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HALL OF FAME! Top 10 Greatest Nigerian Rapper In History – Who Is The Best?

Who is the greatest Nigerian rapper? That argument will be settled in this post. Check the list and cast your vote.We want the real music minds to decide who the best Nigerian rapper is.

After voting, drop a comment so we can know who you’re rooting for to take the ultimate crown. Let the folks know about your choice as we showcase the best rappers in Nigeria.

Criteria for making the greatest Nigerian rapper in history list

READ: 8 Nigerian rap acts who rocked the 90’s

The artistes on this list were not just chosen randomly or sentimentally. Here are a list of items we looked at during the selection process.

a. Every artiste on this list should have won the Hip hop world awards at least once. This award is also known as the Headies. It has to be won in a hip hop or songwriting related category. Winning the Headies shows that such an artiste had outshone all competing artistes in the hip hop category at least in one particular music year.

b. All artistes must have at least two albums. Having two albums combined with at least one Headies award is an indication of an artistes influence on Nigerian mainstream music culture. Influential rappers get recognition quickly.

c. Where an artiste has not won the Headies. He must have no less than 5 critically acclaimed Albums to his name. Consistency is an important factor to consider in the measurement of greatness in nigeria. We know that awards can be tricky. It is possible for the panel of judges to become bias or prejudiced. So the reward may not always be given to the greatest Nigerian rapper for that year.

To this effect, 12 rappers were chosen to contend for the title. This is in no particular order, only your votes count here.

POLL: Vote the greatest diss track in history of Nigerian hip hop here

List of Greatest Nigerian rappers history; a peek into their life

1. Phyno

Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike born on the 9th of October 1986 is better known by his stage name Phyno. He is a widely followed Nigerian rapper and record producer.

He started his musical career in 2003. Phyno is recognized for his ability to create melodious rhyme schemes in his native Igbo language. He is regarded as the best, better yet the greatest Igbo rapper so far.

His stage name Phyno, which is derived from the word phenomenal; a nickname given to him by one of his high school friends.

He studied public administration at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu (IMT), and started profiting from music during his second year on campus.

Mr. Raw is one of the few people Phyno looks up to. Phyno started rapping in 2010 and relocated to Lagos to continue his music career.

Phyno is widely known as the ambassador of igbo rap music. Although he primarily raps in Igbo, he combines a bit of Nigerian Pidgin and English in his music. He might be young but he surely one of the greatest Nigerian rapper.

Discography: 3 Studio albums
Accolades: 3 Headies awards

2. Olamide

Olamide Adedeji (born 15 March 1989), known by his name Olamide. He is a Nigerian hip hop artiste from Bariga, Lagos State.

Olamide popularized a razz street style of rap, something he mostly does in Yoruba, his native tongue. Some regard him as the best, or more specifically the greatest Yoruba rapper after Dagrin.

In 2000, he decided to pursue a career in music. When asked why music, he said: “I found out I was gifted in it so I had to explore it, it’s my life, my hustle, my world”. He studied at Tai Solarin University of Education. In 2011, he released his debut studio album titled Rapsodi.

He was signed to ID Cabasa’s Coded Tunes label and was managed by 9ice’s ex wife Toni Payne. In 2012, he left Coded Tunes to start his own record label YBNL (Yahoo Boy No Laptop).

In 2013, Olamide became the first Nigerian to sign an endorsement deal with Cîroc. The same year, he signed a multi million Naira deal with Guinness.

Discography: 7 studio albums
Accolades: 9 Headies awards

3. Vector tha Viper

Olanrewaju Ogunmefun also known by his stage name Vector tha Viper, is a renowned Nigerian rapper. He was born in Ogun State. He started his journey into hip hop way back to junior high in the year 1994.

Vector is regarded as one of the most lyrically competent Nigerian rappers to ever exist.

In January 2015 vector released a highly critically acclaimed rap single titled “King Kong” and the video was released on the same month. Due to the high success of the single vector released two remixes. Although he’s gone into pop rap and experimented on other genres; he remains one of the greatest Nigerian rapper.

Discography: 2 studio albums
Accolades: 4 Headies awards

4. Ill bliss

Illbliss , stylized as iLLBLISS , is a veteran Nigerian rapper, business man and owner of the talent management outfit known as “The Goretti Company”.

The company is responsible for launching the careers of Chidinma and Phyno and many others. Also popularly known as Oga Boss, he has received many nominations and won awards.

He won Best Hiphop Video for the hit “U Go Wound O!!” at the 2008 Soundcity Music Video Awards. This award was presented to him by American rap legend Nas and it was a huge moment for iLLBLISS as he had not yet released his debut album.

He is renowned for his Boss kind of rap persona, reminiscent of Notorious BIG.

Illbliss was a member of the now defunct Hip Hop Group, Da Thorobreds. The group, consisted of other Nigerian artistes such as Elajoe, Obiwon and B-Elect. The Mogul is one of the best rappers in Nigeria.

Discography: 4 Studio Albums
Accolades: 4 Headies Awards

5. MI

Jude Abaga was born 4 October 1981. He is better known by his stage name M.I an acronym for mister incredible. He has been the CEO of Chocolate City since June 2015.

M.I Abaga was born in Jos, Plateau State. He attended Baptist High School, Jos where his mother purchased basic music notations and later, a 7-key mini piano which launched him into music.

MI is regarded as the Nigerian rapper with the best vocal delivery ever.

MI began his music career when he returned to Nigeria in 2003. Finding his place in an industry dominated by the likes of Mode 9, Rugged man and Eedris Abdulkareem.

He quickly commenced the production of mix tapes with his friend Djinee. This led to the critically acclaimed single “Safe” which gathered airplay internationally.

Discography: 4 studio albums and 3 mix tapes
Accolades: 4 Headies awards

6. Mode 9

Mode 9 was born in London on June 14, 1975 as the third child of his parents. He chose Osun State as his origin. As a seven time Lyricist on the Roll winner, he is the most decorated hip hop artist at the Headies.

Mode 9 is regarded as the greatest ever word smith to come out of Nigerian hip hop.

In 2004 Mode 9 released Malcolm IX. The lead single Elbowroom won an AMEN Award the following year for best rap single in Nigeria, and in 2006 Mode 9 won 3 Headies and 3 Channel O Music Video Awards.

That same year he released Pentium IX While signed to Question Mark Entertainment. Mode 9 propelled the underground sound to the mainstream. His albums have been heralded as some of the best hip hop albums to come out of Africa.  lot of rap heads believe Modo is the greatest Nigerian rapper. What do you think?

Discography: 7 studio albums and 5 mix tapes
Accolades: 9 Headies awards

7. Rugged man

Michael Ugochukwu Stephens also known as Rugged man was born in Ohafia, Abia State. He is a business man and an outspoken music culture enthusiast. Michael is mostly remembered for his dirty 2008 feud with Mode 9.

Rugged man is credited with popularizing the use of pidgin slangs in mainstream Nigerian hip hop.

He is graduate of political science from Lagos State University. Rugged man launched himself into the music industry in 1999, eventually becoming the most featured rapper in Nigeria. His albums are released under his record label, Rugged Records.

Discography: 2 studio albums
Accolades: 1 Headies awards

8. Da Grin

Oladapo Olaitan Olanipekun, also known as Dagrin was an award winning Nigerian rapper from Ogun. He died after an auto crash aged only 22.

Dagrin is widely regarded as the realest Nigerian rapper to ever live. He had a cult followership despite his short career. And although he spoke Yoruba, he was one of the best rappers in Nigeria.

Dagrin’s lived in Alagbado, Lagos. His style of rapping incorporated Yoruba, English and Pidgin English. It’s is widely beloved that he paved the way for other Yoruba rappers like Olamide and Seriki.

His singles always had a cultural significance. It talks about the life style in Lagos ghetto and many other parts of south western Nigerian slums. His songs relate to ethnicity, pride, while surviving the streets of Lagos and a hint of the criticism elderly people hurl against bad behavior.

