In September 2018, Chinko Ekun finally scored his long-sought hit. The Dek-Niyor rapper fielded a team of Lil Kesh and Zlatan Ibile over a scintillating Rexxie production and released ‘Able God’ to the warm embrace of the streets. Over hard-hitting percussions, the three rappers call on to God for goodwill and blessings while running slang-laced commentaries on street hustles. Its accompanying church-themed video featured a new dance routine that entailed repeated rhythmic hopping, occasionally punctuated with a faux jump kick. ‘Able God’ became an instant street hit and before long, the record found its way to the clubs, dominated the airwaves and attained mainstream dominance. Chinko Ekun had finally scored that hit.
The single which recently picked up the Street Hop award at the 2019 Headies was such an enormous success that ushered in the Zanku dance as the successor of the globetrotting shaku-shaku. For Chinko, it was the much-needed hit single that had eluded him since his YBNL days. But over time, the biggest winners of the hit record has been Zlatan and Rexxie the producer for whom the club banger served as a launchpad to stardom.
Yes, Chinko Ekun had a hit to his name, he was now included in conversations he never existed before. He also had a good run of bookings and stage performances in the last quarter of 2018. It even got him his first Headies award. But he has since struggled to replicate the success of ‘Able God’ or even present something even close. His last two singles, ‘Calling‘ and ‘Mafo‘ have been met with middling success – and that’s being generous.
But for Zlatan, ‘Able God’ was the beginning of something way more massive.
Before its release, Zlatan was a balmy indigenous rapper seeking to thrust himself into mainstream consciousness. He had had a couple of hot street tunes but nothing strong enough to propel him to stardom. But with the release of the smash, Zlatan whom many never knew existed just a year ago grew into a household name. His scene-stealing verse on the record was the first of his run of killer-features that is still on at the moment. It was on that record many of us first heard his tongue-twisting mantra, ‘kapaichumarimarichopaco’ that left us probing for its meaning till the year’s end. Along with his heralded Zanku dance being the dominant step in the country for almost a year now, Zlatan has simply moved from obscurity to stardom in the space of just a year.
It’s almost irrefutable that Zlatan is the hottest rapper right now -perhaps rivalled only by his friend and frequent collaborator, Naira Marley. Both are gradually unseating Olamide as the go-to guy for street anthems, haunting verses, candied ad-libs and pop slangs. As it stands, they both could even give Burna Boy a run for his money as the hottest Nigeria act in 2019.
And just like the YBNL general, the coloured-hair rapper has comfortably positioned himself as a staple for both the gritty corners of Agege and the wavy waters of Lekki. He has been on a spree of killer-features, laying the Midas touch to almost every single he blesses particularly with his infectious ad-libs. Even our biggest superstars — scrambling to get a slice of the Zanku pie — have continued to tap him for assists. Zlatan has now teamed up with Davido, Tekno and even Burna, in their award-winning duet ‘Killin Dem’ which is still one of Naija’s biggest songs at the moment.
The other winner is Rexxie who has now moved from a producer seeking validation to a certified hitmaker. Ever since ‘Able God‘, Rexxie has crossed some things off his bucket list, having worked with some of Nigeria’s biggest acts like Davido and Tiwa this past year. He has also been on a streak of bangers especially on his team-ups with Naira Marley. Even his bio on Twitter says it all: “Hits Only”. Now when you hear his ‘Yo Rexxie pon dis one‘ tag on any song, you know that you’re in for a treat.
The young producer has been behind smash hits like Naira Marley’s ‘Soapy‘, ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy‘ as well as the most recent DMW‘s ‘On God‘ with Dremo, Mayourkun and label boss, Davido.
‘Able God’ is more than just another hit. It was the ignition that propelled several acts into the mainstream consciousness after years of underground dominance. This doesn’t imply that it is single-handedly responsible for their present successes. No, but it gave them the visibility that Zlatan and Rexxie particularly have since leveraged upon to take their careers to the next level.