Meet Rap Stars representing Nigeria on the global Hip-Hop scene

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Jidenna attends the BET Hip Hop Awards 2016 Green Carpet at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on September 17, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Marcus Ingram/BET/Getty Images for BET)

Meet Rap Stars representing Nigeria on the global Hip-Hop scene

Tinie Tempah

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You can’t forget Jumoke, the bread seller, who photo-bombed TY Bello’s photo shot in a rush; today she is now a model with different endorsements as one thing had led to the other after that singular act. Meanwhile, not much has been said about the artiste whose photo session was in progress on that day. He’s Tinie Tempah a British rapper of Nigeria Igbo descent christened Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu (Jr.).

In 2006, he got heavy airplay on British music TV channel, Channel U, for his song “Wifey Riddim”, and the next year he collaborated with artists Agent X and Ultra. He released his own debut mix CD “Hood Economic” in 2008, and was then recruited to tour with Chipmunk in 2009.
As he began to reach broader audience by taking it to the road with Chipmunk, he worked on his next project. In February 2010, he dropped his debut single “Pass Out” and ruled U.K. Singles chart for two consecutive weeks. His success earned him a slot at Glastonbury where he shared the stage with rap mogul Snoop Dogg.

His second single “Frisky” peaked at No. 2 on the country’s singles chart. Shortly after, he was brought around Europe by Rihanna for an extended leg of her tour. He continued to perform in a number of major events while at the same time releasing single after single until his first major-label album “Disc-Overy” came out in October the same year.

The album reached No. 1 on U.K. Albums chart and was nominated for MasterCard British Album of the Year at 2010 BRIT Awards. He was named Best Newcomer at 2010 MOBO Awards and the “Frisky” music video is honored as MOBO’s Best Video. He also got multiple nominations including MOBO’s British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Artist.

Tempah is also a prominent figure in modern British fashion. In 2012, he was named best dressed man in GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. In 2015, he was chosen as the new men ambassador for London Menswear Collections, replacing Nick Grimshaw, and was named one of GQ’s 50 best dressed British men.

In October 2015, Tempah became a team captain for Sky 1’s music/comedy panel show Bring the Noise alongside pop star Nicole Scherzinger. In 2016, he appeared on the British programme Top Gear, along with Seasick Steve and Sharleen Spiteri in a South African SUV challenge. In 2017 he launched his fashion label What We Wear at London Fashion Week Men’s and streamed the show on Youtube.

In 2015, Tempah earned his seventh UK number one single with “Turn the Music Louder (Rumble)”, a song by KDA, which also features English singer-songwriter Katy B. He released the mixtape Junk Food, with collaborations from a large number of British artists. Girls Like featuring Zara Larsson was the second single from Youth, released in May 2016. The single peaked at number five on the UK Official Charts, later being certified Platinum.

Text from Your Ex featuring Tinashe was the third single released from Youth, charting at number 23 on the UK Official Charts. The album “Youth” was released on 14 April 2017 by Parlophone and Disturbing London Records. The album debuted at number 9 on the UK Official Charts, gifting Tempah his third top ten albums.

Jidenna  

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Jidenna attends the BET Hip Hop Awards 2016 Green Carpet at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on September 17, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Marcus Ingram/BET/Getty Images for BET)

   

Jidenna Mobbisson, a sharp dresser, rapper and American musician of Nigeria Igbo descent whose style of music is majorly influence by KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane, as well as the Nigerian Highlife music genre, is one of the celebrities identifying with the Naija green white green flag, and also contributing towards its development.

When he dropped his debut single “Classic Man” in February 2015, featuring Roman GianArthur, the song instantly became a hit, as if it was what the entire world was waiting for. The song has been played in heavy rotation throughout the United States and debuted at number 49 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.

Over the years, he has developed his personal style in college, where he learned about the power of fashion. He adopts his signature dandy style after his father’s death in 2010. Jidenna describes his look as “heavily inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with hints of traditional West African design,” and a “marriage of European and African aesthetics.”

In September 2016, Jidenna was featured in an episode of the Netflix original series Luke Cage. Season 1 episode 5, “Just to Get a Rep”, opens with Jidenna performing “Long Live the Chief” at the fictitious Harlem’s Paradise. He performed “Long Live the Chief” and “Little Bit More” with a full band on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in October 2016. Jidenna guest starred on Insecure in the episodes “Thirsty as Fuck,” and “Shady as Fuck,” which aired in November 2016.

A Chopped and screwed version of “Classic Man” featured in the Academy Award winning 2016 film “Moonlight”. The song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards.

Earlier in the year, Jidenna released “The Chief” his first studio album. The album cover pays homage to Boz Scaggs’ Middle Man album.

The entertainer who is signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records not only help raised funds for those in need of resources in Texas, but also raise awareness about climate change to those that may not have all of the information. He also joined in raising awareness for support for the flood victims in Benue State in Nigeria.

Wale    

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Wale, Born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, is an American- Nigerian rapper whose parents are from the Yoruba ethnic group of Nigeria. He’s really in bed with Nigeria music right now, with three Nigerian stars already on his album “Shine”, though a lot of observers feel concerned about his romance with Nigerian acts now because of his cold attitudes towards them in the past.

But all of that is in the past. Wale has moved on from such behaviour, and began working relationship with Nigerian artists. Though most of the works that was done on the projects of Nigerian artists. He never released an official single with Nigerian artists on. But he kept his association with Nigeria heavy.

At some point, he tried to get Jay Z’s Roc Nation to sign Wizkid. But that was unsuccessful.

In 2015, Wale released a documentary detailing his travel to Nigeria to meet with his extended family members and soak up the culture. And that same year, he teased fans with a move back to Nigeria. Although, that never happened.

Wale whose family house is in Ondo state, and according to him, he ‘still pays’ for his father’s house there, has gone from being a guest on Nigerian records, to putting Nigerians on American records.

When he announced his forthcoming album “Shine” and released the artwork which featured Nigerian acts such as Olamide, Davido and Wizkid on the project.

Wale is doing this because it is cool to do it now. The past two years have seen the world awaken to the presence and power of Nigerian music. The sound is different from anything they have got, the artists add a fresh and exotic dimension to what is in the West, and so everyone is making a content dash for the continent.

It’s no different from all the other Americans who tap into our sound. Only that this time, it’s a prestigious son of the soil, who has earned enough credibility, and repaid the favour.

Aside from music, Wale teamed up with Philadelphia retailer Ruvilla, and ASICS for a product called “Bottle Rocket” Asics Gel Lyte III in 2015. In 2016, he teamed with ASICS again with a product that features gold and shades of black and blue.

Skepta    

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Skepta, born Joseph Adenuga, to Nigerian parents is a veteran of the U.K. grime scene, MC, producer, and record-label owner. Skepta was influential in its shift from the underground to the pop charts, as well as its creative and commercial resurgence during the mid-2010s.

Inspired by both U.S. and U.K. hip-hop, he started his music career appearing on the pirate radio circuit and performing at various MC battles. In 2005, he formed the grime label Boy Better Know with brother J.M.E. and Wiley, and a year later joined East London collective Roll Deep, although he left the following year to concentrate on Boy Better Know and his solo career.

He released his first two albums, Greatest Hits and Microphone Champion, through his label before signing with All Around the World Records in 2010. In the same year, he reached the Top 40 with “Bad Boy” (number 26) and “Rescue Me” (number 14), supported Chipmunk on his U.K. tour, and was personally selected by P. Diddy to record a grime remix of “Hello Good Morning” after being recommended by his Twitter followers.

His third album, Doin’ It Again, featuring the Top 40-charting single “Cross My Heart,” was released at the beginning of 2011, subsequently peaking at number 19 on the U.K. album chart.

After keeping a low profile in 2013, Skepta came back in a big way the following year. He contributed a verse to a remix of “German Whip” by Meridian Dan, which became a Top 20 hit in May 2014. The following month, Skepta’s single “That’s Not Me” (which featured a guest verse by J.M.E.) was released, hitting number 21 on the charts.

Both tracks were praised as helping to revitalize grime, and the latter was eventually named track of the year by FACT Magazine. Skepta’s early 2015 single “Shutdown” was another U.K. Top 40 hit, and the MC received attention from Drake and Kanye West, joining the latter on-stage during the BRIT Awards.

Skepta made his acting debut with a role in the 2015 crime drama Anti-Social, and worked on his long-delayed album Konnichiwa. The album was finally released by Boy Better Know in May of 2016, featuring guest appearances from Wiley, Pharrell Williams, and Novelist, in addition to his previous two hit singles. It debuted at number two on the British charts and earned vast critical acclaim, including the prestigious Mercury Prize.

Skepta says he’s not a rapper, but an activist during an interview with Time Out Magazine. His influence on contemporary British popular culture as a key figure in the grime scene saw him appear on Debrett’s 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK.

Tyler the creator 

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Tyler, born Tyler Gregory Okonma is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and video director, from Nigeria. He is the co-founder of the flourishing hip-hop collective “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All”. He began his career by uploading songs on ‘Tumblr’ that quickly went viral and grabbed mass attention.

Tyler self-produced his first mixtape ‘Bastard’ and followed it up with his debut album ‘Goblin’. He has performed in top television shows such as ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’, ‘The Mindy Project’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’. He also hosts the annual ‘Camp Flog Gnaw’ carnival at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles; the event attracts music lovers from all over the globe.

He has had the opportunity of working with mega recording brands such as ‘XL Recordings’, ‘Sony Music Entertainment’ and ‘RED Distribution’. He recently joined the garment industry by founding his own clothing company called ‘Golf Wang’. Tyler has won several accolades for his distinctive contribution as an artist and performer.

His most anticipated album ‘Wolf’ topped numerous charts worldwide. It ranked at the number 3 spot on U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. And his first single from the album ‘Wolf’ called ‘Domo23’ was placed at number 2 on ‘Bubbling under Hot 100 Singles Billboard’ and at number 13 on ‘US Heatseekers Songs Billboard’

In 2011 he won three awards – the first at the ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ for ‘Best New Artist’ and at the ‘MTV2 Sucker Free Awards’ he took home two awards for ‘Rookie of the Year’ and ‘Must Follow Artist’.

In 2013, he was nominated to the prestigious ‘Grammy Awards’ in the category of ‘Album of the Year (as featured artist)’. The following year, he was nominated at the ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ for ‘Best Art Direction’.

In 2015, ‘MTV Video Music Awards’ nominated him in the category of ‘Best Visual Effects’ for his singles Fucking Young and Death Camp.

On June 29, 2017, Tyler released a song titled “Who Dat Boy” featuring A$AP Rocky on a new YouTube channel following many promotional countdown posts on his social media accounts. Later that night, he released the song on streaming services with a new song titled “911 / Mr. Lonely” featuring Steve Lacy, Frank Ocean, and Anna of the North.

He released several singles including “Boredom” and “I Ain’t Got Time!” after which he dropped his fourth album “Flower Boy” over iTunes, Spotify, and other major music services on July 21.

 

About The Author

Sunday Obembe fondly called ‘MC Obems’ is a result oriented Journalist, Public Relations Consultant cum Master of Ceremony. He’s the Managing Editor of Acada Magazine. Aside writing, talking, reading and traveling; he’s passionate about taking on challenges and proffering solutions.

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