The Rise: Rotimi – G’unit’s Young Boss Has The “Power”

Photography By Myles Aronowitz

You may know him as Dre from Starz hit series Power but believe me when I tell you there’s many layers to 50 cents young R&B protege` Rotimi. At 26, Rotimi has soared to popularity in recent years, playing that dealer on the Starz series Power, and as the star of last year’s Sundance-accoladed Imperial Dreams, alongside John Boyega of the new Star Wars. And then he pulls double duty as an R&B star, opening for everyone from T.I. to Jennifer Hudson. The parallel work has him knowing a nice percentage of everyone there is to know in Black entertainment. His next steps — including signing with 50 Cent’s label G-Unit — have him inching closer and closer to the big-time mainstream spotlight where so many of his connections dwell comfortably.

Growing up in New Jersey in a strict Nigerian household, the son of an investment banker father and a government grant writer mother, Rotimi had a childhood that was about hard work and diversifying his portfolio. A top athlete with high honors who excelled at soccer, basketball and football, Rotimi could have tried his hand at collegiate sports. But when you win a singing competition at Harlem’s Apollo Theater at age 15, chances are that your aspirations may change.

That was the first time Rotimi figured he might have the chops for the big time. After the Apollo competition, he joined the group Natural Born Hustlaz, which happened to include Jay Z’s nephews. He soon found himself performing at high schools and colleges — and, he says, in Jay Z’s living room. “That’s kind of a big deal for any kid when Jay Z is telling you, ‘Wow, you have a powerful voice.’”

Rotimi In Black Tank Top
Rotimi In Black Tank Top

A contemporary R&B artist, Rotimi released two digital mixtapes, titled The Resume (March 8, 2011) and While You Wait (November 30, 2011). His videos have been featured on international and U.S. based entertainment media including MTV, MTV Base, and VH1 Soul. 

He also dropped an EP titled “Summer Bangerz” featuring the sexy single “Doin It”. Rotimi also has been hinting at another official project with the release of his new Single “Nobody” Ft. T.I. & 50 Cent.