The rap/hip hop conversation is a never ending cycle in the Nigerian music industry.
“Hip hop is dead”, “no one raps any more” “Bare rappers are singing for the money” etc. I won’t say it’s not necessary; it has always been a regular reminder of the reality of the Nigerian music scene.
2023 has seen this discourse take a turn for the positive but to get there, we have to touch 2022 real quick.
The year is 2022, DND Section and Psycho YP have their beef thing, it starts as joke but it gets serious. Rap is at the forefront and everyone jumps on it. Almost every rapper drops a verse, Blaqbonez gets called out, MI gets the heat too. It was an awakening, an awakening that will yield results in the coming year.
One man who profited from all of this though was Odumodublvck. Odumodu dropped his diss track, (he dissed lagos and got the smoke) in the midst of that chaos and best believe he was heard.
I spoke with Odumodu in December 2022 and this was what he had to say then about the progress of hip-hop in Nigeria.
“For me, progress is subjective, because the discussion comes up every time doesn’t mean that people won’t still Jonze. The reason why Afrobeats artistes are topping is because a lot of rappers do not have self-belief.
Back then, the talk was nobody cares what you are saying, they just want to vibe. Why? The people saying this did not have lyrical content.
The next thing was, “Nobody wants to listen to an EP because people’s attention span is low.” Burna boy dropped something close to that and everyone jumped on that. Burna then got nominated for a Grammy with an album, everyone jumped on that wave once again.
Rappers are not doing what they are meant to do, they are following trends. Afrobeats guys are dropping visuals as they drop albums. Asake is using the same beat but he drops videos immediately. He is in your face, Seeing is believing.
Put effort into your craft as a rap artiste. I dissed M.I on that twitter space. Dropping songs without videos. When he saw me in the club after that day, he gave me money because I was saying the truth. He’s our leader. If they don’t respect him, they won’t respect us.
Rappers need to sit up and drop songs like pop artistes and not wait for the perfect time. The only time you wait is if you have a perfect plan, when you know you’re going to get an advance, get playlisted and all of that.”
Boyyy did rappers sit up. 2023 has been a hip hop resurgence year.
Odumodu has been at the forefront and he has had a crazy year. Headies Rookie of the year and Best Rap Single Winner. His Viral hit, Declan Rice was used to unveil Declan Rice when he joined Arsenal from West Ham. Odumodu has also had multiple collaborations in Nigeria and beyond.
His album Eziokwu peaked at Number 1 on theTurntable Official Top 50 Albums Chart in Nigeria while Blood on the dance floor in currently the number one song on the Turntable Charts.
Blaqbonez has not disappointed either, winning the best Rap Album at the headies. He released Emeka Must Shine, an album that has solidified his spot as one of the best hip hop artistes in the business currently. Emeka Must Shine currently sits as the Number 2 Album on the TurnTable Official Top 50 Albums Chart.
Erigga’s Family Time is another one on the charts, Currently at 9th position on theTturntable albums charts. Reminisce’s ASTG, Vol. 1 made its debut on the TurnTable Albums Chart, ranking 23rd.
Zlatan’s Omo Ologo EP Peaked at number 3 on theTurnTable Official Top 50 Albums Chart in Nigeria. The EP is classified under Street-Pop but allow allow lol.
Last but certainly not least is Olamide. I kind of saved the best for the last. The Grammy list dropped recently and the Nigerian rapper got nominated, the first Nigerian rapper to be nominated for a Grammy award. His album Unruly was the number one album in the country at some point when it was released and it has spent 13 weeks on the Turntable Charts currently sitting in 15th place.
With these few points of mine, i hope i have been able to convince you and not to confuse you that there is a Hip-Hop resurgence in the country. It’s not hear say, there’s evidence. What a time to be alive!