10 American Musicians Originally From Nigeria

By: Maafia Nhyira

Nicknamed the “Giants of Africa”, Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent with a population of more than 200 million people. A recent US survey showed Nigerians in the US are one of the highest educated migration groups in the country. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that some of the most talented singers and rappers that have made it big in America have come from Nigeria.

1. Chika

Chika is a rapper, songwriter, model, and actress who gained fame on social media for her freestyles. She signed to Warner Records, was included in XXL's 2020 Freshman Class, and nominated for a Grammy in 2021. She was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1997 and is of Nigerian-American descent.

2. Dax

Dax is a Nigerian Canadian rapper and songwriter based in the US. He gained fame for his song “Cash Me Outside” and confirmed his Nigerian roots by getting a Nigerian flag tattoo on his neck.

3. Maxo Kream

Maxo Kream is a Nigerian-American rapper from Houston, Texas, born on March 29, 1990. He gained popularity in 2012 after releasing a remix of Kendrick Lamar's "Rigamortus" and is known for his honest lyricism and storytelling. He released his debut album "Punken" in 2018 and followed it up with "Brandon Banks" in 2019.

4. Cozz

Cozz is a rapper signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records and Interscope Records. He was born in Los Angeles to a Nigerian father and a mother with roots in Louisiana. His debut studio album was released in 2014.

5. Tobe Nwigwe

Tobe Nwigwe is a Nigerian-American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Houston, Texas. He gained popularity through Instagram and YouTube with his weekly posts of original songs and videos since 2016. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 65th Grammy Awards in 2022.

6. Rotimi

Rotimi, an American singer and actor, was born to Nigerian parents of Yoruba and Igbo origin. He has stayed connected to his Nigerian roots through regular visits, experiencing both wealth and poverty. He began his music career as an R&B artist but has incorporated Afrobeats into his sound, with his most successful release being 2019’s “Love Riddim”.

7. Jidenna

Jidenna is an American rapper and singer with Nigerian roots who grew up partially in Nigeria. He represents Nigerian culture through his music and fashion. His hit song “Classic Man” was released in 2015, followed by his debut album “Chief” in 2017. In 2019, he released his sophomore album “85 to Africa” with guest appearances from Nigerian artists Mr. Eazi and Seun Kuti, aimed at bridging the gap between the States and Africa.

8. Wale

Wale is a rapper born on September 21, 1984, in Washington D.C. to Nigerian parents from the Yoruba ethnic group. He identifies first as Nigerian because of his roots. He gained recognition in 2006, and has experimented with Afrobeats, working with several Nigerian artists including Wizkid, Davido and Olamide.

9. Chamillionaire

Chamillionaire is a rapper born in Washington D.C to a Muslim Yoruba father and an African-American Christian mother. He moved to Houston, Texas as a child, where he began his solo career and signed to Universal Records in 2005. He is now more recognized for his entrepreneurial endeavors in the tech industry.

10. Tyler, the Creator

Tyler, The Creator is a Grammy-winning rapper and a founding member of Odd Future. He was born in Los Angeles to a Nigerian father and American mother, and has won multiple awards. Tyler has recently embraced his Nigerian last name, Okonma.

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