Pulse List 2019: Top 10 Nigerian music producers of the year
Nigerian producers are stuck in the doldrums of music economics and their careers are ephemeral. When they don’t pivot, they easily get forgotten and washed up. But when they are in their essence, it’s important to celebrate them.
Behind the great sounds are underrated composers in the form of producers and songwriters. They are usually unsung and in Nigeria, underpaid or even unpaid.
Their rights are stuck in the doldrums of music economics and their careers are ephemeral. When they don’t pivot, they easily get forgotten and washed up. But when they are in their essence, it’s important to celebrate them. 2019 has seen a reduced rate of hits in Nigerian music, but the music remains enjoyable.
Behind those sounds are producers, championing the cause and headlining the sonic revolution. In the year under review, Killertunes, Speroach, Fresh VDM, and a few others have marked themselves out as a special bunch. In July, Pulse celebrated the five producers of 2019 so far. A lot has happened since and that list has changed.
The year in review is between December 1, 2018, and November 31, 2019. For the top music producers of 2019, here is Pulse's list;
Most people know Jaysynths as Teni’s producer. His tag goes, ‘Jaysynths’ or the very weird sound from the classic movie, Mr. Bones. He ended 2018 by producing the smash hit, ‘Case.’ During the year, he produced ‘Daz How Star Do’ for Skiibii, ‘Power Rangers’ for Teni and a string of other songs for different acts.
9.) Northboi Oracle
In 2018, Northboi launched onto the scene with his work on ‘Soco.’ As the year progressed, he got quieter, but he never stopped working. In 2019, he had a production credit on Beyonce’s album, The Lion King: The Gift, produced ‘Joro’ for Wizkid, produced one song from Teni’s Billionaire EP.
It’s been a slightly quiet year for the producer, but he still made ‘Blow My Mind,’ Davido’s smash hit featuring Chris Brown. He also produced ‘Green Light Riddim’ and ‘Sweet In The Middle’ on Davido’s sophomore album, A Good Time.
7.) DJ YK Beats
You probably don’t know him, but he’s the obscure producer who has soundtracked the voiceless Zanku rhythms that have set parties on fire throughout 2019. Some of those songs are even without known titles, but people know them.
You can simply not Gbese in Lagos without DJ YK Beats. We have since discovered that these beats are titled, ‘Dance Instrumental,’ ‘Leg Work’ ‘Dance Groove,’ and so forth.
6.) Cracker Mallo
The Nigerian producer closed 2018 with by producing ‘Jealous’ for Fireboy. He continued his run by producing 'Sope’ for Mayorkun, ‘Antidote’ for Mr. Real, ‘Mo Cover Eh’ for D’Banj and ‘Otumba Lamba’ for Slimcase.
He also produced ‘Azaman’ for Slimcase featuring Peruzzi, 2baba and Larry Gaaga, ‘Pawon’ for Olamide and ‘Omo Ologo’ as well other songs on Fireboy’s critically-acclaimed debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps.
2019 has been a slightly quiet year for Sarz, but not that quiet. He opened the year by releasing the eclectic beat tape titled, Sarz Is Not Your Mate. He then produced ‘Oja’ and ‘Instagram’ for Reminisce, ‘Gimme Love’ for Seyi Shay and ‘Desiigner’ for his serial collaborator, Niniola.
He ended the year with production credits to I Like Girls With Trobul, his beautiful collaborative work with Wurld.
In 2018, Killertunes was Nigeria’s producer of the year by a country mile. ‘Shabbalistical’ was as popular as songs themselves. He started 2019 on slightly slower terms, but he has increased the pace as the year has progressed under 'Osheeeey...'
Some of the successful songs to his credit include, 'Woske' for Olamide, ‘The Beginning’ and ‘Don’t Call Me Back’ by Joeboy, ‘Doyin’ and ‘Tony Montana’ by Mr. Eazi, ‘Ghetto Love’ for Wizkid, and ‘Monalisa’ for Lyta.
He 'Tingasa' on Naira Marley’s upcoming 6-track EP, Lord of Lamba. Asides that, he also released a beautiful beat tape titled Gbedu and Things. On it is the madness titled, 'Alhaji Riddim.' Help yourself don't play that song alone. You might run mad.
Between March 2017 and August 2018, Pheelz went on a hiatus. Now, we see that he needed the break after a relentless five-year spell during which he killed every beat. In final quarter 2018, he debuted his new ‘Riddimacoolahyor!’ tag - YBNL Mafia Family album was the canvas.
‘Oke Suna’ and ‘Juju, Guns and Roses’ saw the first fruit. The drum-heavy percussion from ‘Oke Suna’ has since been replicated on songs like ‘Scatter’ for Fireboy,‘Billionaire’ for Teni, ‘Owo Mi Da’ for Tiwa Savage and ‘Gobe,’ his song featuring Olamide and Naira Marley.
In between those spells, he produced ‘49-99’ for Tiwa Savage, ‘Nowo’ for Teni and capped the year with amazing, imaginative work on Fireboy’s debut album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps.
Rexxie has been popping since 2018, you just didn’t notice. He is one of the most-trusted producers for the Agege contingent and the larger Lagos Mainland when a commercially viable hit needs to be crafted. His beats are like a soundtrack to the ZANKU/Shepeteri 2.0 era.
‘Yo, Rexxie pon this one’ is how you know it’s him. In 2018, he produced the Detty December soundtracks, ‘Able God’ for Chinko Ekun, Lil Kesh and Zlatan Ibile, 'Logo Benz' for Lil Kesh and Olamide and ‘Zanku (Legwork)’ for Zlatan. Earlier in 2018, the producer also crafted the hit, ‘Jogor’ for Zlatan featuring Lil Kesh and ‘Japa’ for Naira Marley
This year, he has produced ‘Am I A Yahoo Boy?’ for Naira Marley featuring Zlatan, as well as ‘Soapy,’ ‘Pxta’ and ‘Mafo’ for Naira Marley. He also produced ‘Bolanle’ and ‘Yeye Boyfriend’ for Zlatan. Breaking the mould, he produced ‘On God’ for DMW featuring Davido, Mayorkun and Dremo.
To close the year, he produced most of the songs on Zlatan’s debut album, ZANKU and four songs from Naira Marley’s debut EP, Lord of Lamba.
A tight one, but Kel P just edges it as Nigeria’s producer of the year because he has been awesome. After rounding the previous year with ‘On The Low’ and ‘Gbona’ for Burna Boy, he didn’t stop. In the year in review, he produced ‘Killin Dem,’ ‘Dangote,’ ‘Another Story,’ and ‘Pull Up’ for Burna Boy.
He has also produced ‘Boda Sodiq’ for Niniola, ‘Put In Pressure’ for Reekado Banks, ‘Cover Me,’ ‘Mine’ and ‘Ease Your Mind’ for Wizkid, ‘Sili-Kon’ for Timaya, ‘Ginika,’ for Dice Ailes, ‘Red Eye’ for Victor AD, and ‘Eleganza’ for Solidstar.
More importantly, he produced the majority of African Giant, a Grammy-nominated album.
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