At a time when hip-hop in Nigeria is being sidelined by other genres of music, it’s safe to say the artform is facing tough times.
Hip-Hop surely needs a fresh crop of MCs to restore lost glory.
NET has put together ’12 Next Rated Rappers’ – a strong list of cats who are yet to officially release a full album – who can take the bull by the horns and grab back all the power the culture has lost. Some already known, others pretty new, these 12 rappers have shown and are still exhibiting tendencies to blow up in 2012 and beyond.
(Random fact: Chocolate City rapper M.I has ‘c0-signed’ seven of these rappers in the recent past. And yes, D’Prince made the list)
Afolabi Durotoye stands out amongst his peers simply because of the amount of work he has put into his budding career. Releasing mixtape upon mixtape, he has over the last few years made his rounds in the hip-hop circuit. And with the record breaking ‘Beazy Music Mondays’ project which saw him release 52 songs in 2011, this young cat has nothing but success awaiting him.
Smart, witty and musically appealing, Efa Guevara has in the last year gained attention from both male and female folks. With a co-sign from one of the top rated rappers M.I back in 2010, the 25-year-old began his journey and scored an impressive release ‘The Waka EP’ last year. We hear he will also be featuring on M.I’s ‘Illegal Music II’.
Although still a starter, Eva Alordiah is already considered one of the best female rappers in Nigeria. Not very potent when it comes to lyrical content, she covers up her shortcomings with braggadocios rhymes, brilliant delivery, sexual content and an appealing brand. The rapper has quite a number of cameos with known acts including Psquare and Knighthouse. Her ‘GIGO’ EP was positively received and a feature in the 2011 BET Cypher also helped to increase her ranking.
The Mo’Hits member and younger brother to producer extraordinaire Don Jazzy made his intro quite a long time ago but still hangs in the next rated category with no signs of releasing a debut album. He has however dropped some of the hottest singles in the last three years. Although he remains burdened by the talent question, D’Prince is surely a rapper to watch out for in the coming years.
Loose has been in the game for a while but we didn’t pay him much attention until his cameo appearance on M.I’s ‘M12’ album. The rapper who is responsible for the weekly ‘Open Mic Night’ is now considered a potential hip-hop star as he has already been signed unto M.I’s Loopy Music record label. Constantly killing features, Loose appears now ready to shoot off.
Now the new general at Knighthouse, Phenom has been lurking in the shadows for long. Tearing up rap cyphers, the 19-year-old has now been made first choice at Knighthouse with Mo’Cheddah out of the picture. His feature on M.I’s ‘6 foot 7 foot’ off the ‘Illegal Music II’ mixtape made him trend in Nigeria for a day. If that isn’t any indication, then what is?
POPE DA HITMAN
He might be on the low for now but Pope has made his rounds and surely deserves to make the list. Signed to Kackland Records, he shot up a while ago with impressive singles and follow up videos. He is however yet to drop a debut album. Discovered by talent manager Osagie Osarenkhoe and also co-signed by M.I., the ‘youngin’ will definitely pull some power moves in the months to come.
Being away from the country didn’t stop Pryse from introducing herself into the Nigerian Hip-hop scene two years ago. After a series of remixes and singles she completed her University education in the UK and returned to Nigeria last year. Months later she got signed by Chocolate City and will represent the label as its first lady. Lyrically competitive, it will be interesting to see how Pryse will make her mark after taking verbal shots at fellow ‘femcees’ Kel and Mo’Cheddah.
The street-themed MC has been in the underground scene for quite a while. His career break came in 2008 when he featured on ‘Bachelor’, a track off 9ice’s ‘Gongo Aso’ album. Latter works with 9ice, Jah Bless and a successful street-dance anthem ‘Kako bi Chicken’ have only put him in the fore front with fans now anxiously asking for an album.
Yoruba rap won’t be left out; at least Seriki won’t let it. Signed to 9ice’s Alapomeji Records, Seriki took it upon himself with one verse back in 2010 to further sink Ruggedman’s rap career after Modenine began the quest. The Yourba-lingo rapper will debut this year and – be warned – this one will be heavy competition for the likes of oLamide and Jhybo.
The EME rapper has received co-signs from the likes of Terry Tha Rapman, Overdose and M.I. His signing with EME has further increased his fan-base and appeal. Skales might just have the most pressure right now, following the huge success of his friend and label mate Wizkid - who rose from debutant to superstar in a matter of months. All eyes are now on the 21-year-old rapper -but label boss Banky W has assured us Skales will deliver.
Making an entrance into the Nigerian hip-hop scene all the way from Warri, Delta State isn’t any easy feat at a time when the city of Lagos remains dominant in determining who blows up and who doesn’t. But that’s exactly what Yung 6ix did. After his remix of Ice Prince’s ‘Oleku’ went viral on blogs and yet another co-sign from M.I, the young rapper made his way to Lagos and bagged himself a double label deal with 411 Entertainment and Storm Records. Singles with Wizkid, fellow label mates and a follow up ‘Green light Green’ mixtape has placed him way above his peers.