Hip-hop in Nigeria has grown over the years, and the culture down here has evolved. And is still evolving, just as it’s happening everywhere. We are no more in the days of boom bap, “Cry” and “Ehen.” Neither are we in the days of SWAT Roots, and Remedies – of course, they’re relevant to the culture!
BUT, this time, and age, to break-out into the mainstream as a rapper should be added in “1001 ways to die,” you know. The industry is over-saturated with too many talented (and un-talented, too) people coming in daily. Singers seem like they’re getting all the hype, these days, and so rappers have to devise new ways to stay on top. Wan’ remind me of Revolution?
We have many rappers who really shook the mainstream, this year. From dropping five-star albums, to putting up sold-out shows, to trying their hands on Afrobeats, rappers have done shii’s worthy of note, in 2017. Of all, these are the best eigh, and once again, in descending order;
The self-acclaimed Alaga Ibile (Seriously this interprets to Local Chairman.. Just saying!), is a very dope rapper, one of the hottests in Nigeria’s hip-hop history. He’s served some of the best rap songs in Nigeria ever; Kako Bii Chicken (what year was this sef?), Tesojue (2014), Local Rappers (2015), Asalamalekun(2016), and many more.
In 2016, he dropped his acclaimed fourth studio Album, EL Hadj, and had a big year. Dropping hits back to back! He featured Mr Eazi, did a “pon pon pon” jam, If E Nor Be God. Asalamalekun was from the album, too. His Cypher Sessions, also.
He continued “hitting” in 2017, as his “Konsignment” track, from the EL Hadj album, picked up, and disturbed the airwaves. Then, he had his Street Concert, a very successful one, and went on to drop Polybag which featured Jesse Jagz, Ola dips, and Classiq. His hottest single for the year, Ponmile, a Qdot-esque Afro-Pop jam, then followed.
Although he didn’t drop an album, 2017 has been a great year for Reminisce, 36.
From dissing Akpororo, to blaming Economy for rappers’ failure, to saying he doesn’t copy Wizkid, Yung6ix had remained in the News, for one reason or the other.
Born, Onome Onokohowomo, the Kash Kamp Trick Billionaire Musiq rapper is one of the finest arts, in the country. With flows fine-tuned to fit even the international market, 6ix is one of the best rappers Nigeria, will ever have. The “King of the South” has had a massive year, dropping hot tracks, visuals, and a highly-rated LP.
The 12-track LP, “High Star” which has got many positive reviews, so far, has the likes of Ycee, M.I, Oritse Femi, Niniola and Dice Ailes, as guests. Before the album came, his single, No Favours which featured Choc City boy, Dice Ailes, and Mr Jollof, had been making waves.
Yung6ix was also at the VS Class, this year. He led a stellar team, with likes of Payper, and Wale Turner to The Cypher. And, just last month, he unleashed another single off the album; Gbe Seyin feat. Niniola – I confess, it’s a miracle!
Vector Tha Viper is one of those old guys that’s still relevant, today. Been here since the heydays of Dagrin, days when Olamide was nowhere to be see. And, now he can still put up a show, and sell out. He can still drop a track, and make a hit.
Born Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, the 33-year old “King Kong” rapper is arguably the “best” in terms of rapping skills, anywhere in Africa. He’s not switched, now tho. But like Tooxclusive wrote sometimes he “has introspectively refined his style without withering the talent, but rather polishing the art to mainstream acceptance.”
Late into December 2016, he dropped his third studio album, Lafiaji, and as expected, 2017, was the year the album rocked.
“Adurah” was the EARMILK from the album, and it’s the real example of Flavour’s line on M.I’s Number One : “This one na highlife and hip hop combination oh.” It didn’t only become a hit, the Video, which had comedy rave, Arole in it, made waves all over different stations.
He’s dropped “Gunshots,” too, and it’s a no-brainer that, as long as VEC makes music, he’ll always be one of the best rappers in Nigeria.
5. M.I Abaga
Respected and revered as Nigeria hip hop’s Greatest Of All Time, Jude Abaga, popular known as M.I, has not only proved he’s a good rapper, over the years. He’s also shown that his relevance can never fade.
While leaving the game for a while hurts many artists (including Jesse Jagz), it helped M.I. In 2017, M.I unexpectedly dropped a hip hop-diss track, aimed at all rappers gone commercial, You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life. And this became one of the most controversial topic in Nigeria music industry, in many years. And, if nothing else, that single made sure M.I made this list. He’s also dropped “Your Father,” featuring Dice Ailes.
If Olamide decides, not to only stop rapping, but to stop making music, altogether, for ten years, he’d still make the top five rappers of all time list, in Nigeria. Yes, so don’t wonder why he’s here.
Off the success of the release of his sixth studio album, The Glory, and OLIC 3, Olamide dropped some of the tracks on the LP, as singles, shooting Videos for ’em. He dropped Pepper Dem Gang feat. Davolee, Letter To Milli and Journey Of A Thousand Miles – all were rap songs! And that was how 2017 started for the YBNL boss. He came with more singles like “Love Nor Gor Die,” “Wavy Level,” and “Summer Body,” which had pop-star Davido.
Later, in August, he dropped a fast-tempoed street rap single, WO, which was to be on his “Lagos Na Wa” LP, and it went viral! He later released the 19-track LP, and also held OLIC 4! Kinging!
Many rappers drop their albums close to the end of the year, to secure the year ahead. That was what Phyno did with “The Playmaker,” that made him one of the bests in 2017. Having released Financial Woman, and Abulo, as teasers, when the LP dropped, it was a bang!
This year, some tracks from the Album also hit the airwaves. Most notably, Link Up, which featured Burna Boy and J-Town rapper M.I Abaga. A very groovy trap jam, produced by Masterkraft.
In July, he released the Audio and Video of Zamo Zamo, featuring Wande Coal. The song was produced by T Spize, and the Video shot by Clarence Peters. A hit, so to say.
PhynoFest held, too. There was a massive turnout, and things went as planned, or even better? Cut the story, Phyno banged 2017!
Oluwademilade Alejo, aka Ycee, is just 24 years old, but, what he’s been able to pull up this year, is impressive. Since breaking out in 2015, with hit single “Jagaban,” the acclaimed new-school Jagaban has gone on to churn many hits.
This year, he dropped his first body of work, an EP, The First Wave, of which one of the hottests tracks, in Africa, 2017, “Juice,” feat. Maleek Berry came from.
Many other hits after, Link Up feat. Reekado Banks, Don’t Need Bae, I Wish, Komije – and he remix with Mayorkun. Hot year for him!
Falz never sounds like he’s ever gon’ get old. Every new stuff he drops, he’ll be seeming like the “Best New Artist.” Very fresh, and one of the most-talented on the continent, Falz, 27, is the Best Rap Act, in Nigeria 2017!
He’s dropped hot singles back-to-back, this year, and if anyone, he’s one of those people that has stayed true to the game. He was all-hip hop, always rapping. Singles like “Jeje,” “Something Light” feat. Ycee, “Baby Boy” rocked the airwaves. Then, he dropped his third studio album, 27, to mark his 27th birthday.