The Nigerian music scene is awash with events created by industry heavyweights to celebrate musical talent and generally offer artistes bragging rights for up to a year until the value of their win starts to fade away. One of such events, and more notable than most, is the Hip Hop World Awards, popularly known as the “Headies”.
What is The “Headies”?
Established in 2006 by publishers of Hip Hop World Magazine, the Headies has the important objective of recognising and rewarding outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry. Just like other award programmes, conclusions are to who deserves what award is usually arrived either by vote or a panel’s opinion,
At all of its annual events, The Headies features beautiful performances by established and promising acts. These performance, 24-year-old student, Chioma Okafor who has watched them for a few years testifies are, “really good and get better every year too. If you watch closely, you can tell who ‘blow’ would just from their appearance there.”
As if to add to the glamour and prestige of the awards, the main event is known to be hosted annually by an array of “hard-to-get” celebrities including musical artistes like Darey Art Alade, Banky W, D’banj, M.I, Tiwa Savage, Dr Sid and actors like Dakore Egbuson and Rita Dominic amongst others. The swag doesn’t end with the guest list or the host’s personality; it is also in full-blown evidence in the awards symbolic plaque.
The image of the unique plaque was created by Ayo Animashaun, the lead brain behind the Headies and drawn by Matthias Aragbada. The first Headie plaque was made by Jide Adewoye. According to the brand, the plaque represents the “image and the shout of a young, vibrant individual whose talent can challenge that of renowned local and international artistes combined, but who has almost lost confidence in his abilities in the face of discouraging circumstances presented by the peculiar Nigerian environment.”
In 2018, it was made over in the United Kingdom. The final product was a mixture of resin, copper, steel, marble and gold – all plated with 21 carat gold.
Such extravagance should be in scarce distribution one would think but each year, during its run, the Headies gives out about 25 of those uniquely expensive plaques in categories such as “Best Recording of the Year”, “Best Rap Album”, “Best Vocal Performance (Male)”, “Best Vocal Performance (Female)”, “Lyricist on the Roll” and “Best Performer” among others. Asides from the robust offering of new drama at every awards show (remember Olamide and Don Jazzy?), there is no wonder why fans continuously anticipate this event with rhapsodic eagerness.
Why the delay for 2019 edition?
With the year 2019 almost coming to a quick end, there is some worry about the delay of the supposed-to-be 13th edition of the Headies. Although there is no official statement yet to verify reasons for why a date or plans to host the annual event has not been announced, industry watchers are only too ready to offer their opinions based on speculations from past editions.
In a chat with eelive.ng, Tobias Chukwu, a hairstylist said; “You know Big Brother is on right now. I don’t know the relationship both shows have but maybe they don’t want to share space with BBN. Sponsorship and all that, I believe they are just waiting for the show to end.”
On the contrary, Media Manager, Ajose Olufela is of the opinion that the show will not be taking place for the 13th time this year. “For a show of Headies size to not have announced their date or plans by this time, it means they don’t plan to organise anything. They normally do everything big and bigger the next time. I thought they were declining from their last run and have sadly come to a stop.”
Regardless of whatever the reasons might be, it is generally agreeable that having the show’s run come to a probable end is a sad death to something good. As good as it was however, the Headies has suffered its own shares of problems to the dismay of its fans. From multiple internal controversies arising from fairness of judgement and whether or not the show’s original values are being upheld to the recurring trend of postponement and apparent disregard of public opinion, the show seems to be doing everything in its power to negatively sway the attention of its fans.
For instance, the show suffered a one-month delay on its 9th edition, tagged “Feel the Passion”. Initially scheduled to hold on 25 October, 2014, the show was postponed and later held on 14 December, 2014.
The “Next-Rated” Artiste
Annoying and disappointing as it may be, the Headies has for the years we have known it, given its fans something to measure every new act on the music scene by – The prophetic Next-Rated Artiste Category. Judging by Peruzzi’s reaction to a Twitter user’s declaration that he wasn’t Next-Rated, we can say that the metric still holds much sway over opinion formers.
The Headies “Next-Rated” category is a recognition reserved for the most promising upcoming act in the year under review. The category is mostly contentious, eagerly-anticipated and controversial if the prestige and superstitions that attend it are anything to go by. The winners of the ‘shouting’ plaques also receive a brand new vehicle courtesy one of the show’s sponsors.
