YNaija’s Next Rated is still geared towards spotlighting undiscovered, under-the-radar artistes in Nigeria, regardless of music genres, or bring up acts who have been in the industry for a while and yet people don’t know. The vertical is also particular about documenting new female artistes and those from marginalised communities.
This month of May saw a crop of interesting artistes which we interviewed, who have also released projects. Here they are:
Nigeria’s rap scene is currently a wellspring of emerging acts. Even without the backing of record labels, social media and streaming platforms are intersecting to give them a lick of visibility. 22-year-old Jason Nkanga, based in Brighton, England, is one of such discoveries.
His debut project Beyond My Imagination released in 2016 is curiously textured and introspective, whether it’s Efe Oraka’s lilting RnB vocals on The World Is Yours about perseverance or the space-aged bliss of Glory Nights featuring Zahra, IMTJ and Slick, or the sneaky electric guitar on Remember You featuring Wa’ti, a song about Jason rapping about remaining the same to the people who stuck with him when fame comes.
”Well, I found myself always rapping wherever and whenever. It was something I enjoyed doing so at that point I just knew I would become a rapper,” he said.
Discover Jason Nkanga here.
Nigeria’s trap scene is bewitching enough to amass its own loyal fans, its muted glamour seen in the pockets of social media interactions, distressed, minimalist fashion and insular parties. When trap does explode into the mainstream and surely it will, 23-year-old Straffitti would be one of its correspondents, emerging not just to maintain the status quo but to disrupt it further. With a dollop of vocal engineering, Straffitti’s voice can mutate to embody the emotions he’s feeling.
Straffitti makes his own beat sometimes as a producer, recording and mixing but most times he’s usually co-producing with his producer friends on songs they have made. What’s remarkable about this is how artistes of his generation hold more than one creative title. They juggle being producers and audio engineers, and in Straffitti’s case – photography, graphic designer, video producer, image consultant and fashion designer. Some of these artistic paths feeds into the creative collective Thirsty Worldwide which he founded.
Discover more about Straffitti here.
While the music landscape is mushrooming with new and emerging artistes, not many have their sound so distinctly fine-tuned and infectious. Indie singer Naya Akanji is one to notice and acknowledge, self-assured in her lyrical delivery and individuality. That much is evident in her debut EP Vivid Emotions released last year, a joint project with producer Lemar Abdul. With pristine, masterful production, Naya vaults into the realms of pop and RnB wherein she excavates emotions through honest, relatable songwriting.
Know more about Naya Akanji here.
Born Princess Oyinye Okh, RnB Princess is a tage name might be on the nose but it’s also an indicator of the sonic route she’s taken. She released her debut single Heartless in 2015, a song about heartbreak produced and sound engineered by Fuga the Pirate. Love Memoires, her debut EP released in January, 2020, weaves itself on the foundation of covers.
”Singing wasn’t really something I decided to do. It’s come to me as naturally as breathing honestly, because of my heavy music background. Deciding to be an artiste however was a tough decision to make because I had so many different interests and possible career paths, but it was the only thing that I felt could give me peace whilst still making me some money. I’ve also had many dreams and revelations about it since my childhood, so I guess you can’t really deny your destinym,” says RnB Princess.
Read more about RnB Princess here:
What is true about Nigeria’s drill rap scene is that it’s in its infancy. Likewise trap music which it evolved from, drill is bubbling with its own underground purveyors, a decidedly masculine culture that’s more than just the music but also has embraced drill as a lifestyle. Enter Droxx, whose latest EP Riot was out last week Thursday, a joint project with drill compatriot Mo’ Gunz.
Born Habeeb Olaitan, Droxx isn’t too obsessed about wanting drill music to really explode, ”I’m pretty sure with the efforts and work that a lot of us been putting in, it will only get bigger. The sky is the limit still.”
Discover more about Droxx here
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.