Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. BBC sounds, music, radio, podcasts, let's not there's the program, all right, that wasn't plugged in. I've got my shit in order.
Hello, I'm Louis Thru and welcome to my podcast series for BBC Radio four.
Grounded with Louis through the areas where I get to talk to people who like me are locked down and confined to the home people have been keen to meet.
I just saw he followed me on Twitter. I was like, why was he involved whatsoever? Only now we meet remotely using video conferencing software.
So we're all set, but we've lost our mind and I'm here and each of us records are half of the conversation I'm recording. Yeah, I'm recording today.
My guest is an online star whose videos on YouTube have been seen more than five billion times.
That's billion with a B, a prankster, a gamer, the winner of the largest non-professional boxing match of all time, and now a successful rap artist.
His name is Olajide Olatunji, known as Jayjay to his friends and ksee to his millions of fans.
Thanks for doing this now. Thank you, man. I called you JJ because I think in my emails I said, Casey, I assumed that's what you went by. But it seems that most of your friends and people who work with, you know, you as JJ would not be just.
It's kind of weird when people call me Karsai. I guess KSR is what a lot of people know me Biso, because the first time I heard of you was when you you boxed Logan Paul.
I think I'd heard of Logan Paul, the famous YouTube because of the scandal that followed an incident where he did a culturally insensitive and actually highly tasteless video in Japan where he filmed a man who'd committed suicide in the woods. That was the first time I'd heard of Logan. Paul, then fast forward a year or two. And I heard that there was a big deal on the Internet. My kids were buzzing about it. King-Size boxing, Logansport and I didn't know you at that point.
And that's when the name KCI came onto my radar. Do you think of them as two different identities in any way?
KSR is a lot more of a public image thing, whereas changes a lot more like my normal side with posting, so video wise and online, etc.. You have to be a lot more entertaining. If I was just like this the whole time, a lot of people wouldn't switch on. Kesi allows me to just be kind of myself, but just bigger, just more and just like more outlandish of everything I do.
Let me ask you this, though. How are you doing in the lockdown? Based on what I know about your routine, which seems to be getting up at 2:00 in the afternoon and then gaming and sending out for delivery, that is basically the kind of recommended lifestyle in the Soviet era.
I mean, yeah, right now, a lot of YouTube is are thriving because if anything, it's what they've been doing from the beginning. So they're getting more content out now, just posting constantly and streaming a lot as well just to boost their views, boost their status, etc. online.
My kids say you've been posting quite a bit at the risk of alienating the radio audience early on. I think you've got into some beef with someone who writes gum.
Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah. You're very Cluedo. I mean, we've got a little bit of a thing going on. I used to be an old friend of mine, but he's not saying the right things and he's publicly trying to shame me. So, you know, I had to clap back.
He's based where? L.A. He's based in L.A., yes.
So he's a YouTube, to be completely honest. I've never heard of him until yesterday. What's the ten word biography on Whitcome?
He is a YouTube that flexes his money a lot and makes this strikes on kids and other people. He makes destress, i.e., translation, he does record records of nights like a total boom.
He basically makes music in which he starts fights or settle scores.
Yeah, this that's pretty much what racism does. But I know a lot about racism, and that's why I'm kind of like trying to tell him who it is that he doesn't really want to war with me because I can let you just shot him down, like, instantly if I need to. Whenever I want to attack someone, I go it quite hard and make sure I stay on top. So I think it's best that he doesn't try to come at me.
But we'll see. We'll see what he wants to do.
Interesting. I won't try to pick away at that too much. I feel as though you've got some material or weaponry up your sleeve in your arsenal and you don't want to divulge. And actually, you know, everyone knows what YouTube is. It's an online streaming platform where people upload their own videos and then there's YouTube and they're absolutely huge. And among them is yourself. Yeah, you're one of the biggest in the world. I mean, you can actually figure out rankings based on how many subscribers.
Yeah, PUDI is another one that's quite big. We'd have to say. With all due respect, Pudi Paes the biggest. Yeah.
Yes, he's got forgive me for having the information at my fingertips. 104 million subscribers.
Yeah. It's when I just checked.
It is crazy you coming all the way down from that with a very respectable correct me if I'm wrong, twenty one point three million.
So that's just on one of my channels. Yeah.
So if you added the other channel but they might be doubling up so it's hard to get hard data. It is true. But either way among YouTube, as people who basically post regularly and whose celebrity or artistry depends upon them creating content for YouTube in the gaming slash comedy slash music space, you're easily top ten. Would you say worldwide.
Why is a YouTube that does what? Boxing and music.
Well, boxing then you're getting quite niche. Put boxing in there. Fine, then you'd be number one when you hit that. I'll be number one. Yeah. No, it's just YouTube and music. Yeah. I'd say I'm top ten.
You're doing about a video a day at the moment. Yeah.
Currently when a video drops like you must have a sense of as I do if I put a program out, what I hope it will get in its ratings. Right. What are you looking for.
Well viewers I guess. Have you heard of Social Blade. No. OK, so it's a website which allows you to see how many views someone gets daily. So like, for instance, yesterday I got like four million views. The day before I got 2.5 million. But that's because I didn't post a video. And then the day before I got five million the day before that four point eight million. And pretty much a lot of people look at this.
And four, YouTube is a lot. I usually don't just look at how many views each we get to play video. They like to see how many views they get monthly. If you're hitting a hundred million views monthly, that's like huge. That's when people go, OK, he's the YouTube that is killing the game. There's a lot of YouTube ones that have like twenty million subscribers or ten million subscribers, but it can only get about 20 to 30 million a month subscribers.
Doesn't really mean anything anymore.
