If there’s one good thing Nigeria is known for, it’s for the vibrant music scene, with diverse genres ranging from Afrobeats to Highlife, Juju to Fuji. In recent years, a new generation of Nigerian musicians has emerged, confidently taking over the industry with their fresh sounds, unique styles, and relatability. These young artists are mostly Gen Z, born between the late-1990s and mid-2000s, and they are completely changing Nigerian pop culture.
One of the most prominent names in this new wave of Nigerian music is Rema. The twenty-two year old’s music is a fusion of Afrobeats, “Afrorave,” and trap, with a focus on melodies and lyrics that reflect his personal struggles and thoughts on society. His music has been well received by audiences in Nigeria and beyond, and he has become a global sensation with his massive hit song, “Calm Down”. He has been highly praised for his unique sound and style.
In terms of style, Rema is known for his eclectic fashion sense that blends traditional African prints with urban streetwear and high fashion pieces. He has been featured in international fashion magazines and has been praised for his impressive ability to mix and match different styles and fabrics.
“My sound is a fusion of Afrobeat, trap and R&B. I would say I create moods and tell stories through music.” “My sound is a fusion of different elements. I don’t like to box myself in. I’m just trying to create something new and unique.” – Rema.
Another megastar in the Nigerian music industry, Ayra Starr was born in Cotonou, Benin Republic in 2002. Ayra is signed to Mavin Records, one of Nigeria’s most coveted record labels, and shot to stardom with her song “Away” in 2021. The beautiful singer’s music is a fusion of Afrobeats, pop, and R&B, with lyrics that address love, heartbreak, and self-discovery. Ayra’s style is quite minimalist (hehe) yet chic, with a focus on neutral tones, bold accessories, and clean lines. She definitely gives old Nollywood vibes (link other post) with a modern, edgy twist.
“My music is a reflection of myself and how I feel, how I see things, and what I’ve been through.” “I’m not just making music for Nigeria or Africa, but for the world.” – Ayra Starr
Discovered by Mr. Eazi in 2017, Joeboy is another new-generation artist that has captured the hearts of the Nigerian audience and refused to let go. Born in Lagos in 1997, Joeboy rose to fame in 2019 with his hit single “Baby.” Since then, he has become one of the most sought-after artists in the country, known for his infectious pop sound and romantic lyrics. Joeboy’s style is simple yet stylish, with a focus on comfortable and casual clothing.
“I make music that people can connect to and enjoy.” “Love and romance is the theme of my music because that’s what we need in the world right now.” – Joeboy
BNXN, formerly known as Buju, is another young star in the Nigerian music industry. Born in 1997, BNXN is an über-talented Afro-fusion singer, songwriter and producer. His music is captivating and catchy, lyrics that touch on personal struggles and social issues. BNXN’s style is laid-back yet stylish, with a focus on oversized clothing and statement accessories.
“I always try to use my music to speak the truth and make people see things from a different perspective.” “I have a unique sound and style, and I’m not afraid to stand out.” – BNXN
Ruger is another young artist who is making waves in the Nigerian music industry. Born in Lagos in 1999, Ruger is signed to Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records. The “Bounce” hitmaker’s music is a fusion of Afrobeats and trap, with lyrics that reflect his experiences growing up in Lagos. Ruger’s style is eclectic, mixing urban streetwear with traditional African prints and accessories. Let’s not forget the iconic eye patch.
“I grew up in the streets of Lagos, where music is like a second language. It’s a culture, a way of life.” – Ruger
Singer and songwriter, Fave is another rising star from this new generation. Born in southeast Nigeria in 2000, Fave, whose real name is GodsFavour Ugochinyere Chidozie, burst onto the scene in 2021 with “Beautifully” and “Baby Riddim” that had everyone in a chokehold. Since then, she has become a household name, known for her sultry vocals, introspective lyrics, and alternative R&B and Afro-fusion sound. Fave’s style is unique, blending traditional African fabrics with edgy streetwear and bold makeup.
“I want people to feel like they have somebody they can relate to in the music industry.” “I want to tell stories that people can see themselves in, stories that make them feel less alone.” – Fave
“Kolomental” hitmaker Victony is another Gen-Z artist who has taken the Nigerian music industry by storm. Born in 2001, Victony’s music is a fusion of hip-hop, Afrobeats, trap, and R&B, with lyrics that address love, heartbreak, and social issues. Victony’s style is edgy and street-inspired, with bold accessories, and eye-catching prints.
“My music is about love, heartbreak, and everything in between.” “I want to make music that people can relate to and feel like they’re not alone.” – Victony
Seyi Vibez is another young artist that has been putting in work in the Nigerian music industry for a long time. Born in Ketu, Lagos in 2000, Seyi’s music is a fusion of Afrobeats and R&B, with lyrics that address personal struggles and emotional experiences. The “God Sent” singer’s style is simple yet stylish, focusing on trendy streetwear and bold accessories.
“My music is about real-life experiences and the struggles that people go through every day.” “I want to make music that people can feel and connect with emotionally.” – Seyi Vibez
Gaining widespread recognition in early 2020 after his self-produced single, “Bad Influence” went viral on social media, Omah Lay is another inspirational young artist in the Nigerian music industry. Born in Port Harcourt in 1997, Omah Lay’s music is a fusion of Afrobeats and R&B, with lyrics that address love, heartbreak, and societal issues. Omah’s style is laid-back and relaxed, with a focus on comfortable clothing and minimalist accessories.
“I don’t make music for fame or money, I make music because it’s what I love to do.” “I think that music has the power to bring people together, to break down barriers and unite us all.” – Omah Lay
These young artists are not only changing the face of Nigerian music, but they are also influencing the country’s pop culture. Their style, sound, and lyrics reflect the experiences and struggles of their generation and have made them relatable and inspiring to their fans.
One of the most significant impacts that these young musicians have had on Nigerian pop culture is their ability to blend traditional African sounds with contemporary music genres. Their music is a fusion of Afrobeats, R&B, hip hop, trap, and rap, which has helped to create a unique sound that is instantly recognizable and appealing to audiences around the world.
In terms of style, these young musicians have introduced a new and fresh approach to fashion that blends traditional African fabrics with urban streetwear and bold accessories. Their unique style has been well received by their fans, who have taken cues from their favorite artists and incorporated their style into their own. Their influence on Nigerian pop culture can also be seen in the way they have introduced new slangs and terminologies that have become part of everyday language.
The new generation of Nigerian musicians has helped to create a new sound, style, and language that is fresh, unique, and appealing to audiences around the world and as they continue to rise in popularity, it is clear that there’s no stopping them. Their global influence will continue to grow.
PS: This is not a comprehensive list. There are several other Gen-Z Nigerian musicians making waves, however for readability, I have limited it to these nine