IS 2017 GOING TO BE THE YEAR OF THE UNDERDOGS? Will Greyc and the other underdogs shine?
A lot happened in the year 2016 – all the drama aside – as more than a few artistes sought to redefine their craft and elevate their music to another level. The last edition of Mystreetz magazine for 2016 shone a spotlight on the movers and shakers, the hit makers in the industry. But when the accolades for the A-listers die down, you realize there exists another group rarely spoken of. These group of people are arguably equally just as good as the current reigning champions, yet for some inexplicable reason the A-list category exists just beyond their grasp. They are the underdogs, and though we can think of a few reasons why they haven’t ‘blown’ yet, as well as scratch our heads in bewilderment at the curious cases of those who seem to have done everything right but still remain grossly underrated, Mystreetz magazine has been around long enough to know that all it takes for an underdog to catapult to A-list status is to sing the right song at the right time. Tekno, anyone?
If there’s one artiste that deserves a spot among the underdogs projected to breakthrough in 2017, Greyc definitely is that person. Under the tutelage of Sound Sultan, for three years, I saw her tour the entire country with Sultan performing on Star Music The Trek; she never failed to impress performing alongside the live band Sultan is known for. Everyone that comes in contact with her can’t dispute her talent. Vocally, she’s very sound. Grace Oghenetega Edoja aka GREYC formerly referred to as Young Greyc, started her musical career doing backup vocals for Naija Ninja’s Sound Sultan before officially being signed to the label. Her first official single ‘CLOSER’ featuring Vector was released in 2012. She teamed up and featured Seyi Shay in her second official single titled ‘GET DOWN’ released in 2014. DJ Jimmy Jatt featured her in ‘GLASSES UP’ featuring 2face, Sound Sultan and Burna Boy. In 2015, she released her sophomore single under Naija Ninja titled ‘CHUKWUMA’ featuring Patoranking. By January 2016, her three-year record deal with Ninja Ninja expired, it was time to move to another phase in her career and she left for greener pastures. In October 2016, Greyc signed to AMARI MUSIQ and debuted with ‘BODY ON ME’ produced by Teemode on the 2nd of November 2016, which has gained wide acceptance. The video was shot in South Africa and directed by Josh. To be sincere, like some of the underdogs in this story, this young lady is talented and if everything goes right as expected, 2017 may be the year she will be reckoned with.
He came like a bolt of lightening with the phenomenal track ‘Do Something’, a song that obviously had influences from the likes of Sir Shina Peters and quickly became a favorite at Owambe parties. Then there was ‘Kolewerk’ which came correct with the Nigerian audience and gained massive mainstream acceptance. Determined to keep it up he dropped ‘Give Them’, a club banger. Given his antecedents thus far, could 2017 be the year Koker puts his foot through the roof and stamps his presence in the industry? Maybe. Just maybe.
Most young people favour contemporary music genres like Hip Hop and RnB over the more traditional genres, ask them what they think of Apala music and they turn their noses up in the air, that genre of music is probably too ‘razz’ for their refined tastes. Enter Terry Apala. This talented artiste is the physical manifestation of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. The texture of his voice as he switches effortlessly between Yoruba and English, belting out sweet and unique melodies like ‘Number One’, ‘Modernize’, ‘Mo Popular’, and the more recently Sess produced underground hit ‘Champagne Shower’, is more than enough reason for us to cast a searchlight on him and wonder what surprises he has in store for us in 2017.
Now if there ever was one underdog to watch out for, his name is Dice Ailes. So far he’s been oozing with confidence and consistency, dishing out hit after hit with a surgical precision reminiscent of the likes of Tekno or Kiss Daniel. His songs are tailored to suit one thing and one thing only – the mainstream Nigerian audience, and with tracks like ‘Fantasy’, ‘Telephone’, ‘Machinery’, and the more recent ‘Miracle’ featuring Lil Kesh, there is no telling what could happen this year. He just might land a ‘big’ one, and when that happens I know he’s going to grab the industry by the balls and squeeze it hard for all he can get.
I became a true disciple of the gospel of Rayce when I first heard the track ‘Roll’ back in 2012. I was immediately enthralled by his voice as it bounced melodiously over the captivating beat. To me that was his first single but officially, ‘Roll’ was his 6th single at the time. My point? Rayce has been an underdog for as long as I can remember which is a shame really, because with a retinue of hits like ‘Tested OK’, ‘Figure 8’, ‘Jack Sparrow’, and ‘Wetin Dey’, Rayce is unarguably immensely talented. All you have to do is observe how the crowd erupts deliriously when his song comes on on the dancefloor. He’s got the mainstream appeal, he’s got the hits, so what’s missing? 2017 may just be the defining year for a certain someone, and they call him Rayce…
If there is one thing X-busta has taught me, it’s the fact that there are rappers and then there are rappers. All you need is a moment in his presence and I guarantee that you would be swept away by the efficacy of the fire that he’s spitting. Not many people that call themselves rappers can do what he does, they aren’t as dynamic, they can’t make effective use of everything around them to construct tight verses or throw delicious punchlines. This is where X-busta proves himself to be a beast. The Five Star music signee is unarguably one of the best freestyle lyricists in town, and his tracks like ‘Mother Anybody’, ‘Yahoo boys’, and ‘We Outchea’ featuring Skibii are testament to the fact. This underdog may not remain an underdog for too long.
Signed to LLR/EDGE records and a protégé of Reminisce, Ola Dips’ music has been gaining serious mass appeal and his rap style is being enjoyed by many. It is safe to say that the streets love him and he indeed loves them in return. He stepped in to fill a vacuum in indigenous rap music, especially when the big guns like Olamide can arguably be said to have ‘turned’ pop. The great thing about his music is the fact that you don’t have to be Yoruba to be a fan. You somehow get what’s he’s talking about, and his music is a very good example of music that cuts across language barriers. Wherever Dagrin is right now, I’m pretty sure he would be so proud of Ola Dips. Listen to his tracks like ‘Bounce’, ‘Champagne’, ‘Let Dagrin Down’, ‘Rapture’, and see why he may not remain an underdog for much longer.
As far as underdogs go, Viktoh easily makes the cut. This skinny bad guy, as he likes to call himself, is the definition of hard luck. It was Viktoh that introduced Lil Kesh to Olamide but so many don’t know this due to the fact that Lil Kesh gained prominence before Viktoh rose to stardom. Nevertheless, Viktoh proves that he is in it for the long haul and he has two critically acclaimed tracks to show for it namely ‘Skibi Dat’ and ‘Me And My Guys’. Other viral songs that involved Viktoh includes ‘All My ladies’ featuring Phyno, ‘Efejoku’ by Lil Kesh, ‘Dan Yan Mo’ by DJ Jimmy Jatt featuring Olamide and Lil Kesh, ‘Shoro Niyen’ by YBNL Nation. Did you notice how everything was a hit, back to back? *in Olamide’s voice*
Back in 2014, Saeon scored what many will call a big hit by any standard with her single ‘Boogie Down’ featuring WizKid. And then, in what many thought was very different from the expected, Saeon put out a freestyle to the RICO track (made popular by Meek Mill and Drake). The reaction was very positive. So positive in her opinion that she decided to bring out her own style of doing music; a mixture of Rap, Hip Hop & RnB. TrapnB in her words. She put out ‘Stori’ afterwards, but it was the release of ‘De Be’ featuring Ycee (and the all star remix with Eva, Ozone, AT, Poe, and Tesh Carter) that really kicked things off for the next chapter in her music. As it stands, 2017 looks promising for the transcendent and sexy Boy-Chick as she attempts to shed her underdog status.
On 19 November 2012, when Lola Rae released her debut hit single ‘Watch My Ting Go’ and a follow up single titled ‘High’, I knew instinctively that this lady had the X-factor. Her sultry voice, her seductive looks, and her feminine allure are a deadly cocktail sure to draw much needed attention in her direction. It’s easy to regard her as a beauty without brains, but that would be a mistake, for she is a good reason why the likes of Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade should continue looking over their shoulders. If her more recent tracks like ‘You Know What My Name Is’, Biko and ‘One Time’ are anything to go by, 2017 will certainly be an interesting year for Miss Rae.
Death scare and theatrics aside, Skiibii is a talented artiste in his own right. His paths crossed with Five Star Music in 2011 through Soso Soberekon and he got signed officially to the label on December 24, 2014 with a lavish signing event which had the hitherto unknown act receive a brand new 2014 Hyundai SUV. Since then he has been dropping hits upon hits, on the cusp of something big. His discography includes tracks like ‘Aya Mi’, ‘Stay With Me’, ‘Follow D Ladder’, and ‘Sampu’. With Harrysong gone from Five Star music, this would be a great opportunity for Skiibii to put the pedal to the metal and prove to everybody once and for all that you don’t need to fake your own death to be an A-list celebrity. All you need is the prerequisite talent and the determination to go the distance and – voilà! – the world is yours…
Mz. Kiss caught the eye of CAPITAL GORETTI top executive/ILLBLISS whom she met during a radio interview at one of the top radio stations in Lagos. He kept an eye open on her consistent growth as a recording artiste, and finally made a move to complete her signing to their stable of hit making artistes. Her single ‘Owo Meta’ (produced By Tunex) was her debut single under the new Capital Goretti imprint, a street rap Anthem guaranteed to stir up loads of attention for Mz. Kiss. To many she’s like the female version of Olamide when it comes to indigenous rap music so we can expect the unexpected when it comes to this energetic lyricist. With tracks like ‘Figure 8’, ‘Spatacuz’, Stoopid Ft Falz and ‘Ikilo’ featuring Illbliss. Also not to forget her 6 tracks EP titled SOTL. Mz Kiss capabilities are on full display.
It was perhaps with a sigh of relief that we received the news that Davido had finally dropped video vixen B-Red not long after he’d signed two new acts to his label namely Mayorkun and Dremo. Mayorkun hit the ground running with a breakaway hit and soon all eyes turned to Dremo to see what magic he intended to perform, the pressure turned all the way up. And magic he has been performing, as similarities has been drawn between him and Ycee as well as with Olamide himself. What we have here is a new generation of underdogs waiting eagerly to carry the torch forward, and this particular dude is eager to prove a point as we can tell from tracks like ‘Ojere’, ‘All Work And No Play’, ‘Fela’, ‘Flavour’, and ’12 Bang’ featuring Davido.
Few things give me as much joy as receiving a bank alert, and hearing “Mr Marley on deck” blaring from really loud speakers is one of them. I love love love me some Yung L and our little romance started from the very first day I heard the song ‘Fever’ sometime in 2012. Much like Rayce, I was hooked instantly and if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s spotting talent. Then there was the awe inspiring ‘Red Rose’ and ‘Red Rose’ remix featuring MI and Jesse Jagz. There was the phenomenal ‘SOS’ in 2013, ‘Designer’ and ‘Shooga’ in 2014, ‘Kpankam’ and ‘Ina Mi Yard’ in 2015. In 2016 he promised loads of music and he made good on his word with tracks like ‘Brand New’, ‘High Life’, and ‘Pass The Aux’. There is no doubt that Yung L has come a long way on his musical journey but whether or not 2017 is his year is anybody’s guess.