You know, that makes sense. It's like you can have the pipes, but unless stuff's coming down the pipes. Yeah. What does it mean exactly? We started by talking about a beef that you were having with rice.
Gum. Yeah, OK.
My perspective on this is because I've done stories on wrestling. I'm also a fan of rap going way back to the 90s and even late 80s.
Yeah, I think I've seen a clip of you actually like doing a freestyle very probably. And if this is going to segue into an offer to guest on a track with you, all reasonable offers are considered. Yes. Featuring my rap name, King Louis.
I've seen you've collaborated with Trippy Red, who I'm also a fan of land. I actually do like your music. I was surprised, to be honest with you. I sort of thought you don't expect a YouTube to be capable of making really good music. But we can talk about that in a minute because what we were talking about was whether I was going to guest on a track of yours. And the answer is yes, I will.
Thank you for that. Know, what we were talking about was what were we talking about? Oh, yeah. This world of beefs. Right. And in wrestling, I think I'm not shattering anyone's illusions about wrestling.
When I say that the feuds in wrestling are confected, they're not completely real, right? Yeah. So when I see YouTube feuds, I'm thinking, OK, there might be something real in this, but there's also something performative about it. There's been heightened or partly it's a gimmick with me.
They're all real. So I've had beef with some of my even friends to this day, so I had a little beef with the sidemen.
That was the policy that you when you were coming up there were the seven of you, is that right?
Yes. Yes. Me saying I was leaving the sidemen. It was me just trying to, you know, rattle stuff. Some things, you know, I'm just curious.
I said let's the posse that you came up with like that would make sense to the general. This I don't know that it really will. You had a group of friends who were also you tubers. Right. And for a while you lived in a house together. Yeah. Were you in each other's videos and stuff?
Yeah. Yeah. We were in each other's videos. We came up together like we've been doing sideman videos for years now and it was organic.
It wasn't put together by management, organic.
We're all just friends. And we thought this would be a good idea. Obviously we have fights, we have this and it got quite personal with a lot the distract. A lot of people were like watching this and going, oh, I don't know, this is real or not, because they're kind of going in like they're really like going quite deep with the stuff that they're talking about.
But at the same time, you must be conscious that it drives views and clicks well. Right.
Well, that's another another reason why a lot of us jumped on it, because we saw it was just views in it. But with me in the back of my head, I was like, I know this IDU views. But then I was also thinking, I need to show that I'm musically better rapping wise, I'm better. And then with that I need to find things that were better to make sure that when I do release this, it's a bang as well as will get views, etc.
What was the first beef you got into as a YouTube of the first beef was actually a guy called Rocco Rocco and this guy just made like the most outrageous music, racist's music and literally just everything you wouldn't normally talk about. He would like make a song about it. But people are the reason why they're struggling themselves and all of this and that. And, you know, he would just say the N-word left, right and center and all that. Where's he from?
Is a white American?
I believe so. How did you get into beef with him? I believe I was just reacting to one of his videos and I was just like, this is ridiculous. Outrageous because you do reaction videos sometimes.
Yeah, right. Yeah. Where it's you looking at content online and just spontaneously reacting, right. Yes.
I saw his content and I was like, this is ridiculous. How can someone make content like this? And then he saw that and made a district on me. So I had to cut back and I hit him with a district of my own. And yeah, it got good amount, my views. But like it was just one of the things where I didn't think of it like, oh, I'm going to get views. It was just like a thing I saw I thought is outrageous and I wanted to speak on it.
So was that like an aha moment for you? Because obviously the Internet and especially social media thrives on conflict. I realize you're not defined by distracting people, but it's obviously the feuds have been a big part of how you've propelled yourself. I'm just wondering, was that a sort of moment of realization or did it grow more gradually? I think it's a bit of both. It's one of those things where it kind of just gradually happened. Obviously, the bigger you get, the more attention you get and the more chance of someone wanting to, you know, disrespect you or come at you for views.
So I started to realize this and use it to my favor, if that makes sense. Obviously, with the whole me boxing, I help Joetta. So Joel is a guy who started this whole boxing thing on YouTube.
He's another YouTube, but I don't know much about his content. It doesn't really post as much now. I think that's also because of the outcome of the fight. It kind of mentally broke him and put him in a weird spot.
Did it has he been public about that? Yes, he had pre-existing mental health issues. I learned from watching a documentary on this that he struggled, I guess, at one point with depression. And you thought you were making light of that in some of the lead up to the fight.
Obviously, you know, I regret doing that by the time, obviously, I was having a beef with him. So I wanted to try and get under his skin. And I was like I needed to figure out what his triggers were. So you've got to remember, this is a guy that was seen as a tough guy on YouTube and that's why he wanted to fire his main Malfoy. And then that's why else I was like, oh, I'll fight the winner as a joke.
I didn't actually want to fire him because again, I saw Joel as this big guy who was always in shape, obviously took my message seriously. And I told him, I actually don't want to fire is just a joke. But he would make videos and then he would call me out saying I was a pussy, this blah, blah, blah, really.
So there was a time when you were communicating to him early on that actually you hadn't really meant it yet. Seriously?
Yeah, I didn't know how to box. I didn't know. Had you been athletic at school?
No, no, no, no, no. Like you want a sporty kid. I wasn't this boy kid. I was very introverted much. I would just be indoors, play ping pong with my friends or play on the end 64. So I didn't want to fight. I didn't want to box. I had no reason to be in there.
So you had no aspirations to be of any sort of combatant? No. Lynche like the only box if I had watched was the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. And I was like, I don't get it. This is such a boring fight. Obviously now I understand how insane Mayweather is, but at the time I didn't get any of the whole boxing aspect. So yeah, when it came to the whole boxing, I just didn't want to be a part of it.
