The Nigerian Music Industry is been ruled by the Afropop/Afrobeat artists whose groovy lyrics and beats can get its listeners to dance. However, there’s another wave of music that is stealthily going mainstream: Alte.
There is a new crop of cool cats that are dominating the Nigerian Music scene, these group of people fall under the umbrella of Alte Singers.
What is Alte or Alternative Music? Alternative music is classified as anything that is eclectic, original, or challenging than most popular music.
Or is music by non-conforming creatives who have taken charge of their content, right from lyrical composition to production and even directing their videos. Their freedom of expression is seen not only through music, but through fashion as well.
The term intends to give a platform for artists to break from the norm. It gives space for an artiste’s tendency to be innovative and reinvent genres. It has led to a small group of Nigerian artistes to define themselves as part of a movement called ‘Alté.
The genre since its rise in popularity has seen its fair share of criticism especially from people who prefer the usual ‘lamba‘ and its frontliners. A lot of listeners don’t seem to understand them in terms of their eccentricity and vibe, what they offer is not regular so it makes them easy preys for criticism.
Although Alte has been around for a while, the use of the term ‘Alte’ can be traced back to 2010, when it was coined by DRB Lasgidi members Teezee and BOJ around the same time Black Magic started gaining prominence for his alternative music. It has also been credited to the members of the group, LOS. Alté was born out of a rebellion against mainstream music.
Sadly, alté artistes aren’t catering to a mass audience yet as many of them began their careers on SoundCloud, which allows performers to have full control of their music and its promotion. But now they seem to be getting more recognition in the music industry.
In this article, we would be listing some Alte artists you should be listening to;
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The DRB LasGidi (previously known as “Rap Royals”) Nigerian musical group was formed in 2007 by BOJ, Teezee, and Fresh L.
Seen as the frontliners of Alte in Nigeria, they have released songs that have earned them
In 2012, they released the DJ Caise produced single, ‘Toyin”, which became an instant hit especially among the new wave of young listeners at the time of its release.
BOJ is the stage name for Nigerian singer Bolaji Ojudokan, he is one of the founding of the group of Alte sound DRB.
The singer released a mixtape #BOTM (Boj on the Microphone) in 2013 which showcased his raw talent.
Referred to as the Alte bank of Africa, he has worked with Davido, Reminisce, Show Dem Camp and Olamide, and Tiwa Savage.
The singer is popularly known for his smash hit “‘Awolowo” which features a trio of Ghanaian acts: Kwesi Arthur, Darkovibes, and Joey B. The song also received a Nigerian version that had Falz, Ycee, and Fresh L on it.
Fresh L whose real names is Ladi Ladenegan is a longstanding member of DRB.
The rapper is known for his stunning debut EP, SUNS, and has worked with notables like Davido, Dremo, and others.
Tems is a Nigerian alt-R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer.
In 2018 she released ‘Mr Rebel’ – a song of her own composition. Then she gained prominence with her smash hit “Try Me”.
In 2020 she was recruited by American singer Khalid to join him with fellow Nigerian Davido on an Afrobeats remix of “Know Your Worth“. That same year she released her debut EP, “For Broken Ears” which was preceded by the lead single, “Damages”.
She was also featured on Wizkid’s “Made In Lagos” on the “Essence” single.
Odunsi The Engine
Born Bowofoluwa Olufisayo Odunsi, the singer first came onto the scene with his 2016 EP ‘TIME OF OUR LIVES’.
If there’s one thing Odunsi -The Engine- has managed to do, it’s to stay true to himself and his art.
Influenced by EDM, R&B, Reggae, Soul and Afrobeats sounds, Odunsi pulls inspiration from these genres as well as various cultures to define his sound which he categorizes as Afro-Fusion.
His debut album ‘rare’ which dropped back in 2018 features other artists such as Davido, Runtown, Nasty C, Lady Donli, just to mention but a few.
Lady Donli, is a promising alternative R&B, hip hop, alternative jazz and Afrobeat singer and songwriter.
In 2018, she released her debut album, ‘Enjoy Your Life’ which combines hip hop, jazz and other sounds as well.
Her inspiration comes not only from cultural experiences but also from music legends who dominated charts back in the ’80s and 90’s such as American duo Fugees and the late Brenda Fassie.
Donli has also worked with new-age music acts like Adekunle Gold, Nonso Amadi, Tomi Thomas, M.I Abaga, Mr Eazi, SDC, Davido, Ayuu, Odunsi the Engine, and Tay
Santi born Osayaba Ize-Iyama gained prominence with his ‘Diaries of a Loner journey’ during his days as an underground rapper which earned him even recognition from Wizkid.
Later he switched to an Alte Guy, got the name Santi and released an impressive music project in 2019 titled “Mandy & The Jungle“.
His self-directed music video for ‘Rapid Fire‘ which also featured Shane Eagle and Ghanaian singer Amaarae, has garnered million-plus views on YouTube. His music is a mashup of reggae and RnB and everything else in between.
Wavy The Creator
Born Jennifer Ejoke, Wavy the Creator is a jack of all trades: filmmaker, fashion designer, photographer, and a recording artist.
She made her start in the creative industry as a photographer, before returning to Lagos and releasing her explosive single H.I.G.H. in 2017.
H.I.G.H (Her In Greater Heights) has propelled her to the international scene where she has been able to share a stage with other artists such as Skepta and Jhus. She is currently signed to British rapper Tinie Tempah’s label, Disturbing London.