ENT & LIFESTYLE: 9 Hot Nigerian Rappers to Listen to in 2022
While rappers like LadiPoe, aptly called the leader of the revival, Cheque and Blaqbonez who is self-touted as the best rapper in Africa have been able to hold theirs in the recent jet age of Nigerian music, chart evidence and statistics continue to favour other genres such as Afropop, street hop, and even the alternative scene has witnessed a more significant boon. Regardless, there is a lot of work to be done to bring Nigerian Hip-hop back up to a place of pride, and it isn’t by blame-bandying and problems-slanging, so in this story, we attempt to spotlight the works of young and promising Nigerian rappers who have been upholding Nigerian hip-hop by putting their unique spin on it. Taking a look at their lyricism, rap oeuvres that walk the talk, and recency, here are 9 young Nigerian rappers of the new-age you should listen to in 2022:

(1) Davolee

Nigerian rappers in 2022
In Nigerian music, especially the hip-hop scene, a co-sign from a bigger artiste could literally be the answer to an up and coming artiste’s prayers, serving to open doors they were miles away from and place them in conversations that would greatly benefit their career. This co-sign effect has proved especially instrumental in the street-hop scene, gifting music lovers with prolific street-hop rapper and singer, Davolee. Full name Shokoya Oluwasegunfunmi David, Davolee had first turned heads with his cover of Desiigna’s trap record, Panda. He’d doubled back with a freestyle video of a song known as Festival Bar and this had become the key to unlocking the next level of his artistry as it had landed him a record deal with Olamide’s YBNL in 2016. A rap veteran with unquantifiable love from the streets, this arrangement had served to launch Davolee into the limelight as a street rapper that could hold his own. He soon proved this on Olamide’s Pepper Dem Gang and expounded on this point even after leaving YBNL in 2019. With several well-received singles to his name and his debut album, Earning Wish making certifiable waves in 2021, Davolee has successfully established himself as not just another young rapper slash singer but as one of the voices of the streets in the new age of Nigerian music.

(2) PsychoYP

Nigerian rappers in 2022
These days, a key element several rappers find themselves missing is a hometown attachment that informs the initial community that grows into a sprawling fanbase, but this is one thing PsychoYP has on lock. Born Nicholas Ihua-Maduenyi, the 25-year-old rapper has been able to push his youthified iteration of Hip-hop which incorporates American trap, occasionally, British grime as well as Afropop, past his hometown of Abuja by consistently putting out banger rap tracks after rap tracks as far back as 2017 when Soundcloud was the oyster for promising up and comers. Now, PsychoYP is the leader of the pack of his Apex Village collective, an Abuja-centred group which binds rappers like Laime, Zilla Oaks, producers and singer, Azanti. While juggling his artistry and business, YP has risen to fame among Nigerian youths and hip-hop lovers all over with his first album, YPSZN launching him as a flow god. His sophomore project, YPSZN 2 further cemented this fact and expanded his fanbase. And with features that more times than not flay every other rapper on the track, or have them in a head-to-head lock in addition to his most recent project, Euphoria, that show him take his sound to international planes, PsychoYP has proved himself to be a diamond-standard lyricist of the new school.

(3) SGaWD

Nigerian rappers in 2022
If the ratio of singers to rappers in the country is slim, the female representation for the ratio of rappers is even slimmer but this hasn’t stopped SGaWD from making a name for herself as one of the hardest female rappers out of Africa in recent times. Making an unmissable entry in 2020 first with Like Me that saw her flex her vocals, SGaWD soon flipped the coin to reveal her rapper side first on Feel Right with Mafeni and Doz, then on Resistance with Jess Eta, while still fluidly expertly switching roles between singing and rapping. SGaWD began to thread more mainstream waters the year after with a successful collaboration with Aux Africa and then put out Popshit with Somadina. Popshit instantly became the summer anthem for young Lagosians and served as a curiosity piquing prelude to her debut EP, Savage Bitch Juice. While fans continue to enjoy her EP with Rude serving as the sex-positive, body-positive and audacity-injecting fan favourite, it’s become fully obvious that SGaWD is set in motion to take her rightful place as Nigeria’s Queen B of hip-hop.

