The Nigerian music industry has moved leaps and bounds over the years. The industry has witnessed many great artistes that are worthy of praise. Thanks to their efforts, music in Nigeria has been able to move from having continental recognition to being recognized worldwide. Now, Nigeria has the largest music industry and international artists on the continent. Nigerian artists have the highest fan base worldwide and also on social media, and when it comes to musical concerts, the turnout is usually overwhelming.
Without a doubt, the industry would not have seen its level of success if not for the talent and dedication of its music artistes. In this article, we will be going down memory lane to look at the artistes that have done us proud. Below, in no particular order, is my list of the artistes in Nigeria who have shaken grounds and entered into the hearts of many Nigerians.
Nigerian singer, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur, Innocent Ujah Idibia, popularly known as 2face Idibia, is one of the most successful Afro pop artists in Africa. He later changed his name in 2014 to 2Baba and was listed among Forbes’s 40 most powerful celebrities in Africa. Nigerians will never forget his legendary hits like African queen, True love, For instance and many others.
During the turn of the decade, 2Baba released numerous smashing hits that won him awards both locally and internationally. He never failed in keeping up to the expectations of many Nigerians, and will forever remain in their hearts as one of Nigeria’s greatest music Legends.
Peter and Paul Okoye, stage named “P square” were born on the 18th of November 1981. They are Nigerians’ favorite twin artists who majored in the genres of R&B, hip hop and Afro beat, the twin brothers began their singing careers in 2003 and released numerous hits that won over the hearts of Nigerians. They still remained very relevant during the turn of the decade with albums like “Invasion” which made them undoubtedly one of the biggest artistes in Africa. Unfortunately, things began to crumble between them, and they eventually became individual artists, but their legend as P square has been created and would not easily be forgotten.
D Banj, also popularly known as the “Koko master” is one artiste that shook the music industry in Nigeria. He is a song-writer, musician, TV personality and entrepreneur. His songs bring back memories that will undoubtedly remain in the hearts of Nigerians. Some of such songs include Why me, Fall in love, Mr Endowed, Scape goat, Igwe and many more.
D Banj has won many awards which include Best-selling African Artist, Evolution award, Best international act, Artist of the year at MTV Africa awards 2009 and many more. His 2012 summer hit “Oliver twist” which he did with American artiste Kanye West placed at the top of the African Charts 2011 and placed second on UK R&B Chart. D Banj was also known for his TV show “Koko mansion” and was ranked the richest solo artiste in 2016. He is one artiste that has left a mark that is difficult to erase.
This is a Nigerian Pop and R&B singing group that consisted of four founding members. The founding members of this incredible group include Shifi, Tunde, Yemi and Lanre who’s initials made up their original stage name “STYL”. After the death of Lanre, Zeal Onyecheme joined the group, and they changed their name to “Style plus”.
This fantastic group brings back many great memories with songs like Olufumi, Imagine that, Runaway, Iyabasira, Call my name, Four years and so much more. They are one group that stayed consistent and remained relevant in the industry for a long time from 2003 runaway, to 2017 Aso Ibora. They are won of the few group singers in Nigeria that never disbanded and remained relevant till the very end.
Asa is a Nigerian-French singer and songwriter. She is popularly known for her unique music that combines soul, folk, reggae and pop music. She is also very well known for her debut album released in 2007 which includes evergreen songs like “Fire on the mountain” and “Jailer”. Furthermore, she later released her album “Beautiful Imperfection” in 2010 which lead to her nomination for Victories de La Musique in France.
Asa is an artiste that is loved for her combination of English and Yoruba in her songs. She is an artiste that has done us proud on the international scene and has released many evergreen songs. Her songs like Jailer, Bibanke, Eyo, Fire on the mountain, 360 degrees and the likes will forever remain relevant in the hearts of many Nigerians.
This is an artiste known for using Yoruba proverbs for the lyrics of his songs which set his style apart from others. Many Nigerians will never forget his hit single “Gongo Aso” which brought him into limelight in 2008. 9ice is also known for many other hit songs like Ggamu Ggamu, Street Credibility, No be mistake, Party Rider, Photocopy etc. His songs remained relevant for years and was used in many parties and events for a long time afterwards.
9ice won many awards during his career. He won the Best Hip Hop artiste of the year at MTV Africa awards. His hit single “Gongo Aso” also won him Album of the year, Song of the year, Artiste of the year and Best Rap. His songs still rings in the minds of many as some of the best ever released in Nigeria.
LagbajaEmbed from Getty Images
This is one music icon in Nigeria that made waves in the country. Lagbaja is an Afro-beat musician and songwriter known for his signature mask which hides his face. The mask symbolizes anonymity which is what the Yoruba term “Lagbaja” means. His songs are very entertaining and usually mixed with traditional instruments and his saxophone.
Lagbaja is an artiste who’s music was different from the norm and still remained relevant for a long time. Some of his hit songs include Konko below, Never Far Away, Skentele Skontolo, Feyin E and many others. His songs reigned supreme to many of the older generation but still, he remained relevant to many of the younger generation as well.
Nigerian rapper Jude Abaga popularly known as M.I is a hip hop artiste and record producer. M.I is a rap artist that turned rap music around in Nigeria. His standard and reputation was set so high, it made it difficult for his counterparts to overtake.
M.I rose to limelight in 2006 with his hit song “Crowd Mentality”. He later released songs like One Naira, The Viper, Undisputed, Nobody, Action film and others that placed his name among the best of the music artistes in Nigeria. He became the founder of Chocolate City and won numerous awards that were worthy on envy. His music still remains a standard that many aspiring artistes hope to someday reach.
Olanrewaju Fasasi popularly know as Sound Sultan is a song writer, rapper, actor and comedian. His debut single titled “Jagbajantis” brought him to limelight in year 2000. He started his career as a rapper, and then explored other genres like R&B, Afro beat, Fuji and Soul. He is said to be one of the pioneers of modern hip hop in Nigeria and has released many songs that remained evergreen. Some of his popular releases include Area, Jagbatantis, Ole, Orobo, Very good bad guy etc. His music is undoubtedly among Nigerians’ favorite and he is said to be best friends with music legend 2baba.
FelaEmbed from Getty Images
My list would not be complete without mentioning this music legend and icon. Fela was a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and musician. He pioneered the Afro beat genre in Nigeria which stamped his name in Nigeria’s music history books. His music is known more for its message more than entertainment, which made him into a human rights activist.
Fela used his music to condemn corruption in the nation, and fought for the right of the citizens. He also sat at the top of music in Nigeria during the old days and his name still remains relevant long after his untimely demise. He remains an icon and has a day dedicated to celebrating him called “Felabration.” Some of his songs which still remain relevant till date include Water No Get Enemy, Shakara, Shuffering and Shmiling, Lady, Gentleman and many more.
Music has always been something that has kept many Nigerians going. The artistes listed above are just a few of the numerous music talents this great nation has produced. If you know any more artistes that gave you memories but wasn’t listed above, kindly comment down below, I’d like to know your opinions.
You might also be interested in top 10 Nigerian movies of the decade.