Rap music is one that appeals to a number of listeners and music lovers who possess the ability to sunder the instrumentals from the lyrics of a song. This is because most of the songs the Nigerian populace would often uphold are not lyrically designed to pass messages but rather to appeal to the swaying hips and feet of consumers.
In Nigeria, the genre seems to be hitting rock bottom in terms of gaining spots on popular charts, mainstream concerts and terrestrial radio play. This write-up looks to shed worthy light on a handful of lyricists that are shaping the future of “the most intelligent music genre” and whom fans should emphasize on and put their hope in, for their craftsmanship, creativity, drive and genuine love for the culture.
It is paradoxical to mention all the emerging lyricists in Nigeria’s Hiphop scene, as there are a good growing number of them, and this article will be limited to a few not because of any special reasons but simply because they are becoming more apparent in their own artistic sphere. The rap scene in Nigeria has had 90s pioneers such as Junior (Junior & Pretty), Solo D, Loknan Dombin (a.k.a. LD ExtraLarge), MC L.O.P.H., truly yours and my 5-man rap group Definition of Hiphop crew (R.I.P. to the late Mr. Kyddx), Six Foot Plus, 2 Hype MCs, Lord of Ajasa to name a few, still has genius lyricists such as who still keep it a buck from that era till today like Modenine and Terry the Rapman. Others rappers include Gino, Dagrin, Vector the Viper, Naeto C, Olamide and a few others who have paved the way for these particular game-changing ones we will be listing.
These prodigies have had to dumb down the Afrobeat bullying and secure a space for a suffering genre to flourish in the hearts and minds of true fans of rap music. It is the stringent job of these emerging emcees to conjure a special potion to lock down the somewhat fading era of the rap genre in a successful but often insecure, mostly egotistic Nigerian music industry.
PAYPER CORLEONE @paypercorleone | Tombra Asikpi is a South-South lyricist/entrepreneur from Bayelsa state. He is the driving force from the South-South who brazenly brings his gangsta rap-esque cadence to the mainstream with hardcore, raw bone lyrics. In October 2019 the lyrical wizard was nominated for The Headies, Best Rap Single for his profound record “Sacrifice”. His first mixtape, BARS1 (acronym for “Bad Assed Rapper from the South”) dropped in 2014 officially ushered him in. His singles, despite the known plague of mainstream radio, have bare-knuckledly side-stepped and proudly slid on-air, like the brand new 2020 “Blast”. Others “Everybody Dies”, “Clean & Crisp” and more too. He lyrically takes no prisoners.
PHLOW @phlowetry | Asaui Eyime started writing bars as an outlet of expression. Her prowess as a lyricist/songwriter has carved a niche for her not only in Nigeria but in Africa’s Hiphop music genre. The emcee has five (5) EPs to her credit and a handful of singles. Three of her singles were featured on TheSource.com, HipHopDX, 2Dopeboyz and Elle magazine (France) amongst others. Her newest project 2020’s Marmalade flaunts the combination of lyricism and melody almost perfectly as proof of her growth and evolution, as well ingenuity and deftness in churning out evolved art. Her vast accolades include being a runner up in the Skullcandy sponsored Terry the Rapman 2015 contest and winner of the 2015 Hennessy Artistry VS Class, to which she returned as a Judge in the 2017 and 2018 editions. She is the first Nigerian female emcee to be featured in the Source Magazine. Phlow is the one.
DR. BARZ @drbarzhimself | Also known as The Creative God, the South-South lyricist, born Victor Akpomon is the epitome of all shades of dope on any given flow. With the voice texture akin to that of a friendly space alien and the rhyme scheme of a Brooklyn mic hoodie, the spirit of a Port Harcourt hustler dwells innately in this man. He’s a uniquely versatile torch-carrying emcee who can be trusted with the holding forth the Kulture’s genuineness as shown in his 2019 joint, “Focus”. Other singles include, “This Is Pitakwa”, “PH City” and “Behind Barz”. His prospects are high, in the vision to reshape Nigeria’s Hiphop future, being a trusted frontrunner.
