HOW I BECAME A YAHOO! BOY (The Gang) – Part 2
Emmanuel Oshiame is arguably one of the best humans to ever walk the face of this earth. He lived freely, cared truly, loved deeply, held onto nothing even when it hurts and his loyalty to anyone that was a part of his life was never in doubt. He was a troublesome child with no troubles of his own to worry about and to say the least, he lived for the moment.
I’d met Emmanuel when he was still a lad; a tall lanky lad with his signature forehead and pretty face. He’d gotten into trouble in school for reasons I will never know and as part of his punishment, he was sent to his Head Teacher’s house to continue a punishment he’d probably started from school. He was there shining Uncle Paul’s (of blessed memories) shoes in my father’s house as part of his penance when I got home and somehow, we got talking and became friends. Life happened when Secondary School happened and he was shipped off to Ijanikin while I’d started with Awori Anglican Comprehensive High School over a year earlier. I hardly saw Emmanuel for more than a minute in about six years that he was away in FGC as a boarder and suddenly, fate had brought him back into the foray at my GCE centre. We cliqued better than it was before and became deep but separable friends until his death in 2009. His sister broke the news to me over a Skype call when I asked for his number because I couldn’t reach him on the phone yet again as usual, she said “you won’t be able to ever reach him again because he’s gone forever this time”, she told me we lost him to a bad appendix operation that they thought he’d pulled through already.
Emmanuel was a day dreamer, always alive to possibilities and on the hunt for opportunities. He never had a phone for two weeks for God knows why, no functional email or online presence that we could hold on to in his memory but he lived so well that I can’t go a day without the memory of who he was. He usually stops by the sawmill where I hustle deep and dirty to check up on me for no reason (Osagie too came occasionally for sawdust for his in-house poultry), buy Suya to take home, only for us to finish it on the road while we talk about his love for Mercedes and my craze for BMW and we hatched out those utopian plans on how to make the world a better place. I still love and miss him every day, maybe and definitely not as much as his siblings and mother would, but as much as I deeply could. Let’s not forget that this is my Yahoo! Boy story so let’s not get totally emotional already.
Gbenga was always on the energy drive, young and too wavy for the son of a Deeper Lifer, he was a lot more Usher than I imagined, considering the very very young him I knew before. Osagie was streetwise and musically inclined (no be today he start) and he was always head and toes in it up until “RhymesVille”. It was just me and Osagie going home from the Centre on a particular day and he asked that we branch the stand of his favourite music CDs dealer to pick up some Nas Album he’d ordered earlier at Iyana-Ipaja and I obliged. The dude slotted in the CD for him to confirm the tracks and I started singing along to a track on either “I Am NAS” or “StillMatic” (not sure), he was surprised I knew the lyrics and was like “so you listen to my kind of music”, I felt like knocking his head but he was taller so I let it go. All we ever talked about beyond what happened at the GCE centre before was either about his indoor poultry, basketball whenever I go to his house to shoot the rim with Olaseni Lawanson in toll or his early morning escapades into inner Agege before heading to the Centre on mornings that required it but never about music until that evening when he discovered that I am an OG on a lowkey.
Well! I wasn’t always a Yahoo! Boy, I was first the son of Iya Toyin, then I met Hip-Hop and Rap and became an OG. I remember drinking some wine to the death of Lucky Dube at Emmanuel’s house with loud music in the background when the news broke, yeah! I dug some Reggae too and growing up in those years was musically healthy with a lot of 2Pac for the awakening of my street sense and Fela for the political consciousness through the 90s, Sunny, Obe and Christ Essien Igbokwe for the morals, Kollington, Salewa and Barrister for the fun wisdom before the likes of Obesere and K1 held sway for the culture, even Bongo Ikue, Prince Nico and beyond just to name a few music influence. Emmanuel, Gbenga, Osagie and a whole lot of others were right there from the beginning but Eniola (the not-so-pretty but evidently intelligent and beautiful girl) was the trigger that herald my journey to becoming a Yahoo! Boy began.
I’m Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo