While hip-hop is currently a pretty marginalised genre in Nigerian music, that was not always the case. Through the late ’90s and early ’00s, hip-hop was more popular than ever on our shores, and Weird MC was the female rapper at the forefront of that movement.
Growing up between England and Nigeria, Weird MC, whose real name is Shola Idowu, was a dