By Obinna Ifechi-Fred
Last year I wrote an article which unearthed a 11 Nigerian-Americans you needed to know apart from Wale, and it turned out to be a favourite among our readers,so a year after I decided to write a second and perhaps final article with 11 more Nigerian-Americans doing it big in the United States Most people may be familiar with Hakeem Seriki aka Chamillionaire, but there are 10 more that may be less familiar to others.
Here is the second part of the article which has two ladies as well, check it out.
Femi Ojetunde aka Fem Double
Highly respected music producer Femi Ojetunde was born in Nigeria and honed his production skills in the early 80’s Lagos entertainment circuit, producing and working with superstars like King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, Tina Onwudiwe, Shina Peters, The Mandators, Charly Boy and Dele Taiwo to mention a few, which led to him winning the award for best producer in the country and subsequently migrating to the United States where he continued lending his production skills to Hip-hop heavyweights 2Pac Shakur ( The Rose that grew from concrete ), Outlawz ( Ride wit us or collide wit us ), Spice 1 ( Hits ), E40 ( Things’ll Never Change ), Krayzie Bone ( Gemini:Good Versus Evil ) and many more. In 2001, he worked extensively with Quincy Jones III ( QDIII ), the film producer named after his legendary father; Femi created the film score for various QDIII productions including Thug Angel , Beef 1 & 2, The Freshest Kids and Letter To The President. He also created scores for Television shows and feature films, most notably The Shield and Booty Call. Though he was not active in the production circuit for a number of years, he recently announced a comeback and was spotted on Instagram in the studio with American R&B superstar Ginuwine.
Femi Ojetunde Discussing Producing “Hall Of Game” For 2Pac Shakur and E40
Chidera Anamege aka Chiddy
Chidera Anamege aka Chiddy first broke into national consciousness in 2009 as one half of the now defunct hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang. Alongside his producer/partner Xaphoon Jones ( now known as Noah Breakfast ), they achieved critical acclaim among the burgeoning backpack, alternative and hipster rap communities with their mixtapes such as Swelly Express ( 2009 ), Air Swelly ( 2010 ) and Peanut Butter And Swelly ( 2012 ).Two years after dropping their only album Breakfast, Chiddy Bang disbanded when Xaphoon Jones announced his plans to focus on his production just as Chiddy also announced his perpetually postponed solo debut album Baggage Claim which has yet to drop as at press time.
Chiddy will be well known to core Nigerian rap fans by virtue of his collaborations with Eldee Tha Don ( Always ( On My Grizzly ), High As The Ceiling And Slow Down which also featured Black Thought of The Roots). He also hold a Guinness World Record, when in 2011, he broke the record for the Longest Freestyle Rap and Longest Marathon Rapping Record by free styling for 9 hours, 18 minutes, and 22 seconds.
Chiddy Bang – Mind Your Manners Featuring Icona Pop
Burgeoning Philadelphia based rapper Tunji Ige has been touted as one of the fresh talented rappers to emerge from the city of brotherly love and home to Meek Mill, Eve, Beanie Sigel and The Roots. In April 2014, the then 19 year old released his debut Mixtape The Love Project which was recorded entirely in his dorm room at West Chester University and introduced his name and music to his rapidly expanding fanbase while getting rave reviews from respected voices such as Complex, Fader and Stereogum. He has been compared to Kid Cudi and Kanye West,and has worked with his peers Makonnen and Rome Fortune, however Tunji brings something different to the table and has already proven to be a standout act himself. Having delivered two more projects ( Missed Calls EP and Prince Of July ) this year, the latter to mark his 21st birthday, He has also shown that he has the required work rate to make it in the big league.
Tunji Ige – Dark Liquor
Hakeem Seriki aka Chamillionaire
Admittedly the most obvious name on this list, Hakeem Seriki aka Chamillionaire deserves a mention most importantly for the younger generation, some of whom might not me familiar with his musical exploits in the early noughties. Chamillionaire aka King Koopa was born to a Nigerian father and an African-American mother in the Washington DC and moved to Houston Texas when he was four. Having been inspired by local acts such as UGK and Geto Boys, as well as national acts Public Enemy and N.W.A, he decided to pursue a career in Hip-hop music, and subsequently teamed up with fellow Houston native Paul Wall with whom he officially started his rap journey as members of The Color Changin’ Click. in 2002, they released Get Ya Mind Correct, a collaborative album which moved 150,000 units independently and opened the doors for both of them to sign solo deals. Chamillionaire signed to Universal records, and released his debut Album The Sound Of Revenge ( 2005 ) which spanned the single Ridin‘ with Krayzie Bone, a song that won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group the following year. He has since dropped various mixtapes and EP’s, but nowadays, King Koopa is more noticed for his successful business ventures, some of which include investments in Digital media, Transport companies, and film studios. On 23 February 2015, Upfront Ventures, the largest early-stage fund raised in L.A appointed Chamillionaire as an entrepreneur in residence. This marks the first time an honor of this kind has been bestowed upon a rap artist.
