Nigeria’s foremost music awards, the Headies has steadily recognized artistes and music producers for their work since 2006. There is a category for the best breakout star of the year, called The Next Rated category. We look at some of the winners of the award over the past 5 editions.
1) 2014- Patoranking: Patoranking won the award in 2014, beating competition from Runtown, Prezi, Skales, and Yemi Alade. His song, “Girlie O” brought him into the limelight in 2014. Shortly after, he released the hit single “My Woman, My Everything” which charted on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart. He released his first studio album, “God Over Everything” in 2016. A second album titled Wilmer followed in 2019, and his third album was released in 2020, titled “Three”.
2) 2015- Reekado Banks: Reekado Banks won the award in 2015 under Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records group. He beat stiff competition from YBNL’s Lil Kesh rather controversially, as well as Kiss Daniel, Cynthia Morgan, and Korede Bello. He joined Mavin Records in 2014 and was part of their most successful period, featuring on Dorobucci alongside Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello, Dr Sid, Di’Ja and D’Prince. His single “Katapot” in 2015 was a huge hit, gaining widespread airplay. He left Mavin Records in 2018 after 5 years at the label. Reekado Banks has released only one studio album, Spotlight back in 2016.
3) 2016- Mr Eazi: Mr Eazi won the Next Rated award in 2016. He beat competition from YCee, Humblesmith, Tekno, and Aramide to win the award. His first mixtape, “About to Blow” was released in 2013. He also released a song with Efya as his value began to skyrocket. He also worked with Wizkid’s Starboy Records in 2016, and he released his second mixtape “Life is Eazi Vol. 1 – Accra to Lagos” in 2017. He released a third mixtape “Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos to London” in 2018, and was invited to perform at the Coachella music festival in 2019. He dropped two EPs in 2020, titled “One day you will understand” and “Something Else”.
The Headies Award was not held in 2017.
4) 2018- Mayorkun: Mayorkun was noticed by Davido via twitter when he did a cover of his song, “The Money”. He was then signed to Davido’s DMW label. He won the Headies Next Rated award in 2018, beating off competition from Maleek Berry, Dice Ailes, Johnny Drille, and Zoro. He released his debut single, “Eleko” in 2016 to wide acclaim. He released his first album, “The Mayor of Lagos” in 2018, and went on a tour of the country as well as the UK. Mayorkun is known as the Nigerian king of features and is the self-acclaimed Mayor of Lagos. He released an EP, “Geng” in 2020, and is still a member of Davido’s record label.
5) 2019- Rema: Signed and discovered by Don Jazzy’s brother D’Prince, Rema was awarded as Headies Next Rated artiste, beating Zlatan Ibile, YBNL’s Fireboy DML, Lyta, Victor AD and Joeboy to the award. It was the second time that a Mavin Records act beat a YBNL act to the award. He rose to international prominence when his song, Iron Man made ex-US president Barack Obama’s music playlist. He has gone on to release 4 EPs, Rema, Rema Freestyle and Bad Commando in 2019, and Rema Remix in 2020.
Many of these stars have been making waves for their musical prowess and their followership, winning them endorsement deals with various companies such as betting companies, alcoholic beverages, and telecommunications giants. Online services like the NetBet casino have been introduced through entertainment figures.