In recognition of one of Africa’s most powerful countries, Nigeria’s independence day (October, 1), we take a look at a few Nigerian musicians making waves internationally. Out of the plethora of Nigerian artists doing well, we decided on the following three (in no chronological order). We see you 2Face Idibia, P-Square, Sasha, Sade, Ayo, Asa but hey, we decided on this three (why three? No reason at all). Let’s get straight to it.
First on the list is US-born Nigerian MC/rapper, Naeto C who has been relatively quiet in the music scene but his achievements and contributions to the Nigerian mainstream music scene,(Hip Hop to be exact) remain unrivaled. With a BSc. in Biology obtained in 2004 from the George washington University, he is currently furthering his studies at Oxford University in London which somehow explains why we haven’t heard much from the brother musically.
He has collaborated with reputable African artists such as the legendary Hugh Masekela, SA rap icon, HHP; one of Nigeria’s biggest musical exports, D’Banj and Nigerian rapper, Sasha, just to mention but a few. He officially stepped into the scene with his critically acclaimed album, You Know My P which is listed as one of the best-selling Nigerian Hip Hop albums and boasted massive singles such as You Know My P, Sitting on Top and his biggest single to date, Kini Big Deal. The latter single’s video was shot in South Africa and earned him performance slots at the Channel O Music Video Awards, I Believe Tour with Sasha and 2008 MTN Homecoming Concert. He has also performed at The Thisday Music Festival (opening for R. Kelly) in both Washington DC and London, The Nokia Face of Africa and Rhythm Unplugged 2008. He took the Best New Act award at the MTV Africa Music Awards (otherwise known as the MAMAs) in 2008 and the video of the year award at the Channel O Awards in 2009 having won the Best New Musician award at the MTV MAMAs.
Then we have singer/songwriter and actress, Nneka. An excerpt from her bio on her facebook fan page reads: “When your heart is as big as your Afro, when your talents stretch from teardrop soul-singing to freestyle rapping to a first-class degree from a top Continental university, when you’ve got so much to say about so much, then you are in it for the long haul”. And this German-based Naija songstress’ music is of equal depth and intensity. It’s an outrageous mash up of Reggae, Hip Hop, Soul and African sounds all gelled together with sincere lyrics and energetic delivery. She has opened shows for Jamaican ATL-based dancehall superstar, Sean Paul, Hip Hop heavyweights, Gnarls Barkley, Hip Hop queen, Lauryn Hill and flambuoyant singer/songwriter, Lenny Kravitz. For an artist who diverts from the stereotypical ingredients of success in today’s music industry, Nneka is doing very well. She has released five projects to date and her biggest single to date, Heartbeat off her 2008 critically acclaimed album, No Longer At Ease, is currently sitting on 8 million views on Youtube.
Okay, we know we said this wasn’t in chronological order, but this brother right here is undoubtedly, at the top spot. The Koko Master! If you’ve never heard of this guy, you probably have been living somewhere in outer space. May be some of us missed his earlier hits such as Fall In Love but it would be hard to believe that you managed to elude his G.O.O.D Music debut single, Oliver Twist with a video that boasted cameos from G.O.O.D Music boss himself, Kanye West and label mate, Big Sean and is currently sitting on 22 million views on Youtube. Before even getting signed to G.O.O.D Music in 2009, D’Banj was doing great things in the Nigerian music scene and the world at large. He managed to sell his records in millions and perform in reputable events around the globe. He has, from then until now, performed in events such as (among others) Femi Kuti’s new Afrikan Shrine in Ikeja, Black President Concert in memory of Fela’s art and legacy at the Barbican in London, the first Edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2008 in Abuja, Nigeria alongside the likes of Kelly Rowland, the Hackney Weekend to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics alongside the likes of Jay-Z and Rihanna and the AFCON 2013 closing ceremony held in South Africa.
Happy independence, Naija.
All images taken from each artist’s respective facebook page