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KSI (entertainer)

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KSI during an interview in April 2019
Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji

(1993-06-19) 19 June 1993 (age 26)
London, England[1]
Net worth$20 million[2]
  • Jide Olatunji (father)
  • Yinka Olatunji (mother)
  • Deji Olatunji (brother)
YouTube information
Years active2008–present
  • 27.8 million (combined)
Total views
  • 6 billion (combined)
Associated acts
  • Sidemen
  • Deji
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2011
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2012
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg 10,000,000 subscribers 2015
Updated 27 October 2019
Musical career
Years active2010–present
Associated acts
Boxing career
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Reach71.3 in (181 cm)[3]
Boxing record
Total fights1
Wins by KO0

Olajide Olayinka Williams "JJ" Olatunji[4][5] (/ɒləˈtun/, ola-TUHN-jee; born 19 June 1993), known professionally as KSI,[nb 1] is a British YouTuber, internet personality and rapper known for his YouTube video content.[7][8] KSI is a member and co-founder of the entertainment collective known as the Sidemen, alongside six other British YouTubers, producing online videos and merchanise to a combined audience of over 53 million followers.[9][10][11]

In 2009, KSI registered his YouTube account under the name KSIOlajideBT.[nb 2] KSI built his following from posting gaming–commentary videos of the FIFA video game series,[12] although as his following has grown, his content has diversified in include more vlog and comedy style videos. As of October 2019, the channel has received over 20 million subscribers and 4 billion video views,[13] ranking as the sixth-most subscribed and nineteenth-most viewed channel from the United Kingdom, and placing him among the top 120 most subscribed channels on the site.[14][15]

Having written and produced comedy–rap songs in his early YouTube career, KSI released his more purist debut extended play, Keep Up, in 2016, reaching number one on the UK R&B Albums Chart. After releasing three more extended plays and singles, KSI released a collaborative album with Randolph, titled New Age, in 2019. The same year, KSI signed a record deal with RBC Records under BMG Rights Management; his first single under the new record label, "Down Like That", featured British artist S-X and American rappers Rick Ross and Lil Baby. KSI featured in the British comedy film Laid in America (2016), and was the subject of Can't Lose (2018), a documentary film following the build-up to his first amateur boxing fight.

KSI has been involved in three high-profile boxing bouts; the first two were amateur white-collar events, and the third was a professional bout. The first, against British YouTuber Joe Weller, was won by KSI via technical knockout. With a live online audience of over 1.6 million, the fight was described as the largest white-collar boxing event in history. The second fight, versus American YouTuber Logan Paul, ended in a majority draw and was labelled 'the largest event in YouTube history'. The subsequent rematch was KSI's professional boxing debut, which he won via split decision.

Early life and education

Born in London, England on 19 June 1993, KSI was raised in Watford, Hertfordshire[1] with his parents Jide Olatunji and Yinka Olatunji, who are of Nigerian descent.[16] KSI was educated at Berkhamsted School, a fee-paying independent school, where he met future Sidemen member Simon Minter.[17]

KSI registered his first account on YouTube under the name 'JideJunior' in 2008 while in his early teens, before opening his current channel in 2009.[18] He dropped out of sixth-form to pursue his YouTube career once he was earning steady monthly revenue from his uploads. In an interview in 2014, KSI recounted: "I asked the teacher, ‘should I leave?’ He asked, ‘how much are you making from YouTube?’ and I said around £1,500 a month. He told me he was getting less than that." His parents disapproved, but have since become supportive, featuring in a number of his videos.[19]

YouTube career

2008–2013: Beginnings, FIFA videos and controversy

KSI shooting a video for his YouTube channel in 2012

KSI registered his current YouTube account on 24 July 2009 under the name KSIOlajideBT, where, inspired by other YouTubers, he uploaded gaming–commentary videos of the FIFA video game series from his bedroom at his parents' house in Watford.[19][20] After sharing his videos with friends and on online forums, KSI grew a small following of around 20,000 after two years. Introducing more vlog-style content and playing a variety of games such as Grand Theft Auto V over the next year saw his following grow more rapidly as he reached 1 million subscribers just three years after founding his channel.[21][19] By the end of 2013, KSI's subscriber count surpassed 3 million, making him the then twenty-fifth-most subscribed user on YouTube.[1] The same year, KSI visited Las Vegas,[22] where he discussed YouTube's launching of a paid-channel subscription project.[23]

