Koker first came to mainstream consciousness in 2014 when he scored a feature on M.I.’s third album, The Chairman giving the hook to the song Rich.
In the inspiring hook to Rich, Koker declares “…we will all be rich…” in a voice that aptly enough is as rich as it gets for a male in a music industry overwhelmed with underwhelming vocals.
Koker’s part on Rich for me is the highlight of that song and it will have been nice if he did an alternate full version comprising of solely his vocals like Ink Edwards did on the first part of Chairman Medley.
However, that was not Koker’s first appearance on a Chocolate City single. In 2012, he had his first brush with an anonymous feature on Pryse’s Eleto where he spiced up the single with chants of “eleto!” as well as a short bridge before the hook.
Speaking about how that happened, Koker explained that Don L37 of Lamphouse called him up and said there is this new lady signed to Chocolate City in the studio, and he should come and lace a hook for her. According to him,
“I left my rehearsals, used my last money to fly back then recorded the song Eleto and she (Pryse) then took it…”
From then, he became a part of the Chocolate City as an extra, following them for shows, hanging in the studio, and being generally part of the crew, though unofficially at then.
In 2015, Koker was officially unveiled as a member of Chocolate City where he released his major debut single, Do Something which caught on easily. From the sound of the music to the visuals of the accompanying music video, Koker showed he was bringing a new, refined style to the music industry.
Koker’s sound as well as his appearance deeply portrays his Yoruba culture albeit with a modern twist. Dressed in a fedora hat with a dashiki, or an agbada with high top boots, Koker mixes his music in a similar manner by dishing Fuji complemented with contemporary R&B.
And this combination is not a fluke either but a well-orchestrated attempt to create an image that is synchronous with his music. He says,
“Most times, you see me in a KK by Koker dashiki. I just want people to be able to identify me with something. When you hear the name ‘Koker’, you can have a picture in your head.”
“[KK by Koker Clothing] are afrocentric. If you notice, like I said, I want to strike a balance with my sound and my image. I want my music to cut across. Especially why I liked Do Something – both the old and young could relate – I want to do the same with my [clothing],” as he explained he wants to make KK by Koker a fashion brand.
Koker exudes a clean image which is quite unusual in his genre of music – he sports no tattoos, piercings and he claims to neither drink or smoke. He attributes that to upbringing. Not only were his parents available in his life consistently, they also gave him their full support, pushing and prodding him to success.
Speaking on his musical influences and those he will like to work with, he mentions Asa, Femi Kuti and how he will like to drop a hook for Jay-Z.
In early 2016, Koker dropped his next single titled Kolowerk which unfortunately does not hold the appeal his first single did, but was still a commercial success regardless gaining widespread acceptance.
However, if Koker goes back to the script by making music that “both the old and young could relate” to, then he is well on his way to being one of the greats, and a worthy enough musician to make music lovers enjoy the new brand of Choc City Boys.
Snippets from interview with Koker by Stephen Amaza at the Chocolate City Office, Photographs by Dapo Salami.