The Evolution Of Small Doctor (Read More)

There’s very little mainstream media coverage on Small Doctor, and we are all guilty of it. The singer is in a class of street musicians, who are either deemed too ‘local’ to receive coverage, or too ‘street’ to have fans who come online.

And although there is some bias in that, we are not wrong. Small Doctor caters to an exclusive market that is hard to track. At the start of his career, he was part of the underground street movement which serve a niche market on the Lagos mainland.
His music comes from a genre that is both simplistic and raw. He speaks from his heart, and sings about topics that are far removed from mainstream Nigerian music.

In a way, he is from the same school of thought that produced Olamide and Reminisce, only deeper. The two dialectical rappers have adapted the influence from the streets for a wider market, by fusing it with mainstream elements.
Small Doctor is still a member of the core street movement. His most reliable fans are low-income earners, who hang around street corners, visit local dingy stores, and drinking the cheapest of alcohol. These are the people he speaks to, and they respond back with adoration.
But his new song ‘Penalty’ is seeking to push him beyond his traditional sphere of influence and into the mainstream. The song produced by2T Boyz was released in December 2016, as the year round to a close. But promotion kicked off in January, and the video which dropped in May has sped it up. This is one of those rare occasions where the organic street wave pushes an act to the mainstream.

Other acts who have almost done it in recent time have been Olalakeside whose hit song‘Elegushi Spender’, was once a club regular. 2T Boyz who dominated with ‘Customer dada ni’,and a few others. Small Doctor had earlier tried to break the market barrier with his 2015 jam ‘Mosquito killer’, but he failed to cross over. ‘Penalty’ is doing it for him now.
Check this out. At the launch of Othello Lounge, a high-scale night club in Victoria Island, Lagos, ‘Penalty was played by DJ Consequence, and the crowd exploded in hysterical supreme turn up. This was a gathering where the ‘tush’ people of Lagos were gathered to celebrate success. Celebrities Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Phyno, Mayorkun, and many others were all in the house. Popular DJ,Consequence, was in charge of music.

They are not his typical crowd, but his music has crossed.
This penetration is a big win for the young man, and which is in contrast to his humble beginnings. Small Doctor’s first brush with entertainment began at a tender age.
Born in Ondo State in 1996 as Temitope Adekunle, he came close to the music scene as a commercial bike rider who offered his service to many street artists and ran errands at Alaba International Market, the home of offline music distribution and marketing in Nigeria. He was an avid hobbyist who spent his free time creating melodies in his head and recording small time in studios, until he got discovered by one of his customers, DJ Real of Eko FM. It was real who gave him his first break.
“I got to know him through a friend and artist called O’Black,” said DJ Real, who signed him up to his record label, Real Beat Planet.
“Some years back as his bike boy who do drop him off at shows, O’Black introduced him to me, that he can be of help to me anytime I want to visit Alaba market to drop jobs done for the marketers. That’s how he became my personal bike boy which I do pay him.
Small Doctor got recommended by a mutual friend, Mayor, who told DJ real that he could sing. The DJ auditioned him, and began work on his project.
“I told Mayor that Small Doctor never told me that he sings. But with love, I accept him as a brother without collecting a dime nor asked him to sign any agreement with my outfit Real Beat Planet.”
His debut album, “Omo Iya Teacher,” was released in 2015, and it features Mz Kiss, Olamide, Seriki and Qdot.
His current success is a blessing to him. It represents great progress from an artist, who once had to steal to provide for his son Starboi when he lost his bike which was his means of livelihood. Small Doctor and his son slept in buses around Agege, in Lagos, and stored their clothes in abandoned refrigerators. Hunger and frustration at seeing his son suffer, pushed him to theft. He was caught, disgraced, and beaten to a pulp.
“I want to confess today, your birthday and I also plead for forgiveness for one day I lied to you.”He wrote on Instagram on the birthday of Starboi.
“It was the day I came home at night with bruises and wounds with my cloths torn. You asked me what happened but I lied to you that I fell from bike. Son, it wasn’t true. The fact is I went stealing and I got caught. I’m sorry

Today all of that is in the past. Small Doctor has conquered the streets via numerous mixtapes and freestyles, and he is pushing for more recognition mainstream with engaging singles. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names from the streets, including Olamide, Terry G, Oritsefemi, and more.
His performance and appearance fees are through the roof, and he has also sealed a few acting slots in Nollywood.
‘Penalty’ can only get bigger, and Small Doctor’s wave stronger.

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