Mr. Eazi was the last breakout artist before Mayorkun rose from the groundwork. Since then there has been a wave of potentials but no particular breakout star. The basement has not exactly been silent but the sounds from the freshmen has not had the kind of impact that “Leg Over” or “Eleko” had on the mainstream.
The best of the music from the base are coming from a crop of budding artists who have shown prospects through singles, collaborations, freestyles and in the area of songwriting. We call these artists the “next rateds” because one, two or perhaps all of them is predicted to be the next to break through the glass ceiling of mainstream music. Below is a list of 5 of the “next rateds.”
- Teniola: From becoming an Internet sensation to being recognised as the “Rookie of the year”, Teniola’s stature as an artist rose pretty quick. Her Instagram freestyle of 2017 was morphed into a single titled “Farjin”, which enjoyed enough airplay and downloads to be considered a hit song. Teni went on to write one of the continent’s chart-ranking songs for Davido. Teni has since boosted her profile with the release of another gem of a song titled “Askamaya”, which is originally the name of a hotel in the neighbourhood of her studio but has since become a term that artists like Reekado Banks have adopted. Teni repeated her 2017 attention-grabbing feat with another Instagram freestyle which she recorded in celebration of her graduation from the American Institute of Management, proving that her gift is no fluke. She’s got the gift, a “supportive” label, a mass of fans and critics rooting for her to crossover to become a superstar.
- Peruzzi: The name “Peruzzi” is fast becoming a household music name, partly because his talent as an artist and partly because of the popularity of his label. Peruzzi is sometimes called “Peruzzi Vibes”, presumably because of his style of music that is characterised by vibes and melodies. He combines these musical elements on songs, using them consistently to shine, particularly on collaborations; both intra-label and inter-label collaborations. “Mind”, “Aje”, “Unbeliva” and the 2baba-owned “Amaka” are amongst his best displays.
- Ceeza Milli: Ceeza Milli is said to have had an input as a songwriter on the best collaboration of 2017 – “Ma Lo” – which had Tiwa Savage and Wizkid as performers. Ceeza’s strong affiliation with Wizkid earned him a spot on the Star boy Entertainment group song, “Soco”, which many have tipped to be the collaboration of this year. Ceeza also has an impressive collaboration with Duncan Mighty titled “Sabi” – a song that is prominently mentioned among collaborations that collectively mark the resurgence of the Port-Harcourt first son. Ceeza Milli’s influence in the industry continues to grow, only a few in his class command his size of influence.
- Victor AD: Some of the best music in Nigeria this year is coming from the South South, particularly Warri where the likes of Erriga & Victor AD have made it a habit to put out good music content. Victor AD, being a relatively new name on the mainstream, has particularly impressed with his featured input on “Motivation” and his own single titled “Wetin We Dey.” Victor has a thing for inspiring, sonorous and mild-tempo music which seems to appeal to not just people in Warri but a growing fraction of Nigerian music lovers who turn to his music for inspiration for their everyday hustle.
- Wurld: Among the class of alternative artists who draw inspiration from western music of the ‘90s and retro fashion; Wurld is one of the names associated with a rising profile. The singer blends his music gift with a unique style of fashion, particularly his ever-changing hair color, to create a charming character with a touch of mystery. His primary audience is a community of UK-based Africans but his tentacle is spreading to the black continent, especially with his welcome works with first-rate producer, Sarz. Wurld is building an audience in two ends of the pole, connecting them through their shared music interests. He is showing the kind of promise that Mr. Eazi and Maleek Berry showed during their earliest period of their penetration into the Nigerian music market.
Written By: Ibironke Toluwanimi Emmanuel