainers such as Akpororo, 2baba, Basketmouth, Pappy Luwe among others. Recently, he cast in Basketmouth’s Papa Benji series, playing the role of Professor Alloy, an always-alone and never-buying-anything-except-w
In his lifetime, Sound sultan had 7 albums and has received many nominations and awards. His 2010 album Back From The Future was nominated for Headies Award for Album of the Year in 2011, but he lost to his friend and colleague 2face Idibia for his The Unstoppable International Edition album. In 2018, Sound Sultan got City People’s Music Special Recognition Award, and in the same year, he clinched the Headies Award for Best Alternative Song.His albums are albums are Kpseeeeeeew (2001); Textbook (2004); Naija 007 (2007); SS4 (2008); Back to The Future (2010); Me, My Mouth and Eye (2012); Out of The Box (2016).
In 2012, it was announced that Sound Sultan was made a UN Ambassador for Peace for his exemplary lifestyle and career.Personal Life/Marriage
In 2009, Sound Sultan married his long-term girlfriend Chichi Morah, now known as Farida Fasasi after she converted to Islam, and together, they have three children, a wonderful girl and two amazing boys. On the last father’s day he celebrated, Sound Sultan blessed the world with a video of himself and his children performing a song together at their home, as he celebrated all fathers out there.Basketball
Sound Sultan was very passionate about basketball during his lifetime, so much that he helped develop the game in Festac area of Lagos. Also, after the fallout of the African Basketball League, Sound Sultan joined forces with the organizers of the Continental Basketball League to become a team owner the Lagos Islanders, City Stars (the 2017 champions) and a facilitator of the league entertainment.As a sign of honor after his passing, the Nigerian Basketball Federation dedicated the Nigerian Senior basketball team, D’Tigers’ recent wins against USA and Argentina to the late singer. They also wore customized shirts bearing his name and face for their pre-Olympics game against Australia on the night of Tuesday 13th July, 2 days after his death.Illness and Death
On the 12th of May, 2021, it was reported that Sound Sultan was in a hospital in the United States of America, receiving treatment and undergoing chemotherapy as he was reportedly diagnosed with throat cancer. Baba Dee, however, denied that Sound Sultan had throat cancer. Days later, Sound Sultan took to his verified Instagram page to also hint that the story was false. Using the same medium to felicitate with Muslims around the world on the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, Sound Sultan wrote, “Eid Mubarak to my lovely Muslim brothers and sisters. May Almighty Allah accept our fast as an act of Ibadah. Instagram! This is not the one with ram. I must not ignore the massive show of love. Thank you all. I will tell you my story myself it will be true THEN not false”.Sadly, the legend never got the chance to tell the story as his family broke the news of his death on Sunday 11th July, 2021, to the shock and disbelief of many. According to their statement, he died after battling Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma at the age of 44. He was buried same day ,according to Islamic rites, at a Muslim Cemetery in the United States. His last message to the world, of Patornaking’s song themed, “Celebrate Me While Alive”, is only becoming clearer and sinking deep after his demise.Tributes
As tributes began rolling from shocked friends, associates, colleagues and fans worldwide, more revelations into the person of the deceased singer surfaced. In an Instagram post, DJBigN revealed that the Naija Ninja neither smokes, drinks, so much that he was called Mr Maltina, nor engaged in extra-marital affairs, and was highly religious. Basketmouth in his revelation said the since over 20 years that he had known the deceased, he had never for once lost his cool. Kate Henshaw revealed he would always come through for her in ideas and offering help, and 2face described his own humility as a learner when compared to Sound Sultan’s. Many others recount how their encounter with him changed their lives, how humble, wise and filled of solutions and idea he was.For a man with so much attributes, skills, talents, great personality and blessings to the surface of the earth without a slightest controversy but a clean record in this dirt-filled world, Sound Sultan is definitely an angel, a true legend whose life should be studied and emulated. May his soul rest in perfect peace.Photos Credit: Getty