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Part 1; Will Nigerian Rappers Ever Get The Recognition They Deserve?

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Hip hop in Nigeria isn’t the same way it was years back. About 3 decades ago, there was nothing like rap music in the Nigerian music industry. Only until the late 90’s did we begin to hear the kicking sounds of this genre in the music industry. That foreigner was hip hop; delivered into a society with genres like Juju, Reggae, Apala, Afro-pop and Gospel. Since then a lot of things have changed.

Since the turn of the app age, artistes don’t have to wait for live bands to make music or produce a song. Technology changed everything. Just like Olamide on “Lagos Nawa” It is easy to make a whole album in a day, even from the comfort of your home.

When we speak about the genesis of the genre in Nigeria, it is impossible to avoid mentioning some names. These grand masters popularized the craft in Nigeria. Rappers like Eldee the Don, Modenine, MI Abaga, Ruggedman,Terry tha Rapman just to mention a few are well recognized.

The new generation of rappers

Most Nigerian hip hop veterans have began taking their places in the retirement booth. This has paved a way for a lot of new school rappers to dominate the music scene and make a name for themselves.

New Rappers come in and release songs on the highest stage. Most of the songs they release are actually good but yet it remains difficult for them to breakthrough. I made a survey analysis of this development and the result was that a lot of rappers are unable to obtain mentor-ship from experienced veteran.

A problem?

There is always a champion in every region of Africa. In East Africa, we can make mention of a Khaligraph Jones who is sounding out to be the African Kendrick Lamar. In the South, we have cats like Cassper Nyovest, A-Recee, Nasty C, Emtee. But over here in West Africa, who is king? Is it the Olamide or MI Abaga. Or is it the underground rappers like Boogie,Blaqbonez who are trying to make it to the mainstream.

If hip hop is truly dead according to claims, then who buried it?. There was a period in the Nigerian music industry where the rappers were bosses. In fact, there was barely any record label who didn’t have a rapper on their roster. MI Abaga, Naeto C, Modenine and Eldee were the front line musicians for their various record labels. Yet they were rappers.

Even the likes of Kay-switch and D-Prince had to compose themselves like rappers just to join in the hip hop train. To be frank, the culture has done absolutely well in the African continent. We had Sarkodie deliver like Acehood on “New Guy”. And we had Nasty C give us a taste of French Montana on his “Bad hair Extension album”. Cassper nyovest’s “Thuto” was a hit internationally and these rappers are getting the recognition they deserve.

In 2018, many eyes will be on the Nigerian hip-hop scene. A turnaround seems imminent as rappers like Yung6ix, Falz, Dremo, A-Q, Boogie, Blaqbonez look set take the baton. Anticipate the second part of this article.

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Zara
Zara is a rap artiste, prolific investigative writer and a devoted disciple of the hip hop culture. Due to his versatility and enthusiasm, he was inducted into HipHopHead as a contributor in September 2017. Get in touch with him at Here If you want to reach us or share your own views, visit our contact page

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