Without a doubt, there has never been a time when Nigerian Indigenous Rap music enjoyed more significant attention and acclaim than it is currently garnering.
Across the length and breadth of Nigeria, promising new artistes are springing up from every tribe, inspired by their favourite indigenous rappers who have proven to them just how possible it is make massive waves as an indigenous rapper.
Igbo Rap in particular has become more popular since the dawn of the century. The sub-genre draws its primary influences from Igbo traditional and African American music, but can often be combined with Highlife, R&B and Afro-soul.
Even though Igbo Rap wasn’t originally considered a sub-genre of its own since it was usually accompanied by Eastern Highlife, Eastern rappers have since changed the status quo and are now able to create mega smash hits on Trap and Traditional Hip-hop instrumentals.
On this editorial, we present you with our top 10 indigenous rappers from the East who are blazing the trail currently.
Since the release of F2’s well-received “Shima”, the gifted artiste has risen to major prominence across the Nigerian music scene, and for all the right reasons.
F2, whose real name is Franklin Ibe is signed to 7th Republic Records. Though currently based in Akwa Ibom state, the insanely talented rapper cum singer hails from Imo state.
Since dropping his debut single titled “Ikuku” F2 has dropped other scorchers such as “Gyration” and “Hapucha”.
Unarguably one of the most gifted lyricists in the game right now, Xbusta’s craft is pretty reminiscent of the legendary Busta Rhymes. Any wonder the “busta” connection?
Born Okafor Golden Chinese, the 24 year old who hails from Imo state was previously signed to E-money’s Five Star Music till his contract expired earlier this year.
Up until then, Xbusta had proven his enviable lyrical ability on firecrackers such as “Runz”, “Yahoo Boyz” and “Chom”.
Our only female on the list, the feisty Splash has earned her place on this top 10 for her the insane lyrical venom she spits on every single one of her records.
Splash, whose real name is Genevieve Ogbuewu, hails from Ebonyi state and holds a degree in English Language from Ebonyi State University.
Even though we’ve not heard from the deadly female lyricist in a minute, with her scorching releases such as “Church Agbasa”, “I Pray O” and “Obim”, Splash has carved a niche for herself as Nigeria’s most lyrically gifted female eastern indigenous rapper.
The relentlessly controversial rapper LMG is notorious for getting himself into trouble virtually all the time, considering the ease with which the man dishes out diss songs for whoever he feels is deserving of one.
The self-proclaimed Last Man Grinding has put out beef songs for artistes such as Yung6ix and has had significant altercations not just with fellow Igbo rapper Xbusta, but the police as well.
However, as notorious as LMG is for controversy, he’s undeniably lyrically gifted and never fails to deliver on every track he commissions. The fiery numbers on his critically-acclaimed “Disinfectant” mixtape are easily proof of this fact.
One of the most respected rappers from the East, Slowdog is undoubtedly a major veteran on the Igbo Rap scene.
Even though the emergence of a new school of young eastern rappers means Slowdog isn’t as popular as he once was, the rapper whose real name is Okechukwu Emmanuel was one of the few blazing the trail even when the sub-genre wasn’t as big as it now is.
Slowdog who clocks 40 this year is well known for his unapologetically heavy Igbo accent which he has repeatedly brought to bear on songs such as “Aka Gi”, “Tonga”, “Nwanne Waa” and “Testimony”.
Though relatively inconsistent with his music, K Large has been on the scene for a considerable period of time and is particularly notorious for his incredibly fast yet fluent rap pace.
K-Large brilliantly combines Pidgin English with his local Igbo dialect to cook up something exceptional everytime as can be heard on songs such as “Swaggim Na Ada Oku” and his fiery version of Sarkodie’s “Illuminati”.
Although K-Large is yet to get the sort of attention and recognition we believe his lyrical ability deserves, maybe all the gifted lyricist needs right now is a little more consistency.
Popularly referred to as Illy or Oga Boss, IIlbliss is definitely one of the rappers from the East who has continued to push the frontiers of Indigenous Igbo Rap.
Widely regarded as the punchline master, This Capital Hill/The Goretti Company boss really needs no introduction at this point.
With his unique blend of Igbo and English, the rapper has created his own flow and sound that are very easily recognizable. “Anam Achi Kwanu”, “Chukwu Agozi Go Gi” and the recent “Buba” are all testament to this fact.
3. Mr Raw
If this were a list of eastern rappers who paved the way for others to succeed, Mr Raw would definitely occupy our top spot, as he remains arguably the biggest pioneer of the sub-genre.
Undoubtedly the man who virtually every successful rapper from the East owes major thanks to for daring to make the major difference he did, Mr Raw has definitely earned the rights to be regarded as highly as he is.
Staying original to his craft long before it was cool to rap in a dialect, the maverick whose real name is Okechukwu Edwards Ukeje has been making a cause for Indigenous Igbo Rap music since the turn of the century and, surprisingly, hasn’t stopped ever since.
2. Zoro Swagbag
As virtually everyone who knows anything about today’s Indigenous Igbo Rap scene would agree with, if the man at our top spot has any competition for his throne, it’s because of this man, Zoro Swagbag.
The 28 year old charismatic rapper whose real name is Chimaobi Owoh hails from Agwu in Enugu state and has quickly risen to become one of the most prolific and critically-acclaimed indigenous Igbo rappers around.
With monster scorchers such as “Achikolo”, “Ogene”, “Mabuza Mabuza”, “Echolac” and his recent Chidinma assisted “Oyoko” which all speak for themselves, Zoro brings his A game to bear on every track he commissions, and we’re super optimistic about the future.
Who else would be worthy of occupying our number one spot on this countdown but Eze Nnunu himself, Phyno?
Since getting on the mainstream music radar way back in 2012, the 31 year old Penthauze Music frontman whose real name is Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike has continued to blaze the indigenous Igbo Rap trail and is unarguably the sub-genre’s biggest export to the world right now.
His long streak multiple award winning scorchers are testament to that fact that Phyno remains the undisputed leader in the game.
Considering the rate at which the superstar continues to cook up and dish out scorchers such as his recently released “Isi Ego”, the status quo is unlikely to change anytime soon.