An EP (short for extended play) is a musical recording that contains more music than a single, but is usually too short to qualify as a full studio album or LP – Wikipedia
From the inception of Nigerian urban music, Mixtapes have always been a part of the culture, and a way for Rappers to express themselves freely without the record label pressure of making a hit track and sometimes they freestyle over the instrumentals of songs by other Rappers which they like/or are popular.The trend started off with the Hip-hop genre and has seen classic and memorable free mixtapes released by heavyweights such as Modenine, M.I Abaaga, Vector, Terry tha Rapman and Ill Bliss. Over the years The mixtape culture has grown and has helped the careers of different artistes, so much so that it was adapted by artistes of different genres and also gave birth to the EP culture, which saw a lot of artistes jettison traditional mixtape formats as they opted for making and releasing more original music, eventually hoping one of the songs on their project catches on. This year 2015 happened to be the most productive year as far as EP’s go and so many EP compilations as many as 30 were released, and we decided to outline the best EP’s which we were able to listen to this year, and we came up with a solid list of 12 EP’s which we feel are the best that were released this year and you can check them out below in no particular order.
1) Khali Abdu & VHS Safari – The Journey
Respected lyricist Khali Abdu announced his three man band which comprises of himself and VHS Safari a duo from Brooklyn New York which is made up of David Muehlenkamp and Will Whitney. As a collective, they released a full length 12 track project titled A.R.T in February, then followed it up with a 3-track EP titled The Journey 2 months later. Anybody that has listened to them will agree with me that The Journey is a stellar offering and though it has just 3 songs, It deserves a spot on this list as one of the best extended play projects that got released this year, little wonder they were signed to Chocolate City Records in June, 2 months after its release.
2) D’Banj – An Epic Journey
While we can all agree that An Epic Journey is not D’banjs best work, after a lot of consideration and observation, I can say that it is definitely one of the best EP’s that was released this year in Nigeria. Not only is it a first of its kind Visual EP ( every song on the project has a video ), but it also spurred a Rap competition ( The King Is Here ) which was won by Ola Dips. The project also produced some songs which have grown organically to respectable hit tracks like Feeling the Nigga Featuring Akon, Frosh Featuring Akon and Knocking On My Door [ Koleyewon ] , not to mention , the EP features British actor Idris Elba whose presence on Confidential helped introduce D’Banj and his music to a whole new and different demographic.
3)Terry Tha Rapman – G.O.D EP
While Terry Tha Rapman is nowadays known as Lord T.R or just simply T.R, one thing that has remained constant with the veteran Rapper are his razor-sharp lyrical abilities which seem to be getting better and better with every passing year. This year, he had a very great one, first of all by hosting his YBRIAL Competition which produced a winner in Oliver, getting an endorsement from Skull Candy Headphones and also releasing his G.O.D EP which stands for Grabbing Our Destiny. Everything about the EP was top notch, from the album art which was designed by fine artist Patience Onali. who created the concept for the cover with a painting titled “The evolution of a rap-man.” to the collaborations which included Aina More, Sarah Kantona, Cyclone , VeeDee and More. The EP has TR in a top lyrical form and has songs for everyone ( Gamusu for the clubs, YBRIAL for the older heads and SK Nah Bastard for the new school free wheelers ). The project has already earned him a nomination for lyricist on the roll at the 2015 headies for his song G.O.D which features Modenine and VeeDee ( I think he should win it ). The EP is not only one of the best Hip-hop projects to be released this year, but also one of the best EP’s across all genres of urban music.
4) Okwei Odili and IFA Afrobeat – Okwei Odili And IFA Afrobeat
Afro-soul singer Okwei Odili teamed up with Brazilian afrobeat band IFA to create a stellar self-titled body of work which we at NS feel is one of the best EP’s that came out of the country this year. The 5-Track project is a departure from the musical status quo that rules the airwaves and gravitation towards a display of uniqueness, boldness and cutting edge avant-garde contemporary Afrobeat music. songs like Afro Woman, AXE! and Afrofunk Revolution are clear statements of intent and a mirror into the minds of people who were raised on different angles of the continent, but eventually find a common ground through their exploration of tradition, spirituality and music. The EP features afrobeat songs with soul, dub and reggae accents and IFÁ’s fierce and strong Afrobeat is smoothed by Okwei’s soulful voice, creating a mesmerizing effect; together they created musical magic and delivered one of the best EP’s I heard this year.
5) Ice Prince Zamani – The Trash Can EP
At the start of the year, Ice Prince released a 6-track body of work titled The Trash Can EP, and as soon as it was released Chocolate City treated the body of work with a lot of respect by promoting the singles vigorously and even shooting videos for songs off the project. The outcome of the exercise helped Ice Prince and made sure his fans had music to keep them company all year round. songs like Elegushi, Marry You and Mutumina have all grown into nominal hit songs and set the scene for him to drop his most recent Tekno produced single Boss which is being heralded as a smash hit at the moment. This project had to be included in this list, as a case-study for Rappers who want to drop an EP in the future, if you want the project to go far and make an impact, treat it just like Ice Prince treated his Trash Can EP.
