Here are 10 essential Nigerian producers you should know

10 essential Nigerian producers you should know

The art of production may have evolved over the years making it an all-comers affair, but there are few who have shown outstanding finesse in their craft.

Every artist needs the right canvas to display his talents and the producers role is steeped in transforming a raw sound into a refined and finished product.

In a culture where beats are vital to the music, the role of a producer has grown over the years from that guy at the other side of the booth, pressing the keys to becoming the individual harmonizing the entire journey, picking the right keys and tempo to get the best performance out of the entire process.

So while there have been producers who have had one hit wonders, or a spell of successful records, there have been others who have upped the bar in influencing and dictating the sound scape through iconic albums or records.

Here is a list of 10 essential Nigerian producers who fall in to this category, that you need to know about.

1. OJB Jezreel

OJB JezreelplayOJB Jezreel remains one of Nigeria’s greatest producers (Instagram)

OJB is perhaps the leader of the new Nigerian sound. From his little studio in Surulere, Lagos, the producer who was also referred to as Jigga impacted Nigerian music even beyond our shores.

Despite having been around from the late nineties, OJB is most remembered for his work on 2face Idibia‘s debut solo effort, Face 2 Face.

Solely produced by him, OJB became one with the artist, choosing the right beats to fit 2face’s abilities. He would later go on to create his own production imprint, PointBeatz that birthed younger producers like JoeKaynie.

OJB also had six albums to his name and sadly passed away on June 14 2016 of kidney disease.

Essential Records: 2face’s African QueenRuggedman‘s EhenOJB‘s Searching and Jazzman Olofin‘s Raise tha roof.

2. Don Jazzy

Don JazzyplayDon Jazzy has delivered so many pop hits within his illustrious career (Instagram)

‘Na who do the beat o, Don Baba J’ was the phrase that we all fell in love with during the Mo Hits era.

Coming from his days as a member of the 419 band, Don Jazzy made a return to the country alongside Dbanj in 2004 and till date, the don has consistently defined the era of Nigerian pop sound.

With Mo Hits, he was the non talking, stick holding creative mafia who championed a new generation of stars in D’banj, Wande Coal, D Prince and Kay Switch.

No Long Thing was a sound like never heard before, The Entertainer was an evolution in stretching the boundaries of rhythm, and after the collapse of Mo Hits, Don Jazzy was tasked with the ‘making another Hov‘ dilemma, and this he achieved with the Mavins.

There are few iconic names in the game that can be compared to Don Jazzy; as the sounds and pace evolved, so also as he managed to be the frontier on most levels and while the don may not be behind every beat out of the Mavin stables these days, he will forever be remembered as the one who left a lasting legacy from the producers chair.

Essential RecordsD’Banj – Oliver Twist, Tongolo, Mo gbono feli feliWande Coal – Bumper to BumperMavins – Dorobucci and Korede Bello‘s Godwin.

3. Cobhams

playCobhams is crediting with producing and co-writing Asa’s breakthrough album, Asa (YouTube/Cobhams)

The skillfully gifted, Cobhams remains one of the most consistent and loved names on the scene.

From working on classic albums like Asa‘s debut album and Bez‘s Super sun to displaying his versatility with rappers like Rooftop Mcs and Modenine, there is no range that Cobhams artistic dexterity cannot counquer.

ALSO READ: Best Nigerian producers of 2017

He carved his niche at an early stage with his type of sound that were not brash or filled with kicks, not really tailored for the dance floors but packed with the right amount of soul to leave listeners engaged in his sound.

Cobhams is ahead of his time, extending his works not just to other artist but his own album, he is not just the ordinary producer, he is one whose tastes reflect in the people he works with and the music he puts out.

Essential Records: Asa – Eye Adaba, Fire on the mountain and JailerDarey’Not the girlModenine – Cry and Rooftop Mcs – Lagimo.

4. Paul Play Dairo

playPaul Play Dairo, the master of the R&B pop sound (THE NET)

While many recognised Paul Play the artist, Paul Play the producer was also behind the scenes influencing the sounds with his timeless beats.

From his debut album which he produced several bangers to working with the likes of Ruff, Rugged and RawToni Tetuila, and others, Paul Play was also instrumental in the discovery of producers like K Solo.

Even his exit from the scene for seven years due to health reasons have not in anyway undermined his contributions to the industry.

Essential RecordsForever, Angel of my Life, Mo so rire, Happy Day. Toni Tetuila- Omode meta n sere

5. ID Cabasa

Id Cabasa at the Industry Nite Special edition with 9ice and The Shuga BandplayID Cabasa was instrumental to the career success of the artist that is now celebrated as 9ice


From 9ice to Olamide, Lord of Ajasa, Reminisce and 2Phatz, everyone of them have ID Cabasa to thank for the role he played in their careers.

