No doubt, the growth and importation of African music world wide is synonymous with Nigeria. The Afro pop and juju music, which is one of the biggest genre of music in the world, is deeply rooted in Nigeria.
Nigerians are well known to travel far and wide in search of greener pastures. They not only survive in whichever country they find themselves, but become successful world-famous celebrities.
In the music industry today, there are several famous blacks that are excellent in their craft. People sometimes assume they are black Americans, or from other parts of Africa, but the fact remains, some of these musicians are Nigerians by descent.
Here are 10 world famous artistes who are truly Nigerians either by half parent, birth, immigrant parent or nationalisation.
British Rapper, Tinie Tempah
Mention Chukwuemeka Patrick Okogwu and people will give you a blank stare, but mention Tinie Tempah, and everybody knows who you are talking about. He was born to Nigerian parents from Ibusa, Delta State, but has spent all his life in London. He is one of UK’s hottest rappers at the moment, with two of his singles peaking at number 1 (“Pass Out” and “Written in the Stars”) in the UK Singles Chart of 2010.
He has collaborated with the best of the best in the music world including Rihanna, Rita Ora, Eric Turner, the defunct Swedish House Mafia, J Cole and Snoop Dogg. His most popular track till date, “Written in the Stars”, was the official theme song for WWE’s Wrestlemania 27 and was also used to usher in the New York Giants for Super Bowl 46. He has performed at various top events in the world including the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics where he performed “Written in the Stars”. The performance was watched by an estimated global television audience of 750 million.
British singer, Seal
Seal has a personality you can’t forget in a hurry. Apart from the scar on his face, his style and music are totally different. His real names are Henry Olusegun Olumide Adelo Samuel.
He was born on February 19, 1963 to Nigerian father, Francis Samuel and mother, Adebisi Ogundeji.
He married model/TV personality, Heidi Klum, for seven years with three kids together before they separated in 2012.
The award winning R n B singer has won four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award amongst others. Seal has several hit songs which include ‘Kiss from the rose’, ‘Crazy, ‘Killer’, “Lips Like Sugar”.
US singer, Jidenna
Popularly known for his February 2015 single, “Classic Man”, Jidenna blends African Ankara prints into his outfit, a move that gives him up as an African. Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, who is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records label, was born in Wisconsin to a Nigerian father and a white mother and grew up in Nigeria. In 1995 his family moved back to Boston Massachusetts. His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards.
American rapper, Nas
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, who is the son of popular Jazz musician, Olu Dara blues musician of Yoruba descent, is an internationally known American Rapper, producer and more. He began his musical career in 1991 and released his debut album Illmatic, in 1994.
Popular for tracks like “Hate Me Now” and “Ether”, Nas’ 2002 album God’s Son peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Time Magazine named it the best hip-hop album of the year. Nas visited Nigeria when he attended the 2008 edition of the Soundcity Music Video Awards (SMVA) to present the award for the “Best Hip-Hop Video”.
British R&B singer, Lemar
English R&B singer and song-writer, Lemar Obika, was born on April 4, 1978, to Nigerian parents of Enugu State.
The award-winning Lemar, although much hasn’t been heard of him of recent, released hit songs like Time to Grow, If There’s Any Justice”.
He rose to fame following his position in the third place on the first series of British talent show Fame Academy.
British Soul Singer, Sade Adu
Folashade Helen Adu is a Nigerian-British soul musician, born in Ibadan and tutored in England.
She achieved worldwide fame and acclaim in the 1980s as the lead vocalist of the multi-platinum selling group, Sade, which was named after her. She is the first Nigerian to win a Grammy award, a feat she achieved in 1986 with her band, Sade. Sade has sold more than 40 million units till date.
American rapper, Chamillionaire
The controversial Grammy Award-winning rapper was born Hakeem Seriki in Washington DC to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, both of Nigerian extraction.
At a very tender age, the family relocated to a rough neighborhood in Houston, Texas. It was a move that would go on to shape the rest of his life. While in Houston, he was influenced by hardcore acts such as The Geto Boys and Public Enemy.
His first solo album, The Sound of Revenge, peaked at number 10 in the Billboard 200 US chart following its release in November 2005. He is best known for his 2007 Grammy Award-winning rap single, “Ridin’”, which featured Krayzie Bone of the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
U.S. rapper, Wale
Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, popularly known by his stage name Wale (Wah-lay), is an American rapper best known for his single “Pretty Girls”.
He has rubbed shoulders with the very best in the American music industry including the likes of Lady Gaga, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell Williams. He has two BET awards in his kitty.
He’s currently signed to Maybach music, a record label owned by rapper Rick Ross.
British Grime Rapper, Skepta
Joseph Junior Adenuga was born on September 19, 1982. He is better known by his stage name,Skepta.
He is an English Grime artist, songwriter and record producer of Nigerian descent.
Adenuga released his debut studio album Greatest Hits in late 2007 and his second, Microphone Champion in 2009, both independently, while his third studio album Doin’ It Again was released in 2011 by AATW, His fourth studio album, Konnichiwa, was released on May 6, 2016 to critical acclaim, winning the year’s Mercury Prize.