But YouTube culture is one of those things where you have to, like, pay attention to it, because if the majority of people are saying this has to be done, it's hard to go against it. I tried to ignore it. I tried to, you know, just say I don't want to fight him. It's hard when everyone on your Twitter and on your comments and on your videos are calling your pussy, saying fight. Well, if I join your feijoada.
So let's the point where we're like, yeah, OK, let's start this fight. So we both trained, we trained hard. I never knew how to fight, but I learned the hard way. I realized how tough, how tough boxing is. I got myself into insane shape. I worked hard, pushed myself to the brink. And yeah, I destroyed Joell three rounds.
Tickell Technical Knockout. And there's a documentary on YouTube that follows the whole adventure, which is actually a well-made film and and it could watch. What becomes clear is that some that started as as you say, more or less a joke. Yeah. Becomes very serious. Yes. And it's something extraordinary about taking that journey from the kind of the echo chamber of the Internet in which as much as, you know, there's millions of people that their presence isn't really real.
And then arriving in a venue where there's thousands of people there in the flesh. Yes. It's an extraordinary energy, isn't it? And there's a feeling of like, oh, wow, these people are all real people and this is happening.
I think what helped me was years before that, I had done a lot of shows with my music. I've been doing music for like ten plus years or so, and that got me comfortable with performing in front of crowds. And I think that was one of Jordan's downfalls. This is the first time he's ever performed in front of a crowd and he had to box in front of thousands of people staring at you and then millions online. It was quite daunting for him.
I think that's also why once I beat him like that, that's one of the reasons why I kind of just flipped his whole world upside down, because everyone saw your weather as this big, tough athlete, strong guy. And now everyone's kind of just was a bit confused as to what he was now. And I think, Joe. Well, I felt that as well. And I'm forty. Nationally, what he should have done is just kept pushing forward.
You just stopped he literally posted one video after the fight saying, Congrats Kesi blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And that got so many. I think I got like seven, eight million views and then, yeah, he just left, he just went on holiday and just left YouTube because there's two ways of framing this.
One is, you know, obviously the build up to the fight, your preparation and the intensity of knowing that you're going to have this bout that will be physically very demanding and quite intimidating, I would have thought. At the same time, though, you must have been aware that he was getting so many clicks and so much traction that the level of excitement, that whatever the outcome, you'd happened upon something extraordinary in terms of how people were engaging with it.
Is that fair to say?
Yeah. Yeah. And for me, like IDFC asked me off, were excited me this many people were going to be watching me and I was going to, I guess, entertain them through boxing. But it is also kind of scary at the same time, because it's like if I lose, I knew this is going to be detrimental to my career.
And even though even though the publicity would have been immense either way, but it would have been the wrong publicity, like everyone would have seen me as a loser and then I would have changed how the top of me. Are you serious to make one? I'm very different views life while with my music. My music is very powerful. One of my songs on my album, it's called Undefeated.
Right. You would know the name of Foetid like to release a track called I Can't Make a song called Undefeated. I make music to try and build people and, you know, make them feel powerful in themselves and believe in themselves. I knew I couldn't lose. That's why I call the doc can't lose because I knew if I lost, it would just ruin me. It would ruin everything that I worked for. It was literally my whole life. I feel like I'm going into therapy mode.
Everyone loses in life. Everyone loses.
I know. I know. I never lose one hundred percent. I lose a lot of time. I lose in the shadows. If that makes sense, I lose where people don't see I lose in the shadows. Could be your next album.
You never know where to go. So I don't want to miss all about boxing. But then you go out and call out Logan, Paul and his brother Jake Paul, these two other prominent American new tuba's saying that you want to fight one of them. That must have been something you prepped. You decided you were going to do that. Why?
So I knew that Logan and Jake had an American audience, especially because of Logan. Logan had the whole suicide forest thing. So he needed something to take away the attention.
You're not going to say you were trying to do him a favor. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I was trying to be calculated. Why do so? I was like, OK, I'm a huge UK audience, but my American audience is lacking, so how can I find a way to reach out to the American audience? I knew one of them was we're going to take it because I knew their egos were just huge.
Jake didn't want any of it. He was too busy doing whatever the hell he wants to do. And Logan was that desperate. He was like a squirrel, let's do it.
And he's six feet two and he's got huge muscles. I mean, basically very intimidating.
Yeah, I was the on the dog. People saw me and I was like, there was no way you are beating Logan. There's no chance. Nope. Not happening after the fire. It's like he's a lot bigger in person, like I knew after the first. So I need to do to beat him for the second fight. Yeah.
Obviously the second fight he just was a shell of what he was in the first fight and yeah I just broke him down and got the victory already a third of the way through this podcast.
By the way, you're listening to Ground It With Me, Louis through. And it's about time we went back to the beginning, how Casey got his start. I wanted to find out what it was that allowed him to build his original fan base on YouTube.
I was about fourteen, fourteen, fifteen when I started it.
So if gaming videos you started doing gaming videos, obviously what's sort of interesting about YouTube, among other things, is it's not really curated in an obvious way. You don't depend on a channel control or a commissioner to say, oh, we're interested in you, we're going to give you some money to make a bunch of programs. It's very democratic. Anyone in his own home or her own home can upload a video and just see how many clicks they get, how many views they get and take it from there.
From that beginning, you didn't get headhunted by anyone. No one from YouTube came and said, hey, we want to give you a channel. You just started uploading videos, right? Yeah, I just did it all on my own because I just enjoyed it. It was fun. That wasn't any money at the time when I started. It was just something I thought was cool. I like playing games. I like playing FIFA. I like doing skills and showing people I was, you know, pretty skillful on the stage.
