Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji (born 19 June 1993), better known as KSI,[A] a shortened version of his online alias KSIOlajideBT, is a British YouTuber, internet personality, actor, rapper and professional boxer. Olatunji’s main YouTube channel has accumulated over four billion video views and twenty million subscribers; he is also the 115th most subscribed user on YouTube. Olatunji has also become well known for his music; he released his debut extended play, Keep Up, in 2016, reaching number one on the UK R&B Albums Chart as well as charting in several other countries. After releasing three more extended plays and singles, Olatunji released a collaborative album with Randolph, New Age, in 2019.
Early and personal life
Olatunji was born in London but grew up in Watford, Hertfordshire. Olatunji attended Berkhamsted School together with fellow Sidemen member Simon Minter. His parents are of Nigerian descent.
Olatunji’s younger brother, Deji Olatunji, is also a well known YouTube personality who was previously known as ComedyShortsGamer until August 2018 when he decided to revert to using his real name. The brothers both ranked number one and two respectively as “UK’s Most Influential YouTube Creators” by Tubular Labs in 2015.
In late November 2018, it was revealed that Olatunji and Deji have had a falling out which began when Deji leaked his brother’s personal bank records during a diss track video toward YouTube personality Randolph. Olatunji later condemned Deji’s actions when reacting to the diss track and had also expressed his disappointment towards his parents for allowing the publication of his financial records. By early-January 2019, Deji apologised to his brother for his “impulsive” and “rash” behaviour. However, in May 2019, when Deji made the diss track public again, Olatunji stated on Twitter that he’s “done” with his brother. Deji would later accuse Olatunji of years of mental and physical abuse.
2008–2013: Beginnings, controversy and FIFA videos
Before creating his current main channel, Olatunji had a YouTube channel called JideJunior, which he created on 24 April 2008.[better source needed] Olatunji opened his current YouTube account on 24 July 2009, with a video about the FIFA video game franchise. According to his website, YouTubers such as Weepeler and Hjerpseth inspired him to start his own YouTube career. His main channel was previously focused on association football and FIFA, although he played other games such as Grand Theft Auto V and other PC-based modifications on his secondary channel (KSIOlajidebtHD).[better source needed]
Olatunji was the centre of a controversy following his actions at a Eurogamer event in 2012, raised after he appeared at the Xbox One launch party in London. With the reasoning of the controversy due to sexual harassment of attendees at the event from Olatunji, Microsoft cut ties with Olatunji and he was banned for life from the Eurogamer Expo. A message from Olatunji’s manager stated: “Sexism is not something he condones or wants to be associated with. He wishes to apologise for any offence the video of 15 months ago may have caused in the short time it was on his YouTube channel, references to it since and subsequently used by other people. In recent months, he has also been actively avoiding certain content seen in the distant past and wants to be judged on the great content and value he gives to brands and partners, without controversy.”
In February 2013, Olatunji appeared on the video “KSI VS FIFA // The Record Slam” made by GWRomg in which he broke the previous world record for ‘the most goals scored against computer’ of 110 goals, by scoring 190 goals. As a result, his name appeared in the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition (2013). After defeating Virgin Gaming co-founder Zach Zeldin in a match of FIFA, Olatunji visited Las Vegas, where he discussed YouTube’s launching of a paid-channel subscription project. In October 2013, Olatunji signed with Maker Studios‘ sub-network, Polaris.
2013–2017: Expanding content
On 19 October 2013, he and four other gaming YouTubers formed a group called the Ultimate Sidemen (later shortened to just the Sidemen) via the creation of a Rockstar Games Social Club crew of the same name on Grand Theft Auto Online. The group initially consisted of himself, Ethan Payne (Behzinga), Simon Minter (Miniminter), Josh Bradley (Zerkaa), and Tobi Brown (TBJZL). The group decided to add a sixth member in Vikram Barn, known as Vikkstar123, the following month. The group then added a seventh member, Harry Lewis (wroetoshaw or “W2S” for short), in 2014.
In 2015, Olatunji released a book titled KSI: I Am a Bellend, called KSI: I Am a Tool in the United States. It is described by its publishers as “an all-out assault on the online universe”, as the book includes his history and controversies on YouTube. The book was released on 24 September 2015 in the UK and five days later in the United States. Olatunji did a tour supporting the book on 24 September 2015, ending on 4 October 2015.
In early 2017, Olatunji stopped uploading videos to YouTube, later releasing a video in July stating that he was displeased with the direction YouTube seemed to be going. On 4 August 2017, Olatunji tweeted that he would be leaving the Sidemen group due to internal conflicts with fellow Sidemen member Ethan Payne. Shortly thereafter, he released a number of diss track videos criticising members of his then-former group, to which most of the members responded back with their own.
Later that month on 15 August, Olatunji released a video in which he claimed that he was being deported from the United States (as he was staying in Los Angeles at the time) for receiving an incorrect visa, returning to the group’s private mansion which he and some of the others co-owned at the time, but was otherwise not returning to the group. However, by the following month, he officially rejoined the Sidemen. This led to accusations that the Sidemen group manufactured their conflicts for the sake of getting views, as Olatunji and the other Sidemen gained a large number of views and subscribers upon uploading their diss tracks.
