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Here are 3 hot crews of 2019 worth knowing in Nigerian music

The crews include 30 BG, Starboy and the Zanku crew.

Naira Marley releases 'Soapy' video. (Instagram/NairaMarley)

While the Rock ‘n roll era didn’t have crews to light up culture, Hip-Hop championed the idea of crews and made them cool - no, not (boy) bands, I mean crews. A crew can easily be mixed with a band or a group, but they’re different.

While a band/group is bound together by their common goal to collectively make music, a crew is usually a bunch of individual acts - sometimes involving groups - bound together by a label, friendship or affiliation. For example, Migos is a group while Quality Control or YMCMB is a crew.

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Since the NWA crew that consists of Eazy E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and DJ Yella became mainstream, we have seen crews like Death Row, No Limit, Rap-a-Lot, Cash Money, G-Unit, Shady Records, YMCMB and so forth.

On the Nigerian front, we have witnessed crews like the Storm Records, Mo’Hits, MAVIN, Chocolate City, YBNL, EME and so forth. While some of the prominent Nigerian crews have released albums, others have missed the opportunity to cement their place in the public consciousness.

Crews have since become few and far between in Nigeria, but here are the hottest crews of 2019 in Nigerian music;

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Yes, there’s actually a crew there. It consists of artists/producers, Wizkid, Shaydee, Mut4y, Piper and Starboi Terri. The other member of the crew is Wizkid’s friend, Rotimi Rude Boy. These days they’re a bit obscure, but once in a while, you can find them walking on the beach or at parties whenever Wizkid pops into Nigeria.

The name comes off Davido's line from hit single, 'IF.' Nigerian rapper, Davido was initially signed to HKN Music. There, they had a crew that consists of Davido himself, his cousins, B-Red and Shina Rambo, and popular figures like Special Spesh.

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But since he left HKN, he started his own record label, Davido Music Worldwide, home to Peruzzi, DJ Ecool, Mayorkun, Dremo and other acts. But due to his magnanimity and influence in the industry, another energetic and highly populated crew started under his watch. It was called, 30 Billion Gang.

You can find them hovering around Davido in public places, moving in copious numbers and making their presence felt. They’re loyal to Davido because he has helped them in one way or another. At the 2018 Headies, they stormed the stage and didn’t allow Mayorkun to deliver his speech upon winning The Next Rated Award.

Even when Davido journeys out of the country, they follow. Their members are mostly unknown, just like their membership. But a key member is Boda Shaggi.

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Calm down, that’s not their name. But as they keep influencing Nigerian pop culture and garnering a fan base at an alarming rate, they need a name. They make swashbuckling music and do not care about political correctness.

Their life is about freedom either on social media or in real life. They’re also talented and creative. A few days ago, what they did on social media was lick Ice Cream as ‘Gelato,’ a song by DJ Cuppy, which features one of their mainstays, Zlatan played in the background.

They have been around for a while. In 2017, Zlatan debuted his first major hit, ‘Body’ which features Olamide. Before then, he was a viral sensation, known for recording posting freestyles on his Instagram page. Two years prior, another mainstay of the Zanku Gang, Naira Marley was making waves in the UK with songs like ‘Back To Work.’

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2018 was their breakout year, but this time, there was still no crew. Naira Marley released the global World Cup anthem, ‘Issa Goal’ featuring Olamide and Lil Kesh. Zlatan created further songs with Olamide and released ‘Jogor’ which features Lil Kesh and Naira Marley. By this time, the mainstream had taken notice.

Naira followed it with the madness of ‘Japa’ and Zlatan championed the Z.A.N.K.U movement - a dance that has inspired pop culture in language and style. He also released ‘O Sanle’ featuring Davido and featured on ‘Able God’ by Chinko Ekun.

By 2019, Zlatan’s stardom was sealed with the December 2018 number, ‘Killin Dem’ by Burna Boy and a string of other high profile features. He became the new king of the streets, handing out passes to anyone who wanted an in. Naira became the supporter of internet fraud who cared not what anybody wanted.

Notoriety increased and so did his penchant for making problematic, yet viral tunes - now, even a dance routine.

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Their legend was sealed with their brush with the law in June 2019. Accidentally, the two rappers alongside Rahman Jago and Guccy Branch were arrested by members of the EFCC - the crew was popularized. Even Guccy Branch became a sensation while he was in jail.

They not only became media obsession for the next six weeks, they have since become the only crew that matters. You can catch them at events or mostly on Instagram. The crew now also includes viral dance sensation, Poco Lee and Nigeria’s hottest producer, Rexxie. 

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