Nigerian musicians make some of the best music from the continent of Africa and that’s a fact. When you consider our music pedigree, we have produced legends like Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Majek Fashek to younger contemporaries and legends in the making in Davido, Wizkid, Burna Boy etc.
Legends like Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade have had careers that have spanned several decades backed by prolific discographies some of which are still very relevant today.
As music from Nigerian origin keeps evolving, we have also witnessed several musicians hit the spotlight and thrill us, albeit, some were short-lived even when we expected more from them. Unfortunately, they left without formal warning and somehow we still miss them.
Some of the Nigerian musicians mentioned in this post took long breaks in-between releasing music then eventually stop releasing new songs entirely. The quit the music scene without warning and we woke up to realise that it’s been quite a long time since we heard from this person or that person. And that’s how they fall off the spotlight while new folks gradually took centre stage.
In some other hurtful cases, some musicians died while they were just at the prime of their careers and there was nothing anyone could do about it either by the fans or colleagues. And so the left the Nigerian music scene unceremoniously and way too soon.
It’s 10 years since Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun who we know by his stage name Da Grin departed from us at age 25. The indigenous rap titan was at the prime of his career inspiring ghetto youths across Naija when he lost his life in a fatal car accident on 22nd April 2010. I am pretty sure the Chief Executive Omo Ita would be proud wherever he is seeing that lots of music stars now still draw inspiration from his works.
During his prime, Da Grin was everywhere killing features while dishing out personal hits. He was a huge cultural influence on the music scene that transcended his niche as an indigenous rapper. This is one musician we wished stayed longer in the music industry but death is cruel.
Miss Eniola Akinbo better known as Niyola is one female artiste who I feel never lived up the full extent of her talent. The former EME first lady had an interesting debut and sure drew attention to her craft but she couldn’t keep up for long. Slowly she retrogressed to the back while other females held on to leave a more enduring mark. The music started coming in bits with too much time in between. At some point, very little was heard about Niyola, nothing about her life or her music. That’s how she slipped away from the music industry with no real efforts to make a comeback.
Some of us are still hurt that one of the best music group in Nigeria at the time broke up way too early. Shifi, Tunde and Zeal gave us beautiful Afro-R&B tunes which are straight-up classics. Quite unfortunately, Styl-Plus did not stick around very long to get that legendary stamp even though they are pioneers in their own right. We can unequivocally call PSquare legends but we can’t say the same thing about Styl-Plus. The group allowed internal squabbles to tear them apart and all they could ever achieve as a group.
The late Kefee was a very special gospel musician and she was on fire for what it’s worth until her untimely demise. She was a trailblazer in her industry and did quite a lot within her time with us. She was one of the first to do a cross-industry collaboration gospel – secular and those collaborations really banged. Her collaboration with Timaya titled ‘Kokoroko’ remains legendary as it cut across both the gospel world and secular. Before ‘Kokoroko’ there was ‘Congratulobia’ with Duncan Mighty. The gospel industry in Nigeria must really miss Kefee.
So Mo’Cheddah was an impressive female emcee back in the day and she was killing it. No surprise her name was often mentioned in lyrics by some of her colleagues as a testament of how highly-placed she was in the industry. She was signed to KnightHouse where she released her debut album. Mo’Cheddah had some miss understanding with her label at the time and soon afterwards parted ways. From then on nothing much was heard from her anymore until she slipped into obscurity and later switched her hustle from music to fashion and beauty.
Goldie Harvey was our own very Lady Gaga, her personality was larger than life and her name hugged the news headlines very often. She was signed to Kennis Music where she released her songs and music videos which were sometimes considered controversial. Goldie was really a pop diva during her day and she backed that up with her personality, her fame went up after appearing in the Big Brother Africa reality TV show. Unfortunately, we lost Goldie in 2013 and things have not really been the same.
Just when he was popping, his stardom was cut short by sudden death. MC Loph was an indigenous rapper from Eastern Nigeria who helped pushed rap in his native language Igbo. He is best remembered for dropping a heavy remix to Chief Osadebe’s classic ‘Osondi Owendi’. It would have been excellent to have big names like MC Loph pushing rap culture in the east, sadly we left us damn too early.
Born Topa Onimowo, the man Phenom could really rap but sadly he was inconsistent and fell of the music scene for too long. Phenom was signed to one of Nigeria’s hottest record labels at the time KnightHouse where he released some of the best records of his career. Although very talented and promising Phenom fell didn’t release new music consistently and in fact, took a hiatus. Out of sight is really out of mind as his sweet memory quickly vanished. He has been trying to get a comeback but nothing serious from him yet.
If anyone knows anything about the history of hip hop and rap you would have come across the name Pherowshuz, a talented producer and rapper. He is closely associated with Terry Tha Rapman and they have both produced dope records together. Sadly, Pherowshuz was never really up there as many of his colleagues, because at some point he was out of the game. His attempts at a comeback have not been received warmly. Rightly he should be in the class of MI Abaga but he left the game too soon he was no more relevant.
Don’t you miss the petite miss Kedike? These days we have to beg Chidinma to release new songs but those pleas have obviously been falling on deaf ears. It’s been quite a while we heard some good music from the singer and we are worried and concerned. Unfortunately, Chidinma only has a debut album to her name and several singles out there. It seems like Chidinma has conveniently left this music business to face other things. It is also very sad that many younger colleagues have pushed the music longer and hard than she did while she is nowhere to be found.