November 01, (THEWILL) – Olajide Togbe beams the searchlight on top female rappers who made their mark on the Nigerian music scene at some point in the past
Once upon a time, Nigerian female rappers shared the spotlight with their male counterparts. The music industry at that time had quite a number of talented female rap artists or ‘Femcees’ as they are often called, who won the admiration of many music fans with their lyrics and word play. They were the equivalent of afro-pop divas currently dominating the music scene. They gave their very best and were unstoppable. Unfortunately they have all gone ‘AWOL’ without leaving behind any successors. As a result, the Nigerian rap scene has been missing some ‘girl power’ for a while now.
Anthonia Yetunde Alabi, a 38-year-old who many music fans once referred to as the First Lady of Nigerian hip hop, gained recognition at a time when there were very few female hip hop artistes in Nigeria. Subsequently, her success helped pave the way for other female rappers and musicians. Her hit singles, Emi Le Gan and Adara, earned her accolades as she was also well decorated and achieved a number of firsts as a female rap artist. In 2008, she became the first Nigerian female artist to perform at the World Music Awards. Two years later, she became the first Nigerian to win the Best Female Artiste award at MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) and Women in Entertainment Awards, UK in 2009 for her single Adara. Since her break from rap music to focus on her clothing line, Eclectic, little or nothing has been heard of her musically.
Nigerian-British rapper, Shola Idowu, otherwise known as Weird MC, is one of Africa’s most popular female rappers and one of few Nigerian female artistes associated with afrobeat. The 51-year-old, who liked to infuse the Yoruba language in her English lyrics became famous in 2006 after the success of her monster hit, Ijoya, a single off her second album by the same title. The song earned her an Award for Musical Excellence in Nigeria (AMEN) for Most Popular Song and a Channel O Music Video Award for Best Special Effect. She also released other singles such as Allen Avenue, Palava and Moving On. In various interviews she has spoken of how she was discriminated against by her male counterparts and also criticised female rappers for not persevering in order to earn their place in the music industry. The rapper, who has been out of the country for about four years, says she left because she wanted a break. She suffered a major loss in the death of her friend, Nomoreloss. Weird MC recently featured in a movie production in England and afterwards announced that she would no longer limit herself to music, adding that she was experimenting with other things, including scriptwriting. She is also the presenter of Da Gatekeeper series.
Bukola Folayan, otherwise known as BOUQUI, is one of the daughters of Oba Ololade Folayan, who was a professor of Biochemistry. Growing up in the academic environment of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, influenced her deep lyrical style and cosmopolitan outlook. Her Christian faith and strong belief in the word of God also inspired the creation of the Bouqui brand. A former broadcaster at Eko FM Radio Station in Lagos, Bouqui started her professional career with an all-girl music group known as the G-Vibes before going solo and changing her focus and style. Her debut album titled B.O.U.Q.U.I was a 2-in-1 package due to the fact that it contained a record breaking 14 tracks and four skits, the highest by any debutant in the Nigerian music industry. Still on breaking records, her lead single, Get It Started in less than a month, debuted at number one on the backyard beats segment of the PJ Butter hosted World Chart Show, also another first by any home-based Nigerian artiste in the history of Nigerian music. The album won several accolades and nominations, including the much coveted AMEN awards in 2007 for best female act. The gospel rapper still finds time to make gospel rap music and is currently pushing the frontiers of Afrocentric fashion in Hollywood, California, USA where she is currently based. This is in addition to being the host of BOUQUI’S Place TV show, a programme
Kelechi Ohia, better known as Kel, is remembered for her hit singles, Waa Wa Alright, You Too Fine and Turn By Turn, which featured Wizkid. At the time, she was regarded as the best female rap MC in the country and she lived up to the billing until she started having issues with her record label, Capital Hill Music owned by renowned video director, Clarence Peters. Following her departure from Capital Hill Music, the former award-winning rapper went on a downhill and never regained her star power. Musically, Kel still raps and sings, but she has since moved on to other things. She is the CEO of Keke’s Good Eats, an online restaurant.
Blaise, born Obafunke Martin Luther, is one female rap artiste with a distinct sound. She was born in Lagos but spent a significant part of her childhood in the United Kingdom and Ibadan, Oyo State. She began her rap career as a member of one of Nigeria’s most infamous rap group, Da Trybe, which became quite popular with the hit song, Oya. After the group broke up, she became a solo artiste and paired up with one of her ex-group members who produced her singles, The Definition and Bragging Rights. After this, she gained a lot of respect and popularity in Nigerian hip hop music. The rapper’s unique approach to hip hop and delivery was what brought her into the limelight.
Born Elohor Eva Alordiah, Eva was at one time one of the most sought-after female rappers in the country. She shared the stage with popular Nigerian music artistes and was on a track with the defunct P-Square before she stopped making music abruptly and moved to Ghana. The 32-year-old, whose first album 1960: The Album was released in September 2016, revealed that she stopped making music because she wanted to get back to the core of her essence. A fitness enthusiast, Eva now runs Kobocourse, an Internet company that creates and sells online courses, e-books and memberships. She is also a beauty entrepreneur and a motivational speaker.
Modupe-Oreoluwa Oyeyemi, otherwise known as Mo’Cheddah, stormed the music scene at a relatively young age with a promotional single, If You Want Me which was quickly followed by her debut studio album, Franchise Celebrity, while signed to Knighthouse Entertainment. She parted ways with Knighthouse in February 2012 and established her own label, Cheddah Music, under which she released some songs, two of which earned her awards – Herself, which got her an MTV Africa Music awards as Best New Artist in 2010 and a Channel O Music Video Awards as Best Female Video for the single, If You Want Me. Mo’Cheddah, who is married to politician and businessman, Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi, passes time as a beauty instructor.