When there is a disagreement between two or more hip hop minded Nigerian artistes. A Nigerian rap beef is born.This is the story of where it started from.
In hip hop, people settle their differences by squaring it out on a stage. It may calling each other out over the microphone. Or recording a diss song aimed at an opposition. There are no legal courts and no police interference. The only judges are the listening fans. They decide who wins or loses.
We have had a fair share of Nigerian rap beef in our hip hop industry. We have seen top rappers go at each other for no reason other than pride.
This is hip hop in its most raw form. Your record numbers don’t matter, your age and achievements don’t either. What matters is your skill and charisma, your ability to put down the other guy across you.
Rap battling has been part of hip hop from the beginning. In the mainstream, rappers don’t go up on stage to freestyle against each other. Rather they make records, it evolved from KRS1’s style into a more political airplay based system.
I’ve compiled the history of Nigerian rap beef into a dated list which includes the greatest diss songs we have witnessed in Nigerian hip hop. We start with the most recent.
1. Beef (2010) – MI
Vs Iceberg Slim & Kelly Hansome
MI was the best rapper in Nigeria in 2010. Being the best has its pros and cons, MI got recognition and became a target. US based rapper Iceberg Slim took a shot at him right after Kennis music artiste Kelly Hansom made a mess of him.
We all thought MI wasn’t going to respond because he made no move at first. Fans were getting disappointed that he wasn’t even all that.
But MI chose the more calculated approach over a rash instinctive one. He combined his response for both artistes and dropped it as a headliner for his MI 2 album. It was free publicity served on a platter of gold.
“See musicians tryna beef me for real son, Maybe they doing it to promote they album
They know that using my name will help em sell some, So Iceberg its alright, ur welcome
But I’m not in their league help me tell them, The Super Eagles don’t play against the Falcons
See worwor pikin dey form handsome, Kelechukwu clap for yourself, well done”
“Only one kelly that I know Kelly Rowland, why should I diss them, Give them cheap promotion?”
Watch “beef” by MI on YouTube
MI didn’t really punch them, rather he opted to brush them aside by making them look insignificant. It wasn’t the diss track the fans wanted from someone as gifted as MI. Listeners wanted more venom.
But it had a huge effect on mainstream Nigerian hip hop because of the anticipation. Both Kelly Hansom and Iceberg Slim are now far from relevant.
2. Igwe Kom Kom (2010) – Kelly Hansome
Vs Mo-Hits, MI, Terry G and pretty much every one.
Kelly Hansome was ontop of his game after his “maga don pay” blew up internationally. He grew arrogant and became a trouble maker in 2010.
Kelly dissed everyone from Jesse Jags to MI to the whole Mo hits crew. He also dissed Wande Coal and Terry G. The only Nigerian artiste he didn’t diss on this record was himself.
“ Yes me, I be arsenal and you be Man U. No wonder you look like a malu“
That was a direct reply to Wande Coal’s Who Born The Maga. This record goes down in history as one of the funniest jabs at a whole record label in Nigerian history.
Watch “Igwe kom kom” animation by Kelly Hansom
He made a caricature video animation for the song to make it the funniest Nigerian diss track ever recorded.
3. Talk I Am Listening (2010) – 9ice ft. Seriki
Vs Rugged man
Rugged man really knows how to become a target. People just hate the guy. A huge controversy erupted between 9ice and Rugged Man in 2010.
It included 9ices wife at the time in the person of Toni Payne. It resulted in a lot of quarreling, rumor mongering and ultimately a diss track.
However the 9ice dropped a bomb on his opponent and came out as the unlikely victor. This also started Seriki’s lacklustre career.
Download Talk I am listening
4. Exit strategy (2013) – Sinzu
This beef between Godwon and Sinzu was created when notjustok.com published a top 10 list of most gifted rappers. It has to be the most petty Nigerian rap beef, with the most petty diss tracks ever.
Both US based rappers kept going at each other with girlish gossipy lines and hear says. It became really funny and there was no real threats.
The former friends had drawn battle lines and made it clear they were now rivals. Exit strategy is the only substantial record from this feud.
“Your mixtape no dey sell, That sh*t just sit on a shelf
You selfish, I know you recorded it for yourself
You tried to get couple of features nobody wanted to help
And now it’s like you just against yourself and the rest
It’s like you in a game but you playing against the ref”
And that’s how Sinzu won. Reports say Sinzu has been in an American jail since 2015 for stealing $300 from a store. What a way to destroy your career.