KSI's initial rise to fame was not without controversy. He was widely criticised for his so-called 'rape-face', a recurring joke on his channel during 2012 and 2013,[19] and was the centre of a controversy following his actions at a Eurogamer event in 2012.[24][25] Accused of verbally and sexually harassing staff and attendees at the event, Microsoft cut ties with KSI and he was banned from all future Eurogamer events.[26] KSI subsequently apologised "for any offence the video of 15 months ago may have caused in the short time it was on his YouTube channel, references to it since and subsequently used by other people" and stated his desire to move on from the incident and be "be judged on the great content and value he gives to brands and partners, without controversy."[27]

2013–2017: Sidemen and expanding content

In October 2013, KSI signed with Maker Studios' sub-network, Polaris.[28] Later that month, on 19 October 2013, KSI and four other British YouTubers formed the entertainment collective Ultimate Sidemen, later shortened to just Sidemen. Since 2014, the group has consisted of seven British YouTubers: Vikram Barn, Josh Bradley, Tobi Brown, Harry Lewis, Simon Minter, Ethan Payne, and KSI.[29] The group produces online videos, most often consisting of challenges, sketches and video-game commentary, as well as selling exclusive Sidemen merchandise.[9][10][11]

Having written and produced comedy–rap songs for his YouTube channel in 2011,[12] KSI took his first major step into expanding his content beyond just YouTube videos in 2015 by starting his career as a serious musician and rapper. He releasing his debut song, "Lamborghini", written about his recently purchased Lamborghini Aventador, featuring P Money on 23 March 2015, reaching number 30 in the UK singles chart.[1][30] Shortly after, KSI's debut EP, Keep Up, peaked at number 1 on the UK R&B Albums Chart and he has since released a number of songs and toured with his music.[30] KSI further exapanded his content later that year, releasing a biography titled KSI: I Am a Bellend.[31][32] The book was released on 24 September 2015 in the UK and five days later in the United States,[32] and KSI toured to support the book from its release until 4 October 2015.[32] In 2016, KSI and the Sidemen published Sidemen: The Book, [33] which sold 26,436 copies within three days and topped the hardback nonfiction charts.[34]

On 4 August 2017, KSI tweeted that he would be leaving the Sidemen, citing conflicts with fellow member, Ethan Payne.[35][36] Shortly thereafter, he released a number of diss track videos criticising members of his then-former group, to which most of the members responded back with their own.[36] Later that month, KSI released a video in which he claimed that he was being deported from the United States for receiving an incorrect visa.[37] In November 2017, KSI released a video discussing whether his supposed fallout with the Sidemen was real or fake, saying, "[t]he drama wasn't entirely real but wasn't entirely fake either."[36]

2017–present: YouTube boxing

Amateur white-collar bouts

KSI during the weigh-in before his amateur boxing match with Logan Paul in August 2018

British YouTuber, Joe Weller, criticised KSI and the Sidemen for artificially stirring friction between him and the Sidemen for views.[36] Following resulting public disagreements on Twitter, the pair announced that they would be facing each other in a white-collar amateur boxing match on 3 February 2018 at Copper Box Arena in London.[36] During the announcement, the two YouTubers verbally and physically confronted each other, with KSI appearing to mock Weller's struggles with depression; KSI later apologised for his comments.[36] The fight, titled KSI vs. Joe Weller, was held on 3 February 2018 and was won by KSI 1 minute and 30 seconds into the third round by way of technical knockout;[38] KSI was awarded the YouTube Boxing Championship Belt.[39] On YouTube, the fight drew 1.6 million live viewers, 21 million views within a day,[40] and over 25 million over the next several days, making it the biggest white-collar boxing fight in history.[41] KSI expressed his respect for Weller after the fight for being "way harder, way tougher than I thought," and praised him for his commitment to raising awareness for mental health, before calling out American YouTuber Logan Paul, his brother Jake Paul, and retired footballer Rio Ferdinand.[42]

