It’s no news that Nigerians can be found in every country in the world. While we have Nigerian artists that are well-known in their home country and abroad – such as Burna Boy, Davido and Wizkid – there are a plethora of artists in the diaspora who hail from Nigeria, albeit not as popular in their ‘home’ country as their countries of residence. Here are a few artists you probably didn’t know are actually from Nigeria:
The Nigerian artist, Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu, better known as Tinie Tempah is a British rapper, singer, composer and entrepreneur based in the UK. Tinie was born in London to Igbo parents. In 2006, Tinie created his own entertainment company, Disturbing London alongside his cousin and manager, Dumi Oburota. In 2009, Jade Richardson, a music consultant discovered the young talent at the 2009 Wireless Festival and pushed him to get signed to Parlophone Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. He visited Nigeria in 2016 and during his photoshoot with the photographer, TY Bello he transformed the life of a Nigerian girl named, Olajumoke. Tinie also featured the Nigerian artist, Wizkid on his single, ‘Mamacita’ in 2017. Tinie Tempah despite being a Nigerian by descent has lived most of his life in the UK and is most popular there.
The British-Nigerian rapper, Kayode Odesanya, most widely known by his stage name Kida Kudz came into the limelight when he won the second edition of the Peak Talent Show in 2010. He went on to take a music course in the UK where he got to work with rappers like Mobo award-winning rapper Blakk Twang. He has also worked with the world-famous singer T-pain and Nigeria’s Olamide Baddo and Iyanya. Kida Kudz is a talented rapper that has received commendations both in Nigeria and abroad.
The British-Nigerian grime MC, rapper, songwriter and record producer, Skepta with the birth name Joseph Junior Adenuga is the co-founder of the record label ‘Boy Better Know’. Skepta was born to Nigerian immigrant parents from Ogun State, Nigeria and was raised in North London. He once featured on Debrett’s 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK. Skepta spent most of his childhood in the UK but identifies strongly with Nigerian culture, and even received a chieftaincy title ‘Amuludun of Odo-Aje’ in his family’s ancestral hometown, Ogun State. In 2015, Skepta had his first collaboration with the Nigerian Grammy award winner, Wizkid on the remix of his single ‘Ojuelegba’ featuring Drake. Skepta has several awards in his bag and has been nominated for three Brit Awards.
Olurotimi Akinosho, popularly known as Rotimi, is a Nigerian-American singer, actor and model. He is widely known for his role on the TV series Power, but also has a promising music career. Rotimi was born to a Yoruba father and Igbo mother in New Jersey. He is a contemporary R&B artist signed to 50 Cent’s G-Unit Record Label. The American singer’s videos have been featured on several international and U.S based entertainment media platforms like MTV, MTV Base, and VH1 Soul, among others. Rotimi visited Nigeria in November 2019, after which he mentioned that “Being in Nigeria is a life-changing experience. It’s important to go home. A country filled with Kings and Queens”.
Thyra Oji better known by her stage name Ms Banks is a British rapper, singer and songwriter born to a Nigerian father and a Ugandan mother. Ms Banks came into the limelight after she released her debut album ‘The Coldest Winter Ever’. Ms Banks visited Nigeria in early 2020 and has done several songs with Nigerian artists in Nigeria. Naira Marley featured her on his single, ‘Anywhere’, while Falz featured her on his hit single, ‘Bop Daddy’ in 2020. She has also collaborated with the likes of Dolapo, Oxlade and Simi.
Jacob Akintayo Akinoso popularly known as Jacob Banks is a Nigerian-born, English singer and songwriter from Birmingham. Banks is a soul, R&B and hip-hop singer signed with the American label, Interscope Records. Jacob Banks was born in Nigeria but moved to England at age 13. In 2021, Jacob won the MOBO UnSung regional competition in Birmingham, as well as the Adidas, Are You In Music competition. In 2018, he featured in Adekunle Gold’s ‘Ire’ remix.