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Naija Hip Hop: The Freshman Class of African Hip-Hop Artists

See the newest African hip-hop artists, including music videos. Check out Nigerian naija Hip Hop artists.

Within the world of African hip-hop artists, Nigerian hip-hop has become quite the phenomenon in the last few years, with Nigerian acts like P-Square, D'Banj and M.I successfully crossing over into Western mainstream and making loads of cash while touring all over Africa and internationally to spread African hip-hop music to the world. They have also managed to gain quite a bit of respect for a genre of music that has yet to fulfill its ultimate destiny of preparing a credible platform for cultural exchange and unification through music throughout the Diaspora.


This year the baton has been handed to a new crop of Nigerian Naija hip-hop artists pushing the boundaries in their own ways, while taking cues from their predecessors and representing hard for African hip-hop music, Nigerians on the continent, and those scattered all over the world.

With that, here is the freshman class of Nigerian musicians, Nigerian Hip-Hop and the record labels they represent:

1. AJEBUTTER22

Born Kings Records

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His name alone explains a lot about his music but we assure you even 'ajepakos' can get down to these Studio Magic produced beats. The heavy dub-step beats and catchy Yoruba and English rhymes make him a favorite with clubbers from Lagos to London. Check out this hit “Omo Pastor".

2. BLACKMAGIC AND THREEWISEMEN

Syndik8 Records

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While many rappers struggle to hold a tune, Blackmagic does so effortlessly and delivers some very Warren G-esque sounds whether singing an auto-tune hook or rapping over a complex Fuji or Juju beat. As part of the Syndik8 Records team, industry veteran Ikon, who also teams up with him to form the alternative hip-hop duo called the “ThreeWiseMen", produces his tracks. For lovers of all things Fela inspired, We highly recommend their modern Afrobeat infused single “Bastard".

3. BRYMO

Chocolate City Records

Chocolate City Record's newest addition first sparked our interest singing the chorus on his label mate IcePrince's hit single “Oleku" back in the day. Brymo is now out on his own with a brand new album “Son of A Kapenta" which has given us heartwarming singles like “Good Morning" and his 'azonto' friendly club banger “Go Hard".

4.BURNA BOY

Aristokrat Records

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He is the new king of the Afro, Reggae, Hip-Hop, House fusion, doing it all while crooning or rhyming in a mix of Ibo or Yoruba with hints of a South London dialect of Jamaican Patois and English. Working with producer LeriQ, he delivers memorable feel good hits like “Like To Party" (above). And another single “Tonight" from his anticipated debut album L.I.F.E.

5.DAMMY KRANE

Hypertek Records

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TuFace was quick to snatch up this frenetic ball of energy, his delivery is fast and youthful and all the beats are just as urgent, in a very Terry G sort of way. His singles are big in clubs and local hang out spots all over Nigeria so check out the video for “My Dear" directed by Clarence Peters (above).

6. D'PRINCE

MAVIN Records

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The family talent was not lost on famed producer Don Jazzy's baby brother, as he has come into his own…finally…with the release of his debut album “Frenzy" on the newly reshuffled MAVIN Records, formerly MoHits Records and home to D'Banj in happier days. Post reshuffle MAVIN acquired pop favorite Tiwa Savage while retaining Wande Cole and Dr. Sid. So check out his trippy new video “Take Banana Remix" (above), naughty new single “Goody Bag" and our personal favorite “Call Police".

7. L.O.S

Storm Records

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As one of the first Nigerian hip-hop male groups out there, L.O.S has generated a lot of buzz with an amazing video for their single, “Bad Guy P, which was shot in Lagos by Clarence Peters with cameo appearances by Show Dem Camp, Dammy Krane and Yemi Alade. Storm Records is also home to veteran rap heavyweights Naeto C and Sasha P, and as an impeccably styled quartet L.O.S appears ready to take the industry by storm…pun intended- yes boss.

8. PRAIZ

X3m Records

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Praiz's singing voice is hands down the best in the industry, his infectious melodies and soulful delivery charms the ladies and could definitely soothe the heart of any savage beast. He teamed up with acoustic soul musician Bez earlier in the year for “That Stupid Song" which premiered on BET's 106 and Park. He has just wrapped shooting the video for his new single “Rich and Famous".

9. YEMI ALADE

Effyzy Records

With no album out and slew of guest appearances on other records, the only female on the countdown is just as hardworking as her male counterparts as she's worked with producers from eLDee, E. Kelly, IBK, Bigfoot, Sizzle Pro, DJ Klem and Flip Tyce. Yemi Alade delivers bombastic flows over heavy club/house inspired beats, blending bits of pop culture with local idiomatic expressions. Check out our favorite clubbing/birthday song of the year, “Uche Face" featuring fellow newcomers L.O.S.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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