Raise your hand if you knew who MI was in 2007. Or if you heard of Dbanj in 2005. Let’s even get recent… Who knew who wizkid was early last year? I personally had to go back to MI’s fast money, fast cars to remember who he was. Contrary to the way it looks on the surface, artists rarely “blow up” out of nowhere. A lot of times these artists spend a considerable amount of time on the grind, underground, and somehow somewhere, they blow up, and instantly everyone knows their name. If I did this article a year ago, you’d have WizKid, Mo-Cheddah, IcePrince and co on this list, and now you can say those artists are official celebrities. Well without too much gist, I’ll get into the point of this post.
Here are 6 artists/groups that you should know going into the next year, cos they are about to be the big names in the Naija/African Music scene. This is all in my opinion, and not in any order of importance or anything. Actually, we’ll do this alphabetically.
1. Eva Alordiah
Eva hails from Delta State but grew up in Lagos. She’s been rapping since the age of 13. At age 16 she decided to take her talents seriously and started rapping professionally. What makes Eva unique? Well let’s start with her unique voice that can’t be duplicated easily, and in many ways is very sexy – in a Toni Braxton type of way. Her delivery is eloquent, and all the tracks I’ve heard from her so far have been very easy, laid-back, and enjoyable listens. She might not have the club bangers yet, but she’ll have the songs that everyone will have in the car stereo, riding to. Look out for this female MC to creep into everyone’s playlist soon.
*** I Stay ***
2. GRIP Boiz
This trio (Yung El, J-Milla, & Endia) is probably best known for their remakes, but don’t get it twisted, these guys are super talented. Almost a perfect blend of a hip-hop, reggae & RnB genre, the GRIP Boiz repping J-Town are slowly turning heads in the industry. If you’re a fan of the Choc Boyz (Jesse Jagz, IcePrince & MI), then you’ve probably heard them somewhere, as they have worked with their fellow J-Town ambassadors. What makes them unique? Well they isn’t any other group in Naija with their sound. Period.
*** FIRE ***
In many ways, I feel it’s almost an insult to have him on this list seeing as he’s already kinda major, but at the same time, some folks that need to know who he is still don’t, so I’m throwing him on here. You need to know him! Chibuike Omeaku aka Meaku was raised in LA, and has been singing since his early age. He draws his inspiration from Fela, Osita Osadebe, Michael jackson, Phil Collins and a host of others. On the American scene, he has worked with Cash Money Records, and is a well known writer for a lot of artists.
On the Naija side of things, you can catch him with Sauce Kid on “Nigerian American Idol,” and a host of others. Check out his vid for his single “She Like It”, and tell me he’s not solid.
A lil bit of Asa, and a bit of 9ice, throw in some Lagbaja, Sunny Ade with a mix of Tracy Chapman and India Arie and you have a very unique sound from this lady named Oyinkansola. Oyinkansola grew up in Abeokuta where she started singing in the church choir. It didn’t take long before her choir mistress recognized her talents and it’s been music for her ever since. Oyinkansola plays the acoustic guitar.
This lady is very talented, and listening to her songs, I just feel, all it takes is the right person to hear this and it’s a wrap. Her track with GT The Guitarman from Storm Records, Hands Up, stays on my playlist.
*** Hands Up feat. GT The GuitarMan***
5. Teeto Ceemos
Another artist I feel like I’m half-way insulting by adding to this list, but again, I just have to stress that this guy is on some major stuff. Some of you already know him from the KnightHouse track “Da Finest” which also features Mo’Cheddah, & Sauce Kid, and from his joint with Suspect – Oshamo. His lyrical delivery is supreme, and his flow is next to excellent.
Teeto started rapping in the mid-nineties while in secondary school drawing influences from Biggie, Jay Z, & Busta Rhymes. Once he started school at Unilag, he took the campus by storm and eventually went on to represent Nigeria in the Channel O/Sprite MC Africa competition.
Without giving too much gist, Teeto is nothin to play with for real. Write his name down somewhere so you don’t forget this guy. Check out his freestyle to the I’m Ill beat.
*** I’m ILL FreeStyle ***
6. X.O (NoHairDontCare)
The last on the list, is so far from the least. I’m almost tempted to say he blew up already, seeing as ever since his release of Taxi Cab freestyle a few months, he’s been buzzing all over the place. Interestingly enough, less than 2 years ago, X.O (Senavoe to Ghanaian and Nigerian parents) was practicing law. Yes, he’s a lawyer, and he’s not out of a job either. Call this music thing, his passion.
I can go on and on about this guy here but I wont. I’ll let his music do his talking. He’s already hailed by MI as the next big thing in hip-hop so you know he’s for real. Watch out for him on some future tracks with R2bees and DBlack. Plus word is he is featured on MI’s next album, MI2. I give him 6months and he’ll be everywhere… Check out Victory, produced by another person you should know, KidKonnect.
*** Victory ***
Well there you have it folks, 6 upcoming artists that you should know. Write their names down, and be one the folks to claim that you were a fan way before they were headlining shows all over the world.