Who is KSI? The British YouTuber taking the internet and charts by storm

KSI, real name Olajide Olatunji, has more than 20 million subscribers and two albums under his belt

As the title of his new album suggests, KSI is “all over the place".

The British social media star, 28, is making his impression felt at home and abroad by seemingly conquering any format he sets his mind to.

At present, he is a super-successful YouTuber, with more than 20 million people subscribing to his channel to watch content ranging from zany sketches and video diaries to gaming commentaries.

On the sporting front, he sold out the UK's Manchester Arena and the Staples Centre in Los Angeles for hyped boxing fights with fellow social media personality Logan Paul.

KSI has also released two albums with the latest, All Over the Place, topping the UK charts.

Speaking to the UK Official Charts website, KSI – which stands for Knowledge, Strength, Integrity – says his latest foray as a rapper is legitimate.

"With the first album there were some parts where I was in the background or not at the forefront and dipping my toes in," he said.

"Now I am showing you that I can also do music and doing it properly.”

It is that determination that led to KSI growing from a vlogger to a marquee name.

Here are four things to know about the young talent.

The Gamer

Born Olajide Olatunji to a Nigerian father and British mother, KSI launched his YouTube career aged 15 by uploading videos of himself playing video games from the Fifa football series, alongside his own colourful commentary.

While the simple videos were shot from his bedroom, fans enjoyed his enthusiastic take on the game and before long, companies were asking KSI to try their titles on his channel.

Such was the success of his channel that KSI eventually quit school, much to his parents’ chagrin, to focus full-time on his online career.

According to The Sunday Times, KSI is estimated to earn £12 million ($16.5m) a year.

The performer

Being a successful YouTube content creator requires frequent reinvention.

Not wanting to be boxed in as just another gamer, KSI expanded his reach by joining Sidemen, a crew of fellow British YouTubers known for their challenges (creating a song and music video in 24 hours), pranks (from throwing cakes to jumping out of a giant teddy bear) and the video commentary of key games such Dead by Daylight and Modern Warfare.

The Boxer

KSI is one of the first wave of social media stars to don the gloves and launch an amateur boxing career.

His first bout was a "grudge match" with fellow British YouTuber Joe Weller, resulting in a third-round victory.

But the big pay days were his two transatlantic, sold-out arena fights (in 2018 and 2019 in the UK and US) with American content creator Logan Paul.

Both bouts were packed with celebrities including pop stars Justin Bieber and Post Malone, and champion boxer Mike Tyson.

The Rapper

All of that ringside action came in handy when KSI hit the studio to record two albums, 2020'S Dissimulation and this year's All Over the Place.

While both recordings show a fun and pugnacious attitude, KSI's will to try new things is also on display, with genres ranging from gritty hip-hop to summery pop.

He explains the approach best in the new album's official YouTube trailer.

“It's called All Over the Place because I am exactly that. The whole YouTube, music, boxing, whatever man, it seems like I'm doing it all," KSI says.

"I'm a person that never likes to be in a box and likes to try new things.”

Updated: July 26th 2021, 5:56 AM
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