So I thought it was just cool, just the content of that. And you've said that you were quite introverted, you were growing up in what is that? Right. Yeah, my parents, are they both from Nigeria, from Lagos, both from Nigeria. Where do they come over to the UK?
Oh, I'm definitely going to mess this up. My mum was born in England and then she went back to Nigeria when she was around seven. And then she came back to England when she was about 20 something. My dad was born in Nigeria and he came over when he was around 18, 19.
Did I read that your dad was a manager at a bingo hall? Yeah, yeah. So he was a bingo manager and your mum was. So my mum kind of just did a few random jobs just to, you know, help out with my dad.
And they managed to send you to a private school. That's right, isn't it? Yeah, they were the people that worked so hard to do everything that they did, they wouldn't go to parties, they wouldn't, you know, spend money on pointless things. They would literally just save and save and save. And they put all their money into us. You know, they saw that the whole property market thing was booming at the time. And at that point, that's when they decided to take out a load of loans to try and buy as many properties as they could and then rent them out and then use that money to allow them to fund us to go to a private school.
And they just kept getting loans. And back then, it was really easy to get loans.
This was before the 2008 crash. Right. So, yeah, the property market was going like gangbusters. Yeah.
So my parents just took advantage of that and put us in private school.
But I have the impression maybe you didn't feel like you really fit it in there. I know now I definitely didn't think of the whole school like there was a boy's going to go to school. There was only two black people and I was one of them. The other was Liam. Liam also was quite extroverted. So he kind of got along better than I did. I was quite introverted and I just kept to myself. I didn't really know how to communicate, really.
Like if I ever saw, like a girl, I would just start sweating. I just was so shy. I was just so timid. I was just just a shell. I love my friends in school. Would never have guessed I'd be who I am today. I was nerdy, was wearing glasses. I'd got to my my mom would do my hair. We save as much money as possible. Just allow me to love me. And my brother is to do well in school.
And then they kind of just banked on us being the providers of the family, if that makes sense. So that's also why when I failed my A-levels, they just lost their shit.
What were you studying at a level I paid like the hardest subjects. I did maths, I did economics, philosophy, and I did history.
Well, for is one of those things where I didn't really know what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. And my parents were like, you have to pick something. You have to pick to become a lawyer or a doctor, etc., etc.. So I was just like, OK, well, I guess I'll just have to have all bases covered. So what happened in your A-levels?
The whole YouTube just took over and I just tried to balance both and I did it with the GCSE, but then with A-levels it's just a different ball game. Like you can't balance the gaming in the YouTube with A-levels already.
By this time you'd been uploading content onto YouTube. Yes. Yes. And did you have many followers when you took your A-levels? What?
We were maybe around like fifty twenty thousand, something like that.
It was it wasn't huge, but what I thought was huge at the time, maybe some part of you realised that your heart was in the YouTube and not in the studies. You know what I mean. Yeah, you'd made the decision. Yeah.
But it's one of those things where I was when my parents had saved up, worked hard to put us in private school and to make us go into university to be a lawyer, doctor, etc. for me to just turn my back on them and just go now, I want to do this is very conflicting because obviously I don't want to let my parents down. But it was a couple of years of just struggling with that. But eventually I decided, you know what school I'm going to make them proud through the whole YouTube.
As long as I can get rid of all that debt and make their lives comfortable. That's all that matters. And, you know, obviously now it's it's it's good.
So so when you got your A-levels, you said they lost their shit.
Yes, I remember at home. I remember I was sitting down on the toilet with my phone.
They text me my results and I shot myself for the reason I think it was like C, D, E, F and U u is the famous unclassified.
Yeah. So I. You did so badly. They don't really know what to do it. I never really knew what you meant. Yeah. So I got my maths.
I remember I looked at the page and I was like, what is this. I don't know any of this.
I wrote my name and I was I that would do my mom just screamed. I've never seen her scream so loud and she was just throwing glasses everywhere. My dad was just disappointed. My dad just looked on the ground and he just didn't know what to say. Or do you just everything we've worked for is just come to nothing. So I, I it was it was quite hard.
It just crushed me because you got to figure the dedicated. Their lives, their finances. You're making this dream come true, that you're the hope of them succeeding mistakes in the success in about three different ways, at least. Right, in terms of pride, economics, the whole idea of wanting you to do well and of course, then or seeing YouTube as a viable profession. So you say to them, well, I'll try again, or what do you say to them?
So I said I said I will try again. But Baucom didn't allow it. They just kicked me out. So I decided, oh, well, my parents decide the next best thing was International Baccalaureate, that I should try that. So I did that for a year and a half. Yeah. And I will say I want to do a YouTube. YouTube is the one at this IB thing. Aim for me. Like, if anything, it's harder.
It was harder than.
So you weren't feeling it. And there's a story that comes up in interviews you've given where the point which you started making money on YouTube. Right. And then you're talking to a teacher.
I remember I asked the teacher like, this is how much I made this money was how much you did hundred one thousand five hundred.
Yeah. And I remember him telling me that's more than I make.
I looked at that. I went, that's said YouTube is the one. This is the gold mine. And I need to push and push this because I know I can become something and make my parents proud. Yeah.
And so there was a point when they basically gave up, they, they, they just gave up. They would just like score. You know what you do, you you're on your own.
Essentially earlier you mentioned well you mentioned money.
I always feel reluctant to talk money because it feels a bit vulgar then. Yeah. The same time for those who don't really understand YouTube, they do understand the language of money, right?
