By all accounts it’s been a relatively quiet year for a lot of hip-hop acts in Nigeria. The likes of SDC, MI, Kahli Abdu, Terry Tha Rapman haven’t put out much of material this past year, and it’s left room for some of the new comers to really do their. Whether it’s a sign of things to come we’ll have to wait and see, but without too much long story let’s get into the top 10 hottest rappers in Nigeria based on released material in late 2013 into 2014.
This is not a status ranking, but rather based on material put out in the past year; the quality (wordplay, skill, flow, delivery), the impact, and the overall reception across the board. Remember it’s hottest right now not best overall.
After what seemed like an eternity, Yung6ix finally released his highly anticipated album, 6 O Clock, and from all accounts the album is a good project with a sizable number of hit tracks. Along with the hot album cuts Lights, Kpansh, Before I Go Broke and Kings, Yung6ix also released the single, Amen a little later to keep his hot buzz going.
It’s been a commercially successful year for Yung6ix with the album release and many collabos, and you can only expect that it’ll get better from here. He’s still got some work to do lyrically but no doubt when it comes to hip-hop in Nigeria for 2014, he’s been one of the brighter spots overall.
Sinzu has been in the news this past year for other reasons besides his music. From his beef with Godwon to his alleged problems with the law, it’s easy to think Sinzu didn’t do much on the music side of the things. But when you go back and sample the tunes he’s dropped over the past year (Make I Tell You, Lord Knows, Fashi, OG Bobby Johnson) you’ll be quickly reminded that Sinzu is still indeed Sinzu.
The most refreshing thing about Sinzu’s music recently is the realness of it. You get the feeling this is a guy doing his thing without the inhibitions of commercialism or record label restrictions. Dude is just doing his thing and it’s coming out pretty dope.
*** Lord Knows
Say what you will about Ice Prince but he’s been arguably one of the most consistent rap acts out of Nigeria for the past couple of years. He rarely shies away from features, and is consistently putting out new material for his fans. He might not be the best lyricist out there but he more than makes up for it with his hard work, and good musical sense.
Along with the hit singles from his last year album release (Fire Of Zamani) which he put out videos for, Ice Prince has done well with singles, Can I Talk (ft. MI and Joel Ortiz), Tears For Naija, N-Word Remix and Freestyle. Not to count the numerous features he’s had. Simply put Ice Prince is stamping his name as one of the hip-hop cats from Nigeria we wont be forgetting soon.
*** Can I Talk
Vector went into somewhat of a hiatus for most of 2014, but when he came back he came back with a serious bang! Dropping his #A7 mixtape, he pretty much told us that while he was a bit quiet in the past months he wasn’t sleeping. The mixtape has gotten mostly positive reviews from fans and hip-hop heads alike. You have to wonder that if Vector was consistently putting out stuff all year he might be higher up this list cos we all know he’s hot on the MIC.
The tunes from him bound to make some noise from his tape into 2015 are Shiga, Undefined. Tupac Bass and Celestial Body are tunes that will definitely creep into a lot of playlists based purely on the lyrical work on it. All in all Vector is pretty much a stable name in Nigerian Hip-Hop and this year he didn’t do anything to change that.
Earlier this year Reminisce was featured in TIME magazine’s “rappers around the world” video special, and for very good reason. He’s been on the hottest MCs in Nigeria over the past year, and his stock has been rising steadily since he first hit the scene almost 6-7 years ago.
Reminisce’ sophomore album Alaga Ibele release late last year has carried him into 2014 with some serious momentum. Singles Daddy’, Eleniyan, Government gave fans a taste of how good Reminisce can be. But it didn’t stop with his album cuts; Reminisce put out a remix to Fela, a new single Tesojue, numerous videos, and one of favorite, a hot collabo with Sarz (Ise Yen). All in all, anyway you slice it, you can’t call any of the hottest names in hip-hop for this past year without mentioning Reminisce in it.
When you go on any Nigerian hip-hop forum or blog comments discussing the best rapper in Nigeria, and Boogey’s name will come up more times than you think. For good reason. He’s right up there with the best of them, and gives the big hip-hop names a serious run for their money. When you listen well to his words it jumps out at you, and you soak every bit of it. His lyrical word play, and delivery is as good as any other out there.
