The music year for 2023 has officially begun! Artistes have reviewed and are reviewing their plans and agendas on how to attack the new year, especially if they wish it to be prosperous as many declare. Some acts have even shown early signs of domination, making strategic moves and announcing them or giving off hints via their social media pages.
Minz, for one, has linked up with the feature-killer, BNXN fka Buju, in a bid to create awareness for the soon-to-be-released “Wo Wo” remix, while Odumodublvck is gearing up for the advent release of his solo debut album.
You do not know who the artistes mentioned above are? Have no worries, for we at Media Naija have taken the responsibility to collate 10 stunning musical talents from Nigeria who require mainstream media attention in 2023 just like their A-list/B-list contemporaries.
Here are the acts you should look forward to seeing make major moves, or even blow up in 2023 pertaining to their musical talents.
“Smada, Smada / Nobody badder / Smada o / Na me be the baba o”, opens the frenzy-filled single—“Family”—of Adams Olabode Micheal, rather called Smada (a creative way of spelling his first name backward) professionally.
Smada has managed to build a solid online fan base for himself. Starting with ‘lockdown’ Twitter which featured his charismatic, endearing personality and nonstop music promotion, before moving to TikTok early last year.
In 2022, he took a social media break for quite a while, a period that lasted at least 3 months. His return to social media generated controversy because of the technique which involved him, Smada, being announced as missing, with a phone number in the widespread video; on calling that number, the caller heard a teaser of his then-unreleased single “Ye Anthem”.
Smada’s first and only solo single for 2022 is titled “Ye Anthem” featuring King Perry and Toyé (released on December 1, 2022). The song is currently making rounds on TikTok, and thanks to the heavy social life of December in Nigeria, he was opportune to perform the song to his growing beloved Alté-centric fans.
Notable Single(s): Family, Ye Anthem, Kilonso.
The December 5, 2022 released single, “People”, by emerging talent, Libianca, is slowly catching the ears of music lovers around the world, even securing a co-sign by R&B and pop legend, Chris Brown.
Many factors warranted the captivating effect of “People”, but one thing stands out, that is the feeling engrossed in making the melancholic pop record.
Libianca is a Cameroonian-American singer whose first on-screen presence came through participating in The Voice (America) Season 21, so it is no wonder why she is such an impressive vocalist. Adding to the vocal skills, Libianca works as a mixing engineer and creative director. She is definitely one to watch out for.
Notable single(s): People, Woman.
8. MOJO AF
Òrìṣà or Àgbà Ika, indigenous rapper MOJO AF calls himself in the lyrics of his several songs. MOJO raps on Hip-Hop, Afropop, Drill, and Pop instrumentals, always making sure to make his presence felt. By speaking the Yoruba language and creating a dark persona on beats, somewhat resembling that of 21 Savage, he has created a niche for his artistic style.
His topics range from a declaration of doom on whoever tries to test his rapping abilities, to adulating marijuana, as if he were paying obeisance to the green herb, to rapping about the grind—money, fame, street credibility, to touching on his lavish lifestyle; MOJO AF does not miss, ever!
His unique flow and cadence have granted him features with heavyweights like Show Dem Camp, his Chop Life Crew-affiliated brother – Prettyboy D-O, Psycho YP, and a plethora of other fine artistes.
He is expected to put out a project later this year. Last year, he was sighted with Nigerian music living legend – Olamide, hence, a possible collaboration in the near-by future is rumored to take place. His fans are anxious, yet ecstatic as to what MOJO AF has in store for them. You should too.
Notable single(s): Wowo, Rap Jesu, Chop Life Crew, Shawarma, Tycoon.
The powerful high-octave voice of Raebel (pronounced “Ray Bell”) captured the ears of music lovers on first listening to the interesting breakout “Miniskirt” single.
Raebel preached originality, and self-esteem in romantic relationships in “Miniskirt”, emphasizing always being her distinct self, despite the comparisons to “other gyals” from her lover; “Say me know say me special me I different from other breeds wey you been with yea”, she sings with passion on the impeccable song.
Although “Miniskirt” was released in 2021, it was not until early/mid-2022 it started to gain national traction. Coupled with her management and distribution firm—The Plug—Raebel managed to keep a healthy media presence all through 2022, without even putting out a single record. All efforts went toward the promotion of “Miniskirt”, which saw her make performance appearances on WAVES, Clout Africa, Aktivated Sessions (all on YouTube), and a ‘Get To Know Me’ interview with TV entertainment organisations – MTV Base.
Raebel is working on her debut project—The Raebellion. That will serve as a proper introduction to her sound. Anticipate!
Notable single(s): Miniskirt
YKB or pronounced in its one-worded format — yusufkanbai — is a budding talent from Lagos who promotes his musical talent through eye-popping creative visuals with complementing well-written written lyrics.
YKB is a true lover of art—an artist. It is easy to tell. Manipulating lyrics and visuals at the early stages of their careers is a skill only a few have been able to hone, but with the multi-talented singer, it seems to come with ease, proficiently at that.
YKB is good at painting pictures with words, he has translated that into a music passion, creating endless memories as each day passes by. His latest single, “san siro”, is a grand testament; a very much beloved song, and one of the most beautiful romantic melodies we have gotten in modern-day Afropop.
2022 December had YKB in shows by Show Dem Camp, Victony, CKay (just to name a few), where he performed his newest record to thousands of people who energetically sang along to the lyrics word-for-word. Keep an eye out for YKB in 2023.