The reserved beat-maker is another one who was instrumental in adding musicality to sounds emerging from the Bariga side of Lagos.

At his best, he delivered 9ice’s most impactful album, Gongo Aso and it is no surprise when 9ice released his 8th album in his name.

Essential Records9ice’s Gongo Aso album, Olamide Eni Duro, Faze, ‘Kpo po di po‘, Lord of Ajasa ‘Le fenu so’

6. Sarz

Sarz, the young O.G of the Nigerian soundplaySarz, the young O.G of the Nigerian sound

(Sarz )

Another individual that gets credit for shaping the urban contemporary sound.

Sarz built his craft working with the likes of Jahbless on Jor oh remix, Shank’s SaluteEldee, Skales, Reminisce and more, but his first major recognition came in 2012, when he was nominated in the Best Producer category at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards alongside Don Jazzy. Don Jazzy was announced winner on the night but he ended up giving up the award to Sarz, who he said also deserved it.

However he really started off in 2007 when he produced ‘Banging‘ for Nigerian rap legend Ruggedman. In 2009 he would get a production credit on Dagrin’s seminal sophomore album ‘C.E.O‘ for the track ‘Kondo‘.

Sarz has gone on to work extensively with Nigerian superstar Wizkid.

Biggest RecordsBeat of Life (Samba)Reminisce Kako bi ChickenNiniola – Maradona and SickerEldee Wash, Wizkid ‘Come Closer

7. K Solo

playKSolo brought the likes of Timaya unto the big stage (Vanguard)

In 2007, Timaya burst unto the scene with his debut album, True Story, outside his lyrics, K Solo is the person most responsible for shaping his sound and style.

His aggressive style made his beats difficult to ignore and brought him mainstream recognition. He is responsible for a sound that successfully pushed acts like Danny YoungKleva Jay and many other.

Studying under the great Paul Play Dairo, K Solo helped cultivate a sound for the ghetto post-Ajegunle dominance of the 90s.

Biggest Records: Timaya‘s True StoryKefee‘s Kokoroko, Kleva Jay – Koni Koni Lov featuring Danny Young

8. eLDee the Don

eLDee the Don, the godfather of the Nigerian rap soundplayeLDee the Don, the godfather of the Nigerian rap sound

(Kamdora )

This man right here is regarded as the godfather of Nigerian rap music. In 1999, as part of the legendary trio known as Trybesmen moulded the sonic blueprint of Nigerian rap music. eLDee laced his group’s neat and sharp rhymes over groovy tracks inspired by Nigerian sounds to create a template still used by Naija rappers till today.

He pushed his influence with the creation of the rap affiliation Da Trybe post-2000. His production wizardry was responsible for the instant posse cut classic ‘Oya‘.

His solo career boasts of six albums, all solidly produced projects, a hybrid cross of Nigerian rap and pop music. eLDee is a cornerstone of Nigerian contemporary music.

Essential Records: Trybesmen – Shake Bodi, Plenty ThingsDa Trybe– Oya

9. Nelson Brown

playNelson Brown was a key figure of the early era of Nigerian music (BHM)

Nelson Brown was the darling of the eighties to early 2000s production.

The producer was solely responsible for the production work on Plantashun Boiz‘s debut effort, Body and Soul, which is regarded as one of the best RnB/Pop albums that the industry has recorded.

He has also worked with artists from Daddy Showkey, Baba Fryo to Daddy Fresh.

Nelson Brown was awarded winner of AMEN award for best producer in 1998.

Essential Record: Plantashun Boiz – Body and Soul album

10 Sossick

Sossick is arguably Nigeria's best rap producerplaySossick is arguably Nigeria’s best rap producer


He makes 70 beats in a week; check. He never sleeps when he is in the mood; check. He has broken a relatively unknown artist in Dagrin into a superstar; check. Fresh beats on every song; double check.

If the above listed qualities count as what makes a producer iconic, then Sossick ticks all the boxes, a genius workhouse who delivered not just accessible hits but consistent quality.

Oh, let’s not forget that he produced Gino‘s seminal debut album ‘Pain Plus Work‘ in 2007 and was behind Shank‘s big hit ‘Julie‘. If you are in search of a classic, Sossick is the man to call.

Essential Records: Da Grin- Pon Pon Pon and Ghetto Dreams, Naeto C– Day 1, Reminisce – Alagbara, Gino – No Be God, FarabaleShank – Julie

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