by Onyeka Nwelue
They are not popular. They are young. Few radio stations have played their songs. They are desperate to succeed. They are challenged and most of us haven’t heard what they have. No record deals yet. No music videos yet. No fabulous life yet. They are still struggling to throw themselves into limelight, but if we don’t listen to them, we won’t even know what they can do. ONYEKA NWELUE unleashes “10 New Voices” that might find their rightful places in the music industry in 2011.
1. TL – Williams Azubuko and Felix Tochukwu Uzor
It was a tough decision to place them as number 1. Just because both of them are resilient and diligent souls, they’ve grappled with the reality of making music a part of their lives. They are like the fabled Bracket of ‘Yori Yori’ fame and their new single; ‘Style’ is just as heartwarming as any good song. No matter how you may want to summarise it, TL is going to rule the world of hiphop and rap in no distant time and this goes to show why they’ve dominated the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria as that ‘amazing duo’.
2. BlackRose – Zoey Didi Nelson Umeoekeke
She was born in Warri and she represents the city very well. Sassy and fashionable, BlackRose knows what she wants and is ready to stand taller than any other female rapper or singer she knows. Not that she has said this, but from what she has done so far, one is greatly impressed that this young lady has tall dreams that will transform her into a bickering beauty of the entertainment industry. She goes in and out of studios and, you won’t be disappointed to hear the song she recorded in November. Those who won’t like her boldness will do so at their own peril.
3. Ven – Victor Emeka Njimezi
He has the voice of gold. Each song he’s featured in (because he really has done a lot of that), Ven’s voice stamps its uniqueness in it and makes it amazingly beautiful to listen to. His single, I Wanna Party sounds somewhat cliché, but it is one of those songs that keeps you thinking, ‘Oh, this dude is good o.’ He has perfected the use of his voice, but hasn’t yet done anything on his energy to conquer the ‘city of entertainment’, Lagos, which is where his journey will begin from. For now, we will wait to see if he will fail us, even with that glorious voice that only angels possess.
4. Eclipse – Nkasi Chukwu
Ranking him as number 4 is a lousy move, but I had to do it. Bespectacled, a student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nkasi Chukwu is 20 years old, but he raps like a master. His new single, As I Am, featuring Ven, was saved by Ven by himself, which is why he falls under Ven. But the truth is that Eclipse is a brilliant rapper. His punch-lines are brilliantly conceived, but if he can focus on delivering them with the same energy, getting a record deal will never be a problem. And M.I might find himself grappling with a young competitor.
5. Eclipse – Omole Adediran
Surprised? Well, this is another Eclipse. I don’t know how this happens, but this Eclipse is actually a strong voice that has been in the game of music for a longer time. His The Maniacs mixtape is as mind-blowing as anything. Good thing is that 9Ja Records in the US has indicated interest in his music and talks are ongoing. However, it wouldn’t hurt if he sits up well and face his music career wholeheartedly.
6. Suranu – Suranu Maigadi
He is the most favoured on this list, even as he is being placed as number 6. This is what writer and blogger, Eromo Egbejule thinks about him: “Just like it’s safe to say Lagos is the center stage of Nigeria, I believe it’s also right to say the northern city of Jos is the home of creativity and talent. The Plateau state capitol that gave us Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, M.I and the multiple award winning duo of Peter and Paul Okoye (PSquare) just introduced a new talent to the world. He goes by the name of Suranu. Born Suranu Maigadi, 20 years ago to the Christian family of Rev and Mrs. Barge Maigadi, Suranu received an American elementary and high school education before returning to Nigeria for his higher education. Presently, he is in his third year of study in the University of Jos where he is majoring in Law. He released a mixtape last week and has given you guys a free download of his joints! Unlike most underground acts, I fell in love with his songs within 40 seconds. He has a very creative use of words and I must say his samplings are articulate. The mixtape includes a cover of Kanye West’s ‘Touch it’ and D’banj’s ‘Tongolo’ which featured EME recording Artiste, Skales” Boom!
7. Huskyking – Kingsley Opara
It is ok to be ambitious. It is very fine to know where you are heading – he does. His single, Hush is as exhilarating as anything. This student of Architecture at the Evan Enwerem University, Imo State has dignified rap to the extent that one thinks highly of him. For the most part, he is still labouring to impress his listeners, with the fine delivery of his lines, which are incredible. It is hoped that he will rule the world of rap very soon. Amen!
8. Bugzy Dvinci – Nwokedi Obinna
Smart, courageous and ambitious, Bugzy Dvinci has tried all. He is not giving up, though. And this shows in his approach towards hiphop, which he believes is his life. He has recorded tracks like Bounce, Kraze and All Nite. He is not one known to giving up. This is one artiste any label will be proud to flaunt. But his Enugu location is one huge hindrance to this bustling career.
9. Young Blinz – Nwokorie Emeka N.
I’ve been privileged to attend one of his shows. The men were screaming, ‘Young Blinz! Young Blinz!!” Then think of the ladies. He is very young, but has got more life in his age. He jumps up and down on stage, wooing you to join in and you find yourself singing along with him, that his monster hit single, Big Boy. But with time, Young Blinz will rave the world and come out with some of the best songs ever heard. It is just time that will tell.
10. Don Brown – Chibuike Egerue
Like Madonna sang, ‘You only see what your eyes want to see/How can life be what you want it to be?’ He could have made number 1 on the list, but this is where Madonna’s song asked me to drop his name. He is very working and has accomplished a lot, having recorded a single with Slow Dogg, Don Brown (that name sounds ancient, anyway), has grown to do songs that can only be enjoyed by a few people, which is a problem. But as focused as he is, he should know that we are listening and we are the ones that decide if he gets it well or not. Kudos to him and his amazing career!
G4C – Tochi Oyeoku, Jacob Onyechi, Daberechi Ubachukwu and Oge Akankali.
I’m not sure they made the list because they are out, as they claim, ‘to send the message of God and win souls for Christ.’ For me, that doesn’t impress. What does impress is their resilience as young people, but any more religious propaganda, I’m sure I will be put off, but for now, this group, consisting of Tochi Oyeoku, Jacob Onyechi, Daberechi Ubachukwu and Oge Akankali will be a group to be reckoned with in the nearest future. With time, their music will cut across people of different ideologies and faiths, as Midnight Crew has. Nevertheless, they are a people with strong voice, angelic rendition and amazing feel to their music.