Notable single(s): san siro, Fall For Me, Oshofree, Dey Your Dey
5. Bloody Civilian
When the average Nigerian hears the term – bloody civilian, he/she thinks about the Nigerian Army’s way of addressing the regular citizens of the nation, and the gruesome cruelty they impose on any offender of their, that is, the Army’s several rules. Such spirit is conveyed in Bloody Civilian’s debut single—“How To Kill A Man”—but with a calmer, soothing voice.
Bloody Civilian imperceptible grand introduction to the world of music was the acclaimed Black Panther‘s soundtrack album, in which she was able to secure a song – “Wake Up (feat. Rema)”. This happened just 2 weeks after the release of her neck-turning debut single.
Bloody Civilian is a 25-year-old multi-instrumentalist, producer, sound engineer, and vocalist, with a rich music background of a father who played the bass guitar with his band in the 80’s.
She is worth every currency of attention, pay it to witness Bloody Civilian genre-bending style in bright colours this year.
Notable single(s): Wake Up, How To Kill A Man.
The introduction to the lovable vocals of rising star, Minz, came through featuring on Runtown‘s “Soundgod Fest Reloaded” mixtape (2021). Aside from the main act, Minz was the focal point of that tape, inarguably so after landing 4 collab songs in the mixtape (2 in the beginning, 2 songs to conclude).
Minz has garnered quite an audience for himself, and thanks to his emPawa Africa distribution deal, his music have reached countries he must have dreamt of visiting. Minz also has jumped on records with Spinall, Mr Eazi, WANI, Higo & HVRRY, PsychoYP, Bella Shmurda, and many others.
His 2023 campaign is kicking off strong. A remix of the fan-favourite “Wo Wo” is set to hit DSPs soon. BNXN fka Buju is the guest act. Lyrics videos, visualizers, and freestyle videos of both artists (Minz and BNXN) singing “Wo Wo” has saturated the social media space already.
2023 should be a good year for Minz. We will watch with joy as the young act gets his flowers. Be prepared for Minz SZN!
Notable single(s): Wo Wo, 234, BDMN.
The low-voiced, tiny, crystal-clear vocal texture of Majeeed cannot go unnoticed on tracks the talented singer decided to hop on, but it is his meticulous songwriting prowess that shines the most.
He has achieved a not-so-popular but decorated career in his short time thus far as an artiste, singer-songwriter, and producer: a debut EP grossing over 10 million streams, videos on YouTube easily crossing the 500k milestone, even over 1M views for quite a few of them, and accredited songwriting recognitions for top Nigerian artistes.
Last year, Majeeed released one of the best cohesive projects which tells his story while simultaneously showing his expertise in maneuvering instrumentals. A beautiful experience for those who cared to listen to the 6-song ”Bitter Sweet” EP.
With co-signs from established singers, such as Joeboy (“Yawa No Dey End”), Blaise Beats (“Smile For Me”), Masterkraft (“Stop Nonsense”), Falz (cameo appearance in “Stop Nonsense” & offline), and Don Jazzy (words of encouragement & music knowledge – offline), Majeeed is set for the big stages.
His sold-out 5000-capacity show in Mauritius last year June is a sign of Majeeed’s growing wings in the music industry. He is signed to Dreams Empire Music.
Notable single(s): Time, Yawa No Dey End, Smile For Me, Stop Nonsense.
Ladé made a grand statement with her breakthrough single, “Adulthood Anthem.” A song that preaches the gospel truth about the coming-of-age socio-economic awareness of young ones turning into adults.
At first, there was confusion concerning Ladé’s identity due to vocal similarities with established singer, Teni, but good PR and an introductory EP acted swiftly to ameliorate matters.
Music identifying app, Shazam, favoured Ladé’s discovery by curious music listeners the world over as they heard her voice for the first time. “Adulthood Anthem” soon became a mainstream hit. The song peaked at No. 19 on the Apple Music Top 100 Nigeria chart, No. 4 iTunes (NG), and No. 29 on the YouTube chart.
TurnTable ranked her the No. 1 Emerging Female Artiste of 2022 and recognised “Adulthood Anthem” as the No. 1 Song by an Emerging Female Artiste in Nigeria. These are enough proof to show Ladé’s worth; fans are even expecting even more in 2023.
Notable song(s): Adulthood Anthem, Grace, Hustle.
Ojogwu Tochukwu, alias Vladimirovich or Big Gun, better known as Odumodublvck is an act that resulted from hard work and dedication. Getting a loyal fan base is as difficult as music promotion, but Odumodublvck has solidly built a cult-like following since his ascent from an artiste manager to an artiste himself.
Once he chants “Blvcksheep for life, Blvcksheep forever / Izgaaju ’til we kpeme, Antiworldgangstars”, you know Odumodublvck means business. Before 2022, the Abuja-bred star was unknown, but in just 12 months, the gangster-aura rapper-singer has changed his story.
With one of the hardest verses in the Nigerian rap scene last year, courtesy of his feature on PschoYP‘s “Bando Diaries”, Odumodublvck’s notoriety steadily increases per hour.
His branding is like no other. He tagged his music genre “Okporoko Rhythms”, he is mostly seen in the traditional Igbo “Okpu Agu” cap, he only types in block letters on social media – a show of confidence he says, and uses ingrained street slang from the streets of Port Harcourt, despite his Abuja upbringing.
Odumodublvck consistency has produced 8 projects in a space of 5 years. His solo debut album is expected to drop later in the year, predictably June/July, but till then, expect to see Odumodublvck’s creative yet aggressive marketing schemes on your screens.
He is signed to Native Records. Smada is also a member.
Notable Single(s): Dog Eat Dog, Bando Diaries, Vigilante Bop, Picanto.