Ajayi Tolulope
4 min readJan 28, 2022

Growth: The transformation from Adekunle Gold to AG Baby.

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” Lao Tzu.

The year is 2016, one of the roughest years of my life. Nothing made sense, not my life, not the world around me. But only one thing made sense. It was “Sade”, the song by Adekunle Gold. This was the first song by him I had listened to. This was also the first time I heard of him. Given the sort of attention in the number of times I listened to the song daily, it was a prominent symptom that I had fallen in love with the music and the artiste (in a non-romantic way; he’s married with a kid.). The funny thing about the song was that it was a cover to the now almost defunct musical band One Direction’s “Story of my life”, which was another song I enjoyed immensely. This song “Sade” would eventually mark the beginning of the Adekunle Gold’s musical dynasty.

Orente was beautiful. It was a romantic song. It sounded like a folklore song but the impressive version. I was thrilled by this new man taking the music industry by storm. I remembered how everyone was shocked to understand that Adekunle Gold was at the time signed to Olamide’s YBNL record label. It was oxymoronic. Logically Adekunle Gold and YBNL didn’t fit. But logic isn’t always suitable. They were a match made in heaven. Adekunle Gold’s style differed from YBNL’s acts style with all but one similarity, language blend.

Another thing that stood out from Adekunle’s musical brilliance was his fashion style. It was unique in the hip hop era, where everyone wanted to appear flashy with numerous jewellery he chose to be different. His style was simple but profound. For every dress he wore, he made a statement. It was the Adiré style that made him stand out. The uniqueness that existed in his music and his fashion style were the secret ingredients he used in proliferating the Nigerian music industry. However, all of his initial styles would be changed. It was almost like he was reborn. He was setting his old life on fire like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Every album released marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life. It was the cue that he was both evolving as a musical artist and also as a person who understands the distinction between art and person.

One of the significant scares came after he left YBNL. So many people speculated on whether he would be able to do significantly independently without the million-man YBNL army behind him. But he was calm trusted in his brilliance and progress, so he over-evolved (which is a good thing).

I must confess, I consider myself as an old soul, so I wasn’t comfortable with losing the old Adekunle Gold to AG baby. I was scared, and rightly so. I had experienced how many of my favourite musical artists go mainstream and lose their core brilliance in the bid to commercialise their art (I am not entitled). This I found dishonest. Although it would be hypocritical to blame them – poverty is the catalyst. But with Adekunle, it was different. I was wrong. The transformation from the Adiré wearing Adekunle Gold into AG baby marked a fundamental change, one which he took each of us who enjoyed listening to him along with him.

Till today, I still ask myself, “how did Adekunle Gold transform into AG Baby and was so successful with the transformation?” Well, I shouldn’t over ponder on those thoughts. I believe it is his trade secret and the sheer genius of the individual, experimenting with different layers of his existence to bring the best part of his artistry while carrying along his fans through the evolution process. But as an Oliver Twist, I hold both Adekunle Gold and AG Baby in high esteem. Some days I focus on his old songs. Other days I focus on his new songs. That way, I have a balanced consumption of the old and the new. It’s healthy. But, I’ve also realised that Adekunle Gold didn’t change to become AG Baby. He only evolved.

In a few days, AG Baby would release a new album. It’s titled “Catch Me If You Can.” I can’t wait to listen because I am sure it’ll expose a new wave of brilliance to the versatility and beauty of the man, the myth and the legend, Adekunle Gold.

Note: This essay is a personalised view of Adekunle Gold doesn’t represent a generalised view. Any statement or phrase shared in this article isn’t a FACT. The author wouldn’t be held accountable for how you wish to interpret this article.