1. OLAMIDE: Baddo is easily the rapper of the year with hits like Lagos Boys, Shakititi bobo, Melo Melo, he released two albums this year, a joint album with Phyno #2Kings, including his 5th solo project in 5years Eyan Mayweather, a UK concert, almost every song he featured in became a hit, provided platforms for Lil Kesh, Vitkoh and Adekunle Gold to shine, Made in Black tour with Phyno, bagged endorsement deals with Surebet, had former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola at his child’s naming ceremony earlier in the year and was one of the leading acts at the Lagos Gubernatorial elections. Ended the year with the ‘Future Awards Africa Prize in Entertainment’ and AFRIMA ‘Best Male West African Artist’ plaques.
2. WIZKID: Wiz had Swizz beats and Alicia Keys vibing to Ojuelegba, Skepta and Drake jumped on the remix, he became the first Nigerian pop star to feature on New York music magazine Fader, his hit single ‘Ojuelegba’ got listened in Fader’s top 107 songs of the year, he featured on R. Kelly’s album, got recognition from the likes of Angelique Kidjo, Jidenna and Chris Brown, featured on Burna Boy’s, Runtown’s and Wande Coal’s albums and performed in shows worldwide. Wizkid can make a case for being the artist of the year but his failure to release that body of work which remains the hallmark of an artist falls him short here.
3. DAVIDO: The pop star who turned 23 earlier in November also had a memorable 2015, outside getting robbed at gunpoint in South Africa which had him shaken. Who remembers the snake incident? and failing to release his sophomore project which he has pushed back to 2016. This year, Davido made his Nollywood debut, graduated, bought himself an Audi wheel valued at N39M, headlined the Afrobeatz festival in Malaysia, partied with Trey Songz in Atlanta and featured him on ‘Wetin you say’, welcomed a baby, got MOBO and MTV EMA nominations, won Best Male Act at the MAMAs, his ‘Fans Mi’ video which has American rapstar Meek Mill got mad buzz gathering 1M views in 16days and an NDLEA query, was ‘Africa’s Most Influential Artist’ according to FORBES, renewed his endorsement deal with MTN, had a successful UK tour, emerged the first Nigerian celeb to hit the 1M followers mark on twitter. Phew, Davido balled every single month.
4. MAVINS: The Mavins are easily the most powerful clique in town, as a group, they had hit songs like ‘Jantamanta’, ‘Looku looku’, ‘Arise’ and toured shows nationwide, as individuals Korede Bello had his biggest year following the release of ‘Godwin’, he also earned a Police Ambassador role, Di’ja dropped ‘Aaaww’ and sealed an endorsement deal with telco giant Globacom, Reekado Banks was major with ‘Katapot’, ‘Sugar Baby’, ‘Corner’, Tiwa Savage was in the news with her baby and her sophomore album R.E.D, D-Prince and Dr. Sid also put out relatively hit singles and Don Jazzy continued to reign as the top beatsmith in the land.
5. YEMI ALADE: The songstress was one who also had a successful year, She won the ‘Best Female African Act, West Africa’ at the AFRIMA Awards, won the Female Artist of the Year MAMAs 2015, got MOBO and Headies nominations, launched her professional website titled, ‘Yemi Alade World’, unveiled her fashion collection, released new singles like ‘Na Gode’ ft Selebobo, ‘Sugar’, set a Youtube record as the first Nigerian female act to hit over 30 million views on Youtube for her Johnny video, was judge on the Tecno karaoke competition, She had a swell year and 2016 promises to be more interesting with the release of her sophomore album.
6. PHYNO: Phyno is made of black, he toured a lot this year, released his joint album ‘2 Kings’ with fellow rapper Olamide, put up a successful debut edition of the PhynoFest concert in November, shut down London with the YBNL crew, dropped the hit single ‘Connect’, had some of the finest guest verses this year with Falz’s ‘Karishika’, Humblesmith’s ‘Osinachi’, Reminisce’s ‘Local Rappers’, King Kong remix to mention a few, he also inked an endorsement deal with Naira Bet and Airtel whilst losing out to Cassper Nyovest in the ‘Best HipHop Act’ category at the MAMAs.
7. ICE PRINCE: Ice Prince became Vice- President of Chocolate City Music this year, dropped his ‘Trash Can EP’ this year which had the singles ‘Marry you’ and ‘Elegushi’, also released visuals for ‘Boss’ and ‘Feelings’, Ice was caught on camera with rap god, Jay Z, became the first African rapper to have his video on TIDAL, stopped by at the famous hip hop show ‘Breakfast Club’ on Power 105.1.
8. REMINISCE/LIL KESH: The Alaga Ibile kicked off the year on a fast note with the release of his 3rd album ‘Baba Hafusa’ album in April which topped the iTunes World Music Chart for seven days straight and also appeared on the Billboard World Music Album Charts, his controversial ‘Local Rappers’ single was a major hit and ‘Tesojue’ became a street slang across board. He has dropped further singles like ‘Kpomo remix’, ‘Poison’, ‘Gboriduro’.
Olamide’s protégé, Lil Kesh who is one of the new school leaders also had one of his finest years owning one of the biggest singles this year in ‘Gbese’, also dropped ‘Efejoku’, ‘is it because I love you’, guest verses on over 10 songs including major hits like ‘Ladi’, Jimmy Jatt’s ‘Dan ya mo’ and he also copped himself a Range rover toy this year, the shift in his album date to 2016 cut him ending the year on a real high.
- BURNA BOY: The controversial artiste also had it big in 2015, at some point you will be pardoned for taking him as a South African Artiste with the amount of collaborations he had with the likes of AKA, such was his demand as everybody sought to have him on their joint. Burna also had the hit single ‘Soke’, released his sophomore album ‘On a spaceship’, hooked up with Jamaican born reggae musician Sizzla Kalonji, dropped some of the hottest songs of the year, got endorsement deal with Hennessy and featured on New York based magazine ‘Fader’ becoming only the second Nigerian pop act after Wizkid, not forgetting his many controversies that kept in largely in the news.
- FALZ: Falz was indeed a bad guy this year as released a major hit track in ‘Karishika’, dropped arguably the hiphop album of the year with ‘Stories that touch’, same year where Olamide dropped his album, he featured on the Jennifer drama series and floated his ‘Ello Bae’ wears.
Ehis Combs Ohunyon is a music lover and writer, follow on twitter @ehiscombs