In the late 80s, early 90s, Nigerian rap lovers were only exposed to the hardcore American English style of the genre from the US. Later, Nigerians artists started to interpret the art in our own version of the English language as well as pidgin.
Rap acts like Trybesmen with Eldee D Don, KB and Freestyle; Swat Root, a group which included Mode 9, Terry Tha Rapman, Six Foot Plus and Rule Clean; as well as Eedris AbdulKareem became pioneers of the contemporary form of the genre in Nigeria.
However, another set of rappers came up almost simultaneously, who preferred to adapt the urban American street expression to our own indigenous languages. Unlike the early pioneers, these rappers earned some appeal since they flowed in languages Nigerians understood.
These days the pioneers have been replaced by more popular acts like Olamide, Phyno and Reminisce but their legacy will never be taken for granted.
So for #ThrowbackThursday, here is a list of some rappers who pioneered indigenous rap in Nigeria:
Lord of Ajasa will take the forefront in the innovation of mainstream indigenous rap with his first single ‘Ma Yi Lo’ in 2000. He went on to produce a monster hit, ‘Fe Nu So’ featuring 9ice on his second album, ‘Second Turning By The Right’. He is known for spitting strictly in Yoruba with nary an English word mixed into his rhymes.
Then came 2Phat, another Yoruba rapper under ID Cabassa’s Coded Tunes. He is popular for his ‘Bere Mi’ track featuring 9ice, released in 2009.
Ill Bliss pioneered rapping in Igbo with his first album, ‘Dat Ibo Boy’ which had hits like ‘Aiye Po Gan’ and ‘You Go Wound.’ He has gone on to release three studio albums Dat Ibo Boy, Oga Boss and Powerful.
After Ill Bliss came Ni**a Raw who now goes by Mr. Raw, another Igbo rapper popular for his hit track ‘Obodo’ featuring comedian, Klint Da Drunk.
However, with the rise of the late Dagrin, came a new twist in the game. He brought in modernity and streets vibes. Although his first album , ‘Still On The Matter’ didn’t make much waves, his second attempt ‘Executive CEO’ did.
He brought life to the game and what many indigenous rappers today leverage on. Popular for his hit track ‘Pon Pon’ and over 200 collabos before his untimely demise on April 22, 2010, that left the whole nation mourning.
Dagrin’s death paved the way for new school indigenous rap artistes like, Reminisce, Olamide, Phyno, Lil, Kesh, CDQ, Chinko Ekun, Base One, among others.
Phyno, Olamide and Reminisce have gone on to be the faces of indigenous rap in Nigeria. The trio did a single owning their act as ‘Local Rappers’.
In your opinion, who is Nigeria’s greatest indigenous rapper ever? Share your thoughts in the comments.