Yeah. Yeah. So how old are you now. So I'm twenty six. I mean different figures are given, but one of the figures it turns up is that you're worth about 15 million pounds. Yeah, yeah, sounds about right, I guess I am. Well, for years I've been doing YouTube for 10 plus years. I have a lot of money coming from different angles in different areas. So it makes sense for me to be worth a few years.
Yeah, but that's also because I've invested a lot of my money as well. Like I have over 10 plus properties or scattered all across England and I make sure to invest in stocks as well. Stocks and shares. I have money, you know, loads of areas.
It's said that you have a Lamborghini. I guess your first big track was about your Lamborghini.
I don't have a Lamborghini anymore. It's been said that you wrecked it. Every one of the if someone said you don't see him in his Lambo anymore because he smashed it. Is that true?
No, it's not. It's not. So I made this joke on me, and that was like one of the lies he would say.
I remember when that track came out because I listen to grime. And when I heard that, I thought, oh, this must be a new grime artist rapping about his Lamborghini. I didn't expect someone to say, oh, no, that's a kid who went to private school is kind of a geek. And he grew up gaming and coding.
I think I would have said, pull the other one. It's got bells on. Yeah.
Like you don't fit the profile for me. Like being able to get a Lamborghini was one of my childhood things like I know I'll never be able to get it. And then when I was able to actually buy one I thought was insane. Yes, I did get for me doing YouTube, but it wasn't through the AdCenter. It was through.
We should explain what ad sense. Yeah. What is that sense I'd sense is how a lot of YouTube made their money. It's pretty much advertisers putting money into videos as adverts. I guess you to get caught and then you should give a cut to the content creator.
If you put a video on YouTube and it gets, say, five million views in 24 hours, could you say how much revenue that's likely to generate?
You can say roughly it'll make a around. I guess with a two CPM, I make about ten thousand dollars. It's a two separate to CPM. So that's two dollars per thousand views. An average is two CPM nowadays. It can go up to like ten CPM depending on what content you produce. So from five million you can make 50000 to ten thousand dollars between ten and fifty thousand dollars.
It literally depends on the content you make.
If you make really child friendly content, chances are you're going to be making the fifty thousand ads mention my kids are big fans and I've sat down with them and enjoyed a lot of your content and the risk of sounding like a complete old fart. What surprised me was how freely you swear. And I think that's partly because I've watched Pudi Pie, obviously this other very established famous YouTube. He that doesn't swear or he seems to blur them out. You're dropping bombs, even see bombs.
Yeah, because it's just me. I don't make content for kids. Kids just watch it. I can't control who watches my content. I thought I might as well just be free and just be me and that's how I am. I make content for all the people. And I guess that's why I just don't believe my swearing. I don't know. I just feel it's a bit kiddish.
I'm kind of conflicted on this because I listen to a lot of rap, which has not just swearwords but offensive racial terms as well. And I read a lot that has all sorts of content. I'm not a believer in general toning things down. On the other hand, it doesn't pain me so much. My teenagers are listening to it because there's a five year old in the room, which is certainly not on your look out. I'm not asking you to babysit my five year old when my kids are watching you on YouTube, but it's a classic situation which whereas on terrestrial TV you have stuff that goes well after 9pm, for example, or you have certain ways of ring-fencing content, YouTube, it's in its very nature.
It's out there whatever time of day it is, and quite easily accessible.
I just wonder, though, what would happen if you sort of thought, oh, well, I will blur those out or whatever the term would be. Bleep them, what do you think would happen? Would that be onerous for you or do you think it would dilute the impact of the content?
I feel like it might impact the content and impact.
You know why I say you'd be saying the same things, but it might land with less power. I just feel like it wouldn't be true to me as well because I'm putting out the content I want to put out. Obviously, you know, I do know I'm a role model and especially my music. Try to make sure that I don't rap about the wrong things. But I'm human, you know, I'm going to make mistakes. And even with my district and all of this and that, I know I push the boundaries and I push the levels and I go further than I normally need to go.
And I I'd actually do stuff that kids will go or that parents look at and go what? But is one of the things like, I'm not perfect, I can't please all this many people. It's just impossible.
Well, I hear that. And I think you're in the position of having come to fame through a sense of being real. Right. You are not someone who's attempting to be something that you're not and, you know, from your real home and your real thoughts. And it's all presented more or less unfiltered. And I think that's a big part of it. Yeah, I guess people respond to who you are and also how people respond to what you do, that they feel like they've got a personal relationship with you.
Do you have a sense of how old most of your fans are?
No, I think it's very muddled now because of the music and the boxing. Before I would tell you, this is around twenty seventeen. Anyone under the age of 21 or 22, how low the my 12 year old is very into it.
So at least 12, maybe 10 maybe.
I have no idea. Like I remember I had a seven year old come up to me saying he was a fun now. So what are you doing watching my videos? And he was like, oh, because my parents don't care. I can't help that. I can't stop that. And especially nowadays, if you tell people not to do something, they are going to do it.
Feel as though you've thwacked the ball back over the net into my side of the court. Now it's on me to make sure the five year old's out of the room. And the two older ones, they don't swear.
They don't actually really swear. And I do think kids know the difference between what people say on TV or on the computer and what they're allowed to say around the home that I agree with.
I feel like the Internet definitely has made everyone grow up faster, if that makes sense. It's so easy at the click of a button. If a kid wants to find something out, they're going to find something out. You know, obviously, parents can try the hardest to try and block everything off, but eventually they're going to find out what they want to find out. You know, I don't know. I'm I'm not a parent. I have no idea on how I'm going to even, you know, look after kids and all that.
I know it's going to be hard. I know it's going to be hard to try and stop them seeing certain things.
