Entertainment

20 Nigerian Hip-Hop Stars Who Have Gone Missing In Action

No doubt, Nigeria has a plethora of talents, especially in the music industry. While some made their presence known but became one-hit wonders as they were a flash in the pan, others, through their works, made enough significance to remain in the memory of music lovers. Sadly, they went into oblivion and are yet to make a comeback. BALIKIS FOLAJI highlights some of these artistes that are missing in action.

Olu Maintain

The year 2007 was practically Olu Maintain’s year as it was a time that saw the artiste on top of his game with his classic hit record, Yahooze. The song was so huge that it was regarded as a ‘national anthem’ at the time. The singer’s celebrity status was so huge that in 2008, he performed ‘Yahooze’ at the Royal Albert Hall, London and brought on stage, Colin Powell, to dance to his tune. Having his bragging right, in the singer’s verse on ELDee’s song ― Big Boy ― he said, “Colin Powell, oh well; dance Yahooze so well.” About 17 years down the line, while the multiple award winning singer has released several records like Nawti (2012), Hypnotize (2013), Cinderella (2015) and Excuse My French (2016), he is yet to stage a major come back that can dwarf his success with the classic hit record ‘Yahooze’.

AY.Com

Many years ago, singer, AY.com, was rated as one of the raves in the music industry with his hit song, ‘Pass me your Love’ featuring Terry G. The singer whose real name, Ayoola Johnson, faded from the music scene after allegations caused a rift between him and Terry G. Ay.com went on to release more singles like ‘Jombolo’, ‘Komagbon’, ‘No Mind Dem,’ among others. Ever since, nothing has been heard of him.

2shortz

2Shotz, whose real name is William Iroha after being a successful solo artiste joined the group‚ ‘The Trybe’ which was a collection of all artistes under the record label. They received commercial success, especially with “Oya” which set the music industry on fire. 2Shotz received commercial success with singles like ‘Delicious’ featuring Big Lo‚ ‘Carry Them Go,’ Odeshi and ‘Which Level.’ He published the Pirated Copy album under Trybe Records in 2004. In 2005, 2Shotz went on to launch his own record label, Umunnamu Music. He dropped ‘Original Copy’ album before embarking on a promotional tour around major cities in Nigeria before signing unto the Storm Record label in 2006. His song “This na Naija”, was one of the hits of all time. He later went off the scene for a while and then in 2016 after his much publicized domestic violence case with his wife, Precious Jones, the rapper practically vanished. 2shotz later relocated to the United States where he’s now a photographer and filmmaker.

Tony Tetuila       

The Oro, Kwara born artiste, Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye, better known as Tony Tetuila, also regard as the golden father of Afrobeats artist from Nigeria. He was a member of the now-defunct hip-hop group of The Remedies along with Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Montana, he split with the group and went on to established himself as a successful solo musician. His best known song, ‘My car’, where he shaded his former labelmate Eedris Abdulkareem, and pay homage to Bola Tinubu, the Lagos state governor at the time. He went on to drop other hit songs such as ‘Only You,’ ‘Iseju Kan,’ ‘My Heart Go jigi jigi,’ ‘Omode Meta.’ Nothing was heard from him again musically. In 2014, Tony Tetuila ran for political office for the House of Assembly of Kwara State as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress, but lost.

Baba Fryo

Baba Fryo born, Friday Igwe is a veteran Nigeria singer from Ajegunle. He is known for releasing street songs. His most popular song in Nigeria was titled “Dem go dey pose” which he released in the late 1990s. The song was written in Nigerian pigdin to become popular with a dancing style, known as Galala, invented by legendary Baba Fryo and his Ajegunle music colleagues such as Daddy Showkey and Daddy Fresh.

Zule Zoo

Zule Zoo is a Nigerian music duo that formed in the late 1990s by Michael Aboh and Al-Hassan Ibrahim who were both from Benue state. They are known for their fusion of different musical genres such as traditional Nigerian rhythms, hip pop and reggae. They became known after the success of their controversial hit song “Kerewa”, which was banned by the Nigerian broadcasting commission (NBC) for obscene content. They were one of the top musical groups in Nigeria in the early 2000s, with their unique dance steps. Zule Zoo performed at the 2018 Headies. Thereafter, they have disappeared into thin air.

Weird MC

Weird MC, born Adesola Adesimbo Idowu on 9 July, 1970, is a Nigerian British rapper, songwriter, and producer. Known for her English/Yoruba lyrics, Weird MC, who is also known as Shola Idowu and The Rappatainer, is one of Africa most popular female rappers, and one of the few Nigerian female artists associated with Afro beat. In 2006, Shola released her second album ‘Ijoya’, which was a massive success, earning her an AMEN award for Most Pop Song, and a Channel O music Video Award for Best Special Effect.

