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Local Nigerian reggae musician Ju Drum uses his platform for social justice message

When Amayikowan Osadolo finds himself on the road driving through an area with no radio signal he says that’s a good time to meditate. He says it’s a chance for a melody to come to him, sometimes the baseline comes after then the beat, music comes naturally to Osadolo.

Osadolo, who is also known as Ju Drum, was offered the opportunity to play the drums for Femi Kuti, a Grammy-nominated musician, on his tour. Music is Osadolo’s life, he writes and produces about his experiences in Nigeria and uses his platform as a voice to raise awareness. 

Osadolo creates AfroReggae music about his life in Nigeria, experiencing political issues, police brutality and protesting. Coming to America felt like a chance to be free until Osadolo learned that the land of the free wasn’t what he expected. 

“People are getting kidnapped in America, Black people are getting shot at in the street and that keeps happening in Nigeria too,” Osadolo said. 

In Nigeria, people are killed for not giving police money when they ask and Osadolo compares these types of situations to the violent treatment of Black people in America. Osadolo says it’s because of the way we look that police become insecure. “They should be protecting, not hurting us,” Osadolo said. 

“Seeing everything happen you know all happening right here, it’s hard not to come out and say something,” Osadolo said. “Being a musician having that platform is very important. You can say things and spread a message, it’s very powerful.”

Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

Osadolo grew up in a musical family in Nigeria with nine brothers. His father had his own music studio and school until they were forced to close due to his father’s health issues.

Since he moved to Humboldt about 12 years ago he has been writing and producing music. In February 2021 Ju Drum dropped “One By One” featuring Costa Rican rapper, Shel Dixon. Their song speaks out about the injustices in both their countries and how they can relate to their experiences one by one. 

“Jude [Ju Drum] came up with the idea of the melody of the song and also with the hook then I took it from there,” friend and rapper Dixon said. “I started to think about changes that I believe need to be made on current society and those changes always started from one person and then it goes to another and then another. It’s not possible to change the world by yourself but at least you can do your part.” 

Osadolo considers his music to be in line with the Black Lives Matter movement. You can stream Ju Drum on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Youtube. He will also be live at Mad River Brewery on July 3 performing with his band, Seed and Soil.

“Ju Drum’s music is a symbol of the African man thriving, giving thanks to Jah while honoring his ancestors, providing for his family, and spreading his culture through a healthy exchange of song and dance,” Eden Love aka Lady Flavah radio DJ and friend of Osalado, said. “Africa is the heartbeat of the Earth, a pulse Ju carries within him. He shares it like the sun, for all to enjoy.”

Featured image by Karina Ramos Villalobos

CORRECTION: Updated the reason for Osadolo father’s closing of his music studio and school.

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