Vector

The 5 Best Nigerian Diss-Tracks of 2019 So Far

Over the past few months, Nigerian hip-hop has been at war with itself. What started as a playful but audacious ‘Best Rapper In Africa’ brag spiralled the entire scene into a Royal Rumble-type frenzy that found rappers aiming for each other’s heads. From Blaqbonez to Payper Corleone to Davolee, everyone was churning out tracks laced with not-so-subliminal shots and outright name-drops. Even the OGs were not spared: a video surfaced online of A-Q and Ghost (of SDC) engaging in a presumably heated debate about who the superior wordsmith was.

All these eventually snowballed into an M.I Abaga vs Vector The Viper showdown. This beef which had been brewing for quite some time finally found the perfect climate for a face-off. In what will go down in history as one of the spiciest Nigerian hip-hop beefs, their back-and-forth resulted in a total of four diss tracks in just three weeks. Climaxing with M.I’s ‘The Viper‘ and Vector’s ‘Judas The Rat‘ and its bordering antics, hip-hop which had been playing second fiddle to Afrobeats in recent years was – howbeit briefly – restored to mainstream consciousness.

But now that the dust seems to have settled, Let’s look back to highlight some of the hottest diss tracks off this 2019 Nigerian rap civil-war.

5. Davolee – Give Away

This might not be as polished or popular as some of the other songs on this list, but it’s one of the hottest on the streets. Disgusted by Blaqbonez’s audacity to crown himself the best rapper in Africa without the credentials to back such claim, indigenous rapper Davolee attempted to devour the 100 Crowns rapper. The abrasive rapper aims with a submachine gun flow, with enough rounds for whoever is lurking as he also had choice words for M.I Abaga, Loose Kaynon, A-Q, Dremo, Falz, and Ycee. In fact, ‘Give Away‘ also led to a quick back-and-forth with the DMW rapper, Dremo.

4. Blaqbonez – Best Rapper In Africa

After declaring himself the Best Rapper In Africa in a scorching freestyle, many came out to counter his claim as to many he just wasn’t worthy to crown himself with such title. Several rappers released diss tracks to that effect, including Tentik and Payper Corleone. In his combined reply, ‘Best Rapper in Africa‘, Blaq reaffirms his claim as he tears apart his adversaries. He also came through with his ‘Control‘-moment, teasing and calling out his peers for a face-off.

3. Vector – Judas The Rat

When M.I Abaga dropped ‘The Viper‘, everyone thought it was over. The question on everyone’s lips was “how is Vector going to come back from this?” But Vector did the impossible and pulled a comeback reminiscent of 2005’s magic of Istanbul. With ‘Judas The Rat‘, Vector digs up more personal dirt on M.I, particularly pointing at his strained relationship with his brother, Jesse Jagz. He also highlighted some of M.I’s antics, painting him as a rat who favours only himself. The ripple effect from this diss was so strong that it provoked M.I’s fall from grace, reopening sores inspiring many to share some of their bummers with the former Chocolate City boss.

2.  M.I Abaga – The Viper

After quick successive jabs from Vector with ‘The Purge‘ and ‘Tetracycline‘, M.I just had to respond. And when he finally did, the self-acclaimed rap messiah did not disappoint as he delivered perhaps the best song off the entire pack. Over a gloomy and ominous self-produced beat, an assertive and gruff-voiced M.I comes through with witty rebuttals for Vector’s previous jabs. He further paints the Lafiaji rapper as a snake who has been envious of his success from the jump.

M.I turned things up a notch just a few days later at the 2019 Big Brother Naija finale.  Sporting a black shirt with a bold “No Snakes” imprint, M.I performed his brief set metaphorically stomping over a viper image projected on the stage.

1. A-Q – Distractions 2

A-Q has been having quite a good year. After years of churning out critically acclaimed personal projects including “Rose” and ”Blessed Forever”, A-Q came to many’s radars this year off the strength of his stellar verses on the Martell Cyphers. Also this year, he finally picked up the coveted Lyricist on the roll award at the 13th Headies which eluded him for years despite picking up nominations. 

Of all the diss tracks released this year, A-Q’s heinous Vector-aimed ‘Distractions 2‘ takes the cake. The belligerent rapper who had built a name for himself as a war-ready gladiator fit himself right into the Vector-M.I beef and came through with the most brutish diss track in the pack. On ‘Distractions 2’ the 100 Crowns boss brought a grenade to a knife fight, coming for Vector for with a swift jab-cross-left uppercut-cross combo that gave him the knockout in less than five minutes.  It’s a joy to know that his recent status as a label president hasn’t robbed him of his viciousness on the mic.

