ILLRYMZ is a Nigerian television host, radio personality, writer, producer, and Hip Hop & RnB artist. Illrymz was born on December 3, 1985 in Lagos. At the age of 3, he was already introduced to lights and cameras, as a baby model for an American beauty product.
From an early age he sang in the church choir, and always had a lead or major role in the church drama.
The name ‘ILL’ was created in his final years of High School in 2000–2001, when his peers would comment on his flows by saying they were ‘ILL’. ‘The name came as a relief to me for real’ Illrymz said. ‘My family called me Bardia but my friends at school all called me Bola because it was easier to pronounce I guess lol’. Putting two and two together he picked up on the tag and started using the pseudo name ‘Illrymz’ meaning ‘Sick rhymes’, ‘Dope rapper’, “the Illest’ etc.
Fresh out of high school and still filled with passion for freestyling, drumming on desks and writing music he met Emmanuel Essein aka Mannie of Cool FM by chance, while working on a radio commercial for Gold Circle. The two bonded as Mannie was a music composer and Illrymz was learning how to use his rhymes to write copy for advertising agencies. Immediately work on his first album started, however the album was never completed. Shortly after this, he was introduced to another Emmanuel by his brother, this time a tongue twisting rapper called Mannie-X.
They were later joined by Leo Abulu aka Luvdaddy who was a close friend of Mannie. They became a Gospel Group called SOL later in the year. After recording four songs, the group decided to rebrand and started working on a new album under a new name KONFUSED. Once again, six songs into the album the project was abandoned.
The first time he was in the spotlight nationally however, was in 2003 when he appeared in television and print commercials for Coca Cola. He went on to model for Benson and Hedges, MTN, and other top Nigerian brands, as well as appearing on the runway on big shows such as the Nigerian Fashion Show and Fashion week.
Illrymz went on to study Mass Communication at the University of Lagos in 2006.
In 2005, Illrymz, as a brand name, was born with the launch of Nigeria’s First Online Entertainment Magazine – VibeWeekly. Working with Mtech communications on the Vibedownloads brand for three years, he quickly made a name for himself as one of Nigeria’s foremost entertainment writers, reaching to about 60 thousand subscribers weekly.
He made his television debut as the Host of Nokia First Chance, in 2007. After rave reviews and by popular demand, he decided to take on TV as a profession.
In late 2007, he signed on to popular urban Nigerian music and lifestyle channel Nigezie as Music Content producer, brand Manager, and On-Air Personality. During his short stint with Nigezie he managed to set up its 24 hour program schedule, and give the channel its first feel of international celebrity interviews bringing on Grammy Award winners - Black Eyed Peas, Lil' Kim, Brick & Lace and Amerie.
In 2008, he signed a television deal with Soundcity and quickly became a household name.
He made his mark as one of Nigeria’s top urban TV personalities, by hosting high profile Red Carpet events, presenting the Global Countdown show, Sprite triple Slam, and One on One - the celebrity interview show. Also, he produced and presented the most watched Soundcity program in 2009 - The Nokia Express Music show!
By the time he was ready to leave Soundcity, he had interviewed every top Nigerian music super star, as well as international celebrities such as Jarule. His one on one interview with Jarule was one of the very first 30 minutes straight talk interview by a Nigerian TV presenter and an international rapper. This further propelled his brand as the go-to-guy for interviews.
He interviewed Hip hop legend NAS, at the maiden edition of the SoundCity Music Video Awards, US rapper MIMS of This Is Why I’m Hot, Sean Kingston, Sisqo, SWV, Chaka Khan, JOZI from SA, Wyre from Kenya, Freshly Ground from SA, and lots more.
In 2010 he got another multi million naira Network Television deal as the Host of the G-Bam show. Although the show was highly rated and loved by viewers it was cancelled abruptly, this led Illrymz to take a break from television for the rest of the year.
In 2008, International urban music and lifestyle brand MTV announced its intention to kick off an all African music award show tagged ‘The MAMAS’, the Biggest Award show in Africa. ILLRYMZ produced the radio adverts for the show and went on to produce 2008 and 2009 MTV MAMA AWARD radio commercials.
In 2006 he released his first solo single produced by his friend PAPILASTIC titled NO MAGO MAGO! This hilarious sing-along became an instant hit and enjoyed heavy radio air-play. ‘NO MAGO MAGO NO WAYO O…NO COME PUT SAND SAND FOR MY GARRY O’ these lines became a popular slogan all over the country. Due to a hectic work schedule and reasons beyond his control illrymz went on a five year hiatus from music.
In late 2011 he leaked a single titled ANYHOW produced by Nigerian Super Producer Dr. Frabz. The song gained unprecedented followership online and on radio stations in Nigeria. Two viral singles followed shortly after; PA DA WA featuring Dr.Frabs and Skales, and Feel My Parol produced by Sam Klef.
However, in 2012 illrymz released his first official single ‘TEACHER TEACHER’ featuring the Legend Femi Kuti. Since its release it has generated a heavy buzz on major websites and blogs across the county, and the song and video are currently enjoying heavy rotation on local radio and TV stations.
He is currently working on his debut album.
In 2011 he made his return to TV as the new host of international music franchise “Idol”. He has been the host of Nigerian Idol from season 2 and the show is in its fourth season.