The Freshmen Honcho Artists By Sesan Adeniji
As of early August 2019, they are a bunch of new sounds that dominated the Nigerian music industry. One doesn’t need rocket science to see through the reality that the newbies churning out these tunes are topping charts and dictating pop culture conversations. Combatant in competition, their inflow is significant. Equipped with a body of work that is trendy and infectious, these folks are not in for the crumbs; they bite from the major budgets earmarked for the entire entertainment business.
Some of these lads are tactically astute. Over the years, they gathered a massive fan base via several social media outlets like #SoundCloud. And now, they have successfully moved those legions of active devotees to the mainstream music industry. These card-carrying fans are engaging with their music daily on a minute-to-minute basis and they will converge everywhere these artists are performing. That is the crowd that brands are targeting to drive their bottom-line. They are tilting the budget in favor of these new wave honcho artists.
Alongside Fireboy DML who made the cover story, below is a list of the freshmen entertainers presently holding the mainstream audience spellbound. Although there are more talents on the upward trajectory who haven’t made this cut but in the coming edition, we will put a spotlight on them.
Gov’t Name – Divine Ikubor
Age – 19
Reppin: Jozin World / Mavin Records
Notable Releases – Dumebi (2019), Spiderman (2019), Boulevard ( 2019), American Love ( 2019 )
Brimming with lyrical prowess and backed by Mavin Records envious business acumen, it will be hard for anyone conversant with the happenings in the Nigerian music industry to say they are not in the know of the artist called REMA except the person is in a self induced social coma or oblivious to the projection in the Nigerian music industry.
With more than three songs enjoying traction on radio, he arguably tops the list of artist that headline most musical activations. Boosted by a 5-track Freestyle EP that ranked on Apple Top 100 chart, REMA takes no prisoners. This hip-hop / Trap flag-bearer means business; he’s one of the head honcho new generation entertainers raking in most of the entertainment budget.
When his songs ranked on Apple 100, he wrote on his twitter account @heisrema
“1 kid. Number 1&2 album on @applemusic. 5 songs on the top 100 chart. Number 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 including 4 trap songs.
“This has never happened in the history of the Nigerian music industry. Check the statistics, no cap.”
On Instagram, he wrote, “I feel glad seeing ‘TRAP’ records up in the Nigerian charts, the first of its kind and I’m proud to be part of it. It’s a new beginning and I’m ready to fight to the end to solidify this movement! Thank you for accepting my sound, God bless you all,” he said.
Gov’t Name – Adedamola Adefolahan
Age – Unspecified
Notable Releases – Jealous, Fire Down, What If I Say, King
Truth be told, the success story of Adedamola Adefolahan alias Fireboy DML is still catching up with several music aficionados across the country but his achievements so far have been remarkable. My experience touring with him during his first-ever inter-state media tour, which lasted for three weeks, was humbling. We thought we had an idea of the #expected. We never envisaged what was coming.
As the plane taxied down the runway heading for takeoff to Enugu for that state’s media rounds, sitting beside the “Jealous” crooner, I could feel nervousness running down his spinal cord. It was his first time experiencing an aircraft transitioning into cosmos but months ahead of him, his tuneful music had already flown to several continents – places only a few of his contemporaries could dream of. The video clips of Swizz Beatz #vibing to “Jealous” gives credence to this.
Like a tsunami, the love for his music from a legion of fans floored in like heavy rainfall linked to a massive hurricane. The impact was overwhelming, eye-opening, unprecedented and has trappings of an A-list entertainer on the way up to conquer the world. Although still working his socks off steadily and consistently, all things being equal, Fireboy and his music are on the route to record greatness.
The coal city experience was a game-changer; likewise, it was in Ibadan and Benin. Evidence gathered during those travels #were mind-blowing. The diehard audiences were not only head over heels for ‘Jealous’, but they were also in the know of his other records like ‘Fire Down’, ‘I’ll Be Fine’ and ‘king’. By the time ‘WIIS’ debuted with scintillating visuals shot in ‘Seychelles’, no one could argue against reasons why Fireboy tops music charts across the country. – Culled from his Mystreetz Magazine Cover story
Gov’t Name – Hart Idawarifagha
Age – Not Specified
Reppin: Grafton Records
Notable Releases – No One Else (2018), No One Else ft Teni (remix) (2019), Amayanabo( 2019)
Seldom does one come across any trending new generation artist justifiably credited with the tag music producer, songwriter and a performing artist at the same time? Likewise, only a few in the mentioned category can hold an audience spellbound for over one hour while performing with a live band. Idahams ticks both boxes with alacrity. Watching him perform during his exclusive #100 event where he sang songs from his newly released 5-track EP titled “Amayanabo”, this lad’s musical adroitness enviably spills and he owes no one an apology for it.