Mad Melon

Mad Melon, born Oghenemaro Emeofa, was a Nigerian reggae artist and one-half of the celebrated music duo “Danfo Drivers.” Alongside his musical companion, they rose to prominence in the early 2000s with hit tracks like “Kpolongo” and “I Am a Danfo Driver.” Their success extended to international tours in countries such as Sweden, the UK, and Athens. Notably, they became the first Nigerian artists to have their single featured in a Hollywood movie. Sadly, Mad Melon passed away in 2019, leaving a lasting legacy of inspiration and entertainment.

Marvelous Benjy

Renowned for his popular hit song track titled ‘Suo’, which rocked the airwaves, streets and ghettoes in the late 90s, veteran dancehall artistes, Marvelous Benjy went underground after he fell out with Kennis music then. He accused Kehinde Ogungbe and Dayo Adeneye of taking him to the UK to look at the bridges. In 2012, he was rumoured to have been begging to eat and struggling like an upcoming act. Too bad he slipped his chance to be a mega star.

African China

African China, born as Chinagorom Onuoha, is a Nigerian singer who expresses political outcry and messages from the heart through song. African China was born in Orile, a ghetto side of Lagos, Nigeria. African China started his music career in 1985 at the age of seven, and became thoroughly invested in music at the age of 18 in 1996, having completed secondary school. He received his first award at the Nigerian International Song Festival before releasing his debut album “Crisis”. This album later went on to win many more awards, including but not limited to Best Reggae/ Reggae dancehall at the Fanta Fame musical award, 2003 merit award, Unification Peace Award from the OPC, and the 1st Nigerian Entertainment award. His music is also undoubtedly politically influenced, as many of his songs have political commentary directly in their names, and several are open letters to the president expressing what he feels needs to be done about Nigeria and the government. Since his famous album, “Dear Mr. President” which illustrated the suffering in Nigeria in 2003, nothing has been heard from him.

X-Project

This Sierra Naija fusion group Xtreme Project a.k.a X-Project, cashed in on the influence that Makossa introduced in Nigeria when they blessed the music media with Lori Le – a track that brought them astounding fame within and outside these shores. What Majeed, Slez and Saal set out to do, was basically come together to craft a ceaseless African music genre. Majeed who happened to be the lead vocalist and only Nigerian in the trio group, had to leave for U.S becoming the bane of the group’s success. The other two Sierra Leoneans have not been heard of much since his uneventful exit from the music group. Thankfully with a hit like Lori Le, it’ll be a while before they go totally obscure.

Klever Jay

Klever Jay is a talented Nigerian Afro-Pop singer and songwriter. Born as Sholanke Abiodun Joseph, he grew up with a passion for playing football and often returned home late with a dirty uniform. Rather pursuing a career in football, he did in music and rose to fame with his hit single “Koni Koni Love.” Since then, he has released several hit songs such as “Igborotidaru”, “Kini Level” and “Legal Tender“. He has also collaborated with many top Nigerian artists including 9ice, Reminisce, and others.

Kenny Saint Brown

Kenny Saint Brown, popularly known as KSB, is a multiple award-winning artiste before she went on to become an entrepreneur, author, life coach, and a politician. Born in Ago Iwoye, Ijebu to the family of Late Chief Felix and Otunba Leticia Ogungbe, she jettisoned a career in oil and gas industry for music. The talented singer was waxing stronger even when some other gospel stars were disappearing from the landscape. Her unforgettable songs include ‘Turn Around’ featuring Da Grin, ‘Baba Ara,’ ‘Moti Goke’ featuring Terry G; ‘Alaye’ featuring Ice Prince, among others.

Terry G

Gabriel Oche Amanyi born 17 March 1986, popularly known by his stage name Terry G, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter and record executive. He is widely known for his eccentric dress-sense, controversial lyrics and awkward identity. He has been described by The punch as “one of the world’s weirdest singers”, by Vanguard and by Channels TV as the “craziest musician in Nigeria” In 2013, he released his fourth album, titled Book of Ginjah. He brought a new kind of flavour to the music scene, carving a niche for himself, as a talented singer with a hyper-energetic style of music delivery. Freestyling on a beat he had produced for another artiste, his infectious beat and melody of most of his songs could not be overlooked. Terry G grunted his way to stardom with a worrisome trend that the likes of Naira Marley, Zlatan, Qdot and others have carried on with. Earlier this year, Terry G, announced that he is quitting music for personal reasons. The ‘Akpako Master’ crooner disclosed this in a video posted on his Instagram account, with the caption “It’s Been A Journey”. Some of his ‘crazy’ songs from the ‘Ginjah Master’s that shut down Nigerian airwaves at its prime, includes ‘Free madness,’ ‘Run Mad,’ ‘Akpako Master,’ ‘See groove,’ and ‘Sangalo pt 2.’ He has also faded from the scene.

