Oleku, Kako bi chicken… see our top 10 career defining debut rap singles


These are some of the top 10 songs that have served as career defining ice-breakers for some of Nigeria’s most proficient rappers.

#10 Kako bi chicken – Reminisce

Reminisce had been in the music industry for many years, until this dubstep inspired street hop song created a path for his mainstream career. The rapper’s path to greatness has been lit ever since.

#9 Kini big  deal – Naeto C

Naeto C’s Kini big deal may not have been the best song lyrically but coupled with the catchy hook and a 007-inspired video, it came out great. The song marked a renaissance in the era of flamboyant Nigerian music videos where great content met great quality.

#8 I done did it – Eva Alordiah

Eva’s I done did It was a heavy debut that quickly gained Nigeria’s attention. This was the first time rap was being delivered by female rapper without the ambiguity and stiffness of a woman  obviously trying to prove a point.

#7 Sambori bobo – Sauce Kid

The rapper fused a foreign flow with Nigerian lyricism to create this Hausa language inspired hit. It stands till date as one of the major reference points for his career.

#6 Oleku- Ice Prince

Chocolate City rapper Ice Prince took the industry by storm when he debuted at the top of many local charts with the song Oleku.

#5 Eni Duro – Olamide

At the launch of Olamide’s career in 2010, this song spread like wildfire through the underground and it didn’t take too long for the Nigerian radio waves to catch on the flames. Eni Duro is reminiscent of DaGrin’s gritty style and a street-inspired humorous lyricism. Street-hop had never sounded good.

#4 Elbow room – Mode 9

Any talk about music in Nigeria is incomplete without giving credits to the Mode 9 brand. Elbow room is the lead single off the rapper’s, 2004 debut mixtape, Malcolm IX – The Lost Sessions. This was the song that officially brought the music of Mode 9 to public attention.

#3 Eh-en Part 1 – Ruggedman

The braggart nature of the hip-hop genre often pits the large egos of rappers against one another. This makes a case for Ruggedman’s debut single Eh-en Part 1. The rapper aimed bold shots at everyone in the industry, forcing the artists and their fans alike to give a second thought to their music. It also largely established Ruggedman as a controversial rapper.

#2 Pon Pon Pon – DaGrin

Despite having an album before the release of this single, DaGrin revived indigenous rap with slick rhymes and witty verses on this Sossick produced song. Pon Pon Pon was a street anthem that served its purpose as a re-introduction of DaGrin into Nigerian music.

#1 Crowd Mentality – M.I

Dubbed by many as the first properly done commercial rap song in Nigeria. M.I’s Crowd Mentality plays like an announcement of the rapper’s  intent to ditch his hip-hop roots for generic popular music. The result, however, is a timeless sarcastic take on the state of Nigerian music. This was the prefect prelude to the release of M.I’s more commercial follow-up  single Safe and everything else his artistry represented after.


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