We’ve seen many Nigerian musicians take different routes over time, in their quest to find themselves and become bigger brands.
But these artists did a complete 180° with their craft and turned their careers around.
This brother joined the full beard gang, started using Simi’s hairdresser, ditched adire and batik for designer clothes, shifted from alternative music style to pop sounds and became everyone’s baby. If only Mr. Biggs had attended AG Baby’s rebranding school, they could’ve been so much more.
When we first heard Chidinma on Emini Baller in 2012, we knew the industry had a real problem on its hands. Because who else could sound posh, sultry and street at the same? Then she went on hiatus for three years and returned as Minister Chidinma Ekile, a gospel musician. We didn’t see this coming, but she’s making some of her best songs right now, so we don’t hate it.
If these were the Mo’Hits days of looking like a mob boss, we doubt any Instagram comedian would look into the Don’s eyes, much less make him act in their funny videos. But the old days of walking staff, strong face, keeping mute and whispering in his artists’ ears are over. Since he activated Mavin, Don Baba J has become more accessible, drawing more fans to pay attention to his artists.
He appeared on the scene in straw hats and dashiki-like tops, and we thought he was some cool nomadic herder. We were right, only that music was his cattle; he took it from Lagos to Accra to London. Although Mr Eazi just put out a new album, Chop Life: Mzansi Chronicles, in May 2023, he’s more focused on being a venture capitalist, investing in tech companies like Paisa, Eden Life, Pawapay, and most recently, South Africa basketball team, Cape Town Tigers.
It’ll be hard to find someone as creative and funny as Falz in the modern Nigerian music scene. But he went from cracking us up in music and movies to being at the frontline of protests, calling out bad governance. He even made an album, Moral Instructions, to address societal issues like corrupt politicians, police brutality, social injustice, etc. Falz is another episode of things Nigeria will do to you.
Since the start of her career, she’s stayed different, even going for baggy clothes and vibrant accessories. But in 2022, she broke the internet with her body transformation, which seemed like the beginning of a new era for her. And after listening to No Days Off, we’re wondering, is she the alté sugar mummy now?
He went from general manager at Young Shall Grow (YSG) Entertainment to managing Nigerian rapper Vector, to collaborating with afrobeat stars as an artist and producer. He has even executive-produced soundtrack albums for movies like Living In Bondage: Breaking Free and Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story. Larry Gaaga has come a long way. In 2022, he resumed in Def Jam Africa as vice president and head of its A&R division.
Baddo will go down as one of the most influential African artists of all time. Who else has leaped from breaking himself out as a superstar, dropping street knowledge as music hits to signing and breaking out other artists who’ve also gone on to become superstars?
Regarded as one of the pioneers of the Alté music movement, fans prayed and fasted for nine years for Arrested by Love to drop in 2022. TeeZee also makes music with DRB Lagos, his collective with artists, BOJ and Fresh L, and runs NATIVE Records — a label he formed with Chubbziano, his co-founder at The Native Mag. In the last year, we’ve seen him focus on his new signees, Smada and OdumoduBlvck — the current heartthrob of the industry.