It started out pretty innocently with Two Face Idibia. The Naija balladeer mellowed us with his hit “African Queen” and went on to become one of Africa’s most celebrated pop artists. Unfortunately, Kenyans never got to experience 2 Face live on stage.
Then about two years later along came the twins (no pun intended), P Squared…what’s with Naija brothers and numbers or integers as part of their names? Aaaaaanyway, Peter and Paul Okoye came, saw and conquered Kenya on August 31st, performing to a frenzied crowd of about 3,000 people at the KICC grounds.
With the massive success both 2 Face and P Square have enjoyed in Kenya, one can only wonder which Naija act is going to rock us next. Actually, I predict it won’t be just one act or artist but a series of acts. Think of it like the Bongo invasion, only from the west. So this brotha with mojo is going to school you on the hottest acts in Naija right now, and the ones I think are gonna make it big in Kenya come the ’09.
When it comes to Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo - I am willing to put my money where my pen is! I can bet you that; if there’s one Najia cat that’s gonna blow in the 254 come the ’09 – it has got to be D’Banj! Dude has been around for a minute, and his music has been bubbling under for like 2 years now. His first Kenyan hit “Coco” or was it ‘Do you like the coco?’? got a lukewarm reception here – although for the life of me, I cannot understand why. This track was a banger! That said, I do believe that ‘Coco’ will have a sort of reinassance in Nairobi when D’Banj finally blows. His other hits have been the Afro-Techno hit ‘Move Your Body’ and ‘Why Me’ (most of you may remember it as “why me-oo!”
He's got a mean swagga and a knack for three-piece suits. He’s quite an unorthodox hip hop artiste. And he’s probably got the hottest song in the continent right now – Kini Big Deal. A smooth rap joint with a melodious hook that sounds kinda like ‘Ina bidi, ina bidii, Chebii Chebii you’re on fire…” (at least that’s how my friend Chebii sings it). Naeto C’s also got another hit called ‘You Know My P.’ Interestingly, Naeto was actually born in the US, spent a lot of time in England before going back to Naija (courtesy of his dad, who was a minister back then). Naeto’s strongest asset is his ability to flow without sounding or looking fake. As far as African rap artists go, he floats amongst the top cream.
Believe it or not, Ikechukwu or Killz (as they like to call him in Naija) is Naeto C’s brother. The DMX look-alike actually pretty new in the game but he’s already gone very far, in fact, as far as getting a Channel O Music Video nod for Best New Artist in 2006. He’s also the guest artist in Naeto C’s ‘You Know My P’ joint, although he’s more famous for the track ‘Naija Boy.’
This cat rocked the house recently during the Nelson Mandela birthday bash in London. 9ice has a very unique blend of Afro Pop (which he usually sings in Yoruba), dancehall and hip hop. His style makes him one of the most identifiable Nigerian acts out there today. You’d probably recognize his music from his biggest song thus far ‘Gongo Aso.’ He recently released a new joint with 2 Face called ‘Street Credibility’ – that one’s off the chains (probably gonna blow in Nai).
Arguably one of West Africa's finest vocalist and songwriters, Faze has locked down the region’s Hip-hop, R&B, Reggae and blues genres and with a unique blend which he tags "Universal Flavour". Faze was a member of Naija’s super boy band Plantashun Boiz which comprised of 2Face and Blackface. So if you liked 2Face, wait until you sample Faze. He’s biggest hit to date is a nutty dancehall joint known as ‘Kolomental’.
Other Notable Naija Cats
1. Wande Coal (he did a collabo with Ikechukwu called ‘If You Like’
2. Asa (Naija’s answer to India Arie)
5. Weird MC (she did that crazy song called ‘Ijoya’)