Well, listen, let's talk about that for a second, because when you were growing up, your parents were immensely protective that they'd come from, I guess, a traditional Nigerian culture and they were paranoid about you and your younger brother falling in with a bad crowd or just running into trouble. Right. So they would pick you up from school, drop you off, for example, make sure you didn't go out and have sleepovers with friends. But ironically, what they didn't realize was that the enemy was already in the house in the form of the Internet.
It had infiltrated your actual bedroom and was piping all sorts of bad influences and dangerous content right there to your desktop. They probably wouldn't even have known that, right?
Not at all. They understand the Internet. And what kind of I mean, you've talked a lot about how much online porn you were watching and probably still watch.
Right. And your book, which I hesitate to even call a book book, is a mistake to think it was a mistake. Why? Because of how much you talk about masturbating, though.
It just if I could redo something, I'd definitely do that and just never put out there ever. I did. I kind of just rebelled. That's why I called the book. I'm a beland. I just wanted to be controversial and just annoy people. Why do you think you wanted to do that? At the time? I thought it was funny. I thought it was cool.
It felt real to right. It's a bit like what you just said about swearing, which is that, oh, I know this is something I'm not supposed to do. And probably people have an issue with it. Therefore there's something about it that feels right.
Yeah. I finally got the case that my parents have put me in and I was able to just be free. I was able to actually, you know, do sleepovers. And I was able to just really just go out party and just do everything that I missed out on when I was a kid. And I think I just went not in my early twenties.
I had an idea to write a book. About masturbation called the complete wanker. The idea was it was going to be modelled on the Complete Angler, which is a 17th century fishing manual by Isaac Walton, and I thought it was something funny about taking this very old school template of English literature and using it to describe the most intimate and embarrassing activity. Now, I never did it, but in a way, you did do it. You sort of did your version of it, which was I'm abandoned.
Yeah, but I'm interested to hear you say you think that it was a mistake because it's a kind of a book for people who aren't interested in books. I would say it doesn't have a continuous narrative. But what makes you think that it was a mistake? Just the things I would say in there, like a lot of things I don't even remember. I don't know. You haven't read it.
Have you ever thought I had when I was when I was reading, I thought, OK, it's one of those books where one of those yishuv thrown together and he probably got some people to put it together.
And did he read it is the real question. I know you got it. You did read it, tell me you read it, you actually read it.
I read bits of it, but gosh, it's one of those things where, you know, a lot of futurists were doing it at the time. I said yes to a lot of things because I needed money. Like I wanted to make enough money to allow me to do more things in the future, etc.. It's me as a kid, you could tell like that is an old case. It was about what was it, five years ago? Yeah, five, six years ago.
I think that's the other thing which strikes me is that when you've run into difficulties without going into too much detail on it, but it's from this urge, I think, to provoke or to engage people by being edgy and provocative. Right. So you had a bit of trouble because you are sexually inappropriate, borderline harassing questions at a gaming conference that made some of the women you were talking to. From what I could see, I could only see the video uncomfortable, uncomfortable, deleted that.
And I think you apologized for it, did you?
Yes, several times. You've got to remember, I, as a kid, was brought into this world where I was just gaining an audience and the audience was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. They were starting to take the content I would put out so I would try things. And, you know, certain things would do well a lot of the time. The things that do really, really well views are important. You know, I saw the likes and the comment and I saw all of that positivity.
And I was like, OK, I got to keep pushing that, keep pushing and keep pushing it. That's kind of why I kind of relate to Logan. Paul, I saw that he had to try and push the boundaries more and more and more and more, try and boost the views more and more. He got to a point where he saw the whole suicide victim and saw views instead of anything logical in Japan. This was, wasn't it?
Yes. So with me, I did the same. I didn't care about these women. I was just like, this is just a chance for me to get more views, etc. and this is what the people want. I would give them what they want, etc.. And that's one of the reasons why I took a break in twenty seventeen to realize what I wanted in life and what I wanted my brain to be like. It got to a point where I was just making content for the people and not for me, and I felt I needed to change that.
What was it called?
The video being awkward in public and sometimes it's framed as awkward, which is one of the things, again, I slightly relate to, because people have said about a lot of the documentaries I've made that I'm awkward. In a weird way, that's part of what I do, although sometimes a bit confused by it because I don't try and be awkward. I like to try and be suave in so far as it is, you know, I actually do not try and go out and offend people when I'm doing stories.
But I suppose what I also do is try and get to the truth about something. And I feel as a journalist, it's my job to peel away the layers. And specifically, if there's something glaringly obvious that is unspoken but is clearly an issue, that's my job to ask it, which kind of creating awkward moments. What struck me when I watch that video, which was yesterday, was that you actually delivered the cheeky, borderline harassing questions with surprising poise.
And I thought, I wonder how stressed he got before doing this. And you said earlier in this interview you used to break out into a sweat when thinking about talking to girls. And then you are going up to girls saying things like, I don't know, what do you do when you're not fingering yourself? Was one of them. Right?
I just wondered whether it was that stressful. I'm not trying to give you a hard time. No, no, no. I get into a game mode that's solitary it as soon as the camera's on outside. OK, let's go. And I'll just zone in by like after that I just become awkward again. I just wouldn't know how to interact. It is crazy. Like I wouldn't know how to talk to them. Normally polite because of the camera and the mike, I was able to just become a different person and just be this character allowed me to say the crazy things I would say.
And probably if one of them had come up to you afterwards, I don't know, maybe they did and said, I'm really off camera and said, I'm really upset by what you just did.
I would have shot myself. Oh, no, it was just for the video. I'm so sorry.
