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Hip Hop High Life

Welcome to 'Naija', or better still, '9ja'. This is what the followers of Nigeria's ever-growing hip hop community call their country, which now has one of the largest rap industries in the world. With strong connections to American music brought back by expatriates returning from schooling or working abroad, Nigeria has emerged as the capital of African hip hop. In 2008 MTV held their first Africa Music Awards in Abuja.

The strength of the musical tradition in Nigeria, with genres such as fuji, afrobeat, and hi-life, and mega-stars like Fela Kuti and his son Femi, has meant that Nigeria has created its own unique version of the American hip hop tradition. Artists rap in local languages mixed with pidgin English, loaded with slang and references to local people and places. Nigeria's market for music sales is nowhere near as powerful as that in Europe or America. Albums fetch 150 naira, or $0.85, but the small price is overcome by the enormity of the market. The country's population is approximately 140 million, representing one in six Africans. Artists solidify their street credibility through radio air play, album launch parties and music videos seen on MTV's Africa channel, or a raft of local television stations. They then use that name recognition to command high prices for sponsorship and endorsement deals from the region's booming banking and telecoms sectors flush with new subscribers and rolling in petro-dollars. Banks, mobile phone companies and even state governments eager to attract the masses host concerts, paying performers upwards of $100,000.Like much of big business in Nigeria, hip hop is dominated by a small, wealthy elite. Click the links below to watch videos by some of 9ja's superstars.

Naeto C & Wande Coal - Ashewo
Banky W. - Ebute Metta
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