In the early part of 2022, Notjustok rightfully predicted the successes of emerging talents from Fave, AV, Portable, Ria Sean, Soundz, Obongjayar, and a host of others, tipping them to have a good run for the year, which turned out as predicted. As is now tradition, we have similarly taken care to draw up a list of fast-rising Nigerian talents, making diverse-sounding music and representing different subcultures and lifestyles, that are sure to influence and inform the Nigerian airwaves as the year unfolds. Here is Notjustok’s list of 22 Nigerian artistes to watch in 2023 (in no particular order).
23 Nigerian Artistes to Watch in 2023,
The highly talented rapper, Olaonipekun Olatubosun, popularly known as Trod, although has been grinding for a minute but is yet to get his deserves. With two hip-hop projects, "The LivingGrin" (2020) and "Grinface" (2022), the energetic rapper continues to stay true to his identity and craft. The younger brother to the late Dagrin has also churned out music with greats like Olamide and Sossick.
In case you are new to Trod, you might want to listen to songs like "Shey U Fit Go" ft. Olamide, "Steady" ft. Sossick, "Boner" ft. Pyscho YP, and a couple other songs. This is an exciting act that you should definitely look out for this year.
Despite the constant disparagement of female artistes in the Nigerian music industry, the ladies continue to demonstrate their worth, significance, and talent with each passing day. Born in Port-Harcourt, raised in the Netherlands, and schooled in the UK, Somadina was influenced by a lot of R&B, which clearly shows in her style; however, she prefers to identify with afro-psychedelic rock. Her 2022 single, "Rolling Loud," which has a blend of Afrobeats, propelled her into the Nigerian music scene.
Her 2022 project tagged "Heart of the Heavenly Undeniable" featured talented acts like The Cavemen, Odunsi the Engine, and a host of others. With interesting tunes like "Y I Want U," "Everybody Bleeds," and "WDYWFM," you'll get a prospering understanding of her sound: rock with a blend of Afro.
3. Tim Lyre
The Afro-fusion singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer is another exciting act that we are really looking forward to seeing explode in 2023. Having come up with the revoltive alté movement, Tim has been consistent in churning out music that stays true to his genre-bending exploration of the human experience from an afro-futurist perspective. A talent that can be banked on when it comes to catchy hooks, his blissful chorus on Show Dem Camp's "Feel Something" off their "Plamwine Music Vol. 3" album was a highlight of the project.
Tim's Lyre 2022 album, 'Worry <," further propels his talent as a singer, songwriter, and producer. On the feel-good project, you'll be dancing around elements of Afrobeats, R&B, Reggae/Dancehall, and Soul. You should check out songs like "Real," "Present," "Spanish Lime," and others from Tim Lyre.
4. Qing Madi
The Newbie represents everything tied to soul music, from writing to composure to delivery. Debuting with her soothing single "See Finish" in October 2022, Qing Madi has gone on to amass an impressive 30k+ monthly listeners on Spotify with just one single. Her vocal range and penmanship definitely set her aside, and we can't wait to see what she has in store for the world come 2023.
The Ex-Big Brother housemate away from being talented boasts of a loyal and strong fanbase who took interest in his music via the reality TV show platform. Seeing a remarkable spice in his music numbers since the house, the Afro-fusion singer is a promising star for 2023.
The Sensational singer who got a platform after winning the Infinix X Davido blow-my-mind nationwide challenge in 2019 has been impressive with his quality of Music. 2022 saw his collborate with heavyweight raoer Phyno on a sizzling tune titled 'Mi Amor (Remix")
Government name; Oyetundun Omoladé, popularly known as Ladé, the songstress has been gaining tractions as a regular commercial voice over act for top brands, the most well-known of which is the Airtel 444 advertisement. With a similarity to the talented Teni, Lade's voice dexterity and range are top-notch. Her smash song, "Adulthood Anthem," which was released in mid-year 2022 and revolves around the harsh realities of being an adult, had a great run, garnering almost three million streams on Spotify alone.
