Small Doctor today is fast becoming a not just familiar name in the Nigerian Music and Entertainment Circles – But a popular one too; a possibility which seemed rather distant or near impossible before now. The young 21 year old artiste is a living proof showing that success sometime has no laid out formula. Born and raised in the streets, the Agege-bred act is taking sounds and stories into distant lands where they would never be heard before him.
Temitope Adekunle now known as Small Doctor was born in Ondo State, Nigeria in 1996. He moved to Lagos after his secondary school education and started his life as a commercial bike rider at the popular Alaba International Market, the Heart of Nigerian offline music distribution. Running errands and picking passengers round the market exposed the young boy to the Nigerian entertainment industry in its crudest yet most tangible form, this exposed and open contact pushed him into not just writing but recording his own songs, something he had somehow always wanted to do. Blessed with Luck, Small Doctor soon discovered by DJ Real of Eko FM and in no time signed into the DJ’s Real Beat Planet Label. Signed straight out of the streets, this artiste took with him the very elements he knew best, the slangs, the stories, the gestures, the language and made magic out of it. Caught stealing once and being beaten to pulp, Small Doctor has recounted the experience and has stayed grateful to music for saving him off the street.
Following his lowly signing, Small Doctor began putting together his first project and in 2012 he released debit album, one most of newly acquired fans barely know of titled Street Ambassador an 18-track album which started the fire we all are getting ravaged in, singles off the album which resonated in most street corners were Gbagaun, Oyinbo, Anobi and the most successful of them all - Mosquito Killer. Singing about life in the busy and dangerous street of Lagos, the artiste won the heart of the bigger population first of Lagos, then of parts beyond just Lagos into the Larger part of Western Nigeria. Being Yoruba and singing mostly in Yourba and Pidgin English, it was only easy for the streets of Lagos to connect, to relate with and to grow fond of the sounds and stories the young act had to tell. With a little pinch of Fuji and an extra pinch of the already infectious and widely accepted Afropop sound, he cooked himself the recipe for winning the hearts of not just the streets, but the entire country.
At the very end of 2015, 30th December to be precise, small doctor released another album under Real Beat Planet titled Omo Iya Teacher. The album showed better production and more near-professional effort. On the wings of fast influence and speedily street acceptance he had started gaining, he featured Mz Kiss, Olamide, Seriki and Qdot on the album. On this album it was obvious the artiste had found his sound and not just his sound he has recognized his target audience and worked to satisfy them – The Street. The very place and people he easily understood and connected with, all songs in the album had catchy hooks, were dressed in popular street wits and street slangs, were all in Yoruba, were all delivered in contemporary Yoruba fuji sounds and above all stayed close to the “street”.
The Big Score
In the very competitive and fast growing Nigerian Music industry, one that has recently grown beyond the country and into distant continents, it has remained shock to many how a street artiste, with little to no influence beyond the street corners has organically broken into airplays and charts that most would pay through nose in the past to get.
In just two years, Small Doctor went beyond the street and has today penetrated the mainstream Nigerian music scene, gaining constant airplays, performance calls and more media presence now more than ever. A penetration that today is not just a win for him but for many who would dare to still dream. Beyond a case of Luck, Small Doctor has worked hard, stayed true to his sound and talent, polished himself enough to be heard and is today reaping the fruit of those labour.
With his most recent single “Penalty”, the artiste has finally landed a big score. This says a lot about the Nigerians and the Mainstream sound, the majority still would prefer to dance and sing along to a catchy hook, drink to the easily relatable lyrics and just sit and chill to local sounds that bring back nostalgic time of the past. Penalty was popular street chants from the 90s, was about partying, had the right dose of Yoruba and Street slang and can easily be danced to.
Penalty gave the artiste the score many are envying today and in deed, the street has won this time.