On 24 February 2018, it was announced that KSI would be fighting Logan Paul in a white-collar amateur boxing match, with his brother, Deji, fighting Logan Paul's younger brother Jake Paul on the undercard.[43] The fight ended as a majority draw, with two judges scoring the fight even at 57–57 and a third judge scoring 58–57 in favor of KSI.[44] The fight has been labelled "the largest event in YouTube history"[45] and "the largest ever amateur boxing fight".[46] The fight sold-out 21,000 tickets for Manchester Arena,[47] generating an estimated live gate revenue of over £2.7 million ($3.5 million) from ticket sales.[48] It was watched by over 2.25 million viewers live, including over 1.05 million watching pay-per-view[49] and 1.2 million watching illegal streams on Twitch.[50][51][52] The event eventually received over 17 million online views on the official YouTube channel (pay-per-view and free-view) as of 18 September 2018,[53] in addition to over 5 million viewers who watched illegal streams on Twitch as of 28 August 2018.[54]

Professional bout versus Logan Paul

On 3 September 2019, a rematch between the two was announced. The fight took place on 9 November 2019 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, and was promoted by Eddie Hearn.[55][56] Unlike the first fight, the rematch was a professional fight and the two fighters did not wear any headgear. The undercard featured professional boxers, including Devin Haney and Billy Joe Saunders.[57] KSI trained under up-and-coming professional boxer, Viddal Riley, and Jeff Mayweather, uncle of Floyd Mayweather Jr.[58]

Upon its announcement as a professional bout, the event drew criticism from a number of figures within boxing, as well as boxing journalists and fans, some of whom labelled the fight as an 'insult' to boxing. The headline accusation was that the pair were using the event as a 'cash grab' and questioned the 'legitimacy' of the match as a professional bout, and many questioned the choice of putting professional world-title bouts on the undercard beneath two YouTubers. Others within the sport, however, were more receptive to the fight and embraced the event. The executive director of the California State Athletic Commission (the fight's sanctioning body), Andy Foster, defended the accusation that the YouTubers weren't fit to fight professionally, saying in an interview that "If they weren’t YouTube stars, this fight is still approvable in every commission in this country as debut athletes". Kevin Draper of The New York Times noted KSI, Paul and the organisers' intention to bring a new audience to a 'stagnant' sport and highlights the fact both YouTubers sought coaching from world-champion boxers and trainers.[58] Professional boxers Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and Andy Ruiz Jr. also expressed support for the event and the fact it was being held as a professional bout, highlighting the benefit it could bring to boxing in terms of expanding the sport's audience.[59]

After six three minute rounds, KSI was the winner via split decision, with two judges scoring the fight 57–54 and 56–55 for KSI, and one judging scoring it 56–55 in favour of Paul.[60] Paul and KSI shook hands and shared an embrace after the fight, with both paying respect to one another, though Paul stated his intention to contest the commission for his point deduction for his illegal punches, stating that he does not dispute what happened but thought he deserved only a warning.[61][62] When asked about a possible rematch, Paul expressed his support for the idea, but KSI rejected any prospect of a third fight against Paul, saying "It's done ... I'm on to the next thing".[63][64]

Music career

2015–2017: Keep Up and major label signing

KSI released his debut single as a solo artist on 23 March 2015 titled "Lamborghini", which features rapper P Money. The song was released under Sway's record label Dcypha Productions.[65] On 29 October 2015, KSI announced his debut EP titled Keep Up. The EP was released on 8 January 2016 by Island Records and debuted at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Albums Chart.[66][67][68]

On 29 April 2016, KSI released a song titled "Goes Off",featuring Mista Silva.[69] The song was released as the lead single to KSI's second EP, Jump Around. KSI later released the second single from the EP titled "Friends with Benefits" featuring Dutch musical group MNDM on 29 July.[70] The EP's title track featuring Waka Flocka Flame was released as the third single on 16 September.[71] Jump Around was later released on 28 October 2016 through Island Records.[72]

After taking a four-month hiatus from YouTube, KSI released a song titled, "Creature" on 23 June 2017.[73] The song was released as a single for his third EP titled, Space, which was released independently on 30 June.[74] KSI later released his fourth EP titled, Disstracktions, three months later on 29 September 2017.[75] Disstracktions later went on to chart on the UK Albums Chart and UK R&B Albums Chart at number 31 and one respectively.[67][76]

2018: Independent releases and new label signing

On 31 January 2018, KSI released a single titled "Uncontrollable" featuring British grime rapper Big Zuu.[citation needed] The song was played during KSI's ring walk for his boxing match against YouTuber Joe Weller on 3 February.[77] The song charted at number 89 on the UK Singles Chart. KSI released his next single on 17 August 2018 titled "On Point".[78] The song was played during KSI's ring walk for his boxing match against American YouTuber Logan Paul on 25 August 2018.[79]