Erigga’s “The Erigma II” Is An Equivocal Celebration Of His Beloved City

Erigga is a true son of the soil. And like its predecessors, his new album, “The Erigma II” is a fitting testament to that fact. Released right in the heat of the Nigerian hip-hop civil war which seems to have briefly restored the relegated scene back to mainstream consciousness, this long-overdue sequel to his 2012 stunner “The Erigma” is an 18-track celebration of a city he has come to own: an ode to Warri.   

Erigga effortlessly possesses what many other rappers in these parts don’t; an identity. You don’t need a Google search to know where he’s from. Just hit play on any of his tracks and you’d most likely find out in the first four bars. Erigga has over the years proved himself a personal embodiment of Warri; a South-South oil-rich city, famed and celebrated for its pidgin, candour and fabled machismo. And if you know Erigga or his music well, you know this is what he represents. 

One of the markers of the Nigerian hip-hop eclipse in recent years has been the absence of a supportive local culture. In their futile quest for ‘purity’, Nigerian rappers, particularly English ones isolated themselves from their audience. A lot of them were not and still aren’t relatable and accessible. That is one thing Erigga and some of the indigenous rappers have tweaked earning them an expansive and loyal fanbase. 

Technically, Erigga might not be the most skilled or most gifted. But he is what hip-hop should represent. He has an unmediated connection to his community and through him, they are duly represented. The street at every point wants its story told and Erigga has proved himself a willing and worthy griot. That’s probably why his bars hit home and resonates the most.

See, you don’t need a 140-point IQ or Genius annotations to decode Erigga’s punchlines. You simply need to be a Nigerian. And if by chance you are adept with pidgin or come from the South-South, that’s a bonus.  When you hear lines like “Who wahala naked follow no dey use English pray” or “Fuck the world even if na me prick go pain” you’d probably pause the track and ask yourself, “na who born this guy??”

Erigga

Erigga

But the downside to his regional dominance is the simple fact that Warri just isn’t Lagos. The financial capital of the country also sits as the heartbeat of the Nigerian music industry. You can’t exactly be seen as fully “blown” if you haven’t conquered Gidi. And despite flashes of crossover successes, most recently with ‘Motivation’ which introduced many to the talents of Victor AD, Erigga has been long stuck on the brink of mainstream success. He has remained a regional success, and for the most part, a local hero catering to a niche audience that has been loyal from the jump.

On the new album, he delivers a heartfelt tribute to his cult-following on the ‘Next Track’. Here, he acknowledges that although the bulk of his fan base might not be as active on the internet, they are ever-present when he needs them. “Assuming say my fans get Instagram page, Followers go dey cry/ You don see me for stage?” he mutters before going on to list some of the events he recently shut down – reminiscent of Olamide’s legendary brag on ‘Eyan Mayweather’.

A Warri boy to the core, his verses, delivery, vocal tonality is usually in its rawest form. His stories are sculpted in unrefined rap verses and a delivery that might need some polishing. some might even say he has a monotonous flow. Erigga’s biggest strength is in telling his story delivered in its crudest and authentic form. Listening to Erigga is like gulping shots of vodka- it’s harsh at first gulp but intoxicating right after.  On the same ‘Next Track’, the unapologetic rapper dishing out some words for detractors who come at him for the vulgarity of his lyrics. “Wetin I wan talk wey snoop never talk before?” he asks

But this new album is at his best when Erigga is in his element, recounting area tales and doling out priceless gems of street survival tips.

With clear-eyed reflection, he paints a rough portrait of the gritty world he grew up in on the album opener, ‘Welcome To Warri’. A world where you are exposed to gruesome violence before you learn how to properly tie your shoelace. A world some of us only see in black hood movies. A world where your survival is dependent on how vicious you are or how fast your legs can carry you at the drop of a hat. He continues this story in ‘Victims’ where he describes a life where many of us were shielded from. A life some of us only witnessed in black movies like ‘Juice’. A life where you do your best to stay out of the way of hood fiends and the police. A world where you look around and find that most of your friends are either dead, in jail, or on their way.

Erigga

Erigga

In ‘Oyo’, assisted by Graham D and Vector, Erigga soundtracked some of the hardships we face in the poverty capital in the world whilst also doling out street knowledge. His verses on this track are perhaps the most heartfelt throughout this tape.  “Hunger dey slap man face for where him wife dey/ him las hope na Merrybet na where him life dey”. When he raps “My mama wey retire, government never pay her shishi/ You for see the responsibility them pack give me” “My text message na family account full am….” many of us can relate down to the last letter. Many of us have had to step up and take responsibility for the family as soon as you can. This is what is commonly called the ‘black man’s tax’.

When he raps “Who them shoot na him luck/ Wetin police hate pass: tattoo and dreadlock” it rings bells of youths being harassed by the police simply because of their fashion choices. Although Erigga largely doesn’t concern himself with the vanity project of proving superlatives, on ‘Street Motivation‘ he is self-assured and aware of the threat he poses to his colleagues. 

