It has not been an entirely controversy-free year for Wizkid but no one can deny he’s the standout figure in the Nigerian music industry for 2016.
Fresh from picking up the well-deserved Artiste of Year award at the Headies which held last week, Wizkid has been on a roll when it comes to dropping banging joints, collaborating with notable international acts and winning multiple awards.
Before picking up the gong at Headies, Wizkid was also named Artist of the Year at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards better known as MAMAs, along with winning the Best Male and Best Collaboration awards.
He also picked up the Best African Act at the 2016 Music of Black Origin (MOBO) as well as Best Africa Act at the 2016 MTV EMAs.
With the hit single, “One Dance” on which he was featured by Drake along with Kyla setting many records on the global music scene, Wizkid joined other international acts like Zara Larsson ( Sweden), Ariana Grande (U.S.), GOT7 (Korea), Troye Sivan (Australia) and otheres honoured with the Worldwide Act award at the awards ceremony held in Rotterdam, Netherlands on November 16.
Aside from placing the StarBoy Records boss on the pedestal of Grammy nomination, “One Dance“ is now the most streamed song in Spotify history with over 882 million streams since its premiere in April 2016.
From rolling on stage with Chris Brown to getting into the studio with Drake and Tinie Tempah and writing songs for Rihanna, Wizkid is now the closest Nigeria has come to a Grammy nomination since the time of Juju legend, King Sunny Ade and Afrobeat king, Femi Kuti.
Aside from the drama that ensued over his nomination for the Next Rated category of Headies 2016 and the subsequent withdrawal of that nomination, Tekno is the leading Nigerian act on the home front in 2016.
It all started with the release of his smash hit, “Duro” in June 2015, that was quickly followed by the remix of the song featuring Phyno and Flavour in November last year.
And just before that year ended, he dropped two more songs respectively titled “Wash” and “Maria” in November and December 2015.
It was on that prolific note that Tekno zoomed into 2016, releasing “Where” in March 2016 but by the middle of the year, many were already saying his impressive streak on “Duro” and “Wash” was a fluke.
And it was not until July this year that he responded with “Pana”, a song that can conveniently contest with one or two others for the title of Song of the Year at any awards.
It was therefore not a surprise when he was named the Best Breakthrough Act at the MAMAswhich held in South Africa and the Song of the Year at the African Music Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA).
And to show his many fans that he is not about to take his foot off the gas pedal, he has a new song, “Diana” released two months ago and the song is growing on people as the days go by.
Many would argue that it has been a quiet year for the YBNL lead act as none of his songs can really compete among the best songs of 2016 but then this is the year Olamide joined Phyno to provide “Fada Fada”, arguably the best song of the year.
Apart from winning the Best Male West Africa at AFRIMMA and the Best Rap Single with Eyan Mayweather as well as Best Streethop awards, Olamide’s image still looms large in 2016.
For the third year running, he held his annual show, Olamide Live in Concert (OLIC) and fans are already saying it is perhaps the best show in the year.
Before this, Olamide embarked on a successful tour of United States tagged OLIC Tour USA. With the release of his sixth studio album, Glory on December 26, Olamide is now the only Nigerian artiste to release an album every year since dropping his debut album, Rapsodi back in 2011.
He has followed up with YBNL (2012), Baddest Guy Ever Liveth (2013), Street OT (2014) and Eyan Mayweather (2015).
It is a time for him to be happy to be alive following the near-death experience in Calabar, Cross River State, over the Christmas period but in the music arena, Kiss Daniel is one of the best Nigeria has to offer in 2016. The Headies 2016 held just a little over a week ago, with Kiss Daniel as the biggest winner of the night. Walking away with the Hip Hop World Revelation and the Best R ‘n’ B/Pop Album and Album of the Year awards with New Era, the young man born Anidugbe Oluwatobiloba Daniel has continued where he left off in 2015. One of the highlights of Kiss Daniel’s album titled New Era and, released this year following huge anticipation, is that it features no act apart from his label mate, Sugarboy. And with songs like “Jumbo” and “Mama” coming in 2016 shortly before the album launch and going straight to the top of music charts in Nigeria and around Africa, Kiss Daniel made a huge statement that no one can ignore this year.
Falz the Bahd Guy
Just two years ago, everyone saw Falz as an act to watch out for due to his comic rap style with a large infusion of word play. In 2015, his single, “Marry Me” which contains vocals from Yemi Alade and Poe, was released and it became one of the notable songs of the year. This year, his achievements transcend the music arena as he won the award of Best Actor in a Comedy/Movie series at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award for his role as Segun in Jenifa’s Diary, the TV series produced by Funke Akindele. He followed that up with Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act award at the 2016 BET Awards. Along with what they have done together on “Jamb Question” and “Soldier”, he collaborated with Simi on a joint EP titled Chemistry and with how prolific he has been in the last few yeras, you can be sure Falz has a lot more in the tank for 2017 and beyond.
In a year that mainstream and online media platforms were dominated by widespread reports of their squabbles, one must give it to the Okoye brothers that they were able to come back from the brink till end the year as one of the stars who gave their fans a lot to cheer this year. It is true that they were not really in the running for most awards this year but their new song, “Bank Alert” is only second to Tekno’s “Pana” as the most viewed song on YouTube. That says a lot and if the reactions of their performance at the 2016 edition of Rhythm Unplugged are anything to go by, they are preparing for a greater outing in 2017.
