Nigerian music continues to experience some noteworthy metamorphosis. Each passing day, the West African music market is inundated with a spectrum of sub-genres that transcends the all-too-familiar Afropop or Afrobeats, as it is popularly known. While there are often big name drops like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Davido when discussing Nigerian music, a closer look captures many more exciting voices putting in the graft to prove that Nigerian music is much more than Afrobeats.
While rap music has long been embedded in Nigerian culture, at the cusp of these developments is trap. The doggedness of its purveyors has made optimists of skeptics concerning the sound’s mainstream viability. Though Lagos remains the epicenter for Nigerian music, the country’s capital Abuja has become a homestead for local trap, with correspondents like PsychoYP and Straffitti – who are members of Apex Village, a popular hip-hop collective that houses some of the most recognized trap stars in Nigeria.
Artists like Rema have shuffled in between genres to deliver stellar trap-leaning records like “Alien”, “Spaceship Jocelyn” or “Trap Out the Submarine” while artists like PsychoYP, Cheque remain steeped in the sound’s renaissance with each release. The potential, however, gets more assuring as global music entities like ONErpm and Empire exercise priority interest in these trap correspondents.
Meanwhile, here’s our favourite trap records released this year by Nigerian artists.
Cheque – “Call Me BaBy”
August 20th, 2021
“Call Me Baby” came right before Cheque’s debut album Bravo, a testament of his trap genius. Cheque calls for the attention of a love interest in the Andyr-produced number that intersects between R&B and trap. The Penthuaze-signed talent, whose trajectory came to a crescendo with “Zoom” in 2020 has been bullish about the viability of trap in Nigeria. In his words, “I don’t care if anyone don’t like trap music in this country [Nigeria]. Me and my people will rule the world with it very soon.”
PsychoYP – “+234 (Daily Paper)”
August 25th, 2021
“+234 (Daily Paper)” is off his latest project, Euphoria where YP furthers the gospel of Nigerian trap to new heights. According to him, the record is “for every Nigerian to be proud nonetheless”. Also at the apex of trap discourse in Nigeria is Abuja-based PsychoYP. The rapper has never shied away from his pledge of “saving trap music in Nigeria”. However, his vision becomes more practical following a major partnership with ONErpm, an American distribution heavyweight. This would validate his declaration of “making trap music but a nigga still pop.”
DaBlixx Osha – “No Jesus”
March 30th, 2021
“No Jesus” is one of the hardest records off DaBlixx Osha’s recent project, Country Boy. The record leans towards the subjects of restless grinding, hedonism, and youthful vice. The self-acclaimed “king of the new school” is garnering momentum as a decent bet for the impending blow-up of underground trap. For the rapper, more than just words and sounds, “trap music is my soul and I’m happy to be part of it”.
Straffiti – “Never Broke Again”
July 30th, 2021
“Never Broke Again” follows Endless, a project that chronicles the rapper’s attempt to refashion the rules of trap and his excellence at it. “Never Broke Again” is the 23-year-old’s declaration of attaining affluence. Straffitti is exploring trap with the primary intent of disrupting the status quo. He is inspired by 2000s artists like Akon, T-Pain, Sean Kingston and trap artists from Miami, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Zilla Oaks – “What You Telling Me”
May 14th, 2021
“What You Telling Me” is one of the critically acclaimed songs off the rapper’s sophomore album, No Zzzz 2, which features Psycho YP, PrettyBoy DO, Tay Iwar etc. Here, the rapper croons about superiority, triumph with acute lyricism and delivery. He’s a member of Apex Village and a fervent purveyor of Nigerian trap. Oaks’ confidence in his genius is without question as he asserts, “Nobody else wanted to trap, so we did that. It’s not pride. We own anything trap/rap/hip-hop in this country.”
Trill Xoe (feat. Veen, Saint Austin) – “Heart In Ice”
February 13th, 2021
Trill Xoe enlists Veen, Saint Austin to unpack the complexities of emotional resistance caused by the hurts from past relationships. “Heart On Ice” is off Trill Xoe’s EP Damage Control, a project that recounts varying emotional reactions to heartbreak. For Trill Xoe, his leaning towards trap music is “to educate Nigerians that there’s more than just Afrobeats. I’m trying to make them hear new sounds they’re not used to.”
Payper Corleone (feat. Cheque) – “Drip”
January 19th, 2021
“Drip” is the second track off Corleone’s most recent project In Don We Trust, a purported portrait of his biography. Here, Cheque shines with a laudable hook and delivery that matches Corleone’s typically smooth flow, rhyme scheme and cadence. Corleone is known for his gritty wordplay, reflective, Mafioso-themed rap. He scored a career highlight with his nomination for Best Rap Song at the 2020 Headies, which he lost to Falz.