2023 is here again, and music fans especially rap lovers are already all ears for who is currently topping on the list of best rappers in Nigeria. This year alone, we’ve witnessed some of our Nigerian music artists take giant strides in the music industry both locally and internationally. One set of music artists in Nigeria who will make 2023 a pleasant year for Nigerian music lovers both home and abroad are rappers.
There’s no denying that some of the best Nigerian songs released this year and late last year have come from rappers. As much as we’ve got loads of rappers in Nigeria, these rappers aren’t on the same level. Lyrically speaking, some are just better than others. The question now is, who are the best rappers in Nigeria in 2023?
To answer the above question, and to present you our esteemed reader with the most credible information in this regard, we’ve done our research and also conducted online polls, where we asked lovers of rap music in Nigeria who the top 10 best rappers in Nigeria based on their relevance, how successful their songs have been, and the quality of their flows.
Enough said, here’s a compiled list of the results we got, remember the ranking is not based on our personal judgement as stated above but on online polls, interviews with other rap critics, however, you can argue about the ranking of the best rappers in Nigeria, but you will have to state your opinion and reason(s) for selecting the artiste as the 2023 best rapper in Nigeria.
Criteria For Ranking The 2023 best 10 Rappers In Nigeria
There are criteria for choosing the best rappers in Nigeria, most blogs just come up with random list rather than a well detail information with proofs of why they merit the position. These rappers have stood the test of time, paid their dues where necessary.
a) Awards Won: You cannot be termed the best rapper in Nigeria without general or public acceptance. Public acceptance and recommendations from music critics who have been in the music industry has a huge effect on be rated the best in the rap industry in Nigeria. To be rated the best your awards should be able to speak for you. Awards are recognition of excellence in any field therefore one of our criteria for selecting the best rappers in Nigeria is the number of awards won by the rapper.
b) Street Credibility: To be rated the best rapper in Nigeria having street credibility is fundamental to your growth. You might want to ask what is street credibility? this is the quality every rapper must posses in order to be accepted by the youths most especially by so doing accumulating more fan base. The rappers listed below all have these characteristics hence are worthy to be rated among the best in Nigeria.
c) Popularity: The truth is you cannot rule out the popularity of a rapper when choosing the best rappers in Nigeria. To be popular it simply means being prolific in career, however there are some rappers that are popular for their wackness and a popular example is Vic-O the rapper. So popularity is one of the criteria for choosing Nigeria’s best rappers for 2023.
d) Rhymes And Flows: To be rated the best rapper in Nigeria you need rhymes and flows. It is not just enough to rap. Rap flows when there is a rhyme so to be rated among the best rappers in Nigeria you need to be a prolific rhymer, that it know when to cut and continue. These rappers have the pedigree, they understand the art of raps. These and many more are the criteria for choosing the best rappers in Nigeria.
List of Top 10 Best Rappers in Nigeria 2023
Veteran rapper iLLBLISS has been around for quite a long time. He musical career which spans for over a decade is currently the longest in the Nigerian rap music game. In all these years, the Aiye Po Gan crooner has maintained his relevance, and released a number of chart topping and award winning songs. iLLBLISS is the proud recipient of a number of awards, and has four major studio albums to his name. In 2018, iLLBLISS has released just one song so far, a song he titled It is God. Hopefully, more songs will be coming from him before the end of the year.
Keshinro Olalade better known by his stage name Lil Kesh is an indigenous rapper who happens to be one of the first signees on Olamide’s record label, YBNL. He kicked off his music career in 2012, releasing the single Lyrically which soon enough became an anthem in most Nigerian Universities. After joining YBNL, Lil Kesh went on to release a number of chart topping singles Nigerians won’t forget in a long time.
Songs as Gbese, Efejoku, Shoki, Cause Trouble, Problem Child, Is it because I love You and Shele gon gon were all instant hits during the time of their release. Kesh hasn’t stopped grinding and has released the following amazing songs in 2019, Flenjo, Gbowo, Again O and Apa mi. He is also featured on one of the biggest songs of 2019 so far, Able God by Zlatan.
