2017 was an amazing year for music of Nigerian origin as sounds from studios in Lagos held worldwide music industry on the edge. Wizkid challenged the standards of worldwide pop music with his combined elements of African and Caribbean sounds with “Come Closer”. Hate it or love it, Davido remains the biggest act rocking the African continent at the moment. However a barrage of new artists emerged from the trenches of the underground world, they sang their way into our hearts with their classic releases. With 2018 officially here, Acada Magazine in our yearly tradition has these new set of artists that are ready to make a leap into superstardom, some of them are known names already but not yet bonafide celebrities while some are gaining ascendancy in the music circuit at the moment. We present to you, our top 10 artists to watch out for this year.
COMPILED BY SHOLA “STRAWBERRY” ADEBAKIN
When you are uber-talented and you have a heavyweight like Davido and his DMW crew behind you, expect nothing but greatness. This is the case of the banker turned singer, Mayorkun who became an instant hit maker in just nine days following the 1 million Youtube viewership of his debut single “Eleko” released a month after he was signed. He dropped a couple of singles such as “Yawa” which didn’t really hit the right chord with the music audience. Mayorkun has special skills which he cleverly puts to use (a knack for rehashing formulas of successful and trending waves). End-products of his critical thinking and hunger for stardom is the single, “Mama”, we all know the hullabaloo generated by the success of the song which is more like a reworked version of Davido’s 2017 monster hit “Fall”. In spite of the criticism trailing his sound, the hard-working singer shut naysayers up with the success of “CheChe” which got us all eating from his palms again.
Don’t fret, though no new star was made in 2017, Mayorkun ruled the latter months of 2017 and his unfiltered music demeanor and majestic abilities will keep his name on everyone’s tongue by the end of 2018.
Olatunji Olabode better known as Dotman is signed to U&I Music, he crept out of the trenches of the underground with “Melo” in 2015, and followed it up with a remix with Olamide and a slew of other singles which didn’t make the expected impact.
2016 was the turning-point with the popular street hit “Akube” which rode on the mad love for the ponponpon wave accompanied with a follow-up video and dance competition which help built a cult followership on the streets with the signature Akube dance which helped push a whopping 10million views on Youtube as at 2017. It didn’t take much time before the Akube vibe spilled over to the clubs and DJs playlists.
Dotman is courting superstardom everyday as he keeps unleashing fire tunes back to back like “My Woman” another stellar hit in its own rights with crazy acceptance from the womenfolk. “Afro Woman” where he enlisted Starboy protégé Mr. Eazi is quite doing fine on the charts alongside his most recent offering “Popping Bottles”. Dotman has solidified his standing on the ponponpon wave and 2018 is evidently going to be a monstrous one for him.
3. DICE AILES
The catchphrase “Otedola with the money o!!!” is synonymous with rapper, singer, songwriter Shasha Damilola Alesh better known as Dice Ailes. In case you thought the burgeoning star was a fluke, Dice Ailes has been scoring sizzling releases like “Miracle” featuring Lil Kesh, “Ella” to mention a few since he got signed to Chocolate City back in 2014.
The plot-twist he has been waiting for was his instant hit “Otedola” released in October 2017, the mega hit was just like uncorking something potent that has fermented for decades and once we had a taste, we all got hooked to the Otedola virus. Dice Ailes capitalized on the popular mega rich Oil and Gas Mogul’s name Femi Otedola and flipped it into an addictive earworm we all vibe to in the last quarter of 2017.
Dice Ailes has won fans over with the punchlines off this crossover hit so he has no reason not to breakout as a bonafide star come 2018.
4. NONSO AMADI
Looking for a singer with a fiery soul and intoxicating vocals to match, a voice that would make the likes of Banky W jealous, Nonso Amadi is a perfect match. The effervescent singer-songwriter glided unto the Nigerian music scene from his base in Canada with his somber tune “Tonight”. The song details Nonso playing the role of a cheating lover who finds himself in the hands of a heartbroken girlfriend blowing hot with a gun in her hands pointed to his forehead. The scenario well detailed in the lyrics of the song resonated with every first time listener of the beautiful tune.
Nonso’s music is self-reflective according to him and it’s evident in the lyrics of his songs. He consolidated on the love and support he is enjoying over here with his homecoming concert held at the Hard Rock Café.
He might not be the most popular freshman on the Nigerian music scene but the good looking lad is a work-in-progress, a bringer of good vibes and the ladies love him for that. His latest offering, Radio is gently gaining airplay.
5. Q DOT
One of the few flying the flags of Apala Hip Hop, the Alomo Meta crooner has been winning fans with music laced with the traditional Apala rhythm for quite some time, we can confidently say Q Dot’s music is well known on the streets where lies his core fans but mainstream acceptance has eluded the singer who has worked his way into the hearts of many from his Ibadan base over the years. He keeps shooting himself in the feet with below par music videos and poor branding.