6) King Mufasa – King Don Come
Many fans do know who King Mufasa is and I do not blame them, I did not either until I heard Goons On Deck a song that featured Ice Prince and Yung L, I thought it was a good song but didn’t really keep tabs on King Mufasa till he dropped a very solid video for the aforementioned track. He dropped a follow-up song Lagos To Chicago which featured Tomi Thomas of LOS and it was at this point I knew he had something special. He dropped his debut body of work King Don Come early this month and I have listened to it enough to know that it is one of the best EP projects that was released in Nigeria this year. With guest appearances by Ycee, Ice Prince, Endia, Quincy and Yung Ace, It is a very entertaining body of work that anybody who listens to will admit it’s uniqueness and also root for King Mufasa as an artiste to watch in the future.
7) Black Magic & Kid Konnect – Black Friday
Black Magic and Kid Konnect got together to create a body of work titled Black Friday and it happened to be one of the best EP’s we heard this year. The project has already produced songs like Aunty Shola, Peace Sign and Levelz, all of which cater to different fanbases and can already be referred to as sleeper hit songs. Kid Konnect and Black Magic dug deep and put together a body of work that deserved a spot on this list for it’s uniqueness, innovation and sheer musicality.
8) Lady Donli – What Is Perfect
There is something about Lady Donli‘s music I really like. It is experimental, spaced out and trippy, all qualities which really appeal to me musically. Her combination of rapping and soulful singing is somewhat unique, original and cutting edge. That is why her 10-track EP What Is Perfect is firmly rooted on this list as one of the best EP’s we heard this year. The only problem some may find with it is that it is too “Americanish” and doesn’t have an African sonic identity, but I feel Lady D is young and is still finding herself musically, so I’ll give her a pass on that one. What Is Perfect features contributions by Tay, Sute, Kyrian Asher, Eyo, Pablo and other creative minds who are currently making some noise in the FCT and building a fresh scene where alternative types of urban music can thrive. What Is Perfect is a testament to how far she has come, and I daresay it was a well crafted EP.
9 ) Omari – No Mans Sorrow
Omari outdid himself this year by delivering a memorable Hip-hop EP titled No Mans Sorrow, a 7-track project which showed growth and improvement from his last LP Rap Is Deep,Poetry Is Deeper. The project also pointed to the fact that the young MC has a lot more to offer the rap game. While his raps may sometimes sound abstract to the casual and surface rap-head, Omari deserves a whole lot of credit for approaching the rap game fro different angle than a whole lot of new rappers and doing it quite well. One of his strongest points is his packaging which I feel a lot of artistes can take a cue from. The album art, the arrangement and the entire promotion of the tape was highly commendable, and I can confidently say it is one of the best EP’s that was released by a Nigerian Rapper this year.
10) Aina More – For People With Short Attention Span
British Nigerian Rapper Aina More has always been ahead of the curve ever since she first came to my knowledge with Picking Out The Seeds a song which featured Afrikan Boy. Since then she has proven herself as a female Rapper with an attitude, a plan and most importantly a unique musical scope. After her 2011 Back To Life EP and 2012’s It’s a WRAP, She proved that the third time is indeed a charm when she released her impressive EP titled For People With Short Attention Span in April. The 10-tracker contains previously released singles Layback and Hustler 1.0 as well as newer songs Hustler 2.0 Featuring Yung L and 5th Seven with Boogey and Morell. The EP was a statement of intent that eventually led to her releasing her most recent single Girls Killing It which is currently a fan favourite and has led industry tastemakers like the famous DJ Semtex to declare her an artiste to watch. Surely FPWSAS is a project worthy of note and one of the hottest EP’s I heard this year.
11) Omotayo – Heartbreak & Love Songs
Omotayo is another artiste whom I had never heard of until a colleague sent me his debut EP Heartbreak and Love songs earlier in the year and upon first listen, I knew straight away that he had something unique to offer as there was nobody with his vocal texture/range to emerge from the industry in a minute ( last was labelmates Praiz and Sammy ) . The 9-track EP touches on different aspects of human emotions, especially as it has to do with the opposite sex. Songs like Lojosi, Invincible and Closer are all testaments to his craftmanship and ensured that the EP made this list. In a nutshell, Omotayo released one of the best R&B projects I have heard in about 5 years and showed a lot of promise about his career this year, leading into the next.
12 Hayo Niel – Free Spirit
Hayo Neil delivered one of the best EP’s in the country this year with Free Spirit, an exquisite compilation which is a fusion of different urban genres ranging from traditional pop music to slow romantic ballads, thus making a strong statement and letting fans know exactly what he has to offer the music business. The 5-track EP is rich and addictive, but the standout song Vows has to be one of the most heartfelt romantic songs I have heard in a minute. If you are in love, especially about to get married, the aforementioned song will definitely touch a few nerves in you and might move you to tears. The song was performed acapella with no instrumental and was pulled off quite expertly by Hayo, thus contributing to the power of Free Spirit which is without a doubt one of our favourite EP’s for the year 2015
Fecko And Teckzilla – A.R.T
Kid Marley – Days Before Denim