As Nigerian music has been gathering attention on the global scene, there has been a movement defining its own sound and style which is different from popular Afrobeats – Alté. The Alté movement refuses to conform to normal standards, making their art in their unique way and staying true to their roots. These artists are very creative and always endeavor to express themselves in artistic ways that many music fans deem to be eccentric.
Alte musicians mostly appeal to a sophisticated audience. Their music (as a form of art) is usually pure and hardly suited for commercial purposes. Recently, they have garnered a lot of attention as some of them including Odunsi, Lady Donli, Santi, Boj, Ajebutter22 are working with mainstream pop acts. Needless to say, they are gradually amassing a fan base in Lagos – the hub of pop culture.
Although alternative music is not particularly a new movement in Nigeria as skilled singers and songwriters such as Brymo, Black Magic, Asa have paved way with their distinct sound, there is an enormous rise in the number of Alté musicians.
We have decided to compile a list of 10 Alté artists who are currently bringing fire to the game and have been redefining the Nigerian music space entirely. They are;
Formerly known as Ozzy B, Santi is one of the biggest representatives of the Alté movement. He lives and breathes it.
Since he made his way into the music industry, he has pushed the Alté sound with his positively-acclaimed singles like Gangsta Fear, Rapid Fire and projects including his debut Ep Birth of Santi.
His visuals also show a lot of creativity and freedom which accentuates the Alté movement.
Odunsi (or Odunsi The Engine as he’s sometimes called) is practically the poster boy for the Alté movement. The young singer and producer has so far been the most successful out of his peers.
Odunsi has a record deal with UMG Africa. He released his first body of work, an album named rare, last year which revealed how diverse his sound is.
Starting out as a producer, Odunsi worked his way into the Alte scene and has worked with different artists including Zamir, Santi, Runtown, Davido, M.I, and many others. He is sometimes criticized for his sense of fashion but that’s not enough to diminish the natural-born star.
Lady Donli is usually regarded as the queen of Alté music. The singer has been making music since her college days in the UK. She has played a huge role in the success of Alté music in the Nigerian music industry.
The UK-based Nigerian singer has been uploading music including Ice cream, Poison, Wallflower on Soundcloud to the benefit of her fans. She has enjoyed immense growth in the industry and has collaborated with a number of acts including Mr. Eazi, Tomi Thomas, Boogey.
Despite the hardship that she has faced as an act whose music isn’t mainstream, Lady Donli has remained consistent in her endeavor. Her music has only gotten better and her stage performance is nothing short of magical.
L.O.S (Loud on Sound) is a Nigerian music group which consists of talented artists like Tomi Thomas, King Zamir (formerly known as Yung), Briss B, and Bridge. These are fresh talents who brought a new wave to the Nigerian music industry sometime around 2010.
As a group, they released a couple of hit songs before their record label Storm records was dissolved. They have each pursued their individual careers, making a name for themselves as solo artists.
As much as they have been dropping hit songs individually, we look forward to getting new music from them as a group.
A man with absolutely charming vocals, Nonso Amadi is a Canada-based Afro-fusion/R&B singer. Hailing from Nigeria, the young singer, who produces his songs sometimes, is reinventing Nigerian R&B.
He gained prominence with his hit single Tonight and has gone ahead to switch the Alté scene up with his astounding songwriting skills.
Nonso Amadi has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. He has collaborated with major acts like Banky W, Maleek Berry, Julz and many others. His fan base has continued to rise as he racks views on streaming platforms.
The mention of this name requires anyone who is a sworn Alté lover to drop to their knees and say a word of appreciation. DRB Lasgidi is a Nigerian musical group who are regarded as the pioneers of Alté music.
After undergoing some reformation, the group is currently made up of three acts including Teezee, Fresh L and BOJ. DRB Lasgidi has kept it real both as a group and as individual artists.
They have been instrumental in the success of the alternative sound, bringing novel and distinct sounds to the Nigerian music industry, blessing us with jams like Swagga Mi Gbona, Selecta.
They have worked extensively with a number of acts both locally and internationally including Davido, Odunsi, Bez, Shank, Skepta, to mention a few.
PrettyboyD-O is a super-charged musician whose style differentiates him from many other Alté acts. One remarkable thing about Prettyboy is his enormous level of energy when he’s performing on stage.
He released his debut body of work Everything Pretty which had hit songs like Chop Elbow, Itty Bitty sometime last year which introduced the audience to his unique sound.
The fierce rapper who also sings is on the rise and is fast gaining traction. His music is attracting more fans and showing music lovers how diverse the Nigerian sound can be.
Ajebutter’s style of music is soft and easygoing. He was formerly a member of family musical duo Soyinka’s Afro (with his sister, Taymi B) and were based in the UK.
Since he became a solo artist on his move back to Nigeria, Ajebutter22 has released a series of banging songs such as Omo Pastor, Serenre, Bad Gang, Ghana Bounce, and more. His sound has set him apart from many other Alté musicians.
He often collaborates with BOJ and has worked with several other acts such as Falz, Maleek Berry, Mr. Eazi and many others.
Show Dem Camp (popularly referred to as SDC) is a musical duo consisting of two exceptional rappers Ghost and Tec who are regarded as some of the best Hip-hop acts in Nigeria.
SDC is nothing like mainstream rappers. Their sound is diverse, unique, rich, socially and politically conscious. They are highly revered in the Alté music space and have worked with a variety of Nigerian artists including M.I, LadiPoe, BOJ, and more.
They are well known for their Palm wine music vibe and have released many projects, particularly the Clone Wars series (1-4) and Palm Wine Music (1-2).
Tay Iwar does it all; singing, songwriting, music production, sound engineering. The young artist is many musical abilities rolled into one.
He is one of the Nigerian artists who has been able to carve a niche for himself with the use of Soundcloud. He has a number of hit songs to his name such as Equestrian love, Wuse II, and Video Star.
Tay has worked (as a producer, singer, sound engineer) with prolific acts like M.I, Santi, Odunsi. He’s an all-around creative who invests heavily in his visuals as he sees music as an art form and expresses himself in that regard.