He might be flying under the radar this year in terms of commercial popularity, but his fans and hip-hop heads salivate anytime. His tunes Ask For It, 1am, and Salute Me give you everything you need to hear from this MC. Add that to his fan favorite, Sanctum, it’s easy to see why everyone is super excited about the prospect of this kid.
Often times Jesse Jagz gets tagged with being a producer before the rapper, but that has somewhat changed with the release of the sequel to his 2013 Jagz Nation Vol 1 – Vol 2 – The Royal Niger Company. With joints Aint Nobody, Sunshine, The Case amongst others, that project is arguably one of the best released this year, complete with Jesse Jagz spitting solid bars, good music, solid productions, and giving us all something to think about while listening. I did the due diligence to read various reviews, and really I couldn’t find a bad review. As expected.
Coupled with the heat his 2013 project was still carrying, it’s easy to see how Jesse Jagz is one of the hotter MCs in 2014. He might have shied away from all the showbiz lifestyle but make no mistake, Jesse is still bringing a lot of ammo in his music.
***Aint Nobody Remix
King Modo! No doubt when we speak about ModeNine, we’re speaking about the best lyricist in Nigeria, and there’s barely any competition. A legend when it comes hip-hop in Nigeria and that’s hardly an argument. That being said he’s feature here at #3 is not intended to be a slight at him at all.
ModeNine dropped a whopping 40 track album, Above Ground Level, with everything you’ll need in a hip-hop album, solid joint, playful tunes, solid features including Don Jazzy, Ice Prince, Gentle, Reminisce, Praize, Ruby Gyang, Amaka, Zeus, Proverb, and the hot American MC Canibus, and overall good music. Critics have rated the album as very solid. Even if it’s not his best, it’s a good album that can only add to his great musical legacy. Tunes that stand out are Some More ft. Don Jazzy, Upside Down, SuperHuman featuring Canibus, and NTBB.
*** Upside Down
Phyno said in 2013 that he was the Man Of The Year, but really we can say he’s been the Man of the Year for both 2013 and 2014. Since he burst on the scene with his unique ‘new generation igbo swag’, it’s been no slowing down this kid holding it down for the east. His pre-album singles Man Of The Year, Parcel, Ghost Mode were already putting him in a league of his own, and his album No Guts, No Glory further cemented his name as argubly the hottest rapper in Nigeria for 2014. Additional singles Alobam, Authe, and numerous features only add to the ammo for that argument. It’s hard to argue with that fact.
Phyno’s unique way of flowing in Igbo while blending in English makes his tunes very appealing even to non-igbo speaking fans, and to those who actually understand Igbo it’s simply the best thing since sliced yam. He’s taken what cats like Nigga Raw, Slowdogg, and MC Loph were doing and elevated it to continental wide appeal levels.
Over the past 3 years, no other rapper in Nigeria has had as much of an impact as Olamide has consistently. When you look at his body of work it’s simply outstanding how much material Olamide has put out, and in that hot material. His work ethic is unrivaled right now. His hot singles are too numerous to list but those in the past year include the likes of Yemi My Lover, Story For The Gods, Awon Goons Mi, Make Us Proud (ft. Wale), and Eleda Mi to along with his album, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth. Features? Way too much to list on here.
Olamide’s street styled, gutter, and sometimes playful delivery in both Yoruba and English gives him that unique ability to appeal to fans across the spectrum. From the guys in the streets of Ibadan, to the Lagos big boys, to the Abuja babes there’s something in Olamide’s catalog for you. It’s no surprise that he’s as hot and well received as he is in Nigeria. Lyrically he might not as great as the best we’ve seen, but he more than makes up for it with solid word play, strong metaphors. A lot of which you have to understand Yoruba to really get.
All in all it’s easy to see why Olamide is the hottest rapper in Nigeria for the past year.
*** Yemi My Lover
IllBliss – Hard to argue he hasn’t been solid this year. His latest track Bank Alert is all sorts of blazing.
Naeto C – Solid singles released but we await the album.
Falz – Falz’s album got solid reviews from critics and fans alike.