The eight on the list of hottest rappers in Nigeria will be the Oleku crooner, Ice Prince. Though he isn’t as relevant as he once was in the Nigerian music industry, I think he’s getting back to his old form as he’s been able to drop a few good songs in 2019. Born Panshak Henry Zamani, the rapper rose to fame in not just Nigeria, but Africa with the release of his debut studio album, Everybody Loves Ice Prince. Prior to the release of his debut album, Ice Prince had already been a local sensation in his hometown of Jos alongside former label mate M.I. In 2009, he even won the Hennessy Artistry Club Tour. The year 2011 witnessed the release of his debut album which contained such hit singles as Oleku, Juju and Superstar. The lead single from the album would go on to earn him the highly coveted Best International Act: Africa trophy at the BET Awards 2018; He also went on to win the award for Best Hip-hop Artist of the Year: Africa at the BET.
In the year 2013 he released his second studio album titled Fire of Zamani which contained hit singles as More, Gimme That and Aboki. The Oleku crooner has been working really hard lately to take back his place as the best rapper in Nigeria. To achieve this, he has released a couple of good songs this year to include Big Daddy Ice, If I tell You, So High and Yawa.
Olumide Martin Alejo popularly known as Ycee is a Nigerian rapper who came to prominence with the release of the single titled Jagaban in the year 2015. The song received massive airplays from radio stations around the country, and impressed Olamide of YBNL so much that he asked to be featured in the remix. Prior to the release of Jagaban, Ycee had won the attention of record label executives in the Nigerian music industry owing to the impressive single he did with Patoranking, Condo.
He got signed to Tinny Entertainment, and not long after Sony Music discovered his talent and got him signed to their label in 2016. Ycee joined forces with Maleek Berry to record his biggest song till date, Juice. He went on to hold the Juice Concert on the 12th of January, 2018 at the O2 Academy in London. Yes Ycee is a man with few awards, but one can’t deny that the rapper is very good at what he does. In 2018, he has gifted us with the hit single Say Bye Bye, and has been featured on the songs of other popular music artistes.
Taking the sixth position on the top 10 best rappers in Nigeria is none other than Vector himself. The rapper whose real name is Olarewanju Ogunmefun is one artist whose sound, style and flow is very much similar to that of American Hip-hop music icon Jay Z. Vector released his first official single titled Kilode in the year 2009. His debut studio album titled State of Surprise was released in October 29th 2010.
The album had guest appearances from the likes of 2 face Idibia, General Pype, Chuddy K, Ade Piper, Emmsong and Sistah Soul. His second studio album titled The Second Coming was released in 2012; and his third studio album Lafiaji was released in 2016. Vector is the recipient of a total number of ten major awards amongst a host of nominations. This year, the Adura crooner hasn’t been quiet as he’s dropped a couple of good songs for his fans and music lovers in general.
Hailing from the east side of Nigeria, Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike known by his stage name Phyno is an indigenous Nigerian rapper who has been a household name since 2013. No one would deny that the Obago crooner deserves a place on the list of top 10 best rappers in Nigeria. The first time I saw Phyno perform was when he took the chorus on iLLBliss’ Anam Achi Kwanu, by God was I impressed. Never knew he was a rapper until his collaborative work with Olamide on Ghost Mode. From the year 2013 till date, Phyno has released a good amount of chart topping songs, and has won himself an enviable number of accolades.
He has three albums to his name, and each of these albums have contained hit songs. His debut studio album No Guts No Glory released in 2014 had such mesmerizing singles as Ghost Mode, Alobam, Man of the Year (Obago) and O Set. In 2015 he collaborated with Olamide on an album they titled 2 Kings. His third studio album titled The Playmaker is arguably the greatest LP released by a Nigerian music artist in 2016, as it contained such smash hits as Fada Fada, Connect and Okpeke. Some very popular songs he’s released this year so far includes Isi Ego; Onyeoma and Aye.
