SoundCloud is currently surviving by the thread of its teeth. And even though they were saved by Chance (shout out to Henry for the pun) this time, the fear of the looming axe eventually dropping will not go away for a long while. How the head honchos of the platform and Chance The Rapper (aka Robin Hood) have found a way to generate revenue in order to keep the platform sustainable beyond its initial projected near end isn’t clear to everyone. But let’s enjoy the ride while it lasts and hope it continues for a while longer.

Yanking out the primary source of music streaming in a Nigerian society where many are just adapting to streaming music would be a tiny disaster, both for artists and fans. SoundCloud is the only streaming platform without major qualms or extra expense beyond data, so many people tend to gravitate towards it. Upcoming artists are using the app to showcase their talent, build a fan base and inherently as a springboard to the greater heights they so desire.

The playing field for upcoming artists to breakout is steep, especially for those making atypical (read: anything that’s not afro-pop) music in Nigeria. SoundCloud hasn’t leveled the field but it is helping these burgeoning new wave of talented artists to amplify their notoriety. The revolution might not be televised but it makes sense that it should be brought to us by SoundCloud.

Even in their huge numbers, it is easy to see how interwoven the connection between these guys is, it’s the internet, getting in touch with people isn’t that hard. From working relationships to display of friendships on social media, it’s easy to believe that they all belong to a close knit community. Even if they might not be, it hasn’t stopped many people from giving these artists collective tags.

Of all the tags I’ve come across, ‘SoundCloud Artists’ is the most insulting I’ve seen. That tag is a well used alternative to ‘struggling artist’ on social media and is an inflaming slur. Constantly accessing an artist’s work via SoundCloud doesn’t make that tag stick or less insulting, many of these guys have their works on other platforms but we’ve already covered how not so easy it is for those of us living in Nigeria to access it. Even if an artist releases music exclusively to SoundCloud, it doesn’t warrant that tag. Try calling Chance The Rapper a ‘SoundCloud artist’.

An artist is an artist simply because he/she makes music. Tirade ended *drops mic*.

*Picks mic up*. Here are great songs released over the last two weeks by talented artists that you can listen to on SoundCloud.

Wavos ft. Remy Baggins – Love Back

If you haven’t gotten the memo, here it goes: don’t sleep on Remy Baggins. DJ Wavos, official DJ to Ycee teams up with Remy Baggins for an irresistible marimba-fueled Caribbean pop jam. Remy professes love with a smooth, stimulating falsetto. ‘Love Back’ is bound to get stuck in your head.

Joyce Olong – Stay Another Day

Depression is real, people. Using M.I’s analogy on last week’s episode of Middle Ground Podcast; depression is like a storm, there’s little you can do but to (help someone) cope with it and wait it out. Joyce Olong’s ‘Stay Another Day‘ packages that idea wonderfully. It’s a slinking reminder to hold on and wait it out. Truly powerful message.

Lindsey Abudei – Trouble Sleep, Yanga Go Wake Am (Cover)

Soul singer-songwriter, Lindsey Abudei renders a soulful take on Fela’s 1972 song, ‘Trouble Sleep, Yanga Go Wake Am‘. The vocal performance is Lindsey’s trademark smooth and very calming delivery. Also, listen to her critically acclaimed album, …And The Bass Is Queen if you haven’t.

Tyson Noir – Yours

I just recently discovered Tyson Noir and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve heard so far. ‘Yours’ is his latest release and it’s brilliant. Tyson serenades his love interest on a mildly bubbling beat. Isn’t it wonderful how women inspire good songs like this?

Tomi Agape – Breeze

Breeze‘ is Tomi Agape’s second single of the year and it is produced by talented producer, Spax. Propelled by knotty highlife guitar licks, Tomi puts in a performance that drips sexiness as she sings of love and lusty thoughts to her lover. Men inspire good songs too, you know.

Kazez – Alcohol

If you’ve ever done anything stupid or even anything at all while drunk, you’ll relate to Kazez’ ‘Alcohol’. Produced by Sinister beats, everything about the beat for ‘Alcohol’ is quite sinister, a menacing piano loop and trap drums. Kazez relates his alcohol induced incidents coherently, with a playfulness embedded in his voice.

Ugo Apex ft. CARLA – Time Flies

Nostalgia marked by dark days and racial injustice propel Ugo and Carla to voice their heavy thoughts and also throw in some hope for better days. The track is languid and broody, with matching flow by both artists. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the point of ‘Time Flies‘.

Biddy Sings ft. Culture ’95 &Barelyanyhook – Purple Trees

Late night R&B is the definition of ‘Purple Trees‘. A track meant for lovers who smoke together to vibe, even if you don’t smoke, you can feel the intimacy Biddy hints at. Barelyanyhook never drops whack verses and his verse here isn’t an exception. In fact, it’s an excellent verse, matching wit and wordplay perfectly to portray raunchy thoughts.

Psycho YP – Who Dis

Abuja is currently also hotbed for upcoming artists to sprout out. One of the artists from the capital that’s gaining notoriety is 18year old Psycho YP. ‘Who Dis‘ is YP’s first single after his joint EP with Kuddi is Dead, This Is What You Wanted released earlier this year. ‘Who Dis‘ has a delightfully dark and hard hitting production, with YP delivering vicious brags and shots with his gnarly voice. One of the best rap songs to come out of Nigeria this year.

Tim Ayo – I Pray

I’d like to think everyone wants to make their mothers proud, I know I do, so does Tim Ayo. Over rolling acoustic guitar rhythms, Tim Ayo prays anxiously to God to help with his ambition on ‘I Pray’. A highly relatable song that you could easily sub your situation/words into.

Words by Dennis, aka Scout, aka @ayo_dennis.