There is a changing of Guards ongoing in the Nigerian Music Industry; While the likes of Wizkid, Davido and co still rule the industry, a new crop of New School acts are taking on the baton.
In 2019, New School Acts like Rema, Fireboy DML, Joeboy and Tems rose to prominence in the Industry, breaking records and dominating charts launching a new season in the Nigerian Music scene.
By 2020, it was clear to everyone that there was more to come courtesy of the arrival of acts like Omah Lay, Bella Shmurda, Zinoleesky, Bad Boy Timz, Cheque, Oxlade, Mohbad and the rest.
These acts had their songs on major charts and were among the biggest winners of the industry in that year despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
While 2021 is just saying goodbye to the first half of its year, more talented acts have joined the music spotlight.
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Buju who have been in the industry for a while is finally enjoying years of work of labour in 2021.
Although the foundation has been laid as far back as 2019 continuing into 2020 with the release of L’enu and its remix featuring Burna Boy, his feature on Ladipoe’s 2021 hit, “Feeling” has been a major breakthrough.
This win has trickled into his own solo career with his 2021 songs, “Outside” and “testimony” enjoying massive airplay on radio and streaming charts.
Another 2021 big winner is Jonzing Record new signee, Ruger. Following the success of Rema in the music industry, Jonzing record which is owned by Don Jazzy’s brother, D’Prince and is credited to be a subsidiary of Mavin Records announced the entrance of its new signee, Ruger.
Ruger is unlike Rema whose sound one would define as Indian-like, although he terms it Afro-Rave. Ruger is an opposite spectrum of Rema, his sound mostly inspired by a fusion of the Caribbean and Jamaican sounds.
Just like his name suggests, Ruger is a gun-blazing, shoot first, ask questions later kind of artist. Every lyric he spits commands attention giving him a cocky but yet, assured vibe one can’t help but be attracted to.
If Rema is a Prince Charming with a Hypnotizing voice Ruger is a rogueish Pirate with intentions of stealing your heart and attention- the two are a dangerous force individually or together.
Another trailblazing force for 2021 is Ayra Starr, the self-acclaimed Celestial being signed to Mavin Records who most people believe is there to be a competition for Tems- although this writer thinks not.
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Ayra Starr is your Billie Eilish and Chloe Bailey in one kind of personality. She is another leading force for the Gen Z sound- which is a refined mixture of Alte, Afropop and R’n’B.
Her Self Titled EP churned out hits that just shows the surface of the power and potential she carries and would display if properly allowed to develop.
Charts and International Impact
Afrobeat is gaining more attention now than it has ever gotten in early years. This is as a result of the great efforts of Legendary artists years before.
With Burna Boy making history at the 2021 Grammys and WIzkid’s “Made In Lagos” album buzzing through the Global Music scene, a lot of New School artists are also beneficiaries of the International craze the Afrobeats Movement and The Nigerian Music Industry are enjoying.
One beneficiary is Rema, even from his debut in 2019, Rema has shown that he won’t be boxed to the Nigerian global music scene.
Appearing on Barack Obama’s 2019 playlist with his trap-inspired tune, “Iron Man”, Rema has since easily found himself as a favourite of the International music front-liners like Drake and Rihanna.
In less than two years since his debut, he has featured on various smash hits owned by Foreign artists and even clinched his first BET Nomination in 2020.
Tems made a high splash in 2019 with the release of her hit single “Try me.” The reserved singer is steadily owning her pace, keeping true to her nature and values that have shaped her unique sound and brand.
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Her accolades might not be pouring in as fast but they are there and when it comes, it’s in huge drops. The first half of 2021 has been groundbreaking for her and the second half looking to produce bigger results for the singer.
With a debut appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 and a Bet Nomination, not even a scandal like her 2020 arrest in Uganda is enough to stop what’s to come.
Meanwhile, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide and the rest may have found a match in these youngsters whose songs are gradually taking over charts and amassing huge streaming numbers in shorter periods.
A quick look at Apple Music charts for Nigerian and some African countries sees artists like Omah Lay and Buju dominating. Other new school acts include Rema, Mohbad, Zinoleesky, e.t.c