Although a native of Anambra State, Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike was born and raised in Enugu State. His stage name, given to him by one of his high school friends, was derived from the word phenomenal. Phyno developed an interest for music production during his secondary school days. He initially wanted to become a pilot, but was told he could be a doctor. Throughout secondary school, he learned to play the drums and piano. He also learned to create his own rendition of every recording he heard. He studied public administration at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, and started profiting from music during his second year there. Phyno told Ifeoma Onoye that Mr Raw is one of the few people he looks up to. Phyno started rapping in 2010 and relocated to Lagos to further his music career.
Phyno began recording his debut studio album No Guts No Glory in 2012. The album features guest appearances from Stormrex, Omawumi, Olamide, Efa, P-Square, Timaya, Flavour N’abania, Mr. Raw, MI, Ice Prince and Runtown. It was primarily recorded in Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin. On 25 September 2012, he released the Olamide-assisted “Ghost Mode” as the album’s lead single. It won Best Collabo at both the 2012 The Headies Awards and 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. The music video for “Ghost Mode” was released on 7 December 2012. It was shot and directed in Lagos by Clarence Peters. Sputnet Records released the album’s second single “Man of the Year (Obago)” on 23 March 2013. The song won Best Rap Single at the 2012 The Headies Awards. The music video for “Man of the Year (Obago)” was uploaded onto YouTube on 20 August 2013. It was also shot and directed by Clarence Peters in Abakpa Nike, and features a cameo appearance from Illbliss. In September 2013, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation banned the music video from being broadcast.
The album’s third single “Parcel” was released on 11 October 2013. It was originally titled “Parcel (a BIG Nwa)”. The music video for “Parcel” was shot by Clarence Peters and released on 19 February 2014. “O Set” was released as the album’s fourth single on 4 March 2014. The song was produced by WizzyPro and features vocals from P-Square. The music video for the song was directed by Jude Engees Okoye. On 22 May 2014, Phyno released the music video for “Alobam”, which was directed by Clarence Peters. Produced by Major Bangz, the song is an Igbo slang for “My Guy