His music career started at the age of 10 as a member of the Anglican Church in Rivers State. With skills on playing the keyboard, trumpet and bass guitar Idahams worked his way up humming musical notes through the tiny street in his neighborhood devoid of the basic amenities of life. But despite his surrounding difficulties, he kept his eyes on the big picture. That paid off when he got signed to Grafton records. With chart-topping ‘No One Else’, the remix featuring Teni and the conspicuous party single “Amayanabo”, Idahams will become a major force to reckon with.
Gov’t Name – Akumefule Chukwu-Emeka
Age – 24 –
Reppin: 100 Crowns / Chocolate City
Notable Releases – Mamiwater (2018), Denied (2019), Play ft. Ycee (2019), Good boy (2019)
The thin line between most genres might have significantly blurred but when it comes to hip-hop and lyricism, the mechanism for becoming a respected rapper hasn’t changed. One mic, a handful cheering of hip-hop fanatics forming a ring and two emcees right in the middle to battle for who gets the honor as a dope punch-lines craftsman and storyteller. That’s the route Blaqbonez came through to earn his respect as one of the best talents in the game.
Since his professional debut in 2012 to date, he has rolled out eight bodies of work – topping the records of some notable Nigerian hip-hop icons. Although that notable feat doesn’t necessarily guarantee one as being successful in terms of popularity, it does form the foundation that allows one to be reckoned with as one of the most revered acts in the game. That is the story that earned Blaqbonez a record deal on the books of 100 Crowns affiliated with Chocolate city.
With the single “Mamiwater” featuring Oxlade from his “Bad Boy Blaq” ReUp a 7-track EP enjoying airplay and rave reviews across the industry, Balqbonez should have a great end to 2019.
Gov’t Name – Ikuforiji Abdulrahman Olaitan
Age – 22
Notable Releases – Shugar (2018), Sing – Fireboy DML and Oxlade (2018), Causing Trouble -DJ Tunez ft Oxlade(2019), “Mamiwater” – Blaqbonez ft. Oxlade
There’s a growing consensus that Oxlade is one of the best new-generation vocal power-house in the industry today. As easy as pie, whenever this lad opens his mouth to sing and goes falsetto, his sonic cadence, and vocal precision is reminiscent of Wande Coal, 2Baba and Faze. Then add his continuous tenacity to keep grinding his way up; it feels like a textbook example from a D’banj playbook when he started his career.
With singles such as “Ojoro”, Oxlade Made his entrance in the industry and garnered fans base across the digital platforms. By the time him and Fireboy DML’ released “Sing”, the big players like Davido gave him rave reviews – so much that everyone thought he was going to become a signed artist under DMW’s imprint. That didn’t come to fruition but Oxlade continues to prove his mettle with singles like ‘Shugar’, ‘Legend’ and the other songs he featured on like “Causing Trouble” by DJ Tunez and “Mamiwater” by Blaqbonez.
Gov’t Name – Lawal Raheem
Age – 19
Reppin: Doro Music
Notable Releases – “Time” ft Olamide -(2018), “Monalisa” -(2019), Self-Made -(2018)
Outside the Mo’Hits dynasty, I think that Olamide’s YBNL has churned out more artists in this present era than most indie record labels. One of the talents who benefited from that magnanimity is the artist known as Lyta. Although he has since exited the label, the aura he garnered will forever precede and make way for him. It was a glorious beginning and his future is looking better.
Signed to YBNL alongside Limerick on the same date, the 15th of February 2018, the buzz that came in handy with such gesture from Olamide shot him up as a major newbie contender. From that moment onward, it has been steady climbs from the Ajegunle homegrown as he mounts stages cheered by an elite crowd. Not dampened by the exodus from YBNL, Lyta has turned all the positives into an arsenal for more success reflective in his latest single “Monalisa”.
Words By Sesan Adeniji – Socials – Instagram & Twitter – @sesanadeniji