On his return to the Nigerian music scene in October 2014, he dropped two singles, ‘Born You’ and ‘Low’ simultaneously. The songs gained airplay but Pepenazi came into broader limelight after dropping his Olamide featured pop centric single titled ‘Illegal’. The second half of year 2015 was Pepenazi’s breakthrough period such that in recognition of his fast rise to prominence, he was nominated as Rookie of the Year at the 2015 Headies’ Flip the Script Award. 2016 began for Pepenazi when he dropped the video to the single titled ‘One For The Road’, produced by Pheelz, which became a hit. He then releases another pop centric single titled ‘Iwo Na’ (Your wishes) featuring YBNL Nation act Lil Kesh. That same year he also delivered Ain’t Gat No Time. The Ecleftic Entertainment signee has certainly been on a roll thus far, but where will the pendulum swing for him in 2017? Mystreetz magazine will keep you posted…
Following various award nominations, which include the NEA2016 Best New Act category, Toby Grey has been on the watch list of the music industry stakeholders given her antecedents as a sensational singer. The Grey Nation first lady was on her A game in 2016 in terms of delivery and consistency as she flooded the industry with songs like ‘Love Dosage’, my personal favourite ‘You & I’, ‘Do’, as well as other musical offerings like ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Gbona’. The great thing about Toby Grey is that she’s young and passionate about what she does, and if she’s hoping to surpass all expectations she would have to bring out the big guns to the forefront and get cooking in the studio booth like her life depended on it.
The first time I heard ‘One More Try’ on radio, I was dumbfounded. I was so curious to know who the artiste was. In an industry where most radio stations just play music without running commentary about the song or on the artiste, it took me about a week before I was able to associate the name of the artiste to the song. Kollydee is the future of RnB music in Nigeria or Africa and if he keeps putting in the work, 2017 might be a breakthrough year for him. This dude is in a league of his own. He released his debut single ‘DON’T GO in February 2014. In November 2015, Kollydee recorded a unique cover of Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ which went viral on social media and on radio and was listed by Medium.com as one of the “Best Nigerian songs of 2015”. He was also listed amongst the top 5 Nigerian male vocalists to watch out for by NotJustOk.com and TooXclusive.com top music blog sites in Nigeria. His sophomore single ‘ONE MORE TRY’ was released in April 2016 and was listed as one of the biggest RnB songs in Nigeria topping radio charts across Nigeria and around Africa.
Immaculate, the first lady to be signed on to Vivace Records, owned by ace music producer Tee-Y Mix, first gained attention as the 2013 1st runner-up on MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 6, a reality TV show sponsored by MTN. It was a shocker to many of her diehard fans when she lost out to Olawale in the competition but that didn’t deter the immensely talented diva as she has shown that she is not a sprinter but a marathoner. She debuted with ‘Gogo Baby’ in 2014 which was more than enough to get our collective attention, then there was the beautiful ‘Forever’ which was followed by the highly infectious tune ‘Osanle’ in 2015. Her most recent track is titled ‘SugarLala’, on which she shows just how much of a vocal powerhouse she really is. Immaculate has got her eyes set on the horizon; the big leagues, I can smell the ambition all over her. Never mind the fact that females in the industry have to work twice as hard to get half of what their male counterparts get and also make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of their craft, the future is looking very bright for this plus size beauty. But is 2017 going to be the year she exceeds all expectations including hers? Mystreetz Magazine will keep you posted.
It is perhaps impossible to come across this remarkable artiste and his music without drawing similarities between him and the legendary Tuface Idibia, both physically and vocally. From the Star Quest singing competition in 2006 in Jos, to the annual Kennis Music Easter fiesta where he astonished the crowd with a freestyling rap accapella, Joe El has always been about the music, it was all he ever wanted to do; and with hit tracks like ‘Love Song’, ‘Happy’, and ‘Bakololo’, I’d say he make the right call. Other amazing tracks of his include the specular ‘Oya Now’ featuring Oritsefemi, the inspirational ‘Chukwudi’, and the more recently released ‘Do Good’ which for some reason I can’t seem to stop humming in my head. Joe El ticks all the right boxes and his song touches strong themes such as God, love, hope, good times, and a hope for a better tomorrow; and if he keeps at it the way he has been doing, A-list status is inevitable. After all, Chukwu di…
Culled from Mystreetz Magazine