Download exit strategy
5. Death Blow (2008) – Mode Nine
Vs Rugged man
In hip hop, you reap what you sow, very quickly. Rugged Man got on everybody’s nerves to sit on the iron throne.
He thought it was all Uhuru but his reign would be cut short by someone more venomous. A complete Emcee this time.
Deathblow is undoubtedly the most superior rap beef record in Nigerian hip hop history. Mode Nine spent time explaining when Ruggedy sucked. He took Rugged Man apart, it was a either joyous or terrible to watch Rugged Man get humbled.
But Modo didn’t stop and the barrage lasted for about four minutes. You wouldn’t want to be the other guy. It was the first time a Nigerian rapper delivered a lyrically solid diss track devoid of any joke.
“You rap for mechanics I rap and you panic leave you manic depressed damn it
I’m too nice, I expose you, now your covers compromised, shame on you, now pull your head warmer over your eyes,Take it off , eh hen !!
Mode nine is with the prize, I’m bigger than you lyrically forget about size , heard your third albums gonna be your last bye bye”
“Ama rhymzo that ^ss you’re a boomboclot, Head warmer in the sun , what are you?
don’t let me 50 Ja you ( 5o cent ended ja rule), End your already ending career and discard you, Let me help you out you got a little money”
“Maintain got more money than you ain’t that funny, No, the funny thing is you’re a dancer now , trying to compete with Kaffy and Suzie how? Mr Penguin Happy feet just got served, banging didn’t bang”
Watch “Deathblow” by Mode 9 on YouTube
No one has dissed Mode Nine since then. You want to be his friend rather than an enemy. Although for the sake of publicity stunts, we expect a new rapper to do a beef record aimed at Modo now and then.
6. 1005 Naira (2009) – Mallam Spicey
Vs Terry G
This is not a hip hop record but it sure is a diss track. Terry G made a huge mistake by calling out Mallam Spicy in his hit song “free madness”.
Here is the moral lesson, you don’t pick a fight with someone who’s got nothing to loose.
Mallam spicy’s career was already done, but Terry G gave him an opportunity to hit lime light on more time.
“me I no be Mallam Spicy, Me I no dey stop for the fourth bar over”
Mallam Spicy quietly went to the studio and created one of the most direct Nigerian beef songs. This diss track was nothing short of destructive and Terry G was on the receiving end.
1005 Naira (Free Cure) was recorded on Terry G’s Free Madness beat, and completely went all out on Terry G. He also recorded a video for it, to tell you how serious he was.
“Your 1 bling, your 2 bling, your 3 bling, your 4 bling, your 5 bling, your 6 bling… All of them together na 6k “… “ Say na you dey ginger the ginger, say na you dey swagger the swagger, Ole boy I no dey feel your swagger, your petty swagger too local”
Watch “1005 Naira” (Free cure) by Mallam Spicyon YouTube
Mallam Spicy has since faded into Obscurity.
7. Ehen (2002) – Rugged man featuring Nomoreloss RIP
Vs Eedris Abdul kareem, Maintain and many others
Rugged man was the hot kid on the block when he stepped into the industry. He had no respect or fear for any of the big names and he did call them out on “Ehen”.
He had guts and made a move for the iron throne immediately. To do that he had to beat the likes of Eedris Abdul Kareem and Rasqui. They got a whooping from him. This was the song that started his career, it put him on a pedestal.
Ehen featured the late singer Nomoreloss who passed on last year after an illness.
“No be secret say remedies dey need remedy, I hear their rap, I laugh, to me nah like comedy/ Eedris and my 5 year old nephew rap the same way, like say dem born dem on the same day/ Wetin him dey talk I no hear, but I fear, when him “migity” and people start to cheer ”
You will not appreciate the gravity of this song today. It pulled so much weight back then. No one had ever done this before in Nigerian hip hop industry. It created a huge followership not only for Ruggedy babw but also for Nigerian hip hop.
Download Ehen here
8. Omode Meta (1999) – Tony Tetuila featuring Tu face and Ruff Rugged n Raw
This was the earliest diss songs we heard over the radio. The single blew up too. It featured a young Tu face and Ruff Rugged n Raw who were the coolest rappers then. The song was Tony Tetuila’s response to the impending breakup of the Remedies.
It was aimed at former group mates Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Montana. I couldn’t pick out what Ruff Rugg was saying but I know it was hot back in the day.
Download Omode Meta
Is there any hot Nigerian diss track we didn’t mention? drop it as a comment. Now cast a vote below