Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Azeez Adeshina Fashola (born 10 May, 1991), known professionally as Naira Marley, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He is known as the president of his controversial fan base, "Marlians".
Early life and education
Naira Marley was born in Agege, Lagos State, Nigeria. At the age of 11, he moved to Peckham, South London, England. He studied at Porlock Hall before attending Walworth School, where he obtained his General Certificate of Secondary Education. Naira Marley graduated with a distinction in business from Peckham Academy. He also studied business law at Crossways College (now Christ the King Sixth Form College).
While growing up, Naira Marley had plans of becoming an MC and voice-over artist. He began singing in 2014 after discovering his passion for music and was encouraged by close-knit friends to pursue music. He released the Max Twigz-assisted track "Marry Juana" before releasing his debut EP Gotta Dance in 2015.
In December 2017, he released the Olamide and Lil Kesh-assisted single "Issa Goal", which became the theme song for the Super Eagles at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The official remix of "Issa Goal" was released on 16 June 2018; it features vocals by Olamide, Lil Kesh, Falz, Simi and Slimcase.
Naira Marley sings in English, Pidgin and Yoruba; his music is a blend of Afrobeats and hip-hop. He derived his stage name from Jamaican singer Bob Marley, whom he admires; his dreadlocks is also a tribute to the singer.
2019–present: "Am I A Yahoo Boy", "Soapy" and Lord of Lamba
Naira Marley released the Zlatan-assisted track "Am I A Yahoo Boy" on 3 May 2019, and was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that same day. He released "Soapy" on 27 June 2019, a few days after he was released from prison. On 11 January 2020, he won Viewers' Choice for "Soapy" at the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards.
On 18 December 2019, Naira Marley released his second EP Lord of Lamba; it is a mixture of Afrobeats and hip-hop. The EP comprises 6 tracks and features guest artists such as CBlvck, Young John and Mayorkun. Its production was handled by Killertunes, Rexxie and Studio Magic.
During the "Marlian Fest", which was held at the Eko Hotels and Suites on 30 December 2019, Naira Marley announced the launch of his record label Marlian Records and unveiled CBlvck, Zinoleesky, MohBad and Fabian Blu as signed acts.
On 10th July 2020, Naira Marley took to his Instagram Page to unveil another act under his label, named: Emo Grae with a new single and visual titled 0903 featuring Buju.
Lyta, a former signee of YBNL, Olamide’s record label, has joined Marlian Music, a brand owned by Azeez Fashola, a rapper-singer better known as Naira Marley.
On 10 May 2019, the EFCC arrested Naira Marley and his friends Zlatan, Tiamiu Kayode, Adewunmi Moses and Abubakar Musa. The arrest was made a day after he released the video for the controversial single "Am I A Yahoo Boy". Five days later, the EFCC released Zlatan and three others but kept Marley in their custody due to overwhelming evidence against him. On 16 May 2019, the EFCC charged him with 11 counts of fraud before a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos. On 19 May 2019, he released the single "4 Nights In Ekohtiebo" while still in prison. In it, he talks about his industry friends, foes and other people who have admired him. In May 2019, he was arraigned before the Federal High Court and pleaded "not guilty"; a bail hearing was set for 30 May 2019. On the day of the bail hearing, Naira Marley released "Why", a song that was accompanied by an image of him in handcuffs. On 14 June 2019, he was released from jail fourteen days after being granted ₦2,000,000 bail. A few days later, he released "Soapy", a track about the sexual habits of inmates in detention.
In October 2019, he returned to the Federal High Court to face his charges. His case was later adjourned to 27 February 2020 after an EFCC witness testified against him.
Flouting lockdown order
He was detained by the Nigerian Police Force for contravening the lockdown order imposed on Lagos State by President Muhammadu Buhari to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country. On 13 June 2020, he performed at a concert in Abuja despite the interstate travel ban and social distancing rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
Naira Marley is married to two women and has four children.
An average Nigeria who spends time on social media must have come across the name ‘Marlian’. Not like the word in itself is new but as far as Nigeria is concerned, the word has been on the increase to mean something different, more importantly, since the rise of popular Nigerian singer and songwriter, Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley.
So what is the meaning of the name ‘Marlian’? Who does it refer to and what does it represent? Find out and more in this post.
A Marlian refers to a staunch follower of controversial musician and singer, Azeez Fashola, popularly called Naira Marley. A Marlian shares the ideology and beliefs of Naira Marley and is expected not to care or give a hoot about pleasing the public but must stick to their guns and must be controversial.
Already, the word ‘Marlian’ is fast becoming a movement of the people who share Naira Marley’s philosophies and beliefs. Marlians are also known as ‘No Belt Gangs’ (NBG)
Although there are claims that the original ‘Marlian’ means a gift from God but it definitely means something different with Naira Marley and his followers. So if you are a Marlian, it means you are a follower of Naira Marley and believe in his beliefs, philosophies, and views.
You are a Marlian if you:
Are a huge follower of Naira Marley.
If you do Indian Hemp (also known as Marijuana) – Igbolabi, meaning ‘we gave birth to weed’ (referring to you as a child, from a parent’s perspective.
You don’t have an issue with drugs.
Are not only a follower of Naira Marley but as share his philosophies.
Don’t care about what people think or say so long it makes you happy.
Believe that cybercrimes or ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ aren’t ‘all that bad’.
Don’t have an issue with being controversial.
Love being controversial or love controversial lifestyles.
Don’t wear a belt. (Marlians are also known as ‘No Belt Gangs’ (NBG))
Believe you shouldn’t graduate from the university; you have to drop out (for undergraduates).
Don’t wear pants (for females) and boxers (for males).
Naira Marley does not necessarily encourage some of the vices that Marlians stand for or represent in his songs. While it can’t be argued that he is controversial, his staunch followers have hidden under the aegis of the ‘movement’ to push certain agenda not preached by Marley.