Something is in the Edo water. The state keeps making the news rounds lately for the spectacular doings of its young talents. Rema closed out O2 for his London concert on November 15. Shallipopi released his debut album on November 10, and is one of the breakout artists of 2023.
While these two may be the current faces of Edo, there are seven other artists from the City of Bronze you should have on your listening radar.
Omosefe “Aiseh” Aisosa is a hip-hop artist whose music revolves around everyday Nigerian life, relationships and his Christian faith. Five years after dropping his debut album, GROWING (2018), Aiseh returned in 2023 with Heartbreak, Bars and Melodies. The project detailed his love life and showcased a versatile music maker who can sing and rap equally well, with each song connecting cohesively into the next.
thellO (Ethel Blessing Ngohonba Mote) is a Cameroonian-Nigerian singer and rapper based in Benin, Edo State. Attention first beamed on her during her stint in the 2022 Hennessy VS Class. She raps in English, Yorùbá and her native Cameroonian tongue, Bassa. She’s a battle-tested emcee, and her social pages are stacked with freestyles and song covers you should deep-dive into.
Onose Emmanuella Bagudu, PKA Layzee Ella, is an androgynous singer-songwriter best known for her soul-pop music. Her EPs When The Lights Go Off (2021) and Feel Everything (2022) are built around vulnerability and romantic experiences. Her most recent offering, Infinito, is a collaborative effort with Romanian music producer and DJ, Vanotek.
Based in Lagos, Caleb Clay (FKA BigC) has made his identity as an adept lyricist in the Naija underground rap scene. Asides from being a great storyteller who tells introspective, personal stories and Lagos city tales, Caleb walks with pockets of flow that endear listeners to every bar he spits. His rapper CV includes three EPs and a session at DJ Jimmy Jatt’s “Jimmy Jump Off” show. His new single Pressure had Port Harcourt rapper, Sknny, on as a feature.
Before Aisosa released his emotional At Night, You Floor My Thoughts with producer UndieJulius in March 2023, he showed his lyrical depth of love languages with releases like Abeg, All Time Low (2021), Strange Fire and Fools (2022). Aisosa, born Michael Timeyin Igbinosa is a burgeoning R&B and afro-fusion act whose vocals and lyrics will wash over you like tidal waves. Watch out for him.
Harrison “Harry Carter” Ogedegbe is one of the most exciting artists from Benin. When he isn’t exploring trap and emo-trap, Carter is drilling or making afro-pop jams like Myself featuring Lil5ive. From braggadocious rhymes to chill vibes, Carter is an all-round artist. His catalogue is two EPs and several singles deep — his latest is Ovbere (“He has come again” in his native Edo tongue).
Billy the GOAT
Ihama Peter, popularly known as Billy the GOAT (BTG), is a non-stereotypical rap artist. He conveniently switches flows to fit into his fusion of pop and afrobeats, while maintaining his rap aura at the core. STOP PLAYING, his four-track sophomore EP, came out in August 2023.
Get into these young Edo stars through our playlist: