There’s very little mainstream media
coverage on Small Doctor, and we are all
guilty of it. The singer is in a class of
street musicians, who are either deemed
too ‘local’ to receive coverage, or too
‘street’ to have fans who come online.
And although there is some bias in that,
we are not wrong. Small Doctor caters to
an exclusive market that is hard to track.
At the start of his career, he was part of
the underground street movement which
serve a niche market on the Lagos
His music comes from a genre that is both
simplistic and raw. He speaks from his
heart, and sings about topics that are far
removed from mainstream Nigerian
same school of thought that produced
Olamide and Reminisce, only deeper. The
two dialectical rappers have adapted the
influence from the streets for a wider
market, by fusing it with mainstream
Small Doctor is still a member of the core
street movement. His most reliable fans
are low-income earners, who hang
around street corners, visit local dingy
stores, and drinking the cheapest of
alcohol. These are the people he speaks
to, and they respond back with adoration.
But his new song ‘Penalty’ is seeking to
push him beyond his traditional sphere of
influence and into the mainstream. The
song produced by2T Boyz was released in
December 2016, as the year round to a
close. But promotion kicked off in
January, and the video which dropped in
May has sped it up. This is one of those
rare occasions where the organic street
wave pushes an act to the mainstream.
Other acts who have almost done it in
recent time have been Olalakeside whose
hit song‘Elegushi Spender’, was once a
club regular. 2T Boyz who dominated
with ‘Customer dada ni’,and a few others.
Small Doctor had earlier tried to break the
market barrier with his 2015 jam
‘Mosquito killer’, but he failed to cross
over. ‘Penalty’ is doing it for him now.
Check this out. At the launch of Othello
Lounge, a high-scale night club in
Victoria Island, Lagos, ‘Penalty was
played by DJ Consequence, and the crowd
exploded in hysterical supreme turn up.
This was a gathering where the ‘tush’
people of Lagos were gathered to
celebrate success. Celebrities Rita
Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Phyno,
Mayorkun, and many others were all in
the house. Popular DJ,Consequence, was
in charge of music.
They are not his typical crowd, but his
music has crossed.
This penetration is a big win for the
young man, and which is in contrast to
his humble beginnings. Small Doctor’s
first brush with entertainment began at a
Born in Ondo State in 1996 as Temitope
Adekunle, he came close to the music
scene as a commercial bike rider who
offered his service to many street artists
and ran errands at Alaba International
Market, the home of offline music
distribution and marketing in Nigeria.
He was an avid hobbyist who spent his free
time creating melodies in his head and
recording small time in studios, until he
got discovered by one of his customers,
DJ Real of Eko FM. It was real who gave
him his first break.
“I got to know him through a friend and
artist called O’Black,” said DJ Real, who
signed him up to his record label, Real
“Some years back as his bike boy who do
drop him off at shows, O’Black
introduced him to me, that he can be of
help to me anytime I want to visit Alaba
market to drop jobs done for the
marketers. That’s how he became my
personal bike boy which I do pay him.
Small Doctor got recommended by a
mutual friend, Mayor, who told DJ real
that he could sing. The DJ auditioned
him, and began work on his project.
“I told Mayor that Small Doctor never told
me that he sings. But with love, I accept
him as a brother without collecting a
dime nor asked him to sign any
agreement with my outfit Real Beat
His debut album, “Omo Iya Teacher,” was
released in 2015, and it features Mz Kiss,
Olamide, Seriki and Qdot.
His current success is a blessing to him. It
represents great progress from an artist,
who once had to steal to provide for his
son Starboi when he lost his bike which
was his means of livelihood. Small Doctor
and his son slept in buses around Agege,
in Lagos, and stored their clothes in
abandoned refrigerators. Hunger and
frustration at seeing his son suffer,
pushed him to theft. He was caught,
disgraced, and beaten to a pulp.
“I want to confess today, your birthday
and I also plead for forgiveness for one
day I lied to you.”He wrote on Instagram
on the birthday of Starboi.
“It was the day I came home at night
with bruises and wounds with my cloths
torn. You asked me what happened but I
lied to you that I fell from bike. Son, it
wasn’t true. The fact is I went stealing
and I got caught. I’m sorry boy.”
Today all of that is in the past. Small Doctor has conquered the streets via numerous mixtapes and freestyles, and he is pushing for more recognition mainstream with engaging singles. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names from the streets, including Olamide, Terry G, Oritsefemi, and more. His performance and appearance fees are through the roof, and he has also sealed a few acting slots in Nollywood. ‘Penalty’ can only get bigger, and Small Doctor’s wave strangers