PsychoYP is at the forefront of Nigerian Hip-hop’s resurgence.

In 2019, Nigerian hip-hop began a slow but steady rise back to the top of the Nigerian mainstream.

Naira Marley was the name on everyone’s lips. He became a national celebrity due to his run-in with the law and his string of hit tracks.

The country was put on hold for a while by a rapper for the first time in a very long time.

Zlatan had become the go-to guy for hit records, delivering hits for Naira Marley, Tiwa Savage, Cuppy, and a budding Buju Bnxn.

Show Dem Camp released the cult classic ‘Clone Wars IV: These Buhari Times.

Blaqbonez declared himself the best rapper in Africa, much to the dismay of TenTik, Payper Corleone, and Vader. 

He then released the smashing single ‘Shut Up’ and then the well-received ‘Mr. Boombastic’ EP.

Falz released the highly impactful ‘Moral Instruction‘, and the MI Abaga and Vector beef reached boiling point.

2019 saw Nigerian hip-hop enjoy mainstream attention in a way it had never enjoyed since the golden days.

The year also kicked off a resurgence that would peak in 2023 when Shallipopi and Odumodublvck rose to the very top of mainstream prominence and became two of the biggest artists in the country.

Coincidentally, PsychoYP released his second full-length album, YPSZN2, in 2019.

In 2018, he released the first installation of the YPSZN trilogy, a trilogy that has gone on to become one of the most iconic trilogies in Nigerian Hip-hop.

Up there with the likes of Illegal music, Positions of power, and the like.

A breath of fresh air

PsychoYP for OkayAfrica after YPSZN1

YPSZN1 was a breath of fresh air. PsychoYP arrived with a brand of hip-hop the Nigerian audience wasn’t used to at the time.

His eclectic and energetic yet experimental brand of trap music was a refreshing listen. A record like ’Andale’ pointed in the direction of the future.

A year later, he returned with YPSZN2. A project that confirmed his understanding of the Nigerian music scene and a display of his range and musicianship.

He ventured into Afropop and Afrobeats but stayed true to his essence, delivering timeless rap records in the process.

A record like ‘No Chaser, featuring the underachieving Terri, was a testament to PsychoYP’s ability to dominate a sound he was not accustomed to.

With YPSZN2, he had announced himself as one of the foremost rap talents in the country.

He had also put out an all-star remix of his cult hit record ‘Oga‘, which was another proof that he had his eyes on the mainstream.

PsychoYP immediately emerged as Gen-Z’s favourite rapper thanks to his obvious talent and flawless vibe.

Even if his delivery of the rap was not all that different from that of overseas performers like Future, Gucci Mane, Migos, and Fetty Wap, it was nonetheless engaging.

The power of a collective and a community

PsychoYP came with undeniable talent’, ‘Steeze‘, and ridiculously good music. However, he did not come alone.

PsychoYP, Zilla Oaks, Ayüü, Kuddi is Dead, Marv OTM, AarTheUnruly, Pablo Herbs, Higo, Jaylon, Xoe, and Johnson are founding members of the Apex Village collective.

In a 2019 interview with OkayAfrica, he described the collective as some of the most talented people he knew.

“It’s one thing to just be in a group of talented people, and it’s another thing to be in a group of talented people where everyone can feed off everyone’s energy and give it back 100% in everything we do. I know there’s a lot of people who’d love to be in a setting like this,”

he said in that interview.

However, the collective wasn’t just about the music.

“Apex Village isn’t about the music alone; we’re also art-inclined; we’ve got photographers, film makers, graphic designers, etc.,”

he said in another interview with Mixtape Madness.

With the strength of the Apex Village collective behind him, he swiftly took over Nigeria’s capital city, emerging as the most beloved rapper there and assembling a loyal following that was willing to ride for him every day of the week.

This writer lives in Minna, Niger State. A little over five hours away from Abuja, and I can tell you for free, the kids from Abuja came repping.

They absolutely loved PsychoYP, and it was only a question of time until the admiration and appreciation he received in Abuja spread over the whole country.

He now has a substantial fan base in Lagos. Those who adore him so much that they get the Apex Village insignia permanently etched on them.

Both the December 2022 and December 2023 events in Lagos were packed.


UNREAL consistency.

In 2020, the coronavirus rocked the world. It became a pandemic that forced people to remain in their homes against their will.

Fortunately, there was no stopping YP. In April, he released the two-pack ‘Pay up, don’t be foolish’ alongside DJ T1Z. The tape spurred ‘Foolish’, one of this writer’s favourite PsychoYP records

He then went on to deliver a stellar performance on King Perry’s monster drill record, ‘YKTFV’.