As a build-up to the viral single, the singer-songwriter released a project titled "Merchant of Melodies," which also boasted impressive tunes like "Lova," "All The Way," and others.
The American-Cameroonian songstress took the Nigerian music scene by storm with her sad-themed yet feel-good song "People" in 2022. The singer, songwriter, creative director, and mix engineer was a contestant on the 2021 edition of NBC's American talent show "The Voice," and she has a daring voice and writing skills that make her one to watch in 2023.
You might want to check out her other singles like "Woman," "Everything I Wanted," "Revenge," and more.
The Mavin Records' latest signee announced his presence with his self-titled, four-track EP, which initially led with the introspective tune "Family." However, towards the end of the year, courtesy of video sharing app Tik-Tok, Bayanni's "Tata Ta" became a viral tune, racking up over four million streams on Spotify and garnering over a million views for its official video on YouTube. With the backing and strategy of a heavyweight label like Mavin Records, we are tipping the youngster to have a meteoric career in 2023.
10. Boy Spyce
Just like Bayanni, Boy Spyce is also signed to Mavin Records and is also one of the most promising future stars in the Nigerian music scene. The singer, who got attention through his Instagram freestyle videos, has been in contact with Mavin Boss Don Jazzy since December 2019 but wasn't unveiled by the label until 2022, when he dropped the self-titled five-track EP "Boy Spyce," which saw "Nobody" become a fan favourite.
The Afro-fusion singer is easily marketable with his style of sound, and that puts him in a favourable position for mainstream music. Songs like "Dreams" equally show his vocal dexterity and composure. A talent to look out for.
11. Major AJ
The Chocolate City Afro-Fusion singer is another interesting act to look out for. His five-track "Retroverse" EP was impressive, with "Taboo," the lead single on the project, garnering over 150,000 streams on Spotify.
The Port Harcourt-born singer-songwriter is known for his smooth delivery in Pidgin and English. With the highly diverse music industry Nigeria currently possesses, this is another exciting act who is comfortable exploring as much sound and style as he can, but paramountly remain African. His catchy tune 'Ewo' released in the last quarter of 2022, was a favourite for whoever cared to listen.
His six-track EP 'Escapade' also had interesting songs like 'Escape', 'Spiritualize' and other soothing songs.
This is another youngster who has the future staring right at him for him to grab. With a resemblance to the Rema of the early days, Khaid can comfortably deliver on hip-hop trap beats as well as Afro-fusion and Afrobeats sounds. Although the required balance has yet to perfectly click, Khaid has shown that he possesses the ability to do both and, in a matter of time, will deliver if he keeps grinding. His Trapsoul tune "With You" has already garnered over five million streams on Spotify and almost four million views on YouTube.
Another of his hip-hop tunes is "Ski," which is a relatively popular song, especially among the Gen Zs. Another shot at Afrobeats, "Amala," which featured Zlatan and was released late in 2022, was very decent too. The young chap, aside from being talented, is lucky to be backed by a serious-minded team; hence, 2023 looks promising.
Another hip-hop representative on the list, the winner of the 8th Hennessy Artistry VS Class Competition is a breath of fresh air in the Nigerian rap scene, and we can't wait to see what the year has in store for him.
The "Big Gun!" Arguably one of the hottest rappers in 2022, Tochukwu Ojogwu, popularly known as Odumodublvck, is a Nigerian rapper who possesses a villainous character. His energetic craft delivery and stage performance are definitely an advantage to his brand. The Abuja-based rapper with roots in the southern part of the country is championing the emerging +234drill, whose dominance will soon be televised. His verse on PyschoYp's "Bando Diaries" was one of the hardest rap verses in 2022, delivered in its most original form.
Known to paint vivid pictures with his lines, we like to see him as the contemporary Nigga Raw. The Anti-World Gangstars member had a good 2022 with "Dog Eat Dog" and the buzzing "Picanto," and with him recently signing to NATIVE Records in partnership with Def Jam Recordings, Odumodu is about to "lap in their box 18" all year!