His 2017 viral offering “Apala New Skool” reached out to a wider audience and he followed up with the refix of Olamide’s viral street anthem “Wo”.
He is taking the game to a higher level with his newly released crispy video of his latest single, “Ijo Gelede”.
2018 promises to be the crossover year for Q Dot beyond his niche if he can filter his looks and rework his branding for mainstream acceptance.
Little is known about indigenous rapper Slimcase in the mainstream music scene before the viral dance steps “Shaku Shaku” movement became a trend. Slimcase has been courting huge followership on the streets with songs like “Majeomo”, the popular street hit “Oh Baby” (Ringtone) though laced with explicit lyrics which are not suitable for the Radio. Slimcase is a trendsetter in his own rights, he is one of the purveyors of the Shaku Shaku trend with his recent offering “Oshozondi”. “Legbegbe” by his crony Mr Real and a host of other street soldiers changing the narratives now with Slimcase being the most visible courtesy of his double character (the funny and witty Saint Sammy Ganja). These new sound has relegated the Pon Pon Pon sound to the background in the last quarter of 2017 and the mainstream acts are latching on the trend with songs like Olamide’s “Wo” and “Science Students” helping to push the trend.
Slimcase has no song on radio and no video showing on our Television screens but he is being courted by the celebrities smartly riding on his wave. Dbanj’s recent offering “Issa Banger” enjoyed supportive lyrics from the street soldier as well as DJ Enimoney’s “Diet” featuring Reminisce and Tiwa Savage, and produced by Sarz.
With the king of nightlife Shina Peller behind you, expect nothing but power moves with the network of contacts at his disposal. Such was the case of Aquila Records last signee Airboy who was introduced to the public with much fanfare after a couple of artists like Base One and his younger brother Que Peller earlier signed to their sister company Aquila Records were welcomed with lukewarm acceptance.
Airboy’s hypnotic single “Ayepo”, a jolly good laidback song which preaches hard work and merriment. He sampled Fela’s sound just like Dbanj did with “Emergency and it was just a matter of time before he got music lovers cranking up the volume and salivating for more.
With a remix featuring dancehall top act, Burnaboy gaining traction, Airboy is carrying the torch for the Aquila brand making the most of everything and influence the Boss brings to the table.
8. JUNIOR BOY
Much cannot be said about this Ebute Metta bred singing sensation apart from the fact he blessed our eardrums with the beautiful song “Irapada” in 2017 though the success of the hit song had fingers pointing towards singer 9ice’s vocal support. Junior Boy has been struggling to score a follow-up single having dropped two singles without much fanfare but the fact still remains that 2017 was good to the freshman. Time will tell if he is going to be a one hit wonder or not.
Ladipo Eso better known as Poe or Ladipoe by major industry players is a witty lyricist destined for superstardom. Freshly signed as the first rapper to Africa’s biggest record label, Mavin, he demonstrated his lyrical prowess on Show Dem Camp’s monster hit “Feel Alright”, his standout verses in Yemi Alade’s “Marry Me” and “Chardonnay Music” by Falz.
With Don Jazzy’s produced “Are You Down” with melodious angelic vocal touches from Africa’s biggest female act Tiwa Savage. The playful single is gradually gaining traction since the release of its visuals. It is safe to say Ladipoe will sure make headlines by the end of 2018.
10. BEAMBO TAYLOR
Do female rappers or Femcees as we fondly call them stand a chance in the Nigerian Hip Hop community? The question begs lots of answers when you look at the lukewarm acceptance or inactivity of female rappers in Nigeria. It is difficult to point out one female rapper in Nigeria making competitive or influential music let alone mainstream domination. Those before them, the likes of Sasha, Blaise, Kel, Muna, Bouqui, Pryse and Eva have switched careers.
Out of the blues come this fairytale Queen of Ibile rap, her name is Beambo Taylor. She surfaced with her debut single “Funwon Finish” mid 2017. A straight hardcore rap with heavy punchlines and braggadocious lyrics. Beambo Taylor is bursting with serious energy and raw talent at the moment, her showmanship is top notch judging by her crowd-pleasing and confidence when performing on the big stage, she is a nonconformist and not easily intimidated by the top dawgs in the game.
Her latest offering “Ye” is quite experimental with smooth lyrics in English language and a fusion of Fuji. Beambo Taylor comes into the industry with lots of promise. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see how things pan out for the indigenous Femcee by the end of 2018. She has the credentials of a pretty face to accentuate her entry plus basic ingredients needed to survive in the industry.