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Zinoleesky duels Afro-pop acts Ayra Star, Bnxn, Lojay, and Ruger for Headies’ Next Rated 

By Chinonso Ihekire
28 May 2022   |   2:42 am
Since Nigeria’s most popular music awards, Headies, began in 2006, the much-anticipated category for Next Rated artiste has always been a birthright of the mainstream Afro-pop or Afro-RnB acts.

Ruger

Since Nigeria’s most popular music awards, Headies, began in 2006, the much-anticipated category for Next Rated artiste has always been a birthright of the mainstream Afro-pop or Afro-RnB acts.

However, for the first time, the award category has shone its light on the street-hop genre, nominating the Afro-fusion/Street-hop act, Zinoleesky, among other emerging Afro-pop superstars such as Bnxn (formerly known as Buju), Lojay, Ruger and Ayra Star. 

As anticipation revs for who will become the next rated artiste of the year at the awards and walk away with a new Bentley Bentayga (worth over N100m), eyebrows are raised to the question of whether Street-hop can break the Afro-pop/RnB Jinx. 

While Ayra Star’s Bloody Samaritan took the entire world by storm, just like Ruger’s Dior, Lojay’s Monalisa, and Bnxn’s Kilometre, especially with the marketing potential of social media apps like TikTok, among others, Zinoleesky has always remained that brave soldier in the wild, serving Fuji-fused Street-hop to penetrate mainstream audiences. 

Will Zinoleesky’s template of catchy lyricism and fast-paced drum-heavy melodies, such as in Kilofeshe, Rocking, Ma Pariwo and Blessings be able to be strong enough to stand the heat?

Apparently, Zinoleesky has the streets on his side, and his subtle infusion of Afro-pop-esque melodies into his work, like in his recent Asa sample, Loving You, might work in his favour. At the end of the day, it is still a battle of who has the most hits and the most fans to defend those hits with their votes. 

With superstar acts like Bella Shmurda, Barry Jhay and TI Blaze, Street-hop/pop music has continued to bask in the limelight. For the first time, it is being recognised under the Next Rated Category. Even if it does not win, it is still a healthy success story for the genre. For now, all we can do is observe.