Some of the most exciting acts out of the country's less popular music spots.
When the Nigerian music industry is mentioned or talked about, Lagos immediately pops into your mind. If you stretch your mind a bit further, then Abuja, a fledgling scene at best, enters the fray. But Nigeria is more than her economic and administrative capitals, and other states and cities also have vibrant music spaces with promising talent. Unfortunately, artistes from these spaces barely get recognised due to how disregarded their environments are. Fortunately for you, dear reader, we at B.Side have taken it upon ourselves to spotlight a few musicians from outside the regular hotspots who are putting in the work and serving sweet sounds.
With no further ado, and in no particular order, here are six artistes you should definitely check out:
Representing Port Harcourt is rapper and sound engineer Kiienka. The Garden City has had its fair share of the limelight recently, with Burna Boy and Omah Lay putting the town on their backs, but it’s still largely ignored in mainstream conversations. Kiienka’s music is influenced by the synths and trap of Atlanta rap but still brings his personal grit to the music, giving a distinct sound.
Based in Enugu, Elveektor is the latest talent from the Igbo rap assembly line that has churned out superstars like Phyno, Illbliss and Zoro. With two projects and an EP under his belt, Elveektor’s flow and delivery are top-notch, on par with the top wordsmiths in the space. A conscious rapper, Elveektor is fully committed to telling stories of his people and their culture. A true Eastern champion.
A first listen to SoulBlackSheep’s 2018 debut project, Ecstasy, Just Chill, is an introduction to Nigerian lo-fi, a genre that is still very much underground in our entertainment scene. Switching from his native Yoruba and English with dexterity, the album is a masterpiece in innovation. The album’s title is very descriptive of the Ibadan-based artiste’s style: chill and laid back. Clearly destined for the top, SoulBlackSheep’s trajectory is one to watch.
A singer and songwriter, Kemena is one of the more popular names on this list. Multifaceted, he also is an audio engineer, which shows through the crispness of his music and the variety of sounds he feels comfortable working with. Based in Ibadan, his debut album, Bond, peaked at number 24 on Apple Music Top’s 100 World Albums after its release in 2020, a testament to his talent and appeal.
Mr Bigg Splash
This hard-hitting MC is putting the rap scene in Benin city on his back. With a smooth flow and excellent delivery, it is no surprise to see that he is being pipped for great things. Immensely proud of his home state, his recent mixtape, EDO STATE HIP HOP LOVERS 2 (The E.H.L.2 Mixtape), is part homage to his Edo state, as well as a comprehensive showcase of his talents and lyricism.
Based in Enugu, Ifé is a singer and songwriter. She prefers to work with traditional instruments that compliment her voice perfectly. With a host of singles on which she is a lead singer and several featured appearances, Ifé is a maverick on the mic. Her versatility is also a key asset, as she can switch effortlessly between English and her native Igbo language, doing nothing but heightening the quality of her music.