Born in the 80s, in Lagos, Nigeria, Taiwo Okalawon aka Yung Kurt was raised alongside five siblings including his twin brother by both of his parents. Growing up as a young man in Ikotun, Lagos was a struggle but a struggle worth living. He developed an interest for music by watching his father play one of Africa’s most treasured instruments, the talking drum. His father was a professional drummer for the legendary King Sunny Ade.
Having a musical icon in the family gave Taiwo the desire to become a musician but it wasn’t until year 2000 that he put his plans to practise. He started off by getting involved in rap battles on a social networking site – Nigeria Entertainment where budding music artists all over Nigeria would post lyrics, poems and have textual battles online. When creating his personal profile for the site, he realised that he would need a unique name that would not only separate him from others but one in which he could gain recognition. Because of the distinctive cut left on his face from childhood, he named himself Kurtfaze.
Taiwo began to surround himself with Nigerian hip hop artists such as Gino and Sossick, who introduced him to the world of hip hop in Nigeria. His first song was ‘Super Mario’ produced by close friend, Kingsley Amoni known as Rayce. The development of the track made him more determined to be a success in the music industry. In early 2003, whilst studying in Lagos College, he formed a band called Deep Syders, which included Strong and Marello and also made a studio out of a small room. The studio was later named Beetbox studio because of its birth of many great beats in such a small, box sized room.
Things began to look up for the group when they created popular remix to Shina Peters’ song, ‘Loke loke’. The music video was broadcasted on Nigerian television and aired on local radio stations all over Lagos. Not long after their formation, the group was forced to split up to become solo artists after facing financial difficulties. The budding musician got into production and soon started doing music on his own. His new journey in music lead him to change his name from Kurtfaze to Yung Kurt, symbolising a new man in music and new beginnings.
In 2007, Yung Kurt and Rayce came together to create a unique Nigerian genre of music, “Casanova” inspired by Jamaican dancehall. “Casanova” sprouted interest not only in Ikotun but also on Yung Kurt’s Myspace profile, attracting people from all over the globe. Plans were made for the track but were not fulfilled as he decided to further his education in the United Kingdom in 2008. He studied at a college in London which would teach him life’s values.
Yung Kurt’s focus was soon turned back to music when he was introduced to upcoming UK Nigerian artists – 166 family. He took interest in the different style of music produced by Nigerians in the UK and decided to produce his own. The track was called “Jembe” and featured members of 166 family – Tilla man and Dola Billz. It gained fast growing recognition all over the UK and Africa. The song was aired on international channels such as MTV Africa, HiTV and Ben TV and was a high demand on request shows. In 2009, Kurt went on to produce Dola Billz’s hit single – “Sing for me”, making him popular for his unexpected talent in producing beats.
The upcoming music artist and producer is currently working on his first album – “Softcore” in collaboration with Rayce. The name “Softcore” comes from its opposite – Hardcore and shows the soft side of hip hop. The concept of the album is similar to Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” album, it is divided into two, showing Yung Kurt and Rayce at their best as both solo and collaborated artists. It includes “Casanova”, “Jembe” and newly released “Take Me”. The album consists of tracks voicing the softer, smoother sides of hip hop and can be described as a selection of chilled Nigerian hip hop with a UK twist.
Enjoy the video for his single “Take Me” which I dey feel die.
Yup! Get Familiar!