His government name is Akinola Akin, but he is popularly known by his stage name, "Whoisakin." The anonymous Afro-fusion singer has a soothing voice and in-depth writing skills. Part of the flock of artistes who took full advantage of the 2020 lockdown, which had everyone looking for new acts, with his 5-track project "Full Moon Weekends," the talented act has kept up his pace since then.
The talented singer whose 2022 jam "Damaged" is doing decent numbers benefits from the Mr. Eazi-owned "Empawa Africa" program.
The Afro-fusion singer-songwriter introduced himself to the Nigerian music scene with his impressive "Son of the Moon" EP. With fan favourites like "Bad Intentions'," the Chocolate City affiliate singer showcased why he is a force to be reckoned with in 2023.
Adebowale Adelegan, popularly known as Bowale, is a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer based in the UK, known for his soothing voice and soul-stirring songwriting skills. With three projects to his name, the "Love Merchant" has never failed to deliver on the standard he is accustomed to. 2022 saw the singer thrill his fans with catchy tunes like "Je Tan" and "Gentleman," and interestingly, he has already kicked off his 2023 with a four-track EP titled "Attic Music."
With an obvious inspiration drawn from Wande Coal, Bowale can comfortably switch between Afrobeats, R&B, Soul, and acoustic music. A talent to keep an eye out for!
The US-based Nigerian singer-songwriter is an exciting act who impresses on the go. With a solid background in music—being the son of popular Nigerian Gospel artist Pastor Jacob Kunle Ajomale, who is known for his classic tune "Leyin Jesu Kosenikan," Manny expresses his craft in sounds influenced by R&B, Afro-fusion, soul, and Nigerian folk music.
with three projects to his name: "SoulFro," "Mirage" (which featured heavyweights like Tems and Wale), and "Unwanted." Mannywellz's 2022 saw him churn out quality tunes like "No Closure", "Skeddadle," and a list of others.
Although an Indie act, the current Nigerian music scene has laid the groundwork for "undefined" types of music to thrive, where expression and experimentation are highly accepted, allowing acts like MannyWellz to shine as brightly as they can.
20. T Dollar
Another ambassador of "Afro-Adura" music, a genre that is simultaneous to street-hop, T Dollar has the typical grass-to-grace story like many acts who dwell in this genre, and that reflects in the theme of their music, which is accorded as gospel to give hope to the ghetto. The singer (who raps as well) released two projects in 2022, "Born to Shine" and "Rise," and that piqued the interest of many. His introspective and optimistic tune "Rise" became a smash, and the lad has been riding that wave since then, including starting 2023 with a headline concert.
It's undeniably an interesting time for Nigerian music, and the emergence of acts like Majeeed further proves that fact. The singer, like many others on this list, has a captivating voice, brilliant songwriting skills, and excellent delivery. Having introduced himself with the soul-stirring "Time" in 2021, he brilliantly followed up with an acoustic version of the same song in 2022, which gave him the deserved attention he needed. With a six-track EP titled "Bitter Sweet" to his name, Majeed cements himself as a sensational singer-songwriter who will take the game beyond where it is right now with his craft. Songs like "Smile For Me," "No Room For Love," "Yawa No Dey End," and "Stop Nonsense" unquestionably rocked 2022, putting him in a favorable position for 2023.
22. Berri Tiga
Being a major artistic contributor to the viral Wizkid-inspired "Machala" song, Berri Tiga properly introduced his talent to the world, and there's clearly no doubt about it. As expected, many might say it was a lucky break; however, the Afro-fusion came through with a popular tune tagged "God" as well as the impressive "Money Must Be Made."
To us, Bizzonthetrack is one of the hardest-working underground acts that needs to get his flowers soon. Bisi Kuti, the Afro-fusion act whose soothing voice and delivery style is second to none, is always releasing new music for his fans, including two projects (an album and an EP) in 2022: "Afro Jackson Vol. 1" and "CanaBizz & Trips."