The record is a testament to the massive potential of Drill/mosh pit music in Nigeria, and this writer feels it has not been utilised enough.

Even if it’s only for three minutes and twenty-nine seconds, the record is a proper rage anthem that is sure to provoke the wildest reaction from excessively eager young adults looking to escape from the harsh realities of adulthood and Nigeria.

PsychoYP then went into his executive bag by signing Azanti, a bag of talent whose mainstream dominance is only a matter of time.

Together, they released ‘YP and Azanti’, YP’s second play for the mainstream and a timely reminder of his range and immense abilities.

Songs like ‘New Bag’, ‘Ji Masun’, ‘Nobody’, and ‘Caro’ are timeless records that still have a shot at mainstream acclaim, regardless of their release dates.

Then he closed the year with another two-pack tape, ‘National Anthem‘, which spurred the record ‘Flex and Ball’, which is another of this writer’s all-time favourites.

He released ‘Euphoria’ in 2021. An album that saw him return to his original form, I dare say. He sorted through the hardest drills and grip beats he could find and rapped his a*s off.

The project was an offer to his core audience. His desire for mainstream attention had inspired his flirtations with Afrobeats and even R&B; however, PsychoYP is so immensely talented that he doesn’t sound out of place on a pop record.

For example, he delivered a stellar Rap performance on DJ Java’s amapiano bop ‘Jazz Up’, one of his earliest flirtations with the South African sound that had taken over Nigerian music.

2022 opened with a bit of sonic uncertainty for PsychoYP. He released ‘Midlife Crisis’ and ‘WYDTM’.

Both records didn’t pack the punch that is usually associated with his music.

The songs were bland, flat, and worrying. It seemed like his quest for the hit record was getting the better of him.

It didn’t take long, though, before any worries that had arisen were dispelled.

He released ‘Bando Diaries’ featuring Odumodublvck. Big Kala’s incredible verse was one of the high points of not just the song but also his career at the time.

PsychoYP would then introduce Odumodublvck to Zlatan Ibile, whose verse on ‘Picanto’ would kickstart Modu’s disruptive rise to the top of the mainstream.

He then decimated the African remix of Backroad Gee’s  ‘Under Attack’ before releasing ‘IC3’ and ‘Stronger’ featuring Zlatan.

Those singles will then lead up to the release of the third installment of the ‘YPSZN’ trilogy. An incredible body of work that once again showcased his progressive approach to Nigerian rap, range, impeccable flows, and lyrical dexterity.

PsychoYP delivered a fifteen-track masterclass. Records like Sinner, Silent Mode, Nigerian Man, My Country People, Haffa have gone on to become classic PsychoYP records.

While records like ‘Stronger’ and ‘Scandalous’ featuring Barry Jhay were an attempt to connect him to the mass market (streets).

He would further his attempts to strengthen that connection on the 2023 ‘Osapa London’ EP.

The EP, despite its relative quality, was not as impactful as his earlier offering.

The deluxe version of the project, however, housed ‘Wreck’ and ‘Lean’. Two of his most underrated deep cuts.

He opened 2024 with ‘Evil Twins’, a collaboration project with Jeriq. An attempt to tap into Jeriq’s cult following in the east.

Since 2017, PsychoYP has released nine bodies of work. You read that correctly. NINE BODIES OF WORK in a space of seven years.

The best word to describe that level of consistency is UNREAL. It is always wise to expect multiple projects from him every year.

He has already put out one EP, and 2024 is only two months in. The release of “YP and Azanti Vol. 2” is quickly approaching, and there were some hints of a “Trust Fund Baby” project last year.

For an artist in his mid-twenties, his catalogue already looks like that of an OG.


One hit away

In 2023, Shallipopi’sElon Musk’ kickstarted a phenomenal run that would propel the rapper from a random TikToker to a nationwide sensation.

PsychoYP is still one mainstream hit from having his own run. “This writer believes ‘Clear Road’, his most recent collaboration with Azanti, has the potential to become that song.

Unfortunately, the marketing behind the record has been abysmal. The record doesn’t even have a video.

One would hope that there are plans for the record and that it doesn’t end up like a host of other PsychoYP records that could have been.

His community has grown as he continues to release high-caliber music.

He now has a substantial following in Lagos and throughout the nation. While his desire for mainstream dominance has not yet materialised as he may have envisaged, he has made enormous progress.

In addition to being loved and revered by his devoted following, he is also held in high regard by peers, the hip-hop community, and critical cycles as the leader of the next generation.

Nigerian hip-hop is experiencing a resurgence, and PsychoYP is at the forefront.

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