From joining his uncle, Mark Angel, to make Nigerians laugh every week, young Emmanuella has become one of the most popular comic merchants in this part of the world. The drama skits in which she features along with her uncle and other actors premiere on their website every Friday but so well received have they been that she and her uncle have become household names in the country. From being recently honoured in far-away Australia, she has been profiled by CNN as the most popular young comic act in the land and more are surely on the way.
Continuing his impressive streak of providing Nigerians with great entertainment through films, Kunle Afolayan premiered his latest cinematic effort, The CEO, this year. Featuring a stellar cast including Angelique Kidjo, Wale Ojo, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Fatym Layachi, Hilda Dokubo, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aurelie Eliam and Peter King Nzioki, the film is being hailed as one of the best efforts from Nollywood in history. Not resting on that, he soon went into a partnership with Tonye Cole’s Sahara Group to help groom a new set of film entrepreneurs. The winning entries of that project were unveiled earlier this month.
He is the director of the popular Ebola movie, 93 Days, easily one of the most anticipated movies in Nigeria and most film critics have commended the detailed directorial vision he brought to bear on the project. Starring the likes of Bimbo Akintola, Gideon Okeke, Danny Glover, Patrick Diabuah, Bimbo Manuel, Somkele Idhalama and others, 93 Days tells the story of the struggle to contain the dreaded Ebola to a medical facility in the heart of Lagos Island. Gukas, who has been building a steadily rising profile in directing, also directed and produced the 2014 crime thriller, A Place in the Stars featuring the likes of Femi Branch, Gideon Okeke, Segun Arinze, Maltida Obaseki and others.
Just when you think the social media is always about Davido, Wizkid and the likes, isn’t it purely gratifying to note that a 70-year-old legend can still melt hearts across analog and digital media? So much did Sunny Ade do this that he was trending for days upon turning 70 and with Facebook and Twitter users hailing his dancing skills, musical wizardry and staying power through the decades. And at the end of the carnival-like celebrations of his essence and the king of Juju music, the man showed everyone why he is so highly regarded even the international music scene is not just aware of his attainment of the age of 70 but is paying tribute to the man whose tunes transcend generations and barriers.
Upon winning the Peak Talent Hunt in 2009, not many thought Yemi Eberechi Alade would be able to do anything great. On her own, however, she had great hopes and kept pushing. By 2013, following the moderate reception generated by her single titled “Bamboo,” she worked harder and released the Selebobo-produced song, “Johhny” and saying that changed her story for good is an understatement. Since then, she has gone from being a wannabe to a headliner of major gigs in Nigeria, across Africa and the world at large. Regularly nominated for numerous awards due to her melodious tunes, energetic dance routines and impressive vocal skills, Yemi also became used to being ignored. That was until she won the award for Best Female Act at the prestigious MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) in 2015. She repeated the achievement this year and also added The Future Awards’ Prize for music, beating Mr Eazi, Falz, Kiss Daniel and Tekno in the process. Her M a m a A f r i c a a l b u m a l s o won the award for Best Album (World Beat) at the 15th edition of the Independent Music Awards held at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York on December 15.
Rahama is widely regarded as the Queen of Kannywood, the Hausa section of Nigerian film industry known as Kannywood and it is difficult to ask why. She won the Best African Actress award at the 19th African Film Awards in 2015 and also the Best Actress (Kannywood) at the City People Entertainment Awards in both 2014 and 2015. Having joined the industry in 2013, she has been on a steady rise until the Business Administration graduate of Kaduna Polytechnic was suspended by Kannywood’s Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) on October 2, 2016 due to what was termed “offensive hug”. This followed her appearance alongside Jos-based popular pop star, ClassiQ in a music video. If the band was meant to stall her rise, it is yet to achieve the desired effect as it led Nollywood producer, Jeta Amata and American superstar, Akon into inviting her to appear in a Hollywood production. It was an invitation she accepted with both hands as she flew to Los Angeles for the making of The American King, which is also billed to take the team to Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa.
Tolulope Adesua Etomi might just have spent 3 years working as an actress in Nigeria but she boasts a long line of credits in many of the movies that have mattered in those years. From featuring in her debut movie, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, she has gone on to star in others like Falling, for which she won the AMVCA Best Actress in a Drama award in 2014 and some stellar productions including The Arbitration, The Wedding Party and Ayamma: Music in the Desert, all in 2016. With the trio among movies she starred in this year, especially on account of the reviews all three are getting already, her name is definitely going to be prominent in the awards circle next season.
Many music lovers are by now very aware of the young man whose opening signature is: “It’s your boy, Eazi,” more so after the Ghana- based Nigerian star was voted the Next Rated at the Headies 2016. Without doubt one of the biggest names to come out of the music scene this year, Eazi trumped the likes of Ycee, Humblesmith, Aramide, those thought to be greater chances of winning, to the gong. With largely popular club bangers like “Skin Tight”, “Hollup”, “Sample You”, he sneaked in on everyone and like Kiss Daniel, he will be looking to cement his place further in 2017.
He dropped the smash hit, “Jagaban” in 2015 and released an even hotter remix featuring Olamide shortly after. And just before fans started wondering what he would come up with next, Ycee released “Omo Alhaji” which went down as one of the biggest tunes of the year. Announcing himself in such a forceful manner, the Tinny Entertainment act was rewarded with a Sony Music deal, following in the footsteps of more established acts like Davido and Wizkid. He has been featured by a number of other music acts and has justified his inclusion on every track. For these and more, he is surely one of the most active entertainers of the outgoing year.
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