Over 21 million people subscribe to KSI’s YouTube Channel. He’s one of the top YouTube personalities, with his videos achieving a massive 5 billion plus views. Ranked in the top 10 of the UK’s YouTube creators, this year he’s also set to break the music charts, with his debut album Dissimulation on course to capture the title of best selling debut album of 2020. But who is KSI, where is he from, and how did his career emerge? Let’s find out.

Where is KSI from?

KSI, real name Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, was born on June 19, 1993, in Watford, Hertfordshire, less than 20 miles from London, England.

What does KSI stand for?

KSI stands for Knowledge, Strength and Integrity. He has these words tattooed on his chest and arms. He became known by these three letters as they formed part of his YouTube username, KSIOlajideBT.

Where did KSI go to school?

KSI attended Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, an independent, private school he described as “posh”. Speaking to The Sun newspaper, he said around this time, aged 15, he discovered YouTube. In 2020, former Berkhamsted head teacher Mark Steed tweeted that KSI was “Undoubtedly the most famous former pupil from my time in headship.” – to which KSI tweeted back “Why’d you kick me out though?” complete with a laughing emoji! He also met future collaborator and fellow Sidemen member Simon Minter (better known as Miniminter) at Berkhamsted.

How did KSI get started on YouTube?

He created his first YouTube account in 2008, with the username ‘JideJunior’. Eventually registering a new account in July 2009, under his now better known alias, KSIOlajideBT (later just KSI), he shared videos of the FIFA Video Games series which he recorded from his bedroom. After 2 years, he’d obtained 20,000 followers, and started to follow a vlog format, where he played a variety of video games and developed his own YouTube personality commentating on games and other content from the world wide web. By 2013, he was reaching more than 3 million subscribers.

How did KSI become part of The Sidemen?

KSI co-founded the YouTube group The Sidemen in 2013. Originally known as the Ultimate Sidemen, the group consisted of KSI, fellow Berkhamsted alumni Simon Minter (Miniminter), Josh Bradley (ZerkaaHD), Tobi Brown (TBJZL) and Ethan Payne (Behzinga). In 2014 KSI, Minter, Bradley and new Sidemen member Vikram Barn (Vikkstar123) moved into a South East London mansion nicknamed “Sidemen House”, rumoured to be worth more than £6 million. Some also speculate that KSI bought the house himself. The group produces challenge videos, skits and videos of other group activities. Today, the main Sidemen YouTube channel has over 8 million subscribers.

Where does KSI live?

KSI previously lived with fellow Sidemen at “Sidemen House” in South East London until 2019. He now reportedly lives with long running Sidemen friend Miniminter in a flat in London.

How did he become involved in boxing matches?

Following public disagreements online, KSI and fellow YouTuber Joe Weller decided to spar in an amateur boxing match, which took place on February 3, 2018, at the Copper Box Arena in London. KSI, whose ring name was “The Nightmare”, won the bout in the third round, and was declared the ‘YouTube Boxing Champion’. The match had a huge response online, with 1.6 million YouTube viewers watching live, 21 million viewers within a day, and 25 million over the following days.

How did KSI Vs Logan Paul happen?

The success led to KSI taking on another big YouTuber in Logan Paul in August 2018. The match, described as “the largest event in YouTube” history, was watched by over 2.25 million live, with over 1 million viewers watching on Pay Per View. The result was a draw, which meant KSI kept his YouTube Boxing Championship Belt. The two had a famous re-match in November 2019, although on this occasion it was a professional bout. KSI Vs Logan Paul II took place at the Staples Center, LA, on November 9, and saw KSI win in a split-decision victory.

How much is KSI worth?

Some sources say KSI’s net worth in 2020 is $20 million, although The Sunday Times Rich List says it’s £12 million, and reports that some of his videos make as much as £250,000 from advertising.

Is KSI charitable?

KSI has been particularly active in charitable circles. During his rise to success, he’s supported a number of charities via direct donations and participating in public awareness and fundraising events. KSI and his fellow Sidemen took part in three charity football events in 2017, raising just shy of £400,000 for charities including The Saints Foundation, Childline, Young Minds and the Charlton Athletic Community Trust. He also paid for his parents’ house, and has donated YouTube advertising funds to suicide prevention charities.

How hard is it to achieve KSI’s success?

Although KSI left school, his learning never ended. Describing the learning curve of YouTube, KSI said “A lot of people think that YouTube is quite easy, when it just isn’t. I’ve been doing
YouTube for six years now, and I’d say the hardest years were definitely the first three
or four. You have to constantly put out content that is good just to make sure people
come back to your channel, and I work every single day just to try and expand my
brand.”

How did KSI’s music career emerge?

With 2020 heralding his debut album, KSI has taken his successful YouTube career and become a successful musician too. Speaking to Insider.com, KSI said he wanted his music career to break the YouTuber music mould, describing his latest album as a mixture of rap, “singing songs and dancing songs”.

So how did Olajide William Olatunji become KSI?

Looking back at his start on YouTube, KSI told The Sun newspaper that “Back then, people would be like: ‘What are you doing? You’re such a weirdo. Why are you making videos online?” But the popularity of his content and commentary eventually led to Olajide, nicknamed JJ, to become KSI due to the earning potential of his growing channel. Although friends still call him JJ, to the world he’s KSI. Speaking to The Guardian newspaper in 2020, JJ explained that KSI is “a character” … “It’s like I put on a suit and I feel more powerful.” In 2015, aged 21, KSI reflected on his growth, saying “I’m now a brand. Like, KSI is a brand. It’s crazy that it all came from me sitting in my bedroom just making a few FIFA videos.” But when he looks back, KSI proves that big things can happen anywhere, even from your own bedroom.