Over the years, the South-East geopolitical zone has produced some of the biggest stars in the music Industry and Phyno leads this group.
The importance of Phyno in the music industry cannot be overstated, since his entrance onto the scene in 2012, the bar spitting rapper establish himself as a worthy listen.
Real name Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, the rapper first started out as a producer in 2002 as the highlife-influenced producers in the Eastern part of Nigeria weren’t great at producing the kind of hip-hop beats he wanted.
A few years later, he started rapping and relocated to Lagos where his music career began officially. He and Olamide collaborated on “Ghost Mode” which he released in 2012.
The song was a chart-topping single, winning Best Collabo at both 2012 The Headies Awards and the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
This song introduced Phyno to the Nigerian Music scene as a fierce bars spitting rapper whose dialect was not a barrier.
Prior to Phyno’s entrance, Mr Raw(formerly known as N*gga Raw) and SlowDog were the rappers representing the East in the music industry.
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However, Phyno changed how Eastern artists were viewed not just in the Nigerian Hip-Hop world but in the Industry generally.
Phyno’s entrance came at a time when the industry was only beginning to fully accept Indigenous rappers and an Eastern rapper like him had to work harder to command attention.
When he dropped his debut album, “No Guts No Glory” in 2014, he solidified his position as a worthy contender in the ever-competitive industry.
Primarily recorded in Igbo and pidgin English, the album features guest appearances from Stormrex, Omawumi, Olamide, Efa, P-Square, Timaya, Flavour N’abania, Mr. Raw, M.I Abaga, Ice Prince and Runtown.
The album housed hits like “Ghost Mode“, “Man of the Year“, “Parcel”, “O Set”, “Alobam”, “Authe (Authentic)”, “Anamachi Versace”
The project was a back to back hits train with a beautiful display of craftsmanship, talent, creativity and intelligence from Phyno’s part.
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Prior to the popularity of the Pop genre in the Music industry, the East has been primarily dominated by Highlife music while the West was dominated by Fuji and Juju.
The cool kids who didn’t fall in any of these groups were mostly focused on Hip-Hop. Then came Pop with the likes of Timaya, Wande Coal, later Wizkid leading the frontline.
Following the death of Dagrin, Olamide rose to the spotlight, giving indigenous rap a greater purpose. Which is no surprise that Phyno would pick him for one of their biggest collaborations, “Ghost Mode”
While Phyno is an Indigenous rapper, this is in no way a box as he has proven on several occasions to be versatile and capable of evolving.
However, in this evolution, he is not forgetful of his roots and makes sure to display the beautifulness of the Igbo Language.
Even with the current trending Amapiano sound, Phyno delivered on one of the best Nigerian Amapiano songs, “Highway.”
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One remarkable quality of a good artist is not just to create hit songs but to have synergy with other artists on a song. Over the course of his career, Phyno has featured artists and has been featured in various hit collaborations
One of his best collaborators to date is his very good friend, Olamide. These two are the perfect example of friendship goals in the music industry.
Their chemistry has seen to the creation of many hits like “Ghost Mode” “Augment”, “Fada Fada”, “Onyeoma”, “Shilalo”, amongst others. They even came together to produce a joint album titled “2Kings“, a title fitting for their status.
Phyno has also been featured by artists like Wizkid (Bombay), Flavour on (‘Gbo Gan Gbom’, ‘Doings’, ‘Chop Life’, Loose Guard), Timaya (‘Gbagam’, ‘Telli Person’, ‘Eff All Day’), Mastrekraft (‘La La La’, ‘Egbon’), Zoro (‘Achikolo’, ‘Ayo’M’), Reminisce(Local Rappers) amongst others.
Phyno was born and raised in Enugu, commonly known as the Coal City, and his music career has taken him well beyond Nigeria’s borders. It’s no wonder that he’s one of the few rappers in the country who still uses indigenous language, which he mixes with pidgin and a little pure English.
Beyond the quality of his music, the Anambra native is trendy and over-the-top sophisticated with his dress sense, leading many, including his fans, to question why he hasn’t dabbled in fashion and style, particularly as a model.
Phyno’s flows are tight, much like his substance is honest and combined with exceptional delivery, which has helped make his music acceptable both in Nigeria and the international entertainment industry.
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The rapper has also evolved beyond being an artist to being the boss of a reputable label, Penthauze.
Penthauze record label started active work in 2008. The first artists of the label were Runtown, Shugaboi, and Flipside. StormRex joined the label in 2014.
While these are no longer active under the label, the record company is still flourishing boasting of a new set of artists like Rhatti and Cheque who is currently leading the trap sound in Nigeria.