KSI

Monday 11 October 2021

Olajide William ‘JJ’ Olatunji (known by all as KSI) might only be 27, but his career as a musician, YouTuber, actor, author and professional boxer is already one defined by a determination to take risks which pay off. Long before YouTube offered a clear path to success, he dropped out of college to pursue his channel full-time; seven years later, after cementing himself as one of the platform’s most successful creators (30 million subscribers and a staggering 6 billion views and counting), he blacked out his online presence and went off-grid.

No longer content with content, he returned with tunnel vision. “Everything changed in 2017,” he says. “I got sick of social media and became ready to talk about things in my life that were more personal, more important.”

Whether writing revision raps at school or producing original tracks for his videos, music had always played a part in KSI’s life. His time offline, though, offered him clarity. “At my first gig as a teenager,” he says, “I saw Jay-Z and Kanye at The O2 in London. I knew then one day I’d be up there too… and now my time had come.”

Despite having another EP to deliver on his deal with his label, KSI opted to release his third independently via BMG / RBC Records instead. “It was my way of saying I was done with being an animal in a zoo just being stared at; I was done with acting like a puppet on a string.”

The result was a coming of age anthem, a transition from young internet star to fully-fledged recording artist writing lyrics with substance. “YouTube is like fast food, consuming it is easy and it tastes good,” he says. “But it’s not rich, full of depth. It wasn’t what I wanted to be eating. Music is different, it’s not about quick hits but crafting them – it has a legacy.”

 

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