The Imole Chronicles: Mohbad’s Music, Legacy, and a Call for Justice


On September 12, 2023, the music world was shaken by the untimely passing of a rising star, Mohbad, born Oladimeji Ilerioluwa Aloba, who brilliantly ascended as a radiant star, taking the moniker “Imole,” meaning “light” in Yoruba language.

In his brief 27 years on this earthly stage, he left an indelible mark on countless admirers before his untimely departure, unleashing a tidal wave of grief. Mohbad’s musical odyssey showcased the profound power of music to inspire and soothe, transcending linguistic boundaries to tap into universal emotions. 

A Luminous Beginning

Mohbad’s journey to stardom began in the modest surroundings of Lagos, Nigeria. Raised in a working-class family, he found solace in the rhythms and melodies that filled his neighborhood. It was in these streets that he discovered his passion for music, drawing inspiration from the rich musical heritage of Nigeria. The soulful melodies of Juju’s music and the raw energy of Hip-hop resonated deeply with him, shaping his artistic vision. 

For Mohbad, music was not merely a chance occurrence or a casual pastime; it was his lifeline, passion, and singular focus. This is the story of a young artist who, against all odds, pursued his musical dreams relentlessly, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Mohbad began in humble surroundings, where he toiled as an assistant in a carpentry workshop to save every penny for precious studio time. His days were spent crafting wood, but his nights were dedicated to crafting his art. It was in those special moments in the studio that he poured his heart and soul into his music, shaping the future that he envisioned for himself. 

Facing the Odds 

It was a journey fraught with challenges and sacrifices. Mohbad faced hurdles that would have deterred the faint of heart, but he remained resolute in his pursuit. He understood that his love for music was not a fleeting infatuation but a lifelong commitment. This commitment often meant enduring pain and setbacks during a career that, tragically, was cut short far too soon. 

What set Mohbad apart from his peers was his talent and unique approach to music. His voice, distinct and unforgettable, resonated with listeners in a way that few could replicate. His lyrics were more than words; they were one-liners that could both captivate and provoke thought. Mohbad’s playful yet poignant lyrics invited listeners into his world, forging a connection that transcended mere entertainment. 

A Storyteller Through Music. 

However, it wasn’t just his lyrical prowess that made him special. Mohbad possessed a rare honesty in his music that allowed his audience to relate to his experiences and emotions. He bared his soul through his songs, sharing the highs and lows of his journey, making him not just an artiste but a storyteller whose narratives resonated with the masses.

Mohbad’s musical style was a fusion of Fuji and Hip-hop, a blend that was both audacious and endearing. His swaggering delivery was a testament to his versatility as an artist, effortlessly navigating between genres to create a sound uniquely his own. The boundaries of one genre didn’t confine him; instead, he embraced the freedom to experiment and innovate. 

Rising to Prominence

In 2019, Mohbad gained popularity with hits like “Ronaldo ” and “Mi O Foh,” but it was “Imole ” that defined his essence. He boldly declared, “Imole ni mi/mo de fe tan kari aye,” meaning, “I’m the light, and I want to shine worldwide.” Signing with Marlian Records in 2019 marked the start of his journey to make that proclamation a reality. Collaborating with producer Rexxie on “Ko Por Ke” propelled Mohbad’s career.

His debut EP, ‘Light,’ released in December 2020, showcased his unique style and storytelling, particularly in the opening track “Sorry.” Despite record label challenges and personal threats, Mohbad released “Peace” under Marlian Records and “Tiff” as his first post-label release. He shed light on industry pressures and discrimination. In 2023, he delivered “Ask About Me,” a confident Afropop track, and released “Blessed,” showing his determination to keep shining. 

The Shadow of Bullying 

Mohbad left behind a deeply mourned fan base and a cloud of suspicion hanging over the circumstances of his death. His journey from a promising musician to a symbol of a movement demanding justice began with the scourge of bullying, which he endured throughout his career.

Countless videos and numerous instances showcased him being subjected to humiliation and mistreatment, including a highly publicized incident involving fellow musician Zlatan. 

What triggered a nationwide outcry, however, was not just the loss of a young and promising talent but also the unsettling details that emerged following his death. News of Mohbad’s demise in a clinic after receiving treatment for a seemingly routine ear infection sent shockwaves across the music industry and beyond.

Within hours of his passing, members of his family hastily arranged for his burial. Videos circulated on social media depicting the distressing sight of Mohbad’s neck bent unnaturally to fit into the coffin. Notably absent from the funeral were his wife and infant son. 

Allegations of Involvement and Outrage 

These unsettling images, coupled with reports of attacks allegedly sponsored by fellow musician Naira Marley, under whose Marlian Records Mohbad had been signed until last year, ignited nationwide outrage. The circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s death raised serious questions about the music industry’s darker side and the need for greater scrutiny and accountability. 

In response to mounting pressure and public outcry, protests and gatherings erupted nationwide. On Thursday, the 21st of September, hundreds of young Nigerians clad in white shirts gathered in Lagos for a candlelight procession in honor of Mohbad. Many were still reeling from the shock of his untimely demise and the disturbing images that followed.

This event marked the inception of a strong movement demanding justice, transparency, and accountability within the music industry. Some attendees held aloft Mohbad’s portrait, while others wore his face on their shirts. Chants accompanied the procession for an investigation into his death. Meanwhile, a tribute concert brought together numerous musicians, all united by their desire to seek justice for the fallen artist. 

Although Mohbad’s untimely passing was a tragedy, his enduring legacy lives on through his music and the remarkable milestones he achieved. He etched his name in history by becoming the first artiste to have an EP reach number 1 on Spotify Nigeria. At the same time, his digital footprint soared, propelling him to the top of the digital world rankings. 

Investigations and the Quest for Answers 

In response to public outcry, the Lagos State Police Command has taken action, arresting the nurse who administered an injection to Mohbad before his death. Furthermore, investigations have expanded to include Mohbad’s father and other individuals associated with the case, with the possibility of Interpol’s involvement looming. However, as of the latest updates, no additional information has emerged regarding the progress of these investigations. 

In the wake of Mohbad’s passing and the subsequent outcry for justice, the music community rallied around his memory. Fellow artistes, established and emerging, expressed their grief and solidarity with his family and fans. Social media became a platform for sharing condolences and demanding answers.

Prominent figures within the industry called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mohbad’s death. The music community recognized that his untimely demise was not only a loss to his family but also a wake-up call for the entire industry to address the issues of bullying, mistreatment, and transparency. 

A Catalyst for Change 

As the movement for justice gained momentum, it also prompted a larger conversation about the welfare and rights of artists. The question of fair treatment, clear contractual agreements, and artist rights took center stage in discussions within the music industry. Musicians, producers, and labels started examining their practices and policies, with some advocating for industry-wide reforms. 

The tragic loss of Mohbad was a catalyst for change, a moment when the music world collectively recognized the need to ensure that artists are not only celebrated for their talent but also protected in their careers and personal lives. 

The Continuing Legacy

While the investigations into Mohbad’s death remain ongoing, his legacy as an artiste and a symbol of change persists. His music continues to inspire, and his story serves as a reminder that the pursuit of one’s dreams can come with significant challenges. 

As the world mourns the loss of a talented artiste, it also stands as a testament to the enduring power of music to inspire change and unite people in pursuit of a better future. The legacy of Mohbad, “Imole” who aspired to shine worldwide, will continue to guide the industry toward a brighter, more equitable future for all artistes.

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