Let’s take a look at the five biggest names in the Nigerian rap music scene, from the 90’s.
The Thoroughbreds may have started out of the Coal City of Enugu. It is still unclear if they also went by the title “Coal City’s Finest”, or if CCF was a different music group that had more than one Thoroughbred as members.
The group won the award for Best Hip Hop song by a group/duo at the maiden edition (2006) of the Hip Hop World Awards, now The Headies, for their hardcore rap “Street Hop”. It has remained their most notable song. The rap group, which had Obiwon, Ill’Bliss, Elajoe, and B-Elect, recorded briefly under the Storm Records label.
After the group was disbanded, Obiwon took up a banking job, which he later quit to focus on his music. Illbliss continued to become a successful solo rap artist. Elajoe became a producer, events consultant and promoter as well as CEO of Dark Cypher Entertainment. B-elect, who is said to have founded the group in 2004, became a public speaker, advertising consultant, writer and owner of Blightz Records. He passed away on June 8, 2019.
RUFF RUGGED & RAW
Ruff Rugged & Raw had their prime in the mid 90’s with a number of collaborations with some of the biggest names of the time, including Tony Tetuila and Tuface. “Omode Meta” with Tuface became an anthem. It was a diss song inspired by the conflict between Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Montana, of the rap group, The Remedies.
The Remedies hold the record as the first Nigerian rap group to gain commercial success having been signed to Kennis Music, with D1 and Kenny Ogungbe throwing their weight around to ensure airplay on radio and TV, most especially Ray Power, MBI and AIT.
The trio of Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddy Montana made hits like the “Shakomo”, followed by “Sade” and “Judile” until Tony Tetuila left the group. Eedris and Eddy went on to release “Peace Nigeria”, the group’s debut album, in 1998.
After the success of that album came the end of The Remedies. Tony was already doing well as a solo artiste, with “You don hit my Car”, Eedris also achieved stardom with songs like “Jagajaga” which even got the then Nigerian president’s attention.
Shola, the Weird MC, went into entertainment despite her parent’s disapproval. The England-born Ogun state native created plenty of buzz in the industry, being the first and most successful Nigerian female rapper and one of Africa’s most popular female rappers.
She had two albums, “Simply Weird” (1997), with the award-winning hit song, “Allen Avenue”, and “After The Storm” (2006) with the hit single “Ijoya” produced by JJC and Don Jazzy.
Maintain, also called The Ibadan Boys, made a number of hit songs in the late 90s. It comprised of Tolu, Big Bamo and Olu Maintain, whose songs were mostly done in pidgin English and Yoruba with lots of street lingua and catch phrases.
Some of their biggest hits include “I catch cold”; a remix of Ludacris’ “Area Codes”, and “Nibo lawa gbe lo”. The group split in 2005, with Olu Maintain releasing his hit solo effort, “Yahooze”, and Big Bamo doing “Popotiti” and “Fi jo ko wo je”.
Featured image source: Music In Africa