You’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Nigerian hip-hop lately, and for good reason. The Nigerian rap scene has exploded over the last few years, producing some of the most innovative artists in Africa.
If you’re looking to dive into the world of Nigerian rap, check out this list of the top 15 Nigerian rappers in 2023. From legends that have been in the game for decades to up-and-coming stars making waves, these are the rappers you need to have on your playlist.
The Origins of Hip Hop in Nigeria
Hip-hop found its way to Nigeria in the late 1970s to early 1980s and took off from there. Early Nigerian rappers were influenced by American hip-hop artists like Run-DMC and the Sugarhill Gang.
They started out by performing American songs but soon began writing their own lyrics. Nigerian hip-hop incorporates African storytelling, proverbs, and indigenous rhythms. Today, the Afrobeat-infused Nigerian hip-hop scene is flourishing, with artists like Olamide, Falz, and Blaqbonez gaining popularity across Africa and beyond.
Nigerian hip-hop reflects the voices of youth expressing themselves in a post-colonial society. Lyrics tackle issues like government corruption, women, poverty, love, money, and the struggles of daily life in Lagos. Beats fuse hip hop with Afrobeat, juju, fuji, and pidgin English. The result is a uniquely Nigerian take on a global art form.
Top 15 Nigerian Rappers 2023
Nigerian hip-hop has been evolving over the years, and 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting one for the industry.
More established stars like Phyno, Vector, and Olamide continue to dominate. They’ve been in the game for over a decade but show no signs of slowing down. With hot new collaborations and solo projects in the works, 2023 is set to be a big year for these veteran rappers.
Nigerian rap is diverse, with artists rapping in English, Pidgin, Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. No matter your taste, the Nigerian hip-hop scene has something for you. Here are the top 15 rappers in Nigeria:
Badoo, Olamide Gbenga Adedeji, known professionally as Olamide, is a Nigerian hip-hop recording artist. He was born on the 15th of March, 1989. He records mostly in Yoruba, his native tongue. Olamide has released nine studio albums, with hit songs like “Eni Duro,” “First of All,” “Sitting on the Throne,” “Wo,” and “Science Student.”
In 2011, he signed a record deal with Coded Tunes and released his debut studio album ‘Rapsodi.’ The album was supported by the singles “Eni Duro” and “Omo To Shan.” Its success led to him winning the Best New Act award at the 2011 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
Olamide has won several music awards, including multiple Nigeria Entertainment Awards and The Headies Awards. He is the founder and CEO of the music label YBNL Nation. Known for his unique rap style, Olamide has gained recognition and has collaborated with artists like Phyno, Wizkid, Davido, Reminisce, 9ice, and many more.
MI Abaga, born Jude Lemfani Abaga, is a Nigerian hip-hop recording artist, record producer, actor, and poet from Jos, Nigeria. He was born on the 4th of October, 1981. He is a veteran in the Nigerian hip-hop scene with over a decade of mainstream success and 5 studio albums under his belt.
Some of his accolades include multiple Headies Awards, Hip Hop World Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards, and Nigeria Entertainment Awards. He is known for hit songs like “Number One,” “Bad Belle,” “Unstoppable,” and “King James”. MI is famous for helping launch the careers of other hip-hop stars like Ice Prince, Brymo, Jesse Jagz, and Pype.
Falz is a Nigerian rapper, songwriter, and actor born on the 27th of October, 1990, in Lagos state. His real name is Folarin Falana. He currently runs his own independent record label, Bahd Guys Records. In 2014, he released his debut album “Wazup Guy”. In 2015, he released his second album, “Stories That Touch”. He released “27” in 2017, “Moral Instruction,” his fourth studio album, in 2019, and his fifth studio album, “BAHD in 2022”. Some of his popular songs are “Bahd Baddo Baddest,” “Something Light,” “Wehdone Sir,” “Soft Work,” and “Talk.”
Falz is known for his comedic style and often addresses social issues in his lyrics. He has won many major music awards in Nigeria, including Best Rap Act at the MTV Africa Music Awards and Album of the Year at the Headies Awards. Outside of music, Falz acts in Nollywood films and has starred in some of the country’s biggest blockbusters. Falz became the first Nigerian Musician to win the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards twice. Falz is truly an icon and inspiration for up-and-coming artists.
