Who is KSI? The British YouTuber behind new energy drink with social media star Logan Paul

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

From music to boxing, there are no limits to British social media star KSI's success. Brian J Ritchie/Hotsauce
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KSI's latest move has left some with a bitter after-taste.

After hinting at a momentous announcement over the past week, social media was ablaze with the hope that it would be news of a third boxing fight with US content creator Logan Paul.

People were only partly right, as the duo has indeed teamed up, only this time it's to launch a new energy drink brand called Prime Hydration.

Paul and KSI made the announcement on Instagram Live on Tuesday with the former declaring: "We are officially business partners; we are no longer rivals."

While the news may be hard to swallow for some, the transition to the business world is the next logical step for KSI, who found success as a rapper.

Indeed, as the title of his 2021 album suggests, he 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 23 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 the aforementioned hyped boxing fights with Paul.

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

Speaking to the UK Official Charts website in 2021, KSI – which stands for Knowledge, Strength, Integrity – said his 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 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 last 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 latest 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.”

This article was originally published on July 26, 2021.

Updated: January 05, 2022, 10:46 AM