Paul Play Dairo

Paul “Play” Dairo is a Nigerian musician, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for his songs “Angel Of My Life,” “Forever,” and “You and Me.” In 1999, under the music label Kennis Music he produced a remix of the song “Mo So Rire.” Dairo has won several music awards, including The headies Artist of The Year award. Even if the younger generation does not listen to him, Paul Play Dairo is still a living Afro music legend. Known for his soft-spoken vocals, the son of Nigerian bandleader, I. K. Dairo who was the father of juju music for his role in establishing that musical style, eventually displaced West African high life as Nigeria’s national sound. Like his father, Paul’s music genre revolves around high life, but he added Gospel, R&B, and Soul to the mix as well. He knows how to serenade his listeners’ right, and expresses it with the simplest of lyrics to convey his message of affection. After this hit song that remains on the airwaves till late 2004, nothing has been heard of the gap-teethed musician.

Bigiano

Babalola Oluwagbemiga Gabriel (born August 1, 1980) known professionally as Bigiano, is a Nigerian songwriter, singer, record producer, recording artist, and stage performer, Known for his hit single “Shayo” in 2008, but went off the radar shortly after that. In 2020, the former Triple B member came back with confidence that God can still give him the inspiration to make a song bigger than Shayo. But despite his trust on God, he has failed to regain prominence.

Lord of Ajasa

Lord of Ajasa is a legendary Nigerian Afro hip hop artiste and is widely referred to the pioneer of Yoruba rap, setting the pace for rappers like late Da Grin, Olamide, Reminisce, Baseone, Jhybo, Oladips, Seriki, Zlatan and many more. Born Segun Osaniyi, he was given the stage name ‘Lord of Ajasa’ (Lord of Flavor) in his Polytechnic days in Ondo State, where he majored in Quantity Survey. As a potent lyricist, Lord of Ajasa made hip to rap trendy in Yoruba dialect, inspiring many upcoming acts to follow in his footsteps. Ajasa hit limelight with the track, “Ma yi lo” in 2000. Lord of Ajasa then came through with hit singles, Otiya, Esa lo bade, and Fe Nuso, featuring Nigerian singer, 9ice, before Dagrin came with ‘Pon Pon Pon’ and took the game to an entirely different level. He was the most sought after artiste both by promoters and fellow artistes alike headlining and featuring in various prime events in Nigeria. He was recently in the news when he was critically ill and needed funds to undergo an urgent peptic ulcer operation.

Sunny Neji

For music lovers who are beginning to appreciate good music, Sunny Neji is probably part of the old generation you should consider checking because of his “Traditional highlife” style. His debut album, ‘Captain’ on EMI was released in 1991, before he went on to join Colors Band with which he performed as the lead singer for five years. In 1997 with the release of his sophomore set ‘Mr. Fantastik,’ the album sold hugely and won numerous awards for the artiste. He went on to drop other amazing works, such as Tribute Album to the Legendary Sir, Victor Uwaifo with his reinterpretation of the classic ‘Joromi,’ ‘Wake up!’ in 2003 to challenge Nigeria to vote right in the general election. These special projects helped to set the tune for his fourth full-length album unchained, with Oruka and Face Me I Face You. Sunny Neji was described as Nigeria’s Luther Vandross, whose beautiful love songs are enjoyed by everyone, old and young. His hit single “Oruka”; still remains a dream song for every couple walking down the aisle in Nigeria.

LAGBAJA

Bisade Ologunde is a Nigerian Afro beat musician, singer-songwriter and percussionist. Widely known as Lágbájá for his signature use of mask which covers his identity. He believes in social reform through music.

Artquake

The duo of Ice-K and Adex met in 1995 and formed the group Artquake. But the biggest hit of their career didn’t come until 13 years later, in 2008, in the form of Alanta, a song over which there are claims it was originally made in the early 2000s by an obscure Ajegunle musician, Peter Alanta, who is also the originator of the titular dance. Nevertheless, it is the Artquake version that gave the song and its dance the massive popularity it enjoyed between 2008 and 2009. There are also many who believe that the Alanta was the precursor of another popular dance, shaku-shaku, which emerged on the mainstream pop scene about ten years later.

Jazzman Olofin

Once upon a time, Jazzman Olofin was a big name in the entertainment industry. Now, just a few may likely remember he held sway many years ago.

But even as he is not so popular again, it has not stopped the young man from releasing songs periodically.

In 2016, he released his last song, ‘Shade’, and said that he is getting positive feedback over it.

Jazzman still believes his career is not dead as he took a swipe at those who felt differently.

The singer further added that he was doing music at his own pace and he is not competing with anyone. But many music lovers would agree that, the dude has lost his mojo. The younger generation of hip hop have overshot him.

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