A talent was discovered at the beginning of his tale, and it was destroyed at the end.
A life of brilliance, glory, and suffering played out between the prologue and the epilogue. Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, also known as Mohbad or Imole (Light), is the subject of the final chapter of his life, which ends with his passing on September 12, 2023.
The Man Mohbad
Ilerioluwa was born on June 8, 1996, in the unassuming village of Oke Eletu in the Lagos State district of Ikorodu. Ilerioluwa's tenacious spirit first manifested itself when he was a young child, leaving behind scars from his humble beginnings.
Mohbad, as he was later known, revealed in an interview from a few years back that he diligently saved every penny he received from his carpentry work and used it to reserve studio time for song recording.
This dedication to his craft eventually led him to the spotlight and success in the music industry.
He rose to fame in December 2020 through his collaborative hit song ‘KPK (Ko Por Ke)’ with renowned record producer Rexxie. His follow-up single, ‘Feel Good’, released the next year, became a street anthem in Nigeria and many African countries.
Before then, Mohbad had signed a recording deal with Marlian Music, owned by controversial Nigerian rapper Azeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley, in 2019. The terms and duration of the deal elude the public.
Fallout With Marlian Music
Trouble began for Mohbad when he opted out of Marlian Music in October 2022.
The late singer had called out the record label boss, Naira Marley, on social media for allegedly leading an assault against him following his request for a new manager. He shared video proofs of injuries he sustained from the alleged assault via his X handle back then.
He formally exited the label in a letter dated October 25, 2022, and signed by O.M. Falade, his lawyer.
In the letter, Mohbad alleged “violent physical attacks” on him and a “threat to life” from Marley.
He cited the non-fulfillment of the terms of the contract signed in 2019 when he joined the record label while also accusing the label of refusing to pay him his royalties from monetized intellectual content and advances as mutually agreed since 2019.
Battle With Depression
Mohbad became depressed after he was allegedly threatened by his former record label, Marlian Music. He was also said to be regularly hounded by hoodlums sponsored by the label.
The late rapper also alleged that his family was being threatened. The constant threats and intimidation took a toll on his mental health. His friend and frequent collaborator, Bella Shmurda, revealed that Mohbad once attempted suicide.
Yet, the ‘Feel Good’ crooner continued to make his fans happy with his talent while enduring a career that was painfully robbed of the same.
Hours after Mohbad’s sudden death, his wife, Omowunmi, took to social media to express her grief over his demise, explaining how hard she tried to make him stay alive.
She disclosed that their son, Liam, just turned five months old on Tuesday, September 12, the same day the singer passed away.
The 24-year-old wrote, “We had so many plans. Two responsibilities have now become one. You were my ride-or-die. I tried to make you stay in Ilerioluwa.”
She lamented how their son “would only grow to know his father through the internet”.
Sam Larry’s Connection
Barely 24 hours after Mohbad’s death, a video surfaced online where popular socialite and Marlian Music boss Naira Marley’s associate, Samson Balogun, aka Sam Larry, and others were seen disrupting a video shoot of the late rapper somewhere in Lagos.
In the clip, Mohbad and Zlatan Ibile could be seen shooting a music video when the armed men invaded the location, advancing to harm the former but being prevented by the latter.
Soon after, a letter from Mohbad informing the Nigeria Police Force of the threat to his life surfaced. The petition alleged that Mohbad was attacked at a video shoot on June 25, 2023, by Sam Larry and 15 others, all armed, who wreaked havoc on the place, destroying equipment worth over N5 million and assaulting the singer, who “narrowly escaped with injuries”.
The petition further alleged that the armed men who disrupted Mohbad’s video shoot claimed that they worked for a Lagos monarch, Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom, Oba Saheed Elegushi.
However, the Lagos Annex, Force Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigeria Police Force, on Thursday, September 14, 2023, said it could not act on Mohbad’s petition due to his refusal to come up and adopt, defend, and also provide evidence to support the allegations made by him.
The Police Public Relations Officer, FCID Annex, Lagos, Oluniyi Ogundeyi, noted that a lawyer for Sam Larry and the other suspects also wrote a counter-petition against Mohbad, alleging defamation of character, after the singer failed to show up to defend his case.
Oba Elegushi Disowns Sam Larry
Following the emergence of a document from the late singer Mohbad in which the Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom, Oba Saheed Elegushi, was allegedly implicated by Sam Larry and his men in the alleged assault against the singer, the Elegushi Royal Family disassociated themselves from him (Sam Larry).
The statement read, inter alia, “Samson Balogun [Sam Larry] is not a member of the royal family and doesn’t work for the royal family or the king in any capacity. Like other celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and community leaders, he visits the palace to pay homage to the king and seek royal blessings, just like other members of the public.”