Most notably, YouTuber Joe Weller released a diss track of his own criticising Olatunji and Sidemen for faking their “Sidemen war”, which led to Olatunji and Weller attacking each other on Twitter. This resulted in their announcing, at an annual content creator-focused event called Upload (which Olatunji and some of the other Sidemen members founded), that they would be facing each other in a boxing match on 3 February 2018 at Copper Box Arena in London. During the announcement, the two YouTubers verbally and physically confronted each other, with Olatunji making fun of Weller’s struggles with depression. Both released follow-up videos with Olatunji apologising for his remarks. In November 2017, Olatunji released a video discussing the issue of whether his supposed fight with the Sidemen was real or fake, with him saying that “[t]he drama wasn’t entirely real, but wasn’t entirely fake either.”
2018–present: YouTube boxing
On 3 February 2018, Olatunji competed in his first white-collar amateur boxing match against fellow YouTube personality Joe Weller at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick, London. The fight, titled KSI vs. Joe Weller, was won by Olatunji 1 minute and 30 seconds into the third round by way of technical knockout; Olatunji was awarded the YouTube Boxing Championship Belt. On YouTube, the fight drew 1.6 million live viewers, 21 million views within a day, and over 25 million over the next several days, making it the biggest white-collar boxing fight in history.
Olatunji expressed his respect for Weller after the fight for being “way harder, way tougher than I thought,” and praised him for his commitment to raising awareness on mental health issues. He then proceeded to call out American internet personality Logan Paul, his brother Jake Paul, and retired footballer Rio Ferdinand.
KSI vs. Logan Paul
On the weekend of 24 February 2018, it was announced that the Paul brothers would be fighting the Olatunji brothers in a boxing match, with the matches divided between relative ages (the elder brothers KSI vs Logan Paul in one match and the younger brothers Deji Olatunji vs. Jake Paul in another match). One judge scored the fight in favour of Olatunji and two judges scored a draw, resulting in a majority draw. The fight has been labelled “the largest event in YouTube history” and “the largest ever amateur boxing fight”.
KSI vs. Logan Paul II
On 3 September 2019, a rematch between the two was officially announced. The fight is set to take place on 9 November 2019 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, and will be promoted by Eddie Hearn. Unlike the first fight, the rematch will be a professional fight and the two fighters will not be wearing any headgear. The undercard will feature professional boxers, including Devin Haney and Billy Joe Saunders.
2011–2014: Comedy music
In 2011, Olatunji branched out into music, mainly as a rapper. Starting out with fellow YouTuber Randolph, he released “Heskey Time”, a rap song about footballer Emile Heskey which was released on iTunes just before Christmas in 2011. The video features Heskey missing various chances on FIFA. Following the success of “Heskey Time”, he began doing a segment on his channel called “Football Rap Battles”, a video series, on which he and Randolph play the characters of famous figures from the world of football. Although it started off with raps featuring world footballers including Mario Balotelli and managers like Sir Alex Ferguson, one involves Olatunji as himself against Robin van Persie, hitting out at van Persie’s acrimonious transfer from Arsenal to rivals Manchester United. He appeared in music videos with Droideka, directing and appearing in his music video for his song “Get Hyper“, whilst also collaborating with British rapper Sway, releasing two tracks with the London born rapper.[better source needed]
2015–2018: Keep Up and major label signing
Olatunji released his debut single as a solo artist on 23 March 2015 titled “Lamborghini“, which features rapper P Money. The song was released under Sway’s record label Dcypha Productions. On 29 October 2015, Olatunji announced his debut EP titled, Keep Up. The EP’s title track, featuring rapper Jme, was released as the lead single on 13 November 2015 alongside a music video released two days later.[better source needed] Keep Up was released on 8 January 2016 by Island Records and debuted at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Albums Chart.
On 29 April 2016, Olatunji released a song titled, “Goes Off”, featuring Mista Silva. The song was released as the lead single to Olatunji’s second EP, Jump Around. Olatunji later released the second single from the EP titled, “Friends with Benefits” featuring Dutch musical group MNDM on 29 July. The EP’s title track featuring Waka Flocka Flame was released as the third single on 16 September. Jump Around was later released on 28 October 2016 through Island Records.
After taking a four-month hiatus from YouTube, Olatunji released a song titled, “Creature” on 23 June 2017. The song was released as a single for his third EP titled, Space, which was released independently on 30 June. Olatunji later released his fourth EP titled, Disstracktions, three months later on 29 September 2017. Disstracktions later went on to chart on the UK Albums Chart and UK R&B Albums Chart at number 31 and one respectively.
2019: New Age
On 28 February 2019, Olatunji announced on one of his YouTube videos that he would be releasing a collaboration album with Randolph titled, New Age, along with a tour to promote the album.[better source needed] The album was supported by three singles with Randolph: “Slow Motion”, “Beerus” and “Red Alert”. New Age was released independently on 12 April 2019 and featured guest appearances from Talia Mar, Jme and Quadeca. The album debuted at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Albums chart.