KSI announced via a YouTube video on 28 February 2019 that he would be releasing a collaboration album with British YouTube rapper Randolph titled New Age, as well as going on a tour across the UK and some parts of Europe to promote the album. New Age was released independently on 12 April 2019 and featured guest appearances from JME, Talia Mar and Quadeca.[80] The album debuted at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Albums chart.[81][82]

On 4 November 2019, it was announced that KSI had signed a record deal with RBC Records under BMG Rights Management in order to "take his music to the next level".[83] On 7 November, KSI released his first single under the new record label titled "Down Like That". The song features British artist S-X and American rappers Rick Ross and Lil Baby. The song was performed live by the featured artists during KSI's ring walk for his boxing rematch against American YouTuber Logan Paul on 9 November.[84] The single peaked at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart, making it KSI's highest-charting single.[85]

Wealth and philanthropy

In 2015, Olatunji's earnings were reported by Forbes as over $4.5 million, ranking him as the fifth-highest paid YouTuber in the world.[86] In 2018, Esquire magazine reported that, according to Social Blade, KSI can make up to £250,000 in advertising revenue from just one video, and that a product endorsement on his social media can fetch in the region of £75,000.[87] Business Insider reported that KSI's fight against Logan Paul that year generated around $11 million (£8.5 million) from just pay-per-view revenue alone, and a further live gate revenue of over £2.7 million ($3.5 million) from ticket sales.[88] Some estimates calculated the potential earnings from the fight at £30 million to £40 million each,[89] but KSI dismissed these claims, stating that his earnings were "a high amount", but "nowhere near £40 million or £20 million".[49][90] KSI is the director of three UK companies, with equity totalling £1.7 million.[30]

KSI has utilised his wealth and influence to support a number of charitable and philanthropic causes in his career.[30] In an interview with The Telegraph in 2014, KSI revealed he was able to buy his parents house.[19] In 2016, KSI played in the Sidemen Charity Football match, which he helped organise as part of the Sidemen, held at the St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, raising over £110,000 for the Saints Foundation.[30][91] The third charity match, held at the home ground of Charlton Athletic in 2018, also featured KSI and raised £65,747 ($87,476) for the Young Minds Trust.[92] In 2015, KSI donated $10,000 to an online charity stream done by YouTuber Castro1021, and participated in the Race Against Slime event, raising money for SpecialEffect, a foundation developing technology to aid people with physical disabilities to play video games.[30] In 2019, KSI uploaded a video titled "Ending it all", from which all ad-revenue would be donated to various suicide-prevention charities.[93]

Personal life

KSI's younger brother, Deji Olatunji, is also a YouTuber. The brothers ranked number one and two respectively as "UK’s Most Influential YouTube Creators" by Tubular Labs in 2015.[94][95] In late November 2018, Deji revealed KSI's personal bank records in a video; KSI later condemned Deji's actions and expressed his disappointment towards his parents for allowing the publication of his financial records.[96] In January 2019, Deji apologised to his brother for his "impulsive" and "rash" behaviour and made the video private.[97] In May 2019, Deji made the video in which he exposed KSI's bank records public again, prompting KSI to state on Twitter that he is "done" with his brother.[98]

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
1 fight 1 win 0 losses
By decision 1 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
1 Win 1–0 United States Logan Paul SD 6 9 Nov 2019 United States Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.


Title Year Role Notes Ref.
Laid in America 2016 Duncan Acting debut; leading role [99]
Can't Lose 2018 Himself Documentary [100]


Collaborative albums

Extended plays

  • Keep Up (2016)
  • Jump Around (2016)
  • Space (2017)
  • Disstracktions (2017)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2016 NME Awards Vlogger of the Year Himself Won [101]
2019 Shorty Awards Best YouTube Ensemble Himself (shared with the Sidemen) Nominated [102]



  1. ^ "KSI" is a shortened version of his previously used online alias, "KSIOlajideBT". The acronym, according to KSI, stands for "Knowledge, Strength, Integrity".[6]
  2. ^ Pronounced "KSI Olajide BT"; "Olajide" pronounced /ɒləˈd/ ola-JEE-day.


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Written by KSI

  • Olatunji, Olajide (24 September 2015). KSI: I Am a Bellend (1st ed.). Orion. ISBN 978-1409161233.</ref>

External links