Remilekun Abdulkalid Safaru who goes by the stage name Reminisce or Alaga Ibile is an indigenous rapper whose third album titled Baba Hafusa broke barriers and became the first album by a hip hop artist in Africa to debut on the Billboard World Music Charts at no. 12. The album is recorded to have sold more than a million copies before the close of 2014, and earned him a place in Time Magazine’s Seven World Rappers You Should Meet.
In 2019, Reminisce released a good number of top songs such as Problem and has been featured on numerous hit songs this year alone to include songs as Diet by Dj Enimoney; Lalakukulala by Oladips; Slay Mama by Dj Xclusive; and Small Girl Big God by Dj Jimmy Jatt amongst others. Reminisce is the proud recipient of a number of awards to include the Award for Best Rap Album he won at this year’s Headies for his El-Hadj album.
Jude Abaga popularly known by his stage name M.I or Mr. Incredible is a talented rapper and lyricist who came to limelight in the year 2008 with the release of his critically acclaimed single Crowd Mentality and debut studio album Talk About It. Praised for his lyricism, amazing flows, use of punch-lines and delivery, M.I has gone from being a newbie in the Nigerian music industry to a force to reckon with. He has been the CEO of Chocolate City since 2015. With seven studio albums to his name and a numerous number of awards to include eight Headies Awards; Best New Act Award at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009; Musician of the Year at the Future Awards and City People Awards in 2010 and a number of other reputable awards and nominations, M.I isn’t just one of the best rappers in Nigeria, he is also one of the best in Africa.
The ingenious rapper recently released his seventh studio album titled A Study on Self worth: Yxng Dxnzi, and it’s been praised by lovers of rap music as being powerful and introspective. The 10 track album contains songs that are both effective and essential, all bearing the theme of self-worth. One song from the album that has topped charts, received awards and gotten a lot of airplays on radio stations around the country is the track You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life.
Folarin Falana popularly known by his stage name Falz the Bahd Guy is a Nigerian rapper who came to limelight with the release of his debut studio album Waz Up Guy in the year 2014. The next year saw him become a household name in Nigeria with the release of the hit singles Soldier and Jamb Question with Simi. The next year saw Falz getting international recognition as he emerged winner of the Viewers Choice Best New International Act category at the 2016 BET Awards. In 2017, he released the album titled 27 to mark his 27th birthday.
The album contained such hit songs as Way, Wehdone Sir, Bahd Baddo Baddest, Something Light and La Fete. The same album won him a number of awards and nominations including The Headies Award For Rap Album Of The Year. The year 2019 saw Falz doing something the Nigerian music industry won’t forget in ages. Having listened to Childish Gambino’s song This is America where he tackled societal anomalies in the present day America, Falz created a Nigerian version of the song titled This is Nigeria where he highlighted the anomalies in the Nigerian system. The video for the cover garnered millions of views on YouTube in no time and stirred up a ton of controversies. All of these mighty achievements have earned him a spot on the list of top 10 best rappers in Nigeria.
Topping the list of best rappers in Nigeria is none other than the YBNL boss, Olamide Adedeji. Real rap heads as myself might have a hard time accepting this, that a music artist who lately sings more than he raps should top the rank of 2023 hottest rappers in Nigeria. But if the Nigerian music industry and a vast majority of Nigerian music lovers categorize the megastar as a rapper in 2023, who am I to say otherwise?
Ask the average Nigerian who the best Nigerian rapper is, I bet you’ll be told Olamide Baddo. In fact, it is impossible to make mention of anything related to rap music in Nigeria without acknowledging the Durosoke crooner. Ever since the year 2011 when he released his debut studio album Rapsodi, He has grown into a giant in the music industry dropping hits every year since 2011. The year 2023 hasn’t ended, but he’s already released a couple of bangers and chart topping songs as Pano, Mojo, Demons, Take (Olamide ft Timi Dakolo) amongst a number of very successful collaborations.
So, that’s our list of 10 best rappers in Nigeria as at 2023. We understand you see things differently, and might have a differing opinion as to who deserves a place on the list and who doesn’t. Well, if you feel this list isn’t accurate enough, feel free to give us your opinion as regards the current best rappers in Nigeria via the comment box below.
Thanks for reading.