Erigga and Victor AD, two of the city’s most successful acts at the moment have their I-made-it moment on ‘Area To The World’. This record is their victory lap as Erigga recounts some aches he experienced as an artist on the rise and appreciating how far he has come since his ‘Mo Street Gan’ days. A city which has remained home for him throughout his journey.

On the final track,’Goodbye From Warri‘, we catch a glimpse of the old Erigga, as he reads off the rap sheet of his notorious “senior bros”: a threat the entire hood but who upon his imminent death advises a young Erigga to choose a different path. Sadly, this closer not only marks the end of this album, but also the end to Erigga’s efforts at recreating the past for our entertainment. In the final seconds of the record, he reveals frankly that, “this na the last time I go rap about my past mhen, make we face front.” 

All good things come to an end; sometimes to give way to something even better. Artists evolve. And as fans and listeners, we must learn to morph with them. Up until “The Erigma II,” Erigga has relieved his past for our entertainment but now is the time to move on. It was fun while it lasted but the show is over. 

Erigga has, over the years, quietly established himself as one of the key voices of his generation, raking up enough credentials to earn his place in the Naija hip-hop pantheon. And right now, we are even more excited to find out what the South-South rapper can be.

Vector Bounces Back With New Diss Track, ‘Judas The Rat’

Diss Track Backstory

One of the most exciting things in these Buhari times is the belligerent energy hovering across the Nigerian hip-hop scene. What started with a daring declaration by Blaqbonez ascribing himself as the best rapper in Africa has now degenerated into a warzone where anyone could catch a bullet. “For the culture” has now slowly morphed into something way more bitter and grubby with inflated egos and (re)opened sores.

However, the most exciting of these battles has been the M.I vs Vector main-event which has resulted in now a total of four diss tracks in just about three weeks. And it doesn’t seem to be over. Not just not yet.

New Diss Track

In response to M.I Abaga’s petty and brutal missile,’The Viper‘, Vector has also decided to step his boots in the mud in his new ‘Judas The Rat‘. With his gloves off, Vector doesn’t mince words as he comes for M.I’s legacy. He brings up personal dirt surrounding the former Chocolate City boss, especially his strained relationship with his brother, Jesse Jagz.

Vector "Judas The Rat" New Diss Track

What We Expect

For all it’s worth, we hope these rappers can put their beef aside for a minute and make good of their promise by releasing their much-anticipated EPs, “Judas” and “Vibes Before Teslim.” But till then, listen to this new diss track above and tell us who you think is winning this battle.

Vader The Wildcard, Vector and Payper Corleone Come For Blood On ‘The Purge’

Vector tha Viper, Vader the Wildcard and Payper Corleone have come together for what they tag a ‘Masterclass Cypher’ to deliver a sizzling response to the week-old Martell Cypher 2 titled ‘The Purge‘.

With the opening verse, Vader the Wildcard recounts what down at the PGM Radio Show when Blaqbonez was challenged to defend his ‘BRIA‘ claim and he bailed, led by his label boss, A-Q. The rapper also addressed some of Blaq’s shots and also had enough rounds for his label execs.

A war-ready Payper Corleone, on the other hand, makes a good statement as to why his one of the most lyrical rappers in the game at the moment. Relaxed and assertive, he had enough shots for all the rappers with targets on their backs.

Coming through with a brutal closer, Vector tha Viper minces no words as he is in full battle mode, launching missiles at the former Chocolate City boss. Vector raps “But how do you go from Lebron to becoming a chairman this is insane” as he comes for M.I’s legacy with pristine bars for over two minutes.  This cypher, no doubt, delievers on an unsaid promise: it provides the rock-hard reply for the Martell Cyphers we have all been waiting for, giving the LAMB rappers a run for their money and could even be leaving them in body bags. LAMB-Martell, your move.

Listen yourself and let us know which cypher you think is better.

Vector discusses xenophobia and his journey through self discovery on PGM Radio

In this episode, we discussed the xenophobia crisis in Africa, the retaliatory domino effect it is having in Nigeria and how if left unchecked it can further divide the unity between Africans.  We also got a chance to exclusively listen to Vector’s forthcoming Ep titled ‘ Vibes Before Teslim’ due to drop soon.

Don’t Let Go – Pasha’s Tease For His Debut Album

Reggae Fusion artist Pasha is teasing fans with a Don’t Let Go, the first single leading up to his upcoming album Love, Sex & Loud. The singer released his debut EP Good Vibes in February this year and the positivity is set to continue with his forthcoming album.

Summer ’18 has seen quite a number of great bops and it seems the list just continues. Don’t Let Go is another party popper featuring Vector and the song was produced by Altims. The Reggae/Pop fusion of the song makes it hard for one to keep still while listening.

With such a great teaser, we can only expect more fun from Pasha.

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