Over the years, the definition of the hip-hop genre beyond basic features of gritty punchlines, witty rhymes and heavy kicks have proven extremely problematic. This has made it even worse to adequately define hip hop sub-genres like Yoruba rap/street-hop.
Many artists have emerged over the years with the same Yoruba language inspired lyricism, however in Nigerian music today only three major names have stood out; Olamide, DaGrin and Reminisce
Late rapper, DaGrin broke into the industry in 2009 after his single Pon Pon Pon began gaining massive airwaves nationwide. The rapper’s gritty style and lyrical depth set him aside from every other Yoruba rapper before him. DaGrin had a deep connection with the grimy lifestyle of the Nigerian slums and quickly became an inspiration to his peers from similar backgrounds. Despite the brevity of DaGrin’s discography, his CEO album was a major defining point in Nigerian music. The album listens like a collection of autobiographical stories and DaGrin basically wiped the slate clean when he ditched the traditional formula for making local rap albums. Many rappers started emulating this style after his death.
Olamide Baddo, is one of the legacies left behind by DaGrin’s music. After finding fame with his debut album Rapsodi in 2011, the rapper has become a force to be reckoned with. Olamide has built a decent discography for himself over the years. This includes spinning numerous hits over four full LPs, one compilation album and one joint album; the most comprehensive for any rapper of his calibre. The rapper has been able to transcend natural limitations of his music by rapping in English and teaming up with fellow indigenous rapper Phyno.
Olamide’s biggest achievement however is in his dedication to not only carve a brand for himself, but also to build an empire. In less than 6 years since he became an household name, the rapper has helped in launching many upcoming careers. His record label YBNL is currently home to rappers like Lil Kesh, Viktoh and folk R&B singer, Adekunle Gold.
Remilekun Abdul Khalid also known as Reminisce, broke into the mainstream in 2011 with his dubstep fused Yoruba street-hop Kako Bii Chicken. The rapper has maintained a place in Yoruba street hop ever since. His deep voice and aggressive flow are two fan favourites that have made him a top selling artist. His third studio album Baba Hafusa topped iTunes Nigeria charts for nearly 7 weeks after its initial release. The album also peaked at number 12 on the Billboard World Music albums chart.
Reminisce is a frequent collaborator with fellow indigenous rappers Olamide and Phyno. In 2014 he was listed by Time Magazine as one of 7 other rappers the rest of the world should pay attention to. With the nerve-racking numbers Reminisce has to his name, the rapper is clearly not here to play.
These are three highly successful rappers in their own right, who do you guys think would leave a more enduring legacy?