(April 6, 2019). This week we continue our five-part series on African hip-hop with Part 4 of “Ten African Rappers American Hip-Hop Fans Should Hear Now.” The blog has received many recommendations from readers to go along with the original group of rappers we considered for this special. Your insights have definitely opened our eyes and ears to even more worthy artists than those originally considered and I thank all of those who’ve provided comments.
The first six rappers were discussed in Parts 1 through 3. They hail from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. If you missed the earlier parts, you can catch up by clicking the following links:
This week, for Part 4, we add an up-and-coming Nigerian rapper to the mix, as well as another South African veteran artist. No need for a long buildup, read on to see why they belong among the ten best African rappers that should be getting some love here in America.
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Dremo of DMW
Full name is Aboriomoh Femi Raymond; Age: 25; Nigerian rapper from Ibadan, Oyo state (born in Edo state). Genres: Afro pop; Afrobeat fused with hip-hop. Latest project is Codename, Vol. 1 (released July 2018). Dremo is signed to the DMW (Davido Music Worldwide) record label.
Other interestingI facts: Dremo signed with the DMW label on April 1, 2016, just two days after having been introduced to the label’s owner Davido (superstar Nigerian singer, producer and entrepreneur David Adedeji Adeleke). One of the most successful singers in Nigeria, Davido was so impressed with Dremo’s work, he had to have him on his label immediately. Dremo, who initially thought Davido’s contract offer was an April Fool’s joke, was the first rapper signed to the DMW label.
In a 2017 interview with lifestyle.thecable.ng, Dremo recalled “being a nobody” before he received the call from Davido, a notion that is somewhat reinforced by the fact that he still has no Wikipedia page devoted to him as of this writing.
But that likely has more to do with the failed attempts by people to create one on his behalf and alleged reports of unverifiable information being submitted (not that this has ever stopped others from having their own Wiki page).
Still, Dremo is one of the dopest new rappers on the Naija hip-hop scene (just listen to his rapid-fire delivery on the 2018 track “Faya” from his Codename EP for proof). His talents have already translated into a large following. He’s won several awards including the Nigerian Teen Choice Award for Choice New Hip Hop Act 2016 and, in 2017, the City People Music Award for Rookie of the Year. As of this typing, he has 91,117 monthly Spotify listeners and 177,000 followers on Twitter.
Dremo, who sometimes uses a singing style to go along with his rapping, has several singles to his name, as well as various featured credits. But his first official project, the EP Codename, Vol. 1, was released July 20, 2018. You can check it out immediately below.
Best tracks on Codename, Vol. 1: “Bigger Meat,” “Faya.”
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Full Name: Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo (also known as Coolest Kid in Africa); Age 22; South African rapper from Soweto, Gauteng. Genres: trap, hip-hop. Latest project is Strings and Bling (released July 2018). Since February 2018, Nasty C has recorded for the Universal Music Group – SA.
Other interesting facts: Nasty C is very highly regarded among South African rappers, with the young star having already received accolades for “Best Freshman” at the 2015 South African Hip-Hop Awards, as well as being named one of the best rappers in his country and on the African continent in 2018 by TINA magazine.
Like most up-and-coming rappers, Nasty C put out mix-tapes and singles before finally releasing an EP (Price City) and later an album (Bad Hair) of his own. For Bad Hair, the rapper launched a promotional campaign where he had fans send head-and-shoulder pictures of their “bad hair” to a special email account to raise awareness of the upcoming debut album release. The gimmick paid off as the album was among the most streamed on the site Audiomack upon its release.
A key single from Bad Hair, the No. 1 “Hell Naw,” was reportedly written, recorded and released within 24 hours. The song (official video below) is dope!
Nasty C has also worked internationally both within his continent and abroad, including with American artists 6lack, French Montana and A$AP Ferg. The latter is featured on his Strings and Bling album, which has been heralded by critics as one of the best rap albums of 2018 in SA.
Strings and Bling was released July 6, 2018, and topped the South African charts at No. 1 upon its release. One listen to it (immediately below) and you’ll see why Nasty C is fast on the come-up and easily one of the best African hip-hop artists today!
The whole album is 🔥🔥🔥. But the best tracks on S&B: “Blisters,” “Do U Digg,” “Legendary,” “U Played Yourself,” “SMA (Send Me Away)” featuring Rowlene, and “King” featuring A$AP Ferg.
You can catch up on the other parts by checking the following links.
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.