The exuberant electro-hip-hop sounds of Omega Dolla’s EPs do not predict the unassuming, even quiet character of their creator, a College student known to his peers simply as Dolla. Adedolapo Adebayo ’17 is a rapper, musician extraordinaire who, just prior to his freshman year at the college, released 5 original tracks under the appropriate title, The Purple EP(h).
Hailing originally from Queens, NY, Dolla made his way through Choate Rosemary Hall to find himself living and rapping in Armstrong 4 here at the College. His hobby-turned-career sprung up around 2009 when he was a sophomore in high school. But, considering the “family of musi- cians” he was born into, it was a long time coming. In fact, Dolla attributes much of his interest and success in the music industry to the inspiration of his older brother, also a musician. In his youth, his brother and sister were sent to Ni- geria, leaving him as the only child for two years. This “missing piece” pushed Dolla to emulate his broth- er more than perhaps otherwise. He said that his sibling “became a huge role model and influence on me. Once he started getting suc- cessful, I started writing songs in my room.” But the songs would stay in his room, on his computer in fact, until one break when he started rapping for his brother and then his brother’s manager Em- manuel on the phone. Emmanuel expressed interest and as Dolla said “that’s when I knew [that rap- ping was something to pursue]. That Christmas break was the first time I ever recorded a song.” It was the night before he was scheduled to return to Choate and the re- cording studio was a home studio down the block owned by a friend who goes to church with Dolla’s family. As Dolla describes it, “it was crazy. I dropped my first EP ever with those five songs. That was my debut. It just blew up in high school.”
From there, Dolla began to de- velop what is now a confident and defined stage presence. The week- end of his birthday this month, he performed at a talent show called Freaky Friday. “I just put on some shades and a hat and started rap- ping … by the end of it people were running up to me and try- ing to take pictures. At first it was
a shock because music was just a personal thing … I am not saying it happened fast or anything … something corny like that. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. I was meeting people within a year and a half and I still had high school to worry about.” In spite of the over- whelming nature of his success, Dolla’s mother was not entirely aware or in favor of her son’s bur- geoning career. As Dolla said “she probably just wants me to take on something more serious, and I don’t blame her at all.”
For a little while, Dolla did turn his attention to academics and the college process and ne- glected his musical aspirations. But soon enough he was back in the game, with a twist. At Choate, Dolla pursued a concentration in singing and songwriting, starting a music production class and bring- ing in an outside teacher, David Davis, the “best guy ever” and the man behind the saxophone solo at the end of The Purple EP(h). As he said “the only way I thought I could keep it (rapping) alive while I was in high school was by incor- porating it into academics.”
Dolla’s union with Tony Frech, founder of Prep School Record- ings was appropriate to this goal of incorporation. Frech produced the EPs and put them on Sound- Cloud. As Dolla says, “I started
seeing mad plays on my Sound- Cloud every day and people liking it … and I thought ‘Wow things are going to keep going at Wil- liams.’” And they have. Dolla has teamed up with another freshman, Cornelius Chandler Jr. ’17 in an exchange of talents. Dolla is de- termined not to let “the academic rigor [of the College] hold me back.” He is, however, still focused on academics and thinking of ma- joring in Political Science.
In fact, despite his success, Dolla still does not see rapping as an entirely viable career op- tion. He said that it is “something I would do if the opportunity came. My mom really wants me to do something serious … music is not really about how talented you are but about who you know … if you’re going to take a risk you have to back it up. I kind of want to have security behind it.” But I have a feeling that despite his cau- tion, music is something Dolla will pursue single-mindedly. In fact he wants to be known only in terms of his music, saying “There’s a big difference between meeting a bunch of people and putting your- self out there. I don’t want to make myself socially known as much as musically known.” For now, he says, “I want people to listen to the EP. It’s called The Purple EP(h) for a reason.”