You strike me as someone with a work ethic, right? Yeah. And maybe that's above and beyond anything else. Notwithstanding your other talents. You're someone you absolutely work focused. Yeah. Like, I think working hard beats talent one hundred percent of the time. I've always said I'm not talented with the whole YouTube, with music, you know, boxing, blah, blah, blah. I'm not talented. Anything I do, I just work hard to the point which allows me to reach a level.
Similar to people that would be talented and then break beyond that, you know, I'm going to disagree with you that you're not talented, but I think what you've said is very true in the sense that I think it's a great working assumption to have in life in a weird way that you're not talented, which sounds counterintuitive because a lot of people say you're going to believe in yourself. But I think what you've got to believe in is the idea that if you work hard, you can achieve something.
But if you imagine because you're talented, therefore it will come easily. You are setting yourself up to fail, basically.
Yeah, yeah. That's just been the driving thing in my life, just making sure I believe in myself. But if I just sit down and expect things to happen, it's not going to happen. And that's why I, you know, started YouTube by myself, you know, to create something, to make something happen. And I've done everything to make something happen in my life. And now, you know, I've built this empire an empire.
So you're an emperor now. Oh, God.
Let me ask you something which is related to that. You know, I don't ever get a chance to talk to someone in their mid 20s. Right. And this world of Tinder, I believe now you're in a relationship. So this is this is going by this is going back in your book. You talk about giving advice to people on Tinder. One of them is always right. Which basically means say yes to anyone.
Yeah, yeah. Because that's what I do back in the day. Anyone that would accept me, eventually you'll find one.
Is it a hook up? Well, I mean, I haven't been on in a while now. I don't think it's changed much. Oh, I guess so. Then yeah. Then yes. I mean, at the time it was I pretty much used it as a way to just, you know, find girls and just this past post and then move on to Posh. Obviously I met my girlfriend through you. Yeah. Yeah. And I thought she was just another one.
I was just going to take off the list but she liked it. But you've got to remember because of like who I am, I'm thinking I'm not going to find one love. Well, it's because you're you know, I'm very kesi. I put my real name Jayjay Olatunji, but a lot of people knew me as KSR. You know, I was becoming to the point where I was not famous, that a lot of people would recognize me and would just swipe.
Yes, because they know who I am. So would you get repeat customer? No, I tend not to because it just get complicated. So I tend to just see one go and you know, once this sounds so bad, but like again, this is at the time when I was like a proper player and all that I this is when I was little. All the shackles or the chains were let loose and everything. I would just like go get to a point where I was like, OK, like, I don't want to see her anymore until the next go, OK, I'm done with the next go.
I like I just kept going and kept going and kept going. This is all this you just before twenty seventeen. I was just all over the place with my mindset and just my morals and everything. After twenty seventeen is when I got like integrity and tattooed on me and knowledge and strength, all of this tattooed on me. And I wanted to just change as a person because I felt like I was just all over the place with everything I was doing.
Sounds like you were going through some sex addiction. Probably, but it makes sense why, because, you know, I had parents that just stopped me from doing any of that when you ended it, how did you tend to do that?
I just add them. Is that the same as ghosting yiorgos them? Yeah. Which for the people who don't know, means you just stop replying.
Yeah, just stop replying there because I felt like there's no. Right way to end, and if that makes sense, there's a way to go, OK, I'm not feeling this anymore. It just it would be awkward because I know a lot of girls would just be like, oh, no, but I can change or I can do this. I can do that. So I would just ignore I just cut off and just it just it's just easier for me.
And I felt. I feel like I've had an education, so you've talked a bit about 2017 as a kind of moment of crisis, maybe a moment of regrouping, of stepping away in order to rebuild. Right. Is that fair?
Yes. Why? And so I just took a six month break from line and everything. Social media has cut it all off. And I was like, I need to find myself. I just felt lost as a person. I was like, I'm just making all this content for other people. I'm not really making content I want to make.
It must be tell me if this is right or wrong, but I can only imagine that when you're creating your own content and then you have it to feed the beast. Right. Because every day there are people thinking, is it going to be a new Kissi video out and you're having to sort of cannibalize your own life by filming yourself, whether it's gaming or doing something, the separation between your work and your life is also rather porous, like there's no clear, bright line between them that that could get into your head.
You know, you could start to think, well, where's the place where I get to be the real me? I mean, was that part of what you.
Adelia I'd say so like I just like the whole character of me being KSR and then jaded. It didn't make sense to me like it was just all over the place. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it, but like in my head, I wasn't where I felt like I needed to be. I wasn't right. I felt like the best thing to do was just take a break. Where did you go? I went everywhere I went everywhere I went to Vegas.
I went to Texas, a couple of European countries. I just traveled a child who was around then that you were a bunch of your old videos.
A lot of you really done your research? Yeah, I deleted a lot.
A lot of it is because they were offensive or because you thought they were no good or because you just wanted to just destroy things.
I just felt it wasn't me. I thought I was kind of like disgusted at my past. I then I just was I wasn't happy with myself. I just wasn't happy with. What I was doing, so I just I just wanted to just get rid of I just wanted to just start again. Did you feel like that break helped to help you to reset? Well, I think it was the best thing in my life, I went to Ghana as well, and I found myself, I had direction in my life and I knew I wanted.
And there was something about me, like I just had a different suave about me. So I don't care what anyone thinks I would do, what I want to do. And I don't care if I don't get any views on it. I don't care if I don't get any likes. I'm just going to make content I enjoy.
I mean, we've talked about this for a while, so I don't want to get bogged down. But you've said that you lost your compass more or less. You weren't happy with who you were and what you were doing, but you haven't been specific about what part of it you weren't happy with. Like, what did you drop and what did you focus on?
It's just like the content I was making. It was just too I would say it's cringe trying to think of a way that can make more sense cringes my 12 year old's favorite word.
