Editor’s note: To mark the end of 2015, Naij.com presents our nominees for best male artist of 2015 as compiled by music reviewer and Naij.com contributor, Udochukwu Ikwuagwu. Who do you think should win? Vote in the poll below!
Baddo doesn’t stop! For those familiar with the Bariga-born act’s work ethics, similar to that of a typical Fuji act- a genre he grew up on- a musical year is empty without a CD packed with bangers bearing Olamide Adedeji’s nom de guerre. 2015 was no different! A stealth release of Shakiti Bobo turned viral, with the ubiquitous DJ Enimoney-inspired dance turning music on its head. Bobo was the biggest song of 2015. But having the biggest song doesn’t a biggest artiste make; Olamide backed it up, like a hypeman, with Melo Melo and Lagos Boys. And as a label boss of the label of the year- YBNL- he unleashed Young Jonn, Lil Lesh, Adekunle Gold bringing hits after hits. NEA Best Rap Act. AFRIMA Best Male Artist in Western Africa. Adding to his honours. NotjustOK, and MTv Base tagged him the Best Nigerian Artiste of the year, too. Biggest Nigerian artiste of 2015, bar none!
Wizkid’s year was defined by the cross-over hit single Ojuelegba. New York-based Fader Magazine called it the 12 biggest song of 2015. Before Fader got a hold of its coattail, before the Legundary Beatz found lost coin buried in Dr Dre’s Nuthin But A G Thang, Wizkid thought homage for the city his musical influence Fela sang about on ’75 Confusion. Ojuelegba was so big that Wizkid was on the lips of Skepta who couldn’t hide his excitement and shared with Drake. Enter Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Maxwell, Ellie Goulding, and princess of the Kardashian Klan, Kylie. He didn’t have to do much, but released another Fela-inspired track, Expensive Shit, for good measure closing the year with a feature on Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter R. Kelly’s album.
It has been three years since the Omo Baba Olowo (also the name of his debut album) stormed the music scene with his raspy voice over Shizzi-produced Dami Duro. 2013, it was Gobe and Skelewu that crossed borders, entering Estadio Vicente Calderón in Spain; 2014 was the lovesong Aye; 2015 was a tad slow but Uhuru’s archetypal beat made The Sound. Awards were a constant; from MAMA Best Male Artiste, to NEA Best Pop Act. Davido featured American rapper Meek Mill on Fans Mi which had its fair share of radio spins.
Patoranking’s story is one of rags to riches. One who once sold rat poison, and did odd jobs climbing steady the music ladder. Still buzzing from the success of 2014 Girlie O, Pato entered the new year dragging a bag of verses to be laid on Nigerian, South African and Ghanaian artistes’ tracks—those who know know. Timaya’s protégé wasn’t done, yet; the Wande Coal-assisted My Woman, My Everything stoked the ‘fire’ in his sobriquet! Before once could say “wha ya’, he snatched the MAMA Best New Act and VGMA African Artsite of the Year topping his VP international record deal.
5. Kiss Daniel
Gruff voice. Check. Good music. Check. Looks to send a ‘hive’ forming. Check. A badass record company. Check. Proper promotion and A&R. Check. Kiss Daniel got birthed. His emergence as the hottest new artiste in Nigeria isn’t per chance; a well-laid strategy by the head honcho at G-Worldwide made sure the baby-faced FUNAAB grad wasn’t sucked into oblivion in the crowded music industry. Woju didn’t gain traction till months after, but when promotion went into overdrive there was no telling that MMMG’s DJ Coublon had created a monster. Kiss Daniel followed that with a remix that was even bigger. Then Laye got in the mix. If Laye was a good follow-up, Raba was better. AFRIMA Most Promising Artist. Check. NEA Best New Act. Check.
There you have it! So which of these artists do you consider the best of the year? Vote in the poll below and also share your choices in the comments.