by Olutayo Irantiola
K1 De Ultimate is a renowned name in the Yoruba music industry in Nigeria. Interestingly, his stage name has evolved over the years till what it is currently. The man who started his music career early in life has been around the genre of fuji for over 40 years.
In the old dispensation, it is not an easy journey to musical stardom. Let’s just give a short synopsis of what happens to the musicians of old. They start out by showing interest in music, undergo a season of apprenticeship before they become bold enough to start their band. When they have a band, they play at various parties and events at little or no charge, thereafter, they get signed to a music label and they wax album in the studio. There is no immediate guarantee to stardom but they eventually hit the airwaves eventually.
As narrated by the music czar, he was born as Olasunkanmi Wasiu Ishola Anifowoshe in Lagos, Nigeria. He discovered his interest in music at age 8 and by the age of 15, he has won many local musical talent hunts events. He later became member of Ayinde Barrister’s band, the Supreme Fuji Commanders from 1975 to 1978 after previously serving under him as instrument packer. He also adopted the name of Ayinde into his name after seeking the permission and blessing of his master Ayinde Barrister.
He released his first album titled Iba with the special track ‘Abode Mecca’ in 1980, his stage name at this time was, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Barrister and his fuji commanders. Other albums that he waxed with this stage name include ‘Esi Oro’ in 1982 and ‘Igbalaye’ in 1982. Thereafter, he gained prominence as his albums in 1984 was sold out and it became a great success, ‘Talazo System’ and ‘Talazo ’84’. He continued using the same name for other albums such as ‘Ise L’Ogun Ise’; ‘Ijo Olomo’ also released in 1984.
By 1985, he was honoured with the Chieftaincy title of Badabarawu of Ogijo and he changed the name of his band, on the record jacket of his ‘Talazo Disco 85’, it was written as Alhaji (Chief) Wasiu Ayinde Barrister and his talazo fuji commanders. Other albums in the year include ‘Oloriki Metta’ / Ki De Se, ‘Elo-Sora’ and ‘Pomposity’. In one of his interviews, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde noted that he wanted to attract the younger generation to his genre of music because the rave of the day was foreign music.
In 1986, he went on his maiden foreign tour between North America and Europe and he released albums with the following titles, Ori and the band name was tweaked a little more, Alhaji (Chief) Wasiu Ayinde Barrister and the Royal Talazo Fuji Londoners. Other albums that year include ‘Tiwa Dayo’ with the stage name, Alhaji (Chief) Wasiu Ayinde Barrister and the Golden Talazo Fuji Messiah; ‘Erin Goke’, ‘Baby Je Kajo’. He added two more Chieftaincy titles to the growing list in this same year as the Ekerin Amuludun of Ibadanland in 1986 and the Golden Mercury of Africa Title in 1986.
In 1987, Alhaji (Chief) Wasiu Ayinde Barrister, who doubles as the Fuji Commander, he went on a tour when he played at Hammersmith town hall London. He continued with the stage name and some of the albums of the season include ‘Talazo in London’; ‘Aiyé’ and in ‘Adieu Awolowo’, the description of the band was Alhaji (Chief) Wasiu Ayinde Barrister and the Royal African Talazo Fuji Messiah. By 1988, his albums include ‘Sun – Splash’; ‘Fuji Headlines’ and ‘My Dear Mother’. By 1989, he released Fuji Rapping and he was honoured with a Honoris Causa of Music at Saint John University Bakerfield California USA and his stage name was modified a little more, Alhaji (Chief) Dr. Wasiu Ayinde Barrister & the Talazo Fuji Londoners and he released, ‘Achievement’ later that year.
At the turn of another decade when he had gained a huge followership, he reduced the rate at which he churned out albums. In 1990, he went on a tour of the US when he played at New York City, he thereafter, released American Tips. By the time he was releasing his new album titled ‘Fuji Collections’, he had dropped Barrister in stage name, he was now known as Alhaji Dr Wasiu Ayinde Marshal.
The succeeding years, 1991 and 1992, the Fuji coroner was on another tour to the United Kingdom, where there was London Yuppie 1 & 2 Nights.
In 1993, he was crowned as the King of Fuji, (Oluaye Fuji Music) at NTA Ibadan and this led to the new stage name, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, he released the album, ‘The Ultimate’ and ‘Consolidation’ was released in 1995 and he also went for another European Tour. Another record of his is, ‘Alo’ and the name on the album jacket is King Wasiu Ayinde (Arabambi) Mayegun General. He delivered the first Fuji performance ever at WOMAD Festival.
By 1996 when ‘Legacy’ was released, he had added 1 to this stage, he became known as King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal 1 (The Ultimate) was written on the disc jacket also. By the time he did the next album, ‘London Lawa Faze 2’, ‘Global Tour’, he had shortened the name to KWAM1. That was the commencement of another phase in his musical career.
In 1997, when his new album titled History was released, every album jacket had The Ultimate and his name on it was KWAM1 (the Oluaye of Fuji Music). He went on a tour of Berlin and he released another album titled Berlin. The year, 1998, was for music tours, he went to the United States and Canada.
Another Chieftaincy title was bestowed on him in the year 1999, he was made the Oluomo of Lagos by King Adeyinka Oyekan of Lagos. KWAM 1 was still rewritten out on the album jacket of OkoFaji Carnival (Fuji Fusion).
At the tune of the Millennium, his name evolved to K1 De Ultimate when the album, Nigeria, the New Era was released. He also went on a tour of Canada 2000 and he waxed the album, ‘Faze 3’. In 2001, he released the ‘Message’, ‘Statement’ and ‘New Lagos’. In 2002, he released ‘Gourd’. By 2003, it was ‘Big Deal’ that came forth from his stable and in 2006, he waxed ‘Flavour’.
In 2010, the mentor of K1 De Ultimate, Alhaji Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, passed on, he did an album to celebrate his departed Boss in the album, ‘Tribute To My Mentor’. In 2012, he waxed ‘Instinct’ and ‘Fuji Time’. In 2017, he waxed the album ‘Let Music Flow’ and in the following year, he released, ‘Let the Music Flow, Vol. 2.’
In January 13th 2020, he was installed by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi as the first Mayegun of Yoruba Land and he released his EP titled ‘#FUJITHESOUND’ which is the latest work. Asides all these, he has live plays from various events across the globe.
K1 De Ultimate has enhanced the genre of Fuji Music and it has now been generally accepted, acknowledged and celebrated. He introduced the sounds of keyboards, sax and electronic guitars into fuji. He is directly responsible for the birth of the sub-genres Western Fuji, Modern Fuji, Classical Fuji and Fuji Step-up. He is equally described as the “custodian of the Africa percussion-heavy music. He has inspired many other musicians who are fuji musicians and the new generation of Nigerian musicians across other genre.
This is the journey of the monikers of K1 De Ultimate, the multi award winning musician, would there still be a transformation? It will definitely unfold to our delight.
Culled from www.peodavies.com
Olutayo Irantiola is a Cultural and Creative Enthusiast, he writes from Lagos, Nigeria