Meet the 10 essential upcoming Nigerian artists that might have a stellar 2020.
It’s that time of the year again when we get nostalgic and create cliche content that aim to inform, but end up falling flat in the face of reason by December. In these articles, music writers talk they have a crystal ball and cogent knowledge of what will happen. So, we create lists of what to expect and what not to expect.
Sometimes, we are lucky and our predictions come off. But most times, our predictions join Dr. Dre’s Detox in the land of things that never happened. So, in the spirit of indulgence, please allow this music writer to continue this tradition of cliche content and publish a list of the 10 essential upcoming Nigerian artists to watch out for in 2020.
Here is the list;
Sounds like: Falana with a Simi commercial drive
For fans of: Falana, Simi, Taylor Swift
USP: After a start that includes promising tracks, the girl formerly known as Temilade has switched to a more commercially viable sound of which we only have one evidence – oops.
Why you’re going to love them: She has an incredible voice type with an expansive vocal range. Lyrically, she knows how to document bad men. Three singles in, she has only discussed the bad side of men who have either hurt her or ‘failed to launch.’
Key track: Try Me (this song now gets played in Agege, Lagos).
Sounds like: Nobody you know
For fans of: Wurld
USP: He is like a Tems that grew up in Ojuelegba, but with a male genital and with more songs about women. And oh, he has an amazing way with hooks.
Why you’re going to love them: His voice is angelic and so is his ability to craft amazing hooks. In 2019 alone, he crafted about three popular hooks that defined the songs they were on. For the Nigerian mainstream, he sounds like an ijala singer that went to Harvard.
Key track: Ibadi – when he is not on other people’s songs.
Sounds like: Rema
For fans of: Rema, Apex Village, MOJO
USP: It’s no news that he was in the same group, RNA with MAVIN singer, Rema. The boy is a star that could be something special, but Universal Music has to market and brand him differently. His EP, King of Wolves was so beautiful.
Why you’re going to love them: He sounds like Rema with more lyrical depth, but with a similar mumbled delivery. However, those masquerades in his ‘Paloma’ video will scare Paloma off, bro.
Key track: Paloma, More
Sounds like: Waje
For fans of: Omawumi, Tiwa Savage, Rema
USP: She has sang all her life. When she is in her element and singing on a slow, methodical beat, her voice shines like disco lights at a 90’s rave.
Why you’re going to love them: Again, it is all about her vocal range and voice type. Her debut EP, LA Confidential was impressive, but the kind of music she wants to make and the brand she can run with seems the problem at this time.
Key track: Faraway, Bless Me
Sounds like: Everybody
For fans of: Everybody
USP: A creative chameleon with a vision on what she wants to be, she started out singing more methodical R&B, Jazz and neo-soul. But since 2019, she has become more experimental and creatively expansive with her sound.
Why you’re going to love them: On her debut album, Enjoy Your Life, Lady Donli traveled through different sonic eras to produce one of the best Nigerian albums of 2019. Whoever you are and whatever age you might be, the album has something for you. And oh, she’s Cash Madam and she has a lot of money to throw around. So, there’s that…
Key track: Cash, Corner Corner
Sounds like: 9ice,
For fans of: Barry Jhay
USP: With a voice styled like that of Fuji/Apala act, he is an afro-pop artist that did something special on Davido’s ‘Animashaun.’
Why you’re going to love them: A few months ago, Davido was speaking with Ebro Darden on Beats 1 about his then upcoming sophomore album, A Good Time. There, he spoke about Yonda and how he planned to push the artist in 2020. You will love him because he seems to have the midas touch.
Key track: Aje, Animashaun (Not his songs)
Sounds like: Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Reekado Banks
For fans of: Wizkid, Reekado Banks
USP: With his ‘young forever’ looks, he has been unfairly and expectedly likened to Wizkid. But on his own, he is like merging Reekado Banks and Korede Bello into the essence of Mayorkun.
Why you’re going to love them: He is simply versatile with the kinds of beats he can go on. He also has an uncanny mastery of those beats before killing them. His Cray Cray EP was so underrated in 2019.
Key track: So Fine
Sounds like: Olamide
For fans of: Naira Marley, Davolee, Olamide
USP: The new AMW/DMW act is loaded with his own version of pristine bars and witty punchlines off the most random words. He is a rapper for all intents and purposes, but as expected, Twitter ‘music lovers’ will have an alternative opinion – surprise surprise.
Why you’re going to love them: The kid has the fashion of an alte kid stuck in Agege. Asides that, if you understand Yoruba, there is a lot to unpack in his lyrics. When all is said and done, the kid has immense talent. He also has some hilarious adlibs like, “Agbada Firi Yoyo… Sonto Boilo Firi Yahoo…”
Key track: Fifty, Davido, Firi Yahoo, Kagadaffi
Sounds like: Yonda, Barry Jhay
For fans of: Yonda, Terry Apala, Barry Jhay
USP: The kid has the voice of a ijala or Fuji singer that grew up on Wizkid.
Why you’re going to love them: He has a way with beats.
Key track: Firi Yoyo, Money
Sounds like: Davolee
For fans of: Sinzu (When he speaks Yoruba), Naira Marley
USP: He is the quintessential bridge between alte and shepeteri. He is the culmination of posh upbringing and mainstream wits.
Why you’re going to love them: Even though his Yoruba is not clear, he creates topics that young milliennials and generation zers from both ends of the social spectrum can relate to. His energy is also infectious just as is his ability to craft resonant hooks. With all he has achieved, this writer thinks he might need a label. YBNL will be smart to take this bet.
Key track: Chop Life Crew