Seven Ways Hip Hop Shaped Naija Music

Several black music genres have originated from the US; Hip Hop, RNB, Soul, Pop. Each has had an influence on Nigerian music. Hip hop has arguably the most influence and this article seeks to explain why. From the early days hip hop the love grew to influence. Nigerians started putting rhymes together and then out of the blue a hip hop group The Remedies although no where near Fugees Nigerians went into a frenzy any time Eedris Abdulkareem spoke in tongues, ahem! *clears throat* raps. The sound was hip hop and it got the people dancing soon enough other emcees will come out of the corners carrying mics, turntables wearing big timbalands and filas. Like with the black communities in the States the music struck a chord. Over the years however there is not much love for rhyming in Naija but the sound still permeates through other recently popular and mainstream genres.

Rappa Ternt Sanga;

With the decline in rap releases and rappers being signed, many upcoming rappers and even some made ones have discovered their inner crooner for example Dr Sid, D’Prince, Sina Rambo, Skales. Invoking it, the result is a mixed bag of some good, bad and ugly singing. Some have resolved to the auto pitch correction tool auto-tune, some deliver a singing rapping style used by the likes of d’banj, Durella, Kas, Konga, Burna Boy (More of ragga).

The birth of Afro Pop Fusion

Afro pop-Fusion is a genre characterised by high tempo dance beats, composed of hip hop breaks and indigenous sounds with a sing-songy rap delivery. Wande Coal’s The Kick, D’banj, Wizkid, Timaya, Terry G, Durella, and others too numerous to mention.

Digital production

Today producers can make any genre of music in front of a PC. The producer may have little or no skill with any particular musical instrument. Many musicians (who play the instrument) have frowned on this development calling it lazy; the new generation don’t mind they have embraced the technological developments acquiring the latest softwares.

Hip hop helped move the music industry from analog to digital. This is because in Hip Hop it’s not necessary to learn the instruments whereas in genres like Jazz, high life, Rock, Country it is necessary. A hip hop artist may just know how to DJ and sample, the drum machine, synthesizers, samplers and turn tables.  When hip hop broke into Nigeria it led to widespread use of softwares like the fruityloops, Propellerheads Reason, Steinberg Cubase, Steinberg Nuendo, Apple Logic E.T.C, all affordable and easily customised with up to date samples of instruments. The artiste is just ready to rock the mic bothering less about the need to learn the instruments. Producers in many cases only play computer programmed instruments.


Freestyling is no longer just for the rappers and some few skilled RNB singers. But these days any singer can take a crack at freestyling and in some quarters writing your lyrics will be frowned at. Wizkid, Wande Coal, Terry G, Timaya, have all claimed to freestyle their lyrics in the studio.

Bragging Rights

‘Ball Till I Fall That’s The Way It’s Gone Be’ – Birdman

This might be the only time i quote a Birdman Lyric, but when it comes to balling nobody balls harder than the Cash Money CEO. When Hip Hop became a major part of Nigerian Music this was one trait we also picked up from the genre.

Hip Hop has a lot of bragging and boasting you cannot be an Emcee and not claim to be the best in whatever. Naija artist these days seem to brag about everything from their bank account to their garage, to their bedroom skills and their club spending. If you think rick ross exaggerates try naija artistes;

‘I woke up in a new Masseratti’ – Orezi

‘I will take you overseas girl I will buy you diamond rings girl’ – Davido

‘Come to my estate’ –Wizkid

‘She must to chop my money’ – P-square

There are so many I can mention but by now you should have gotten the point.

The Drizzy Effect

Ice Prince raps and sings, so goes for Olamide, Skales, Ikechukwu, Banky W. Well since Rap Music and Hip Hop has been of great influence what easier way to bear the tag multi talented than to claim rapper and singer on the resume, these boys hit high notes (not all of em) one minute next minute they are flipping punches on the same track. Hip Hop has influenced Nigerian music greatly so much that our most prestigious award until the last one was called Hip Hop World Awards till it was renamed the Headies.



In the States it’s rare to see artiste beef and do diss records except for rappers where it is a natural occurrence in fact battling is one of the most practised elements of hip hop in it’s early days. Battling took another dimension during the Pac and Biggie East Vs West saga, but it has not been that violent ever since and the battling scene is gaining widespread acceptance and participation in several countries, even in Naija you have the Wrap league and Fight Night, Nokia Don’t Break The Beat, Sprite Tripple Slam E.T.C.

But here the battling is not just for the rappers alone as the singers and pop stars join the party with their own slur of words. Timaya and Gravity, Terry G and Mallam Spicey, MI and Kelly Handsome.

Tell us what you think and feel free to mention any known influence we didn’t mention.

This write up is not the opinion of str8upbangin.com but that of the writer.

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