‘With the level of creativity embedded in him, I thought Majek would be an international legend by now’ – Orits Wiliki
‘He is the greatest reggae artist Nigeria has ever known. Sad to see him like this’.
‘It’s a pity what Majek has gone through. If not for the drug addiction he would have been on another level’.
‘Majek, I love you die, you are too much man. Miss you.’
‘Ohh, majek, the rain maker, I remember his show in Owerri sports stadium 1988, it was exhilarating, love you man’.
‘See what drugs can do to you. He is in a very sorry state’.
These and many more ‘tributes’, coming from a cross section of Nigerians are not to be mistaken for condolences for a dead man, for Majekodunmi Fasheke, or Majek Fashek to many, is very much alive and well, although how well remains a subject of controversy, bearing in mind his ghost-like physical appearance and doubtful psychological state. Looking gaunt, dishevelled, unkempt and apparently under-fed, the musician, who achieved fame in the 80’s and 90’s with hits such as ‘send down the rain’, appears drought-stricken in more than one area of his life.
Majek Fashek, at one point, was arguably the biggest reggae export Nigeria had ever produced. Touted as a potential replacement for the late reggae legend Bob Marley during his burgeoning years, owing to similarities in voice pitch, Fashek achieved the rare distinction of being counted as one of the continents’ greatest musicians, a fact cemented by his 1991 signing with International music label, Interscope Records.
The label, which had big names on its list, including rap legend, 2pac Shakur, were probably swayed by his charismatic and high octane energy performances on his songs, and were instrumental in bringing him to the limelight, leading to him being featured on the famous David Letterman show the following year. 1992 also saw him release his internationally critically acclaimed break-out album ‘Spirit of Love’, which led many to assume that he was on the path to musical greatness.
However, the rain maker’s career dwindled almost irrecoverably by the mid to late 90’s owing to what some referred to as Fashek’s penchant for living life on the fast lane. Allegedly, the habitual use of ‘recreational drugs’ including alcohol, cocaine and heroin, led to his present state. Efforts to rehabilitate him, from the government of Edo state as well as public spirited individuals such as Charles Novia, didn’t succeed.
However, there are still efforts by some, especially friends, to revamp the musician’s career and rehabilitate him. Hopefully, Fashek may yet prove he still has one more trick up his sleeve to fan musical flickers to flames, before bowing out gracefully.
Watch Majek Fashek perform on the David Letterman Show