Love only the best of the best? Get the top 10 list of Nigerian rappers and enjoy the best music in the country.
Music's a very important part of our life. It helps to express our feelings and emotions. It supports us when we need it. Rap's become one of the most popular genres, especially among the black people.
Rapping might be spoken or chanted. In general, it is about rhyming lyrics. It is performed in time to a beat, and this is the main distinction of rap from spoken-word poetry.
Rap music in Nigeria has been through lots of ups and downs. The struggle for acceptance, respect, and recognition has been real and the journey has never been less than turbulent.
There has always been this clash between English speaking rappers and the indigenous speaking rappers, often tagged as local rappers. While fans of the former feel that the local rappers are not doing hip hop the right way, the latter are of the opinion that rap music has no language, and deserves to reach wider audiences.
Nigeria entertainment in the music sphere varies a lot. There exist plenty of music styles, which have gained popularity among the different groups of people. The best music in Nigeria is presented by the following styles and genres:
R&B. It is considered Nigeria new music. The genre is actually a combination of soul, pop, hip hop, rhythm and blues, funk, and dance. It appeared only in 1990s. However, it's already managed to win fans’ hearts.
Hip Hop. This is stylized rhythmic music, which usually accompanies rap as well as rhyming speech or chanting. It is kind of subculture, which possesses its own key features, such as rapping, scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Among the other elements, there are sampling and beatboxing. Although it is connected with rap, it mostly denotes the whole subculture.
Soul. It is another young style (appeared in 1950s – 1960s). It combines gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz music. Nowadays it has a few subgenres and it's famous not only in Nigeria, but in the world.
Gospel. It is kind of religious music. Its key features are dominant vocals along with the lyrics of Christian nature. Most of people usually like one of its subgenres – urban contemporary gospel. It expresses personal beliefs in regards of Christian life.
Besides, it is thought to be an alternative to the mainstream styles. The list of common instruments includes drums, keyboards, electric guitars, and bass guitars.
Rap. We have mentioned that it is rhythmic lyrics performed in time to a bit. It is extremely popular among all the African people. The word started to be used in connection with music only in 1971. Earlier it mostly referred to oration or speech. It takes its roots from African continent.
These are the most popular modern genres. There are also others, among which you may find pop, afrobeat, rock, and so on.
READ ALSO: Nigerian gospel musicians - 7 top.
Key features and Styles
Before to find out who is the best rapper in Nigeria today, you must know a bit more about rap. As any other music genre, it possesses definite characteristics. The main ones include the following:
- Pre-recorded tracks. They are usually played in the background. During that time, the performer recites the words. In case of improvisation, rappers must keep up with the beat. Tracks are selected by a DJ. He can manipulate them as well. There are also those, who encourage people to dance with the help of special phrases.
- Rhythmic beat. Rap songs are mostly characterized by 4/4 time signature. This feature makes it popular in the nightclubs. Beat can dominate the other instruments. It also emphasizes certain words and phrases.
- Lyrical basis. Words are the main thing and source of originality in this genre. There exist songs, which have the same track, but they are completely different because of the lyrics.
- Special topics. It is usually represented by such themes as boasting, insult, nonsense, and party raps.
- Instruments. Turntables are the most recognizable ones. They make a sound known as scratching. Besides, with the help of them, it’s possible to transform the previous track into something new. The other one is sampler. It’s digital looping device, which allows the producer to do what DJs formerly did. It is considered indispensible device for modern rappers.
- Drum machine. It’s an electronic device, which creates great quantity of drum sounds. Keyboards give an opportunity to imitate any sounds the rappers need. Finally, the computer is applied. It allows composing everything into the cohesive whole.
These are the most common characteristics of the genre. As we’ve mentioned, there also exist several styles of it. Their list contains:
- Sung rhythmic style. Its rhythms and rhymes are equivalent to pop or rock music. It’s characterized by repetitions, on-beat accents, regular pauses, and strict groupings of couplets.
- Percussion-effusive style. Its rhymes are usually irregular and complex. The features include pointed articulation and staccatos.
- Speech-effusive style. It's closer to a spoken language. It might be considered opposite to the previous style. It features enunciation.