Naeto C is a Nigerian rapper, songwriter, and record producer. His real name is Naetochukwu Chikwe, born 17 December 1982 in Houston, Texas, United States. He’s known for his hit songs “Kini Big Deal,” “Ten Over Ten,” and “Tony Montana.”
Naeto C started his music career in 2006 and has released four studio albums so far, including “You Know My P”(2008), “Super C Season”(2011), “Day 1”, and “Festival”(2015). He has won several major awards, including the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, The Headies Awards, Channel O Music Video Awards, and the MTV Africa Music Awards.
After over 10 years in the music industry, Naeto C has established himself as a pioneer of modern hip-hop music in Nigeria. He’s known for fusing English and Igbo lyrics with catchy beats, becoming an inspiration for many up-and-coming Nigerian rappers and musicians.
Phyno, whose real name is Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, is a famous Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born on the 9th of October, 1986, in Enugu. Phyno started his music career as a producer in 2003 and is renowned for rapping in Igbo, his native language. His debut studio album ‘No Guts No Glory’ was released in 2014. Phyno has won several awards, including the Nigeria Entertainment Awards, City People Entertainment Awards, and The Headies. Some of his popular songs include: “Ghost Mode,” “Alobam,” “Man of the Year (Obago),” “Augment,” “Okpeke,” and “Fada Fada.”
He has four studio albums and one collaborative album with Olamide. “No Guts No Glory (2014)”, “2 Kings (with Olamide) (2015)”, “The Playmaker (2016)”, “Deal With It (2019)”, and “Something to Live For (2021)”.
Phyno has achieved tremendous success and gained recognition as one of the leading Igbo rappers. He is truly an inspiration to many up-and-coming artists.
Remilekun Khalid Safaru popularly known as Reminisce, is a Nigerian indigenous rapper and songwriter. Reminisce was born on January 26, 1981 in Kaduna State. He started his music career in 2008 and has since released four studio albums. His albums include “Book of Rap Stories (2012)”, “Alaga Ibile (2013)”, Baba Hafusa (2015) and El Hadj (2016). Some of his hit singles include “Tesojue,” “Ponmile,” “Instagram,” and “Oja.”
Reminisce is known for rapping in his native Yoruba language and has won several awards, including Rap Album of the Year at the 2014 & 2015 City People Entertainment Awards.
Olanrewaju Ogunmefun David popularly known as Vector, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, Record Producer, Actor, and songwriter. He was born on August 27, 1984.
Vector is best known for his rap singles like “King Kong,” “Angeli” featuring 9ice, and “Get Down” featuring 2Face Idibia. He has released 5 Studio Albums; he released his debut studio album, “State of Surprise in (2012)”. The Second Coming was released in 2007. “Lafíaji (2016)”, “Vibes Before Teslim: A Journey To Self-Discovery (2019)”, “Teslìm: The Energy Still Lives in Me (2022)”.
Vector has won several awards, including Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA) Best Mainstream Hip-Hop Video in 2011, Best Rap Act of the Year at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Award, and Best Rap Single, 2015 Headies Awards, and
Yung6ix, whose real name is Onome Onokohwomo, is a Nigerian rapper, singer and songwriter. He was born in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, on the 8th of July, 1989. Yung6ix is best known for his hit songs “Let Me Know” featuring Davido, “Blessings,” and “No Favors ft Dice Ailes and Mr. Jollof.”
Some of his acclaimed mixtapes are ‘Green Light Green’ released in 2011. His debut studio album ‘6ix O’ Clock’ was released in 2014. He released an EP in 2016 titled ‘Billionaire Ambitions’. His other Albums include “High Star,” released in 2017, ‘Introduction to Trapfro’ released in 2020, and ‘Green Light Green 2’ released in 2022. The rapper has worked with several A-list Nigerian artists like Davido, Wizkid, Phyno, and Olamide.
Over the course of his career, Yung6ix has won several awards, including the Abuja Music and Meritorious Award for National Act of the Year in 2013. The talented rapper continues to make waves in the Nigerian music scene with his unique style and sound.
