With nearly 21 million subscribers, KSI is one of the biggest celebrities on YouTube.
Born Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, and also known as JJ, the British YouTuber’s videos vary from video game gameplay, to real life challenges, and skits. Throughout his time as an entertainer, he’s tried many different things outside of YouTube, including boxing (beating fellow YouTuber Logan Paul with around 12,000 people in attendance) releasing a song with S-X, Rick Ross and Lil Baby which which made it to the top 100 charts in the UK, and performing the lead role in a direct-to-video movie.
KSI first showed his face to the Internet in a funny 6-minute video that he posted in 2011. It remains one of his most significant and memorable videos because it shows where his YouTube journey started.
The videos he posted about the FIFA video game series were classics, gaining him followers due to his humorous gameplay, player reviews and hilarious commentary. One of his first videos to blow up (and the first video of his that I ever watched) was about a English soccer player named Emile Heskey. JJ loved to make fun of him and he even made a song about him which fans loved.
JJ started to really blow up on YouTube but the one game that would be big for him would be Grand Theft Auto 5. JJ played with his best friend Simon Minter (Miniminter) and a few others friends as a group called the “Sidemen”. They became some of the most recognizable figures on YouTube.
His success hasn’t come without controversy and conflict. One really serious bad moment was when during an event JJ attended called Euro Gamer, which showcases new game releases. KSI posted a video which consisted of him being really disrespectful towards women and it caused him to get banned from Euro Gamer for life and Microsoft also cut ties with him. This got JJ in loads of trouble so he stopped with the sexual misconduct jokes since then but some fans were also angry at him for posting anything in the first place.
He also had a controversial recurring joke on his channel involving what he called a “rape face” — himself smiling in creepy way with bulging eyes, accompanied by the phrase, “you’re getting raped today.” Especially when taken in consideration with the sexual misconduct moment left KSI with a bad image to people who weren’t fond of him before.
KSI’s boxing career has earned him a lot of fame too. He has been fighting other YouTubers since 2017 including fellow UK YouTuber Joe Weller and American YouTuber Logan Paul. In his debut fight he beat Joe Weller in an event which had approximately 1.6 million fans watching but it wasn’t as big as the fights that were coming his way in the future. At the end of his fight with Joe, KSI called out Logan and his brother Jake. “Jake Paul, Logan Paul, I don’t care mate. Bring it!” he said.
Ultimately, Logan Paul and KSI did fight, but the final result of the fight was a majority draw. Fans were eager for a rematch.
On the day of the rematch, tons of YouTubers and celebrities showed up like Wiz Khalifa, Justin Bieber, Lil Baby, and Chris Brown. The fight was an eventful one. KSI won in a split decision. Financially it was great for both the fighters too as JJ and Logan made around $900,000. It also helped KSI connect with huge names in boxing and in music.
KSI released a fight hype song called “Down Like That,” featuring S-X, Rick Ross and Lil Baby, all of whom performed on the night of the fight, in the ring as KSI’s live entrance music.
The boxing match wasn’t the only conflict KSI has ginned up for attention. He trolled his former gaming crew, “The Sidemen” with diss tracks that he called half joking but half not since he wanted to see what the reactions would be like. In the video, he specifically called out one of the members, Behzingha, who then released a diss track in response. The back and forth continued, drawing in more members of the Sidemen and other YouTubers, circling more and more of their respective fan bases into the drama and spectacle.
Many people including myself have grown up watching KSI. Eight years ago, I decided to click on his Heskey video a day after it came out, and his videos have been a big part of me since, helping me, like others, get through stress and rough times. He is a very funny and friendly person and I have made myself the same. A friend of mine met him two years ago and describes KSI as super nice and down to earth in person.
He’s still tearing up YouTube to this day and shows no signs of stopping.
-Image Credit: KSI