What Rema’s “Next Rated” win means for Zlatan, Fireboy, others?

    Regardless of how it went, how it’s rated or how Wizkid, Olamide, and Davido were missing, The Headies 2019 was still a bit of a show. OK, maybe not too interesting, altogether, but between Reminisce not anchoring very well, Falz and Teni taking in all the awards and Burna Boy emerging as “Artist of the Year,” it’s undeniable that history was just repeating itself.

    What Rema’s "Next Rated" win means for Zlatan, Fireboy, others?

    And again. ‘Fine boy’ music beat street music, as Rema takes home the “Next Rated” award many thought Zlatan Ibile would win. Hmmm, that’s hard. But if you think of it, Don Jazzy didn’t lose in 2015. In fact, he put up a good fight, justifying Reekado Banks’ win of the coveted Next Rated award. Olamide wanted Lil Kesh, then. But the street wasn’t enough then. It can’t be enough now.

    Rema’s win is a surprise to many. But really, a voting category? People who voted know they voted Rema, and you don’t vote someone unless you want them to win. The idea here is, many people voted Rema but still weren’t expecting him to win. Because in all rights, Zlatan is bigger and even his Social Media presence is massive. Who would have thought the kid will give Ibile a run for his mummy?

    Zlatan Ibile
    Zlatan Ibile

    For Zlatan Ibile, what this means is simple. He’s a big street guy, and he’s got vibes and he’s banging the streets. But except he’s trying to work a collabo with Burna or David, Headies isn’t for people like him. (He could have won “Street Hop” though.) The street game really isn’t enough to win awards, we’ve seen it time and time again. And like Naira Marley said, most of their fans aren’t online.

    Victor AD
    Victor AD

    The next worthy contender could have easily been Victor AD. I mean, he’s got like the biggest breakout hit of them all (Wetin You Gain) and also collaborated with Davido (Tire You). He’s got a huge fan base, and every right to win. But he didn’t win. This is an implication of his follow-up efforts, after his first big hits. And although his “Red Eye” EP has received positive critical reviews, commercially, well he’s not made a big hit from it. On that end, Rema killed it with “Bad Commando.” Victor will have to up his game.

    Fireboy DML
    Fireboy DML

    Fireboy DML is Olamide’s Starboy, and he’s been impressive so far. No one will say “oh, Fireboy is a small boy, why is he on the list”, like they say for Rema. No, Fireboy has earned it all. And while the Headies was on, he was performing at Wizkid’s sold-out show in O2, London. Next Rated? Well, he’s some people’s Next Rated. Plus, he’s got a unique style that Rema can’t touch. So does it really affect him? Your guess is as good as mine.


    LYTA is one-hit-wonder. Or he was. “Monalisa” has given him some more cred now, and he could low-key become a bang afro-fusion artist, like ’em Odunsi and Nonso Amadi. Is he ready to go that path though? Ready, sure. But is he willing? Because that may just be his last shot at going real mainstream.


    And finally, Joeboy. New guy. Why he’s not in the Rookie category is simple. “Baby.” You don’t put someone who has one of the biggest hits of the year in Rookie. And his follow up “Beginning” has also been a bang. But he didn’t win Next Rated? So, he doesn’t have as many fans as Rema? Maybe. But, with what he’s got going, he’s got a chance at being an international bomb. Kenyans are already feeling him. Maybe Ghanaians will, too. And Canadians, and Koreans.

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