Such terminology is used by music scholar A. Krims. Thus, it's just one of all existing.
The best rappers today
Now, when we’ve found out more about the genre, we may observe the ratings of the best artists in Nigeria. The following list's based upon the influence of artists on Nigerian music industry. Their money and fame haven’t been taken into account. According to the social media, their list includes:
1. Skales. He is both a performer and a lyricist. He’s recorded more than 200 songs by now. Besides, he’s worked with various famous artists, such as eLDee, Knighthouse, Jeremiah Gyang, and so on. His first rap album is going to be released this year.
2. Lynxxx. He’s a rapper and an entrepreneur. His debut album was released in 2010. Besides, he was the first Nigerian to be endorsed by Pepsi brand. It’s possible to say, his music's a combination of various genres, such as hip hop, R&B, and funky house. Before to become a musician, he’s managed to build several successful businesses (among which there are media companies and a recording studio).
3. Naeto C. He is not only one of the best African rappers. He’s a producer and Afrobeat artist as well. He’s gained much experience. He was the producer of several artists, who then received awards for their albums. He has about 50 of his own compositions recorded.
4. Eva Alordiah. She’s the best female rapper in Nigeria. However, this is not her only occupation. Eva’s also entertainer, entrepreneur, make-up artist, and fashion designer. She’s received plenty of awards, among which there are Nigeria Entertainment, Eloy, and YEM awards. She released her debut mixtape in November 2011. As for the first album, it appeared in January 2015.
5. Reminisce. He's rapper and a songwriter. He originates from the Yoruba group, so he performs both in English and in his native language. His first album was released in March 2012 (although the recording started in 2010). The following year there came his second one. According to the Time Magazine’s website, he’s one of 7 World Rappers You Should Meet.
6. Mode 9. He’s won The Headies Lyricist on the Roll for seven times. He’s released 6 studio albums by now. In the year of 2006, he managed to get three HipHop World Awards and three Channel O Music Video Awards. The majority of rappers knows and respects his lyrics. That’s why he is often called a legendary lyricist. Moreover, he is thought to be a builder of Nigerian modern music industry.
7. Phyno. In 2003, he started as a record producer, but by 2013 he gained much fame. What is peculiar about his is that he performs in the language of Igbo. In 2014, he released debut album. His inspirer was Yoruba rapper – Olamide. Phyno’s most prominent achievement is the influence in Igbo rapping. It helped people of that tribe to start doing their own things.
8. M.I. He is one of the best-known artists in Africa. He’s got large number of awards, including MTV Africa Music Award in 2009. He’s taken part in lots of competitions and gained international recognition. In 2012, he was appointed United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. Besides, he’s a vanguard of Afrobeat movement.
9. Ice Prince. He gained great popularity after releasing one of the most remixed songs, called Oleku. His debut was in 2011, when the first album was released. Nowadays he is an ambassador to many reputable brands. He’s collaborated with several international artists, which has made him famous worldwide. In 2015, he launched his own record label, but he didn’t give up rapping. What is also important for Nigeria, he has raised Afro-Pop to another level.
10. Olamide. His first album is still thought to be one of the best. He’s the first rapper, who has released 4 albums within four years. Now he's his own record label. He signs his songs to it, as well as some other artists do. Moreover, he’s met and worked with many international musicians. He can be titled the most influential artist in Nigeria. He's won the hearts of thousands of fans.
This is the list of the most prominent rappers. Some of them have big experience in this sphere, while the others have just started their career but already managed to become famous and influential. Remember, that it's just for the current year, but not the rating of all times. Thus, the next year the situation might change and the other artists will be mentioned in such list.
Rap, as we understand it nowadays, has appeared not long time ago. This genre takes its roots from African tradition of chanting while keeping up with the beat. There exist plenty of different styles, and each rapper chooses the one for him.
Nigerian people are very talented, that’s why there're so many successful artists in this country. The majority of them have been able to become popular not only in their native country and in Africa, but also in the international world. More and more musicians, who perform in their native language, have recently appeared. It helps to popularize Nigerian culture and keep it alive.