Tobechukwu Melvin Ejiofor popularly known as Illbliss, is a Nigerian rapper, stage performer, actor, and businessman. Illbliss was born on the 30th of December, 1979, in Enugu, Nigeria. He is the owner of “The Goretti Company,” a talent management company that launched the careers of Chidinma and Phyno, among other artists. Illbliss is often referred to as Oga Boss.
Illbliss has released 7 albums which are Dat Ibo Boy (2009), Oga Boss (2012), #Powerful (2015), Illygaty:7057 (2016), Illy Bomaye (2017), Illosophy (2019) and, Illbliss – Illy Chapo X (2020). 2 EPs, Position of Power, Vol. 1 (2012), and Position of Power, Vol. 2 (2014). 1 collaborative album with Teck Zilla, IllyZilla (2019).
Known for his smooth flow and wordplay, Illbliss has been an influential figure in the Nigerian hip-hop scene since the mid-2000s. Some of his hit songs include “Bank Alert,” “Anam Achi Kwanu,” and “Finally.”
Emeka Akumefule, popularly known as Blaqbonez is a Nigerian rapper, singer and songwriter. Blaqbonez was born on the 29th of January, 1996, in Imo State, Nigeria. He is signed to Chocolate City. He started rapping at age 9 and has since released three studio albums, Last Time Under (2018), Sex Over Love (2021), Young Preacher (2022). 3 EPs are Bad Boy Blaq (2018), Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up (2019), and Mr. Boombastic (2019). He has 1 collaborative Album, Behold the Lamb (2022), with A-Q and M.I. Some of his hit songs include ‘Mamiwota’ featuring Oxlade, ‘Shut Up,’ ‘Haba,’ ‘Back In Uni’ and ‘Like Ice Spice.’
Blaqbonez is known for his witty wordplay, storytelling skills, and ability to rap in Igbo, Pidgin, Yoruba, and English. Blaqbonez was a nominee for the 2016 Headies Award for Best Rap Album. He won the Best Hip Hop Artist of the Year Soundcity MVP Award in 2020; he was also nominated for The Future Awards Africa Prize for Music.
Erigga, born Erhiga Agarivbie, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter from Warri, Delta State. He was born on the 30th of March, 1987, in Warri; he is also known as PaperBoi, 2 seconds, Eribaba, and New Money.
Erigga started his music career in 2008 and has released four studio albums: “The Erigma” (2012), “Okorowanta” (2018), “A Trip to the South” (2017), “The Erigma II” (2014), and The Erigma III (2019). He has 2 EPs, “Before The Chaos” (2021) and “Strange Vibes” (2022). Some of his hit songs are “Motivation,” “Next Track ft Oga Network,” “The Way Your Matter Be,” and “Death Bed.”
Erigga is known for his unique rap style and storytelling abilities. His lyrics often highlight the struggles of people in the Niger Delta region. He has won several awards. Erigga continues to push the boundaries of Nigerian hip-hop and has inspired many up-and-coming artists.
Ladipoe, born Ladipo Eso, is a Nigerian rapper and songwriter known for his fast-paced rapping style and witty wordplay. He was born on the 29th of April, 1992 in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of his hit songs include “Know You,” “Running”, “Feelings,” “Afro Jigga,” and “Big Energy.”
Ladipoe started gaining recognition in the Nigerian hip-hop scene around 2013. He’s known for his impressive freestyling skills and has won several rap battles and competitions. He gained popularity when SDC’s “Show Dem Camp” featured him on the song “Feel Alright.”
Ladipoe has released one studio album so far, “T.A.P Talk About Poe,” in 2018, which was well-received. He has also released 1 EP, “Providence” (2021). He is signed to Mavin Records, one of the biggest record labels in Nigeria, and continues to gain more mainstream success, collaborating with popular artists like Tiwa Savage, Johnny Drille, and Crayon.
Poe has won several awards, including The Headies Award for Best Collaboration in 2020 for his hit song “Know” and The Headies Award for Best Rap Single in 2022 for his song “Feelings” ft Bnxn. Fans appreciate Ladipoe for staying true to his roots and representing the streets of Lagos through his music. He brings a unique style and flavor to the Nigerian rap scene.
Jesse Garba Abaga, popularly known as Jesse Jagz, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He was born on the 10th of August, 1984, in Jos, Nigeria. He is the younger brother of rapper M.I. Abaga.