(4) Prettyboy D-O

Nigerian rappers in 2022
Born Donald Ofik, Prettyboy D-O is many things; the leader of his self-made culte subculture for one, the African Dennis Rodman for another, but above all, a rapper cut from a different clothe and entirely in his own lane. Becoming a major attraction on the underground scene in 2017 with his standout debut, Footwork, DO had doubled down with singles like Chop Elbow and the Falz-featured remix. Within a short while, D-O came to establish himself as an Alte rapper with enough flair and street panache to appeal to any and every Nigerian, hence his Culte movement. D-O was also able to leverage on the power of collaborations and in 2018, had released a well-received debut album, Everything Pretty. Since then, the patois-inflected rapper has with his style which champions articulated rage and the utmost devil-may-attitude, attained cult classic status, racking up a loyal fanbase that has turned up to his sold-out shows, singing his every lyrics word for word. His rockstar energy has also earned him a debut on Color Studios with his single, Jungle Justice. And as he simultaneously never fails to make a statement with his records, be it singles or his latest album, Love is War, down to his personal style with artsy hairdo or his replay-worthy music videos, the sky is definitely the starting point for Prettyboy D-O and his movement.

(5) Mojo

Mojo calls himself many things; Orisha meaning oracle, rap Jesu; rap Jesus, as well as ‘the lesson teacher’ and more. And he’s proved himself deserving of these self-given monikers over and over. And while most mainstream music lovers may only know him for his big break with his Prettyboy D-O featured rap song, Chop Life Crew. Always sure to drop double-take worthy bars in English and Yoruba, Mojo has been able to grow out a very supportive fanbase who consistently marks attendance on his singles from Shawarma to Lesson Teacher, down to his collaborations with members of his Chop Life Crew collective and other musicians. (6) Payper Corleone
A full-fledged rapper’s rapper, Payper Corleone is proof that Hip-hop lives on in the ears and hearts of young Nigerians. Rapping since his secondary school days, Tombra Asikpi or Payper had risen to fame in 2015 with the release of two mixtapes; Love & HipHop and Friday Flight Freestyles. Then he’d cemented his hold on the scene with his commercially and critically successful album, BARS 2. Since then he’s made an appearance on the famous Hennessy Cypher, DJ Jimmy Jatt’s Jimmy’s Jump Off and others while working with a wide roster of Nigerian Hip-Hop greats like Terry tha Rapman, Erriga and more. With a Headies award nomination for his single, Sacrifice in 2019 and with a very solid fanbase spanning from those who come for the throat-cuffing freestyles and stay for the albums, Payper Corleone is for sure a rap don.

(7) Superwozzy

Nigerian rappers in 2022
In North America, trap music has been able to revolutionise the movement of hip-hop not only in America, but globally, producing the next generation of global rap stars and making a case for the continued viability of Hip-hop. Back home, while Nigerian trap music may not be as popular, with American trap constantly making the rotation of Nigerians from different walks of life, yet there are two genres that seem to be swaying the crowd; +234drill and street hop. Commercialised by Olamide in the 2010s, street hop has continued to hold amazing potential and command over the Nigerian music -sphere and in recent times, Superwozzy or Awodoyin Oluwamayokun, has with his cadence and style which is much like a melting pot of trap and indigenous hip-hop, proved that he has what it takes to be the next champion of the streets. Releasing his debut album, Light of the Trenches, Superwozzy gave fans and music lovers a lesson in the art of putting your money where your mouth is by releasing a project as entertaining as it is illuminatory.

(8) Paybac Iboro

In 2019, Paybac Iboro was nominated for the Headies Category for Lyricist on the Roll with Implode, a track off Lost and Found, a collaborative project with Boogey. And then in 2021, he also got nominated for the category of Best Rap Album with his album, CULT!   This cosign served as a mainstream indication of his witty and superfluid lyricism that stands out in any cypher or collaboration. These factors coupled with his ability to rap about any topic over beats of any kind and his extensive collaborations from the aforementioned Lost & Found, to Autopilot and his album, Cult!, serve as testament to Paybac’s super smooth artistry.

(9) Phlow

As the face and pulse of hip-hop continues to change, fewer rappers stick to the traditional cadence and techniques, but not Phlow,w who has been able to breathe new life to these templates. Full name Stephanie Asuai Eyime, Phlow’s flow has quite literally inserted her in typically male-dominated conversations. But this is not a first for the talented femcee who started rapping as a teenager to outdo her brother’s verses. Since her debut in 2017 with the album, Mind, Body and Phlow, there’s been no letting up on the steeliness of her bars as evidenced on her 2020 EP, Marmalade as well as her latest output, a verse on Alpha Ojini’s The Coin, as she continues to be the emcee’s femcee.

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