The first recipient of the award was singer, Aṣa in 2006. Other recipients of the award include; Wande Coal, Omawumi, Skuki, Wizkid, Davido, Reekado Banks among others.
The 2018 edition of the show had nominees like Mayorkun, Maleek Berry, Dice Ailes, Johnny Drille and Zoro. Mayorkun took the trophy. While we await some sign of life from the Headies’ organisers, we might as well begin to assign the winner title to some of the more prominent upcoming acts making waves in the music industry. So as the music world looks forward to possibly another edition of the award this year, eelive.ng brings you our top ten nominees for the Next Rated artiste award.
Top Contenders for 2019 Next Rated Title
The predictions are tough this year with so many new acts dropping hits on a regular basis and looking like they are taking over. Based on the results of a poll carried out on a sample audience, eelive.ng has put together possible contenders for the title.
Teni The Entertainer
Teniola Apata is one of the most talented female musicians out today. Confident in her size and even more in her music. The singer has been breaking grounds since her breakout onto the scene, going on to garner a large fanbase in a short space of time. She has bagged endorsements with big brands like Pepsi and Airtel. She even wrote a song for Afro-pop star, Davido. Last year, she took home the Headies for “Rookie of the Year”. But it is her biggest hits; “Askamaya”, “Case” and “Uyo Meyo” that make Teni the most likely recipient of the coveted award
Since his official introduction into the scene on Erigga’s “Motivation” single, Victor AD has continued to ride the wave to fame. He followed up his feature with his groundbreaking single, “Wetin We Gain”, certifying him as one to look out for. The song became a street anthem, giving hope of a better future to the everyday youth. He has performed on the most unexpected stages and was quoted as saying in 2018; “this time last year I was nobody, but now…” He recently released his “Red Eye EP”, an impressive body of work.
The controversial Naira Marley won’t make it to this list for some people, but the artiste seems to have a considerably loyal following. No matter what he dishes out they remain loyal to their new found ‘Lord of the street’, even when he tells them to do a masturbation simulation dance (Ijo Soapy). He was made popular with the release of “Issa Goal” featuring Olamide and Lil Kesh which went on to become the Nigerian unofficial World Cup anthem in 2018. He even made a Coca-Cola sponsored remix, which featured Simi and Falz, his critics as time went on.
Peruzzi became popular after his feature on 2baba’s “Amaka” and the artiste hasn’t disappointed since then. He dropped his “Heartwork” EP in 2018, an array of collaborations with artists including Davido and gained the title ‘King of Collabos’. According to IT Specialist, Francisca Azinge, “Peruzzi should calm down please. If he doesn’t continue to drop solo songs like that his Majesty, nobody will consider him for Next-Rated.”
Zlatan seems to a rapper in a world of his own, singing the most unrealistic songs and managing to get people on the train. He even created a revolutionary dance step, Zanku, with the longest reign so far. Interestingly, he coined Zanku from the acronym, Z.A.N.K.U which means Zlatan Abeg Nuh Kill Us. Somehow riding on the shoulders of Davido without being officially signed to DMW he has recorded a spectacular career, even featuring on Burna Boy’s 2018 single “Killin ‘Em”. Although Tobias Chukwu does not see likelihood, if the streets love him then he could be their next-rated.
Ladipoe has eyes on great things. On his latest track “LOTR (Leader Of The Revolution), the MAVIN rapper introduces himself as “Nigeria’s best chance of a rapper winning a Grammy” a sign that he might not care so much for the Next-Rated title. His song in 2017 with Tiwa Savage, “Are You Down” and the groovy “Jaiye” produced by Johnny Drille might be clear indications that he is Next-Rated man
Santi is an interesting spice to this mix of artists in contention for the Next-Rated title because of his alté genre. But the visual artist, recording artiste and video director has a growing fanbase both in Nigeria and abroad.
“Maybe it is time for Nigerians to start encouraging a different sound with all these awards and things. If an artist like Santi can win the Next-Rated, imagine what that will mean for the other guys doing something in the same genre as he. Abeg they should give the guy boost,” Sochima Augustine stated in a comment to 1960vibes.com.ng.
With stand-out tracks like “Rapid Fire” and his recently released debut album; “Mandy and the Jungle”, Santi holds his ground among the other acts in this aggregated list.