Jesse Jagz started his music career in 2003. He signed a record deal with Chocolate City in 2010 but exited the label in 2013 after creating his own record label named “Jagz Nation.” and has since released four studio albums: “Jagz Nation, Vol.1. Thy Nation Come” (2013), “Jagz Nation Vol. 2: Royal Niger Company (2014)”, “Odysseus” (2017), and “Jag of All Tradez” (2020). He has released 2 EPS, “Garba” (2020) and “The Royal Niger Company” (2014). Some of his hit songs include Wetin Dey, Chocolate City, Nobody Test Me, and Babylon.
Jesse Jagz is recognized for his versatile and eclectic style of music. He has won several awards, including the Nigeria Entertainment Award for Best New Act of the Year in 2010 and The Headies Award for Lyricist in the Roll in 2012.
Tochukwu Gbubemi Ojogwu, popularly known as Odumodublvck is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter. Hewas born on October 18, 1993, in Lagos State. He is also known as Big Kala, Big Gun, and Oye Pumper.
Odumodublvck started music professionally in 2018. He got into the spotlight after releasing his hit single “Declan Rice” in 2023. The song became a street anthem and brought him mainstream success.
Odumodublvck has released 4 studio albums, Odiegwu (2021), Time & Chance deluxe (2021), The Drop (2022) with BOC Madaki, and T.A.B.S (To All Blvcksheep) (2017). He has released 3 EPS, Time & Chance (2021), T a D E: The Afro Drill Experiment (2020) with AFROSELECTA-BBK and C*m*g, T a D E: The Afro Drill Experiment II (2022) with AFROSELECTA-BBK and C*m*g. He has 1 collaborative Album, “Anti-World Gangstars” with Replay, which was released in 2018.
Odumodublvck signed a record deal with NATIVE Records in 2022, which was done in collaboration with Def Jam. His debut single under the NATIVE label, “Picanto,” featuring ECko Miles and Zlatan, was released on November 23, 2022. It peaked at number 65 and gave him his first chart entry on the Nigeria TurnTable Top 100. He came up at number four on TurnTable’s list of the top NXT Emerging Artists on January 23, 2023.
Odumodublvck is known for his unique rap style and blend of Pidgin English, slang, and English in his music. He is definitely one of the fastest-rising rappers in Nigeria currently, with a very promising career ahead.
Sulaimon Shekoni, known as Khaid is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter. He is currently signed to Sydney Talker’s record label “Neville Records.” Khaid was born on the 10th of December, 2004, in Shibiri.
Khaid started gaining recognition in the Nigerian music scene after releasing his hit single “With You” in 2022. This led to his first chart entry on the Nigeria TurnTable Top 50 single chart on February 14, 2022, at position forty-eight. Khaid has released 2 EPs, “Diversity” (2022), and “Emotions” (2023). He has several hit songs, which include “With You,” “Jolie,” and “Carry Me Go” with Boyspyce.
Khaid is nominated for the Headies Rookie of the Year award alongside stars like Odumodublvck, Guchi, Bloody Civilian, Bayanni, and Eltee Skhillz. His energetic style and charisma have made him a fan favorite in Nigeria. At just 18 years of age, Khaid has established himself as one of the stars of the new school of Nigerian artists.
The Global Influence of Nigerian Hip-Hop
Nigerian hip-hop has exploded onto the global music scene. Rappers like Olamide, Phyno, Reminisce, and Falz have brought Nigerian rap to an international audience. Their lyrics are in a mix of English, Pidgin, Yoruba, and Igbo, reflecting Nigeria’s cultural diversity.
The beats blend traditional Nigerian sounds with contemporary hip-hop. This fusion of classic and modern has resonated worldwide. Nigerian rap is a source of pride in Nigeria and among the diaspora. Its global success has shone a spotlight on Nigerian culture, history, and language. Nigerian hip hop’s influence continues to spread as audiences discover its energetic, innovative sound.
These artists are pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and putting the Nigerian rap scene on the global map. The talent, wordplay, and musicality of these rappers are truly world-class.
Now you’ve got the inside scoop on who’s making moves in the Nigerian rap game. The future is bright for these 15 artists and for Nigerian rap as a whole. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll have to make it a top 20 list! The scene is evolving so fast, but one thing’s for sure, these rappers are leading the charge.