Fares Boulos (born 2 January 1991) popularly known as Oyibo Rebel is an American-Nigerian actor, singer, comedian, film director, and online content creator.
While he left Nigeria to go to school in the US and briefly work as an actor in London, he’s been Nigerian for over 26 years.
Early Life and Career
Fares Boulos was born in Houston, Texas, United States on January 2nd, 1991. His grandmother was born in Ivory Coast and his mother, a Lebanese was born in Burkina Faso. He was five when his family moved to Nigeria due to family business. His dad founded SCOA Motors, a car dealership in Lagos, Nigeria. His mom has also grown to have an organization called SPAN in Lagos.
Fares moved out of Nigeria to study Liberal Arts (Theatre) in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Oyibo Rebel started rapping while in the University of California, Los Angeles. He started to give music a thought after listening to Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He often goes to the Shrine to catch the vibe and see Femi Kuti.
Fares came through with his first song “Oyibo Rebel” and as that time he had adopted the stage name “Farastafarian”. He returned to Nigeria in 2012 and continued his music career. With inspiration from the likes of Timaya, D’Banj, Wande Coal, Oyibo Rebel grew to be a star widely known.
He released a single titled “One day”. He later decided to do something new with a new concept and hence the name “Oyibo Rebel”. He returned to Lagos permanently in 2019 and met with the producer, T-Weezy as both worked together to create new sound and style.
During one of his interview sections, he stated that
“He returned to Nigeria in continuation of my career and I am so happy to associate with the big names in the music industry. I release my first single and it’s was a delight. Am looking forward to featured other top artists” .
owever, he calls moving to Nigeria that early a “culture shock.” He jokes, “In America, you have McDonald’s and all that. But you come to Nigeria and it’s just a ruffian place (laughs). Lagos… Just hectic, you know. But I love… Nigeria is home. For me, it’s where I spent most of my childhood and most of my life. So, definitely this is my ‘base’ (laughs.”
The major reason his family moved here was due to “family business.” Faris‘s dad founded, SCOA Motors, a car dealership in Lagos. His mom has also grown to have an organization called SPAN in Lagos. In his family, everyone else is a “full blown Nigeria” maybe even more than he is.
On making friends in Nigeria after he moved to Lagos as a five-year-old, “It was not that hard. I was very friendly child. The only things that were different with Lagos at the time – for kids at least – was Cinemas or things like that.
“Even TV, we were very limited to what we had. We had NTA and stuff like that. We didn’t have Cartoon Network at the time (laughs hard while shaking his head).”
During the chat, Faris pledged allegiance to Nigerian Jollof while laughing hard, but claims his favourite meal is Eba and Egusi. But for breakfast, he likes fried yam and egg. Faris also likes Agege bread and sardines. While describing Agege bread and egg, he went, “Ohhhh…“
o Faris, the ways he learned how to be Nigerian were; negotiating to buy things or through curses. In the days of buying CDs, he had to show his Nigerian side by speaking pidgin so he would not get cheated. He says, “The best thing is that everyone laughs about it at the end when they realize we’re one. We all say ‘aaaahh’ (laughs) You nor fit do me like that na…“
When asked if he ever felt like an outside in Nigeria, he says, “No, I don’t think so. I sabi bone my face o. Me? high tension wire? Oyibo agbero? ah no. Guy! I must walk and stand talk anywhere I go. I don pay my dues here o, forget.“
Faris, the creative
At the age of 16, Faris moved out of Nigeria to study Liberal Arts (Theatre) in Los Angeles, US. But three years prior, he had started dabbling into music after listening Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. In fact, his aim was to make afrobeat because of Fela. Faris would go to the shrine all the time just to catch the vibe and see Femi Kuti (Fela’s son) perform.
But around this time also, Silverbird had just opened and Faris would go to the Galleria regularly. His nickname was, ‘Eminem Boy.’
While on holidays, he would be with his family. That period, he had a reputation for performing Fela’s songs in a drunken haze. He says, “After we don shayo tire, I had a reputation in Lagos clubs for performing Fela’s songs. Sometimes, with my friends, we’d sing Fela’s songs in the streets on our way back from club – when nobody was sane enough to drive (laughs).”
After graduating University, he moved to London, UK for his Masters to become an actor. But while in Los Angeles, Faris had a focus on Theatre. Then, he wrote a fictional play titled, Abami Eda and The Curse of The Black Gold. Despite objections, he insisted on playing numerous characters including Fela.
On that he says, “I was obsessed with the concept of Fela. I was intrigued… Even his name ‘Anikulapo,’ which means ‘I have death in my pouch’ took me by storm. During the show, I got to show my Nigerian side to people. A lot of people were shocked because I was white. In the show, I play the Mama, Papa, Fela, the President and more. To them, it was an anomaly.
“But in Lagos, there are many of us. Guy, my manager is even more Nigerian than I am – he’s also Lebanese.”
In London, he also started a career as an actor and got featured in Fantastic Beasts II.
While in London, Faris started making music, but they were not popping. He had started rapping while attending University in Los Angeles. At the time, despite born in Houston, Texas, he felt more Nigerian than American. Thus, one of his first songs was titled, ‘Oyibo Rebel.’
At the time, his stage name was Farastafarian. It’s a portmanteau of his name, ‘Faris’ and ‘Rastafarian.’ He got the name from going to ‘enjoying his life at Tarkwa Bay.
He says, “I used to go to Tarkwa a lot – Aaaah! I get man for that place o – they know me very well. Guys, if you’re seeing this (points to camera), you know it’s your boy, Faris. We’d sit there with the rastas, singing and all that. One day, they just said, ‘From now your name would be Farastafarian.’ Oh boy, we were in the spirit (laughs hard). When you don done like beans, man (laughs).”
While Faris was in London, a Nigerian friend told him that, “Guy, your Jesus is in Nigeria – go back home (laughs). Just go back, my friend (laughs)…”
In 2012, Faris came back to Nigeria from London a while. After being inspired by D’Banj, Wande Coal and Timaya, Farastafarian came to released a single called, ‘One Day.’ It was performed in pidgin and it gained some traction, but not at a level the artiste or his team craved.
However, the team took solace in how Farastafarian shot his video in Ebute-Metta. At the time, Farastafarian also worked with Cobhams Asuquo who produced five songs for the rapper then.
Now on that spirit, Oyibo Rebel has about 16 songs that are ready. Half of those songs Boom Bap and R&B while the other half is very Nigerian afrobeats/afro-Hip-Hop. The Nigerian half is produced by T-Weezy and Killertunes.
Finally, Faris also known as Oyibo Rebel says he would love to make more songs in Yoruba. He also says that we can expect more, now that we have gotten one.
Parents and Family
Born Faris Boulos in Houston, Texas, US to a business-oriented Lebanese-French family, he moved to Nigeria at the age of five. Coincidentally, he’s also Faris is a fourth-generation African – his grandmother was born in Ivory Coast and his mom (a Lebanese) was born in Burkina Faso.
Oyibo Rebel also has a sister who is known as Mini Rebel.
Wife and Children
Oyibo Rebel is currently married to his beautiful wife Alisa Boulos.
Oyibo Rebel’s net worth as of 2022 is estimated at around $350, 000 – $1 million.
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