Legendary reggae musician, Ras Kimono, waved the world farewell on Sunday, June 10th at the age of 60.
At the airport for a trip to America, he complained of feeling funny and was taken to an hospital in Ikeja, Lagos state from where he was referred to Lagoon Hospital where he later died.
Born on 9 May 1958, in Onicha Olona in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, his real name was Ekeleke Elumelu, but was overshadowed by his stage name.
An astute entertainer, Kimono started his career as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor.
He would later team up with Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie to form the music group, Jastix Reggae Ital.
After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Ras Kimono, as he came to be known turned a musical advocate preaching for a better Nigeria and indeed Africa.
As evident in his music, his lyrics were greatly influenced by his difficult beginning.
Poverty, inequality and hardship became regular factors in his songs which entertained the music scene for years.
Dropping his debut album titled ‘Under Pressure’ on the imprint of Premier Music label in 1989, the body of work would launch him musically.
The ‘Under Pressure’ album would propel him to great stardom, as he became an instant hit not only in Nigeria, but Africa. The album had songs such as “Natty Get Jail”, “Under Pressure” and the very successful “Rhumba Style” to mention a few.
With the success of the album, he went on to tour continents such as Europe, America, as he dominated Africa. He would release other albums, but none compared to his debut.
His songs include ‘Rastafari Chant’, ‘Rum-Bar Stylee’, ‘Kimono De Want’, ‘What’s Gawn?’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘What’s Gwan’, ‘Gimme Likkie Sugar’, ‘Jah Guide 1’, ‘Rastafarian’, ‘Slavery Days’, ‘Under Pressure II’, ‘Rub-A-Dub Master’ and a host of others.
An astute entertainer, some of his awards includes “The Nigerian Music Award”, “Fame Award”, “The Headies Award” among several others.
A vegetarian of about 37 years, Ras Kimono spoke openly about his abstinence from alcohol, drugs and Indian hemp, all vices popular with musicians doing his kind of music.
A board member of the Tony Okoroji-led Copy Right Society of Nigeria (COSON), Ras Kimono also played with the big boys.
A father and a husband, he was married to Sybl, who moved with him to America, but refused to return to Nigeria with him when he decided it was time to finally come home. They both have three daughters.
Kimono would get romantically involved with his manager Efe Okodi who bore him a girl named Oge Kimono.
Based in Europe, her love for reggae music saw her moving to Nigeria to revive the genre of music.
With his death came several reactions from great men such as Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa; Chairman Heirs Holding, Tony Elumelu; Majek Fashek; late Lucky Dube’s vocalist, Ben Priest and several other.