The royal family, while extending condolences to the family of the late singer, called for a thorough investigation into Mohbad’s demise.
The late singer’s father, James Aloba, alleged that he had a terrible dream about the singer two days before his demise.
“Mohbad and I were very close, and I saw him as my friend. The last time I saw him was on Saturday. We dined and had a nice time together. But I had a dream about him just two days before the incident. In the dream, I saw someone holding a gun to shoot. I thought I escaped the bullet and did not think that such an unfortunate thing would later happen to me,” he lamented in an interview with a content creator, OG Baba.
Elder Aloba said that despite the allegations on social media, he isn’t suspecting anyone.
He, however, said he was a little concerned about the auxiliary nurse who injected Mohbad before he died, stressing that he suspects that the injection might have complicated his son’s health.
Naira Marley and Sam Larry Speak
Sam Larry, who was accused of having a hand in the death of singer Mohbad, has denied the allegations.
He claimed that “the videos going viral happened last year when I was not in the country. So, I can’t kill Mohbad; God sees my heart, and I love him so much. I don’t know anything about his death.”
Sam Larry, who spoke in a video trending on the internet, described Mohbad as his “beloved brother”, stressing that “Even his wife and everyone else know that I love Mohbad.”
Similarly, Mohbad’s estranged record label boss, Naira Marley, has issued a statement over the death of his former signee.
In a statement posted on his Instagram on Friday, Naira Marley admitted that although they had “disagreements, no harm whatsoever was wished on Mohbad”.
On Thursday, September 14, 2023, the Nigeria Police Force stated that they had launched an investigation into the death of the singer.
The Force PRO, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in an official statement entitled ‘Mohbad’s Death: We Will Carry Out Diligent Investigation—FPRO,’ noted that the police were committed to a comprehensive investigation into the matter, adding that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police has been tasked with unraveling the circumstances surrounding his death.
The police called on “family members or close associates with valuable information to approach the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to assist in this process.”
Controversy Over Sudden Burial
The remains of singer Mohbad were buried in the Ikorodu area of Lagos on Wednesday, barely 24 hours after he died in a controversial manner.
The sudden burial sparked controversy online, with many questioning the manner in which he was hurriedly buried without an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.
However, reacting, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the body of the late singer would be exhumed to aid the investigation if need be.
In an interview with media personality Daddy Freeze, Hundeyin said the command would leave no stone unturned in the course of investigating Mohbad’s death.
He said, “If need be, the body would be exhumed. It’s not too late. The body can be exhumed. An autopsy can be performed.”
Fame After Death
Shortly after his death, Mohbad dominated social media trend tables and music streaming platforms in Nigeria and overseas.
He is currently one of the most searched topics on Google. In fact, his song ‘Peace’ is currently topping Apple Music in Nigeria. Other of his songs, such as ‘Ask About Me,’ ‘Beast and Peace,’ and Feel Good, are among the top five currently on the chart in the country.
Mohbad is also topping the Spotify Nigeria chart with ‘Ask About Me.’
His EPs ‘Blessed’ and ‘Imole’ are currently charting in the top 20 on Apple Music in Nigeria and the UK. ‘Blessed’ is at the top of Apple Music Nigeria.
Mohbad has voiced his pain through his music, but fans never took notice of it. In ‘Peace’, he said, “I've been through many things, lat’aiye genesis, and I'm dealing with frenemies.” You don’t have to hurt me before you win," is an apparent message to his tormentor in another of his songs, ‘Beast and Peace.’
He saw his death coming. when he sang, “I’m there no more; people will love me more,” in one of his unreleased songs.
Mohbad Joins Club 27
The Daily Post observed that Mohbad, born on June 8, 1996, died at the age of 27, joining the infamous 27 Club, an informal list consisting mostly of popular musicians, artists, actors, and other celebrities who died at age 27.
Despite scientific research refuting the claim of a “statistical spike” in the death of musicians at age 27, it remains a cultural phenomenon.
About 100 celebrities worldwide have been documented as having died at the age of 27.
Some prominent members of Club 27 include Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse.
Legacy beyond the grave
The pain and struggles that accompanied his talent had finally taken their toll.
The constant battles, both within the industry and within himself, had extinguished the light that was Mohbad. The fame he had earned had a heavy price, and it seemed that the weight became unbearable for him.
In the end, his light dimmed, leaving behind a legacy that continues to be felt through his music.
The controversies, the battles, and the sudden end all added to the enigmatic tale of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, known to the world as Mohbad or Imole.
Sun re oo!