By Victor K. Terhemba?
The 10 acts on this list are artists who have failed to gain a mass audience or whose musical talent just doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. In no particular order, here are the most underrated Nigerian artists.
10. CLAY: The self-acclaimed Queen of rock music in Nigeria and rightly so. I see no one better than her and this is not unconnected for the fact that there are few rock bands in Nigeria. CLAY has the voice to melt heart and the skills to get the stones “gyrating” but she’s been unfortunate to find herself in a hypocritical country. Music lovers listen to rock bands from other countries but won’t give her a chance. Cold Play, U2, Yellow Card, Green Day, Linking pack etc. are bands that most Nigerians listen to but as usual, they won’t even listen to our rock artiste so Clay is where she is today because she’s a Nigerian and stuck with the hypocrites. Her rock remix of Wizkid’s “My baby” is one of the best cover ever. “Impress you” is another song to die for.
9. K-SWITCH: At this stage of D’Banj’s career, one would expect that he should face reality and focus more on K-Switch instead of spending so much money on himself. D’Banj, I should say, has passed his prime and when it was his time, he really thrilled the music fans and we appreciate all those fond memories of the kokomaster. But that time has passed so we expect him to focus more of his energy in branding K-Switch which should be his major retirement investment in the music industry. First time I heard K-Switch on ‘booty call’ I believed in no time he would take the industry by storm. The enormous talent embedded in K-Switch is not in doubt but why he hasn’t achieved more can best be traced to the fact that Nigerians are yet frolic to his style of music and not that his talent is in question or doubt.
8. SOJAY: The former ‘Trybes men’ member. A record label formed by the Legendary ElDee. Sojay’s talent earned him a place in the record label alongside Sheyman, Eva, K9, and ElDee himself. If you listen to Usher, Tyrese, Sam Smith, Trey Songs and you don’t listen to this guy then you are one of the enemies of progress I had talked about previously. Sojay’s songs should come with a permanent bedroom warning. For example, ‘Slow Down’ by Sojay is a hazardous song to listen to with your lover alone, lest you start making babies you didn’t plan for. This guy needs to be appreciated more.
7. TOMEX: When you listen to this guy, you would be wondering why isn’t up there with rest? Tomex happens to be a versatile artiste with superb vocals that specialises in pop music but I have heard some of his songs R&B, even Gospel songs. His latest cover of Nicki Minaj’s ‘right by my side’ single only reiterate his talent. When I first heard ‘my way’, I fell in love with the song. The fliptyce produced song is one of my favourites on my playlist. It has that rhythm to get your feet moving without your consent. I thought this guy has arrived but unfortunately it made little or no noise in the Nigerian music industry. Not to relent, he soon dropped another single with Terry tha rapman (T.R) I was convinced would do it for him, but once again Nigerians looked the other side. Watching his ‘Star story’ documentary with Star Music, you will understand his struggles and how far he has been able to come without his father (who was a musician himself) who taught him music and supported him.
6. K9: the instrumental vampire, the fire spitter, beat transformer. K9 has all that should make him a fans favourite but like the rest who precedes him on this list, he has been unfortunate with the Nigerian music fans. At the time that Azonto was the biggest endemic virus plaguing the African continent, K9 did a wonderful “kokoma” which should have ultimately catapulted him to relevance; yet music lovers refused to accept him and they were rather sleeping on old Azonto tunes. Even when it seemed a feature with Olamide was a guaranteed success, K9’s “Lord have mercy” featured Olamide. Olamide was not even needed on the song but his addition only made the song more superb, yet it didn’t do it for him.
5. POE: I remember rightly when I first listened to POE (I cannot remember the track but I’m guessing it should be “chopstix”). Thereafter I went online and searched for any song that is of POE’s or where he featured, I probably became his number one fan. Ladipo Eso (POE) could easily be likened to J.COLE, not only does he has exceptional lyrical prowess, his delivery is also sweet to the ears and keeps your attention rapt to the song. I wish to see this guy grow and prosper in the Industry.
4. EVA: Eva Alordiah, fortunately she started making waves for herself but didn’t last long and not due to any faults of hers. Eva has thrived to improve on every single she does starting right from when she dropped “I done did it” from the E.P GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out). “Deaf and Dumb” (accompanied with a very creative video) was a single I thought would finally warm it’s way to the heart of Nigerians. I know a lot of my readers will disagree that Eva raps as good as Nicki Minaj, or do you want her to start appearing naked before you will open your ears to her music? How come Nicki is a phenomenon in Nigeria and Eva is still obscure?
3. PHEROWSHUZ: For the next two artistes, I won’t say much because words aren’t enough to describe how much talents these guys have. Pherow the great, as he is fondly called by fans because his lyrics are actually great .if you want to listen to punchlines that will blow you away, you have to listen to Pherowshuz. In a chat with M.I, he reckoned that, without hesitation, Pherowshuz and Boogey are beasts with dope lines when it comes to rap. When Pherow released his album “Pherow the great”, I bought three copies of the album, some persons stole the other two.
2. BOOGEY: How do I begin describing this amazing talent with words, pen and paper. Some things are inexplicable that words can’t describe and Boogey is one of them. The first time I heard Boogey was a track on his EP “Artificial intelligence” which featured on miabaga.com and he registered his name among the hip-hop committee. If only Boogey was an American that is when people will realise even Kendrick and J.cole got nothing on this guy. Boogey raps better than them but you won’t notice or agree because he is a Nigerian. To understand the “awesomeness” of boogey, go ye online and download his songs.
1. SEYI SHAY: The inclusion of Seyi on this list would come as a surprise to some, bearing in mind that she has performed at the biggest events, brand ambassador to Pepsi and Etisalat. But we should ask if she’s really as big as she ought to be. I say she deserves more. None Of the other artistes aforementioned can boast of the rich C.V that Seyi Shay possesses. I can imagine how she thought when she arrives Nigeria she would blow away the industry with her vocals and talent. She was convinced by my big bros, Sound Sultan, to return to Nigeria which wasn’t bad it might not have totally gone as she expected. Having worked with Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé’s father), won “From above” audition, starred in MTV Series, did back ups for Beyoncé and after seeing how much Rihanna and Beyoncé are being worshipped in Nigeria, she thought “why not?”. Shay’s melodious ‘Right now’ targets the soul but somehow finds it way to your soles.
Other artistes who could have also made this list include: Jesse Jagz, Orezi, Cynthia Morgan, Nosa, Efa, and Pryse.