Discography: 4 studio albums and 1 EP
Accolades: 2 Headies Awards

9. Ice Prince

Panshak Henri Zamani was born on 23 October 1986 in Minna. He is better known by his stage name Ice Prince. He is a Nigerian hip hop great. He’s also an actor. He rose to prominence after releasing “Oleku “, Nigeria’s most remixed songs of all time.

Ice prince is credited for popularizing the use of Hausa slangs in mainstream rap music.

At age two, he moved with his family to Jos, Plateau State. While residing in Jos, he attended St. Murumba College. In 1999, he began writing songs and started performing them at social events held at his school. It was not until 2001 that he began going to studios to record.

Discography: 2 studio albums, 1 EP and 1 compilation album.
Accolades: 3 Headies awards

10. Eedris Abdul Kareem

His full names are Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem Ajenifuja. He was born to a polygamous family in Kano. His father was from Ilesha , Osun State and his mother was from Ogun State. He was raised in Kano.

Eedris is one of Nigeria’s most internationally recognized artistes. He was the first local hip hop act to grab airplay all over Africa. He is regarded in some quarters as the greatest Nigerian rapper of the early 2000s.

Abdulkareem performed with hip hop group The Remedies from 1997 until they split. He continued as a solo artist and released the album “Pains And Stress = Success” in 2002. Its track “Wackawickee MC’s” criticized Tony Tetuila, Plantashun Boiz and Double X Posse .

In November 2005, he launched his own record label, La Kreem Music. Under this outfit he released his fourth album, Letter to Mr. President. The album’s title track addressed Obasanjo’s criticism of “Jaga Jaga”; the album also had a tribute to Obasanjo’s wife, Stella, who died while undergoing surgery and the victims of the Bellview crash of 2005.

Discography: 6 studio albums
Accolades: Nil

11. Eldee da Don

Lanre elDee Dabiri was born on the 23rd of May 1977. The rapper is one of the first Nigerian emcees to hit mainstream popularity in the 90s.

He is Also a record producer and an Architect. eLDee studied Architecture at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. ElDee is an original member of the hip hop group Trybesmen, which started in 1998 with rappers KB and Freestyle. He hails from Lagos Island. You might be wondering how he makes our greatest Nigerian rapper list, but here he is.

He is the CEO of Trybe Records. The label developed artists such as Sasha P, 2Shots, Lequse, olaDele, Timi, Chiddy and Dr Sid, who is now a member of the Mavin Records label.

After moving to the United States in 2002, eLDee recorded a solo album titled Long Time Coming and followed up with Return of the King in 2006.

eLDee’s robust resume includes his work as a cutting-edge interactive media consultant for Fortune 500 international brands such as CNN, D3 Publishing, UPS, NBA, Naruto, Cartoon Network, Consumer Source and Warner Bros.

In December 2013, the rapper posted a message on his Twitter page to voice his support for gay rights. Saying that hopefully one day Africa will realize that anti-gay sentiment is no different from racial or religious discrimination.

Discography: 5 studio albums

Accolades: Nil

12.  Jesse Jagz

Jesse Garba Abaga was born on the 10th of August 1984. He is a gifted Nigerian rapper and record producer. In 2015, he re-signed with Chocolate City after leaving the label in 2012 to establish Jagz Nation. He is no doubt one of Nigeria’s best rappers.

The rapper is an experimentalist with different genres of music. From blues to reggae to pop, he fuses it on a predominantly hip hop foundation. He might not be the best Nigerian rap artiste by content. But he has enough skill to be on out greatest Nigerian rapper list.

Between 2006 and 2007, Jesse Jagz had songs simultaneously dominating the top ten charts all over Nigeria. Jesse Jagz hit songs include “Bend Down Low”, “Sugar Cane Baby”, “Jago”, “The Greatest”, “Wetin Dey”, “Pump It Up” and “Nobody Test Me”.

Discography: 3 studio albums and 1 collaboration album

Accolades: 1 Headies awards

Over to you now

OG Adoga
I am a Rap Music Instructor, Hip Hop Culture Custodian, Social Media Expert, all round smooth operator and chief editor at Hip Hop Head. If you want to become a member of Hip Hop Head, simply visit Join us page.To reach me, get my personal details from the Contact page.

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