Musicians may get the bulk of the credit, love, and appreciation for the music we enjoy, but even these musicians will give shout-outs to other industry players that were instrumental in their path to success. This shout-out always includes DJs who put people on to new and good music by playing them in clubs, at parties, at radio stations, and including them in their mixes. Undoubtedly, DJs are in the Whatsapp group chat of the music industry movers and shakers and their role in the music ecosystem cannot be overstated. In that light, we’ve made a list of 15 of the most influential DJs in Nigeria and arranged them in ascending order while using parameters such as current relevance, influence overtime, endorsements, street credibility, social media following, and artist repertoire.
1. DJ Jimmy Jatt
Only the kids who calculate their age by deducting some numbers out of the last two digits of the current year, might lay claim to not knowing the level of heat that was sure to precede the watermark “It’s the jump off!” whenever it played from DJ Jimmy Jatt’s deck. A walk through the archives of his jump off which is only about the hardest freestyle sessions in the country will show footage of some of the current Nigerian music GOATS be it Afropop or hip-hop, freestyling over his beats.
Despite his legendary status, DJ Jimmy Jatt still continues to spin on his wheels of steel, holding jump off sessions for members of the new age of music and this has earned him the number one spot.
2. DJ Spinall
Whenever you hear the tag “Top Boy!” you instantly picture an ankara fila while getting ready to be entertained with top-notch music. That’s because DJ Spinall who DJs with that tag, has with his skills and brand, made himself into a household name. This is a feat the Top Boy DJ attained through consistency as seen in his arsenal of musical projects which total 6 since he started releasing them in 2015. And in addition, by being a part of relevant conversations in the music space as seen in his recent deal with Smirnoff for which he hosts a talk show with Nigerian musicians.
3. DJ Neptune
Last year, DJ Neptune took us on a fun ride with his Joeboy-featured smash hit, Nobody. It had several iterations and yet there was none we could not resist turning up the volume to, with the first version and the Icons remix topping the charts for weeks. Prior to this, the DJ had earned his ‘Greatness!’ tag by collaborating with some of our favourite acts to creates tunes to turn up to.
4. DJ Kaywise
“DJ Kaywise joor o!” that is the tag, a plea for him to take it easy on our ears and feet and yet remains a plea he never heeds. Last year, Nigerian musicians and producers caught the South-African Amapiano bug and churned out several dance-compelling songs that featured the genres airy pads, heavy bass, and horns. But of all these records, it was DJ Kaywise’s Phyno-assisted, synth-infused Highway, that broke the charts, carrying over into the new year and on to our chart as one of the most influential DJs in Nigeria.
5. DJ Consequence
Alias ‘The Vibes Machine’, he is indeed a certifiable vibes originator who has proved this over and over with his party-starting mixes and the all-white summer parties he throws where guests soon find themselves caring less about the delicate colour of their outfits and more about their moves on the dance floor.
6. DJ Tunez
Some DJs’ influence carries over the seas and into the diaspora and DJ Tunez is one of such. At home in Nigeria, he has not only earned his chops as a skilled DJ with his irresistible Wande Coal-featured Iskaba single. He then got a Wizkid co-sign when he was made the official DJ to the megastar’s Starboy Entertainment. Since then, he’s helped to ensure that the airwaves do not go for too long without having a Wizkid song to cool things down.
7. DJ Switch
The Big Brother Naija franchise is known for its star-making power on contestants but for DJ Switch, it was a matter of the universe giving her her flowers after she became the talk of the internet following her stellar jockeying skills during a version of the BB Naija Saturday parties.
The talented DJ soon sealed her place in the heart of Nigerian youths after her act of bravery at the Lekki Tollgate Massacre served to provide indisputable proof of the shooting of unarmed civilians by military personnel.
8. DJ Cuppy
DJ Cuppy has risen above widespread backlash and naysaying regarding her craft to become one of the most followed and endorsed music-making personalities in Nigeria. To cap it all, she is also the host for Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio, a show where she really shines as a show host as she converses with musicians making waves all over Africa.
9. DJ Enimoney
Music of the street-hop genre is one that connects to Nigerians at every level and DJ Enimoney is one of the key players where street-hop is concerned. He’s not only a force for that alone but also wears the crown as the official DJ of Olamide’s YBNL record label.
The importance of DJs comes full circle when you hear them being spoken about by musicians. For instance, in conversation with DJ Spinall, Wurld shared that it was ECool who first played his breakout song, Show You Off, in a club in Atlanta. A Nigerian-diasporan DJ, ECool truly straddles both worlds and finds firm footing as one of the most influential DJs in Nigeria as the official DJ to Davido’s DMW record label.
11. DJ 4Kerty
Not everyone may be familiar with the tag that goes “DJ 4kerty, ede ma jo lo di 4:30” (DJ 4Kerty, and you’ll dance on till 4:30), but whenever it plays on the streets of low-income areas in Lagos such as Bariga and Agege, it’s a sign that a street bash is about to go down. The spinning powers of DJ 4Kerty are not just key in the street-hop genre but in the new age of it as evidenced by his Majo record with Bella Shmurda.
12. DJ Big N
“When you’re big, you’re big abeg” is a maxim popularised by DJ Big N as a double-entendre that touches on his influence as a disc jockey and physical presence. The official DJ for Mavin Records, he has represented the label home and abroad, touring the US once with Tiwa Savage.
13. DJ Obi
In 2016, DJ Obi broke the record for the longest ever DJ set by completing a 240-hour long deejaying marathon. The record-breaking DJ also has other feathers in his cap as he continues to play his way into the music hall of fame.
14. DJ Lambo
“DJ Lambo ah dey here so!” is the announcement and an affirmation of the presence of the red-buzz-cut-haired DJ who has spun records for the Chocolate City Group since 2015. An apt tag it is as she has over the years remained in the music industry as a deejaying presence to be reckoned with.
15. DJ Crowd Kontroller
When DJ Crowd Kontroller played for one night at a BB Naija Saturday party, his performance was received with a unanimous thumbs up and general acclaim from the Nigerian Twitter populace who are naturally difficult to impress as a collective. This is because he had taken the party to the respective homes of the viewers and shown that he was rightfully named as the crowd kontroller.
As DJs continue to be a part of the music kingmakers and movers and shapers of the industry, likewise this list remains a dynamic one that is bound to change with time. But there you have it, the list of the big 15. Do you agree with our list of most influential DJs in Nigeria and the order in which they appear? We’ll love to hear from you in the comments section.