Incidentally, it's kind of one of those culturally decisive determining words. You know, the word cringe has come to define so much about life now and everything. But for a lot of kids nowadays, something succeeds or fails depending on whether or not it's cringe. Yeah, but anyway, that's why I didn't mean to hijack your thought. No, no, no. Why was it cringe really just means awkward or inauthentic. Yeah.
Yeah. It just didn't feel real. I felt disgusted in myself with past videos. I just wasn't happy with the direction I was going and I didn't have any direction. YouTube wise, music wise as well. What I want to cringe can also be overly sincere, though.
Karnet like I remember seeing a video of yours in which you talk about where your name comes from and you post it and you say it's one of the most cringe worthy videos I've ever made, but it was one of the earliest ones that took off.
It is a bit strange, but I think it's a bit cringe because you're talking very sincerely about yourself and about the origin of your name.
Does that ring a bell?
No, that was the first version of me on the Internet. Like people saw my face for the first time that it was funny.
It reminded me of something my kids might post on a YouTube channel. You're seeing a kid in his room making it up as he goes along trying to think about what people might be interested in anyway.
Listen, I'm aware I've taken a lot of your time. Can I come to one last thing? It's about time. Yeah, sure. We started by talking about beefs. Right. And one thing that I noticed is that in the last year or two, there's been this ongoing I don't know if it's died off now, but beef with your younger brother that your parents have been roped into. You know, having said that, some of the people don't see real.
This one really struck me as seeming quite real and quite painful because it's, from what I can tell, divided your family up, right. That your parents are sort of. Yeah. Or your younger brother's side. He's accused you of being emotionally and physically abusive when you were coming up together. And I think you said that you were kicked out of the family home and that your Christmas and birthdays are now more or less cancelled. Right. Because you can't spend time with your family.
What's going on with that? I wish it wasn't public, but it is I'd say that's one of the toughest parts of my career. I don't know. It's. Yeah, I don't know, it's yeah, it's I don't know, I don't want to talk you sorry. I'm almost pleased to hear you say that because what that says to me is that there's a part of your life that you've got the maturity now to realize doesn't. Need to be put out in the public arena as much as it might become viral or people would click on it.
Yeah, that it's not necessarily for public consumption because your younger brother is a YouTube, so you could argue with him, it's one thing, but your parents are private people. You know, the idea of damaging your relationship with your parents or not doing your utmost to mend it, even though, you know, there's an audience for that kind of conflict. I think that shows a lot of wisdom in sort of. On your part, if that makes sense.
Yeah, they're. Are you in a better place? Yeah, yeah, that's nice. Yeah, with my parents anyway. I guess, yeah. Yeah, I don't know, it's one of those things where I think this whole social media thing is misguided and changed how people factor things. If I make sense, you know, views make you money and clicks is what everyone does for each other. And I kind of just sways people's focus and what really matters.
And I guess it's just, yeah, I've I've always not wanted that to be public, but. It's one of those things where, you know, you call it, you know, it takes two to tango and you can't stop it sometimes. So, you know, I'm doing my best to try and. Yeah, just keep it off of online because, yeah, like you said, people don't need to see the. People don't need to see everything about my life.
Yeah, I I'll address it when I need to address it in the form that I want to address it in, but yeah, like when I made that video responding to my bro, it's you know, it's sucked the lot because, you know, he's my brother, but. I mean. That's not really much you can do and so on set in their ways. I don't know if I made any sense, but. God damn it, Louis, you're doing your thing.
My girlfriends read your book. You're doing this on purpose. Well, you don't say anything as a person of color on the Web as well.
The Web is of extremely racist in places, right? Yeah. And, you know, especially in comment threads, there's a level of racism in comments on the YouTube videos that you would, to my mind, never experience. Correct me if I'm wrong in real life.
No, no. None at all. Is that difficult for you to deal with. You seem to take it in stride.
I'm used to it now. If anything, if someone calls me the N-word, I just laugh. It doesn't affect me anymore. I've been doing this long enough to know just not to be affected by it. Yeah.
Online. But in real life it would be online. Yeah. Real life. Yeah, it would be very different in real life. If someone actively said what they would say online to me in my face, I would probably have a different reaction and I'd have to control myself, I think through the boxing as well. It's, it's definitely matured me and helped me control my emotions a lot more than before it.
Listen, I don't want I really appreciate I know you're a busy man. I really appreciate and I appreciate talking to you as well. But it's an honor. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Yeah, that's very true. Let's invite Katherine and Paul and just make sure we haven't missed anything. I think we've covered a lot of ground. I really appreciate what you had to say on all the different stuff. We touched on an opportunity that was great, guys.
There's a lot there. So it would covid masturbating. Yeah, right. Right. Oh, that's brilliant.
You've been listening to Grounded with Louie through. My guest today has been Bokser Rappa, property magnate, actor, influencer, but most of all, YouTube phenomenon Olajide Olatunji, better known as KCI. Next week, it's the turn of BAFTA winning actor and outspoken raconteur Miriam Margolyes. Remember, there are more conversations in the series. Just search for Grounded with Louis through wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe. This has been a White House production for BBC Radio four, put together remotely by Paul Kobrick and Catherine Manat, not my Nan Monan.
When the world gets you down, music can help you. In 2017, my life took a bit of a bad turn the way I coached by listening to as many records from the previous year as I could. I'm James Hay Tester, and I believe that 2016 is the greatest year for music ever. I've been listening to it backwards, but listening to on my podcast, me and my comedian friends will discuss my favorite albums of that year in order to convince every single one of you to see a classic album right there.
James Castries, perfect sounds. Listen now on BBC Sounds.