The talented Street-Hop artiste and songwriter, Mohbad, has untimely passed on. Afrocritik celebrates his life and unique artistry with these selected songs.
By Emmanuel Daraloye & Emmanuel Okoro
In a shocking turn of events, the Nigerian music industry is mourning the untimely demise of one of its brightest stars, Promise Oladimeji Aloba, widely known by his stage name, Mohbad, who passed on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, at the age of 27. The news of his death sent a shockwave throughout the country, and extensively, Africa, immediately after it was announced on social media.
His family has confirmed the news with the following statement:
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Promise Oladimeji Aloba popularly known as Mohbad (Imole) today, the 12th of September, 2023.
Mohbad was Light until the very end, and as we mourn the loss of the brightness he carried, the family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.
Imole is finally at Peace.”
While details surrounding the cause of Mohbad’s death remain undisclosed, tributes from fellow artistes, fans, label executives, influencers, and music industry heavyweights have been pouring across social media.
The multitalented artiste will be remembered for crafting captivating music that resonated with the streets and into the hearts of Nigerians. More so, he will be remembered for his raw talent, rare energy, and charismatic presence, earning the promising artiste a dedicated following in Nigeria and beyond.
In honour of Mohbad’s memory, Afrocritik has curated a list of 10 of his songs, celebrating his talent and the impact he made in his stint in the Nigerian music industry. The tracks are in no particular order, and not to be confused as a “Top 10 Best Mohbad Songs” list. However, the songs highlighted here provide insight into Mohbad’s life and unique artistry.
“Peace” is a catchy tune inspired by and crafted for the street. Here, Mohbad delves into the challenges he had encountered in his past, often facing off with adversaries that pose as friends. Still, he successfully seeks and discovers a sense of peace. Set against the backdrop of a Rexxie-produced tune, Mohbad asks his lover if she will be beside him through life’s challenges, as he yearns for someone steadfast by his side. “Peace” earned a nomination for Best Street-Hop Artiste at the just concluded 2023 Headies Awards.
On “Imole”, Mohbad fearlessly opens up about his struggles in the pursuit of fame and fortune. With a captivating vocal performance, he raps over an ethereal melody, creating a mesmerising medley for audiences. Mohbad also implores the divine to make his musical path less arduous, expressing his desire for a smoother and seamless journey in the music industry. “Imole” marked an interesting moment for the artiste, as he continued to adopt the moniker until his painful demise.
Ask About Me
“Ask About Me”, one of the leading singles on Blessed, his last extended play, is Mohbad’s answer to the questions surrounding the challenging moments in his life the previous year. Over the production by Nektunez, Mohbad delivers a message, that he has evolved, and has moved on from where he once was. “Ask About Me” serves as a personal reflection and a declaration of growth.
Beast & Peace
A contrasting title you might say, this track opens the Blessed EP, MohBad’s. Just like “Sorry”, this track is resplendent with biographical traits. It is filled with issues he has been facing since he left Marlian Records. The intro interpolates Wande Coal’s “Ololufe”, and things switch up a little bit as the drum roll and the kicks all collide, aiding the angelic background vocals on the track.
“Feel Good” stands as one of Mohbad’s signature tunes. Following the massive success of “KPK”, Mohbad teamed up with producer, Niphkeys, to craft the infectious vibes of “Feel Good”. The song is characterised by energetic log drums and dreamy chords, creating a backdrop for Mohbad to reflect on the trials and tribulations he’s faced in his short-lived life and career. Despite the hardships, the song’s underlying message is optimism, hope, and resilience. This song is Mohbad’s manifesto of embracing positivity and believing everything will fall in place. It’s no surprise this song earned him a nomination at the 2022 Headies Awards for “Best Street-Hop Artiste.”
Pariwo (Featuring Bella Shmurda)
“I am open-minded, e no violence, talk my own, no silence, true story wey go touch them,” Bella Shmurda sings in the intro to “Pariwo”. In hindsight, lines like these reveal deeper meanings. The chorus has an element of Yoruba which attests to the need to cry for help. On his part, MohBad takes the song through a new arch as he breezes into topics around girls, parties, self-worth, life, and more. This is one of the few collaborations between the two sonic besties.
Account Balance (Featuring Zlatan)
There are a lot of witty lines and thought-provoking words on “Account Balance”, and it is easy to miss the gems. The energy from Zlatan Ibile and MohBad are contagious. From the intro, Zlatan Ibile tells the listeners the reason he is cocky, “Account Balance lo jeki ma buga bayi”. The Zanku crooner took it to another level when he said “Overconfidence oma dabi aseju”. “Account Balance” finds both artistes singing about the impact of money on their lives.
Ponmo (featuring Naira Marley)
The witty collaboration between Naira Marley and Lil Kesh was the most ideal 2020 “Detty December” tune. The trio weaved a topic around the then-raving Kayamata, to score a street-influenced track. They all brought their witty lyricism to bear on this song. While it might be funny, the underlying message behind this song cannot be ignored.
Rexxie – KPK (Ko Por Ke) (with Mohbad)
“KPK (Ko Por Ke)” was a track that left an indelible mark on the Nigerian music scene. Produced by Rexxie, the song’s composition featured a captivating blend of lively electro-shakers, vibrant synths, melodious organ chords, and rhythmic log drums. However, Mohbad’s straightforward, deadpan, and repetitive lyricism injected vitality into the track. At the time of its release, the Nigerian music landscape was open to Amapiano influences, but it was “KPK” that ushered its wave in the country. The song also earned a nod for “Best Street-Hop Artiste” at the 2022 Headies Awards.
For the Ghetto youth, a track like “Sorry” would always be relatable, as there is always a big brother, a cousin, or any acquaintance that perfectly fits into the canvas MohBad tries to paint on this song. “Sorry” served as the first song on his Light EP. It is a quintessential MohBad speaking his truths: his exploration of Internet fraud, and drugs. While he apologised to his father for squandering his money, he was quick to seek God’s guidance in his sonic journey.
The untimely demise of Mohbad is a hard pill to swallow, but he sure left a lot of memories to wag our heads to.
Emmanuel Daraloye is Africa’s most prolific music critic. He has over 450 music reviews in his archive.
Emmanuel Okoro is a content writer and journo with an insatiable knack for music and pop culture. When he’s not writing, you will find him arguing why Arsenal FC is the best football club in the multiverse. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads: @BughiLorde.