Top Rappers Killing It In Hausa
Hip Hop is by far not the most popular genre in Nigeria. This is not a thing of surprise, as majority of Nigerians love to party hard to heavy ‘gbedus’ and so most of the songs on heavy rotation are mostly pop songs with perceived ‘commercial value’.
This does not mean that Nigerians do not listen to Hip Hop or other less popular genres of music, as a matter of fact, Hip Hop in Nigeria has massively evolved over the years, becoming more popular and garnering a decent following. Also, Nigeria’s official language is the English language but not everyone speaks or understands that. This is due to the fact that English is not native, and Nigeria constitutes over two hundred and fifty tribes, which speak a variety of languages. English is therefore taught in schools through formal education, but many Nigerians do not have access to formal education.
As a matter of fact, Nigeria has a high illiteracy rate with over 1 third of her population uneducated. This a huge problem on a bigger scale, but as it relates to the music, it poses a problem for musicians in Nigeria, who consequently, have to be very smart about the language used in their music to appeal to a larger audience.
Unlike pop music, whose audience cares less about lyrics and more about banging beats, rap is quite the opposite. Rappers are judged by what they say and how they say it, and thus the language they use is very much important. The most popular native languages in Nigeria areHausa, Yoruba and Igbo and quite a number of rappers have shown through their art that pens are mightier than swords and they are lords of words, twisting and bending rhymes while telling stories in these indigenous languages.
Today we took a look at some of the hottest Nigerian rappers who rap in the Hausa language which is native to Northern Nigeria as well as other African countries like Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory coast, Togo and Sudan. You should also note that these rappers do a good job rapping in English as well.
1. Kheengz – Kheengz (King Bawa), is a rapper from Niger state, and signed to YFK. He caught our ears back in 2013 when he dropped his debut mixtape titled “college kid”, which featured Veteran and Legend MI Abaga on a track titled ‘jealousy’. He followed up with another fire mixtape in 2015 titled ‘Voice of Arewa’ (V.O.A) and a stunning EP in 2017 titled ‘Pedestal’ . He switches effortlessly between Hausa and english in his raps, showing his perfect command of both languages. Earlier in the year, he dropped a viral song and video titled ‘Almajiri’, which talked about the problems of the almajiri in Nothern Nigeria, and this got him an interview on BBC uk radio, where he spoke more on the issue. He is one dope rapper to watch out for, A true MC who consistently represents where he comes from through his art.
2. ClassiQ – ClassiQ (Buba Barnabas Luka) is a very dope rapper from Bauchi state. He is 27 years old (Born: 1991), and has been rapping since he was 16. As the old saying goes, “we are what we repeatedly do”, little wonder classiq is super skilled with his raps as he has evidently honed these skills superbly over time. Check out his mixtape titled ‘sarki’ as well as his album titled “The new North” and you will be blown away by his skills. Also Do you remember vector’s King Kong Remix? Classiq featured on that too and delivered a killer verse in Hausa on that one. He is definitely holding it down for the North!
3. Morell – Morell (Musa Akilah) has been around for quite a while. His single titled ‘anti social’ which featured Olamide, brought him into the limelight in 2013. It was an up tempo pop track, which didn’t really show Morell’s lyrical dexterity, but was widely accepted and loved as a party anthem. Morell is also a very talented singer and has many collaborations with Top Artistes in Nigeria, delivering sick verses in both english and hausa. We recommend that you check out his emotional and riveting video for the song titled ‘borno’, off his album ‘Musa Jikan Musa’ .
4. Boc Madaki – Luka Bullus Madaki aka BOC is a talented rapper from Bauchi state. He started rapping back in 2003 but didn’t kick off his rap career professionally till 2013. He has served as a number of fire tracks since he started and we recommend his EP titled “Raayi” . He is really dope!
5. DJ AB – DJ Abba (Haruna Abdullahi) is a 24 year old rapper and producer form Kaduna state. He has been making music for about 10 years and has quite a number of dope tracks out as wel, collaborating with highly rated rappers from the region, such as classiq ,kheengz and others. You can listen one of his tracks titled “baban Yaya” below. He is also one dope rapper to watch out for.
6. Lyrical Dr Smith – Lyrical Dr. Smith is another sick rapper from Jos Nigeria. He is currently with Ice prince’s super cool cats and though he has not put out so many tracks, he is someone we believe has what it takes to shake up the rap game. His single titled ‘bula’ is one of those tracks we’ve watched him perform. The energy and flow he brings is so superb that he lives the crowd rapping his hook back at him with energy and smiles on their faces. He has other singles, ‘shan tea da fork’ and ‘bayawa’ which are currently getting mad love. He delivers impeccable rhymes in both English and Hausa. He even opened the show at Coronation II, this year which MI abaga headlined, and had one of the best performances of the night. Here’s a video of him performing ‘Bulla’ at Bogobiri in Lagos.
Northern Nigeria has given us so many Legends in the Nigerian Hip hop scene. Imagine what rap would be like without a 6 foot plus, or a terry tha rapman? Mi abaga? jese jaggz? Pherowshuz etc.
You can’t help but wonder if the air they breathe is just different around these parts. We are happy that more emcees are rising up to follow in the paths of these legends. This movement should remind you of MI Abaga’s hook where he says “Jtown! Come on! Emcees Come on! Real heads! Come on! Rappers come on! Rise!!!!” , they are certainly rising from all corners and heeding to that call.
We might have missed a few names on this list, and we apologize. Please hit us up in the comment section, with other dope rappers you think are putting Hausa rap on the map, deserve to be on this list as well.