#ThrowbackThursday: Meet Eedris Abdulkareem The ‘Jaga Jaga’ Crooner
Born Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem Ajenifuja by an Osun state mother and Ogun state father in Kano. He spent his early life in Kano where he lost his father at the age of 2; hence he adopted Kano as his state of origin.
He became a member of the pioneer hip hop band, The Remedies from 1998 till their split in 2002. In 2000 Abdulkareem was among the personalities voted for by the Nigerian public to carry the Olympic torch in a relay through the country.
He continued as a solo artist and released the album P.A.S.S. (“Pains And Stress = Success”) in 2002. Its track “Wackawickee MC’s” criticized Tony Tetuila, Plantashun Boiz and Double X Posse. Later in the same year he released an album titled Mr. Lecturer. Its title track thematised students in Nigerian colleges and universities receiving higher grades in exchange for money and sex.
In 2004 Abdulkareem released his third album Jaga Jaga, a Yoruba term for a shambles, declaiming corruption and suffering in Nigeria. The title track was banned from radio by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, but continued to be played in nightclubs.
Same in 2004, the veteran rapper did the unthinkable by challenging United States big rapper, 50 Cent on board a plane. Eedris blurted out his mind about how Nigerian artistes were ill-treated in favour of the foreign acts. This action can be said as the big sacrifice Eedris Abdulkareem made with his career by how homeland musicians now collaborate with the Yankees.
In November 2005, Abdulkareem launched his own record label, La Kreem Music and released his fourth album, Letter to Mr. President. The album’s title track addressed Obasanjo’s criticisms of “Jaga Jaga”; the album also featured “Flash Up Unu Lighter”, a tribute to Obasanjo’s wife, Stella, who died while undergoing surgery in Spain, and the victims of the Bellview Airlines crash of October 2005.
He released a sequel to “Jaga Jaga” in January 2012 during the Occupy Nigeria protest against lifting of fuel subsidies.
Abdulkareem married Yetunde in 2004. They have 4 children.