Portable: The Evolution

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Imagine this: it is December 2021, and the air is thick with harmattan dust and end-of-year frenzy. All of a sudden, like a rogue firework in the sky, “ZaZoo Zeh” explodes. Habeeb Okikiola, a street hustler from Sango Ota, stumbles onto fame with his frenetic freestyle that catches fire like dry harmattan grass. He’s raw, unpolished, a walking headline generator, and the music industry cannot decide whether to embrace him or run for the hills. This, my friends, is Portable in a nutshell. This wasn’t your average industry plant, folks. This was a one-man army with more balls than a tennis court. 

Fast forward to December 2023, and Portable, now sporting the self-proclaimed title of Dr. Zeh, is chilling at the British Fashion Awards, rubbing elbows with Skepta, and sipping champagne that probably costs more than your rent. His story isn’t your linear climb to stardom; Portable’s journey is incredible and low-key inspirational, with enough twists and turns to fuel a telenovela marathon. One minute he’s spitting rhymes with Olamide and Poco Lee, the next he’s embroiled in beef with his “helper” over $3,000. It’s a telenovela, but instead of forbidden love triangles (of which there’s actually a lot), we’ve got Zeh Nation drama and Headies disqualifications. 

Back when Portable was just another hustler trying to make a name for himself, Don Blu, a social media whiz, used ‘ZaZoo Zeh’ as a soundtrack on a post, tossed it onto the internet, and boom, it went viral faster than anyone could have ever anticipated. Poco Lee, the street-dance Pied Piper, heard it, saw potential, and connected Portable with Olamide, the YBNL label boss. The rest, as they say, is history.

“ZaZoo Zeh” became the anthem of the streets, a wild blend of Afropop and street vibes that had everyone from Wizkid throwing dollar bills to your auntie in the market bopping her head. But Portable, bless his chaotic soul, couldn’t just chill and enjoy the ride. No, sir. Enter Kogbagidi, the “helper” who turned into a nightmare, with accusations of ripped-off cash flying. Then came the apologies, the reconciliations, the shade, and the subtle threats—the drama was endless and juicy. Portable is really the embodiment of the “no gree for anybody” motto that Nigerians are just adopting. 

But amidst the controversies, there’s undeniable talent. The guy’s got charisma that could charm snakes out of their baskets, and his music pulsates with an infectious energy that makes you want to grab some local gin, bust the bottle after, and then start a fight, all while dancing violently. Remember that Billboard chart debut? Yeah, Dr. Zeh isn’t just playing around.

And then there’s the showmanship. Coffin entrances at concerts? Check. Chieftaincy titles from Ogun State kings? You bet. Flying across the Atlantic for international gigs that had promoters scrambling to book him? Done and dusted. This guy knows how to keep the spotlight pointed firmly at his multicolored head. He even managed to get Skepta, the grime godfather, showing him love on and off social media. It’s a Cinderella moment, except the carriage is a sleek Range Rover, and the glass slipper is a pair of custom-made Zeh Nation slides.

And then came the Brit Awards. Skepta, the king of reinvention, throws his weight behind Dr. Zeh, invites him to the red carpet, and suddenly, the Sango Ota hustler is rubbing shoulders with fashion royalty. In the famous words of the street superstar, ‘99 advisers, only one helper.’

So, where does Dr. Zeh go from here? Will he conquer the fashion world next? Will we see a Skepta/Portable collab that breaks the internet? The only thing for sure is that with Dr. Zeh at the helm, the ride won’t be dull. He’s the unpredictable king of Zeh Nation, a one-man party with more energy than most people know what to do with. He’s the wild card, the jester, a bundle of controversy, and he’s just getting started.

Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see him strutting down the runway at Paris Fashion Week, agbada flowing, sequined microphone in hand, ready to drop a verse that’ll make the Eiffel Tower do his famous ‘Ika’ move.

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