Chamillionaire – Hip-hop Police Featuring Slick Rick
Abdul Olagoke Tubosun Oluwatunmise West aka AR-Ab
While much is not known about the family background of Philadelphia native AR-Ab, his Yoruba ancestry was a subject of speculation when his government names were made known via his Wikipedia page. The rapper who also goes by the moniker “Top goon of Philly” started out as as a battle rapper, and by 2007, he teamed up with rapper Cassidy as a member of his collective Larsiny. He appeared on various songs with members of his crew until 2008 when he put out his debut mixtape Welcome To Trap Street. He then set up his own posse Original Block Hustlers aka OBH and has created considerable buzz in the city by releasing a slew of notable mixtapes, and most recently was drawn into a feud with his friend-turned foe-turned friend, Meek Mill after he received a shoutout fro Drake on the Grammy award nominated diss track Back 2 Back. This year, he snagged a lucrative record deal with Cash Money Records which also houses superstars Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Tyga. His most recent single How I Do It Features Kevin Gates and was released in May.
Ar-AB – All Of The Block
Oladipo Omisore aka Dot Da Genius
Oladipo Omisore aka Dot Da Genius was born in Brooklyn, New York to Yoruba parents and developed an interest for music at an early age, which his parents recognized and subsequently sent him to the Brooklyn Music school where he studied under the tutelage of legendary music teacher Tom Coote. He learned to play the Keyboard and the Guitar which he became quite proficient at, and also studied Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. In 2004, whilst studying at the University Polytechnic, he opened up a studio in his basement which he later expanded and moved to a different location before he met his future bandmate Kid Cudi in 2006 with whom he would later go on to sell millions of records and later form the band WZRD. Having worked with artistes like King Chip, Kanye West and Jhene Aiko ( to whom he is married ), his biggest production credit is Kid Cudis 2007 breakout hit song Day N Nite.
WZRD [ Kid Cudi & Dot Da Genius ] Performing “Teleport 2 Me” On The Conan Show
Theresa Runyon aka Wankaego
Florida based Theresa Runyon aka Wankaego was born to an Italian Father and a Nigerian mother and was christened Wankaego at birth, a name she admitted led to her being picked on in Elementary school. Born in 1987, she started off as a make-up artiste and progressed to modelling at the age of 22. After a brief, but successful stint as an urban model and gracing the covers of lifestyle magazines like Straight Stunting and Urban Ink amongst others, her songwriting skills which she had been honing since she was a teenager reached the attention of Trill entertainment CEO Lil Boosie, who signed her last year and christened her “The First Lady Of Trill”. She recently launched her cosmetic line ( Wankaego Cosmetics ) and released a number of singles, as well as features on songs with Boosie and Webbie, all of which point to a promising and exciting future for the budding starlet.
Wankaego – Make It Twerk
Olurotimi Akinosho aka Rotimi
Actor and singer Rotimi was born in New Jersey to Nigerian parents, a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother. He attended Columbia high school where he was a standout student in Basketball and the honors choir. He continued his studies at Northwestern University and subsequently began pursuing a career in contemporary R&B music. In 2011, He released two successful mixtapes The Resume and While You Wait, which caught the attention of G-Unit CEO Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson who signed him to his label in 2015. He is also an actor and starred in the high grossing movie Divergent. He is also a recurring character on the award winning, highly rated urban television series Power which is produced by his label boss 50 Cent.
Rotimi – Doing It
Though born in Harlem, New York, Ikey was raised in Lagos Nigeria but has been living in Washington D.C for the better part of his adult life, and has also began garnering recognition for himself since he released his hard hitting project The Green Card EP a year ago ( we posted it HERE ). The young rapper who describes himself as “Chinua Achebe with two turntables and a Mic” is still making strides for himself in the underground rap circuit and has also worked with Kami De Chukwu of SaveMoney Crew ( who featured in the first part of this article ). Ikey sticks to the traditional New York Boom-bap sound, but also incorporates elements of everyday Nigerian life , as well as popular culture into his music. He is an exciting rapper, and definitely one to look out for in the future.
Ikey – Olodo
Celestina Aladekoba is a Nigerian-American model, dancer and recording artiste who has appeared in various music videos, television series and photo shoots, most prominently in the 2006 video for Black Sweat by late iconic artiste Prince. She went on to appear in high profile videos for artistes like Missy Elliot,Robin Thicke, Usher Raymond and Will Smith. She is also a budding actress and has starred in TV shows That’s So Raven and The Game. She was a dancer in Step Up Revolution (2012) and Step Up: All In (2014), the sequels to the 2006 cult-classic dance movie Step Up. She is currently working on her own music, but most recently appeared in the 2014 video for Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo which was been viewed over 347 million times on Youtube.
Celestina Aladekoba – Renegade [ Teaser ]
I first came across Ahamefule Oluo in January when American rapper Macklemore released his polarizing, politically charged single White Privilege II, a song I thought was a powerful statement, and upon reading the credits, I came across the name “Ahamefule Oluo” which struck me as a Nigerian and sparked my curiosity and led to me investigating and discovering more about the Seattle based trumpeter, musician, comedian and composer of Nigerian descent who contributed to the creation of the record. He also co-founded the award winning Jazz Quartet Industrial Revelation and is also the leader of Jazz-punk trio The Honorable Chief. He has also collaborated with Das Racist, Hey Marseille and Cataldo. In 2011, he wrote a moving article about his relationship with his father and the realization of the meaning of his name which you can read here. To find out more about him visit his website www.nowimfine.com.
Ahamefule Oluo – Now I’m Fine