AVID @avidthelyrikal | Real name, Jesse James Enoch. “Lyrikal” as he was popularly known as, before he rebranded to Avid The Lyrikal. Now he just goes by the name, Avid. This lyrical titan has been at Hiphop all his life. The September 14th born, former member of legendary Port Harcourt-based rap group “Tuck Tyght” has dropped countless music which terrestrial radio for the most part, has shunned for years. His collaborations with rap heavyweights include Terry the Rapman, Eva Alordiah, Modenine to name a few. He’s officially has been active on the rap scene since 2003 (I remember playing a lot of Tuck Tyght music when Rap Radio show kicked off on Coal City FM 92.8 in 2003). Labels he’s been to include Xcel Music (2012 – 2016) where he dropped two mixtapes (2013’s RMFAO and 2014’s OCD) and countless singles including “Kabu-Kabu. Recently his 2019 self-titled EP “AVID” made us look again. In 2020, his collaborative album with Modenine titled, Euthanasia sealed his presence as a future prospect. Still currently independent, Avid is a top tier emcee to put your money on. His drive is infectious.
CHYN @chynofficial | Real name, Cheyenne Labesa originally from Kaduna State was born and raised in Lagos (for the most part) although having spent six (6) years tertiary education in the United Kingdom, Chyn as he’s popularly called can be described as “alternative lyricist”. His music draws influences from all and more genres. His art being centred around strong, captivating imagery has made him a strong stand out. His first official full length EP is 2014’s “The Graduate” which garnered a cult following and he has since worked with strong staples such as Ladipoe and Falz. Notable singles include, “Chardonnay Music” feat. Falz The Bahdguy and “Big”. He dealt 2017’s “Omo Kekere” and 2018’s “Maybe” which features Ladipoe and 2019’s “What You Want”.
STOUTE LOUIS @louisalimi | One of our favourite emcees, born Louis Segun Alimi, is also a songwriter and producer who released his debut album 2013’s “The Closure” fully produced by his alter ego, Earl Hickey. He has since recorded numerous albums as well as producing for other artists and providing an extensive number of guest contributions to the culture of Hiphop and other artiste’s works. Stoute Louis is known for his beautiful cadence, flow and multi syllable rhyming. He earned recognition when he dropped the single “Carry on Tradition” which features the legendary late B-Elect off his “Closure 2” a sequel to the debut. He dropped another classic body of work called “Verbal Pictures” under the alias Lionel Fusco. Early 2019 saw him collaborate on the mixtape titled “Peace God” with the Daboomsha which produced a powerful single “Babel”. His most recent piece of work is 2020’s “The Avant Garde Album” which was a collaborative effort as well. He has always talked about retiring from the game, but yet still finds time amidst his 9-to-5 schedule to drop beautiful music. He is set to release another project before the end of 2020. You can never go wrong with this man.
BOOGEY @boogeythat | David Iye Odey, indigenous to Cross River state, is one of the fast-rising emcees now. His flow and cadence are never without the ever-present touch of poetic consciousness, intellect and rebellion. Songs like “Show You Something”, “Said No” and “Level IV” gets listeners mind working maths. His prowess is touted in his recent Headies award nominations; Best Rap Single & Lyricist-On-A-Roll both in one year, which exacts his talent as a lyricist to reckon with. You never know what to expect with this man when he be on the mic.
HOTYCE @iamhotyce | Emeka Ejechi is a native of Delta state and a graduate of Economics (University of Abuja) who doubles as a rapper, songwriter, music arranger and a well-rounded performing artiste. He gained prominence with a heavy velocity as an undergraduate as he consequently had the good fortune of conquering the whole city and the Northern Nigerian axis at large. Over the past couple of years, he has written, composed and co-producing a gang of songs for himself and others especially with industry heavyweights, both artistes and producers alike. His singles include, “You Send Me”, “Go Slow”, “Shawty Don’t Mind”, “10 o’clock in VGC”, “The Man” and “Kilofoshi”. His debut “RedHotyceCold Vol.1” had rap heavyweights like Jesse Jags including the first single “We Don’t Do That Over Here” which got him a Headies nomination for Best Rap Single and its video as well as other videos; this body of work has cemented his place as a burgeoning and authentic rap-act to watch for as he gains more plaudits as well as national and international air play on both radio and TV.
BOSALIN @bosalin | Born March 25th, 1988 in Enugu (Coal City) state, the lyricist named, Bosah Nwako is a native of Anambra state. BosaLin is an indigenous rapper who delivers his flow in Igbo language and some sparsely scattered English language. A graduate of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka saw him as a zealous-rapper in college who took to the genre and saw him put out two solid mixtapes 2008’s “The Format” and 2012’s “Young, Fly, Igbo”. Both projects were put out on his personally owned, independent Label Signature Entertainment. He became known all over Eastern Nigeria with the help of his first single “Awka Done Cast” which is believed to have introduced raw Igbo, street rap to Nigerians in 2008. This was followed by the infectuous, “Nwanne”, “Money on My Mind” featuring Phyno and the hard-hitting, “Awka Made” and “Ekene Maria”. 2020 sees him wrapping works on his newest yet-to-be titled project from whence he’s put out a new single, “Never Sleep” on March 25th followed by a dope visual shot in South Africa. After taking a hiatus when he relocated to South Africa in 2016, the rapper assures us he’s set to bring a barrage of dope new material lined up. One thing is sure about Bosalin, he’s serious about his.
PRESIDENT JAGA @presidentjaga
PRESIDENT JAGA @presidentjaga | Popularly referred to as “Bruce Lee with the bars”. Jagaceo Clyde is an Edo state indigene who studied Music Culture (Theory & Production) at the University of East London. He started rhyming at age twelve. He says he had to learn how to produce because producers were very few at the time & many of the few were shady, The first song he put out was in 2014, “Raceline” which he produced and shot the video himself in Calabar .Other singles he has put out include, 2014’s “Hindu Man Chanting” feauring Ghetto P (now known as Khalil), 2019’s “Whose That Girl” featuring Yung6ix & Acetune and 2017’s “Controlling” featuring Shaydee. He has four mixtapes out, “Tell Somebody Vol. 1 & 2 which dropped in 2016 and 2018 respectively under the name “Jaga” which he officially rebranded to “President Jaga” due to the fsct that it was difficult to find his music on the Internet because there were a lot of people named Jaga. March 2020’s “Presidential Flow” and May 2020 “Bruce Lee Wit The Barz” were put out under the moniker, President Jaga”. We can tell you for free, he’s one heck of a performer.
BOOMSHA @daboomsha | Born Segun Ayinla, in Lagos, Nigeria, Daboomsha is a gifted storyteller and charismatic performer in every sense of the word. His uncanny ability to switch different flow patterns in between verses coupled with his magnetic stagecraft and multisyllabic rhyming which holds audiences spellbound is a guaranteed pick on this line-up. Also referred to as “Boomsha of the Sky People”, he is a well-rounded creative renowned for his exploits across different aspects of the creative industry, ranging from advertising to broadcasting, music to literature, broadway plays to entertainment law, his artistic imprint is evident. He has five (5) projects to his name; 2012’s Rebel Muzik Vol. 1, 2014’s The Mavrix EP (with producer Cikk0), 2016’s Rebel Muzik Vol. 2, 2019’s Peace God (with fellow emcee, Stoute Louise) and Nostalgia The EP. Some of his standout single include, “OLM”, “SMH” and “TBH”. He is currently working on a new project, mostly 2020’s “Everything Good Will Come”. He is one of our favourite emcees.
BK @bk_6_ | Kobe Dubem Iruobe is originally from Edo state but the rapper was raised and honed his mic skill in the musical town of Enugu state (The Coal City) which boasts frontline lyricists as early as the 90s. Besides rapping, BK’s passion includes being an avid songwriter/content provider amongst many other hats he wears. He recorded his first songs as early as 2003, “Hook & Sinker” and “See Us” featuring Coal City-raised rap veteran Bionic (DOH, Bomb Squad) and a songwriter for the superstar singer Waje and a few others. In 2008, he co-wrote “Jones” with Bionic. He recently started his label, Pen Musik and an Instagram Initiative he calls “16-on-16” where he drops a verse on the 16th of every month. We believe the Hiphop future holds highly a special spot for BK.
ALPHA OJINI @alpha_ojini | Ebuka Ojini-Ntamere is a prolific emcee/record producer and audio engineer who got a positive reception and stood out with his 2017 song “Vendetta”. He followed in 2018 with a well-received album, “Half Price”. His style of rap is one that is defined by versatility. Alpha experiments with genres and switches his flows to fit into an array of soundscape he takes on. His discography showcases his versatility from inception. He has delivered over five (5) solid projects with his latest being his commercial, self-produced and engineered 2019’s “Chvmeleon”. He’s on a deliberate track to mainstream destination.