When a roll call of music’s finest and best has to taken, it’s an inevitable feat that some must just be mentioned before others. Call it competition or whatever you may but as much as these acts keep striving to be notable personalities without motives of outdoing each other, you can’t help but notice the strategies employed that makes them outstanding and ultimately puts only one person at the leading spot.
TooXclusive starts off the new month by continuing it’s top 10 music franchise series by presenting Naija’s hottest male artistes in the ‘A’ category.
10. SEAN TIZZLE
Sean Tizzle sealed his entry in the music scene with a series of breath taking events. From the release of Sho Lee and the controversy that later trailed the track’s success over song writing credits, he rode on the chariots given him by producer D’Tunes and using the platform of Difference Entertainment to carve out his play field. Sean’s sound are majorly African influenced and when they’re married with his comfortable tenor range, genius finds a way to be reached in his sonorous offerings. Consecutively, he released Mama Eh/International Badman, Komole and Kilogbe all to critical acclaim. Then came the Headies… and he won! His title as Next Rated Artiste was met with a variety of indifference. But like we never expected it, he came through with his debut album The Journey only after three previously released singles managed wading through the music storm. He’s remained resolute in his career art releasing follow up videos to tracks off the album including Take It and Perfect Gentleman.
9. ORITSE FEMI
Music taliban, Oritse Femi sure won’t be offended if we refer to him as one taking the bull by it’s horns. Re-emancipating himself from the league of has-beens after a long hiatus would be that moment when his smash hit Double Wahala stormed the music media space with a cataclysmic force. The street classic dedicated to afro beat legend, Fela got industry lovers scampering for downloads. In the wake of the 2014 year, he enlisted the services of O.B.O crooner to power his Sexy Ladies track. Following after would be Double Wahala Remix with a D’Banj feature leaving us unsure if this was born out of popular demand or the need to extend it’s waning glory. Reeling off the sour-tasting frenzy, along came Body & Soul + Redi Dance; tracks tailored after the successes of his previous hit singles. At this point, Oritse Femi had risen fast to becoming sought after. Ice Prince cornered him into assisting vocals on Tears For Naija – a freestyle cut for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. 2face mentee, Joe El didn’t pass up the opportunity when it came calling and the result would be the OJB Jezreel produced Oya Now. Story Story is no longer what we thought to be a most unusual collaboration as both Iyanya and Femi showed properties of chemical elements, oil and vinegar; both going together but not mixing.
It’s safe to say that Iyanya has grown out of his Project Fame repute having fashioned an art and style relative to his music craft. Iyanya bade farewell to obscurity a second time when the vocal single that broke his career waters, Kukere launched him into the deep. Co-owning the Made Men Music Group music label would be the next big thing following the release of his commercial debut album Iyanya vs Desire housing music hits Jombolo ft. Flavour, Ur Waist ft. Emma Nyra, Somebody ft. Tiwa Savage and Sexy Mama ft. Wizkid. While there’s a bit of déjà vu in the sounds Iyanya creates, his visuals are crisp clear and crystal clean (even though not literally) try Lekwa Ukwu and Away. He’s become an act sought-after for vocal features while his most unusual take to Story Story – a recent collaboration effort with music taliban, Oritse Femi is fast growing on fans. Iyanya’s Instagram has become a female folk solace; he pleasures the social populace with eye candy treaties of his ebony skin.
*sighs* Can I first state how difficult it was to get a nice photo of Reminisce in a suit? Well, that tell us how much of a radical he is. When TIME Magazine lists you as one out of the seven World Rappers You Should Meet, then you know it takes a little more than just creative prowess and style eccentricity to achieve such feat. Reminisce first got us with Kako Bii Chicken – a supposed rap track with a vocal delivery so not relative to the usual style of rap we’ve come to know. The song was received with critical acclaim becoming his breakout single and later housed on his debut album Book of Rap Stories to which songs like If Only and 2Musshh followed after. When it seemed we’d seen it all with Reminisce, then came 2013 with Alaga Ibile – a breakthrough album with instant hits like Eleniyan ft. Wizkid and 3rd World Thug even recommending the videos for Daddy ft. Davido and Fantasi. Recently, he put out Tesojue; his first official single for the year 2014 and it’s left us in eager expectation of what else he holds in stock.
Phyno’s most striking feature might be his eccentric sense of style but you find out there’s more to his stunnaz, shades and the Mohawk when he’s spitting out lines in his local dialect over synchronized music bars. Phyno is one superstar who has enjoyed loyalty from fans that cut across his Eastern roots. Prior to the release of his debut album, No Guts No Glory, his singles Ghost Mode ft. Olamide, Man of the Year (Obago), Parcel, and Anamachi Versachi catapulted his fame while songs like O Set ft. PSquare, Icholiya ft. Ice Prince & M.I and the controversial Authe ft. Flavour after the album release, kept him on a chilling fourth gear cruise. In like manner, his features have shown his versatility in switching music genres especially on Dr Sid’s Surulere Remix, Mo’Cheddah’s Destinambari, Leriq’s Turn Up and B-Red’s Iwotago. Lest I forget, “Alobam“ has become his business franchise!
5. BANKY W
For as many that didn’t know, there once was a time when Mr Capable sold copies of his album from out of the trunk of cars. This was far back as 2003. When Banky returned to his motherland to put his music art into career and pursue tirelessly, he made indelible marks with hits like Ebute Metta (a cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella), Strong Thing and Sound Sultan’s Very Good Bad Guy. His third studio album R&BW – a collection of fine love classics housed under music’s many genres was a sure breaking point, with Low Key and Yes/No as leading singles for the pack. Banky is a standard conscious artiste and this is evidenced from videos like Good Good Loving, Jasi and Yes/No in their top notch direction and styling. What’s more, he shows promising rap prowess on Jaiye Orimi and Niyola’s Love To Love You.
Banky is also a patriot and a passionate advocate for human rights and especially, the youths. He has in the past, not only spoken up for but also championed causes aimed at revamping their degraded national structures. He co-owns Empire Mates Entertainment music company.
Bad as I don’t want to agree, this Starboy has found ways to keep making it to industry’s exclusive lists. They don’t call him a Superstar for nothing. When he got out with sound treaties like Pakurumo, Love My Baby, Don’t Dull, Tease Me and Holla At Your Boy on his debut album, he fashioned a trend in the new school afro beats section and we were itching to know what this lad had up his big sleeves; this was 2011. Now fast forward to 2014, he’s successfully built a rep for himself that can stand the turf in any international scene worldwide and he’s done this with only one KID-album, a bazillion records and features now too numerous to mention. He also sits atop the management board of Starboy Entertainment under which he’s released hot materials like Show You The Money, Drop ft. Wale, Starboy’sCaro as well as spanking videos Jaiye Jaiye & On Top Your Matter. In the features category, he turned things up with assisted vocals on Jesse Jagz’ Bad Girl, Maleek Berry’s The Matter, Chidinma’s Emi ni Baller Remix, Iyanya’s Sexy Mama, Omawumi’s Warn Yourself, Sound Sultan’s Kokose and Kcee’s Pull Over. This proves he’s got some business management acumen.
In other unrelated news, we’re still in earnest wait for his sophomore offering!
3. 2FACE IDIBIA
African Queen crooner turned music legend 2face, is perhaps Nigeria’s number 1 artist (although on a number 3 spot) who can boast of exclusive international collaborations. The release of his 6th studio album, The Ascension which peaked number one on iTunes Nigeria and secured the 12th spot for top selling albums in the world after it’s release, records impressive features with acts like Machel Montano, Bridget Kelly, Kim Almarcha, Shurwayne and Fally Ipupa with our picks being Go ft. Machel Montano and Let Somebody Love You ft. Bridget Kelly. In like manner, he’s been featured on T-Pain’s If I Got It with Akon, Chingy’s Falling Remix with May7ven and Becca’s Bad Man Bad Girl. While it’ll be difficult to shake off the feeling that 2face has got a thing for “rain” because his songs with the titles Raindrops, Rainbow (the Remix ft. T-Pain) and Dance In The Rain clearly suggests same, he delivers with stellar vocals embellishing it with his Idoma accent. This tiny and probably overlooked detail has kept him endeared to music fanatics across the globe and put him in mentorship of Joe El – a budding musician with same tribal roots, whose looks and vocal difference can’t almost be told apart on his track Hold On.
First Of All, introduction! Apparently he doesn’t need it no more. He’s Olamide – the Baddest Guy Ever Liveth at just 25, the only Yahoo Boy No Laptop, baddo certified and a celebrated street hop act who is steady writing the revolution of indigenous rap music in Nigeria’s blossoming music industry. While controversy trails him over being Naija’s most consistent artiste, King Baddo’s career can boast a record of features and releases that trump imaginable fathom. Are we talking clean cut visuals for Sitting On The Throne, Anifowose, Eleda Mi, Turn Up or even Stupid Love? Is it hot releases like Awon Goons Mi, Bora Freestyle with Patoranking, Story For The gods, Make Us Proud ft. Wale, Yemi My Lover, Duro Soke, Voice Of The Street or even his features on Lil Kesh’s Shoki Remix, DJ Xclusive’s Ibebe and Phyno’s Ghost Mode? Olamide whipped out the best of his play kit to test his wits when he flagged off YBNL Nation – label home to Kida Kudz, Viktor and Lil Kesh alongside producer, Pheelz. With these, he has shown impressive advancement from the boy who crooned Omo To Shan with Wizkid and Eni Duro.
Davido fizzled in the music space like a typical one-hit wonder with his ‘pave-the-way-for-me’ track Dami Duro. The interesting part would be that Dami Duro turned out to be a premature release; a badly played antic by friends of his who leaked the audio on the music media space which eventually shot the rich kid into beaming stardom. The song would later be housed on Omo Baba Olowo (O.B.O) – his debut studio album on his self-owned music label with other tracks like Back When ft. Naeto-C, Ekuro, Overseas ft. Sina Rambo and All of You. He finally got our attention having slinged multiple winning shots in music’s court and then continued his winning streak with what would be become the two biggest singles of 2013; Gobe and Skelewu with first-class videos to go with. Davido has had his fair share of a newcomer’s treatment. There’s been music leaks here and there and a not-so-amicable split with former manager, Asa Asika. Still, he’s risen above the storms to forge ahead shelving plans for a second studio album in order to promote label mates Sina Rambo, B-Red, Danagog and Deekay.
While we won’t forget quickly the afro ballad Aye and Tchelete with Mafikizolo, he’s held down strong features on songs like D’Prince’s Gentleman, Runtown’s Gallardo, Oritse Femi’s Sexy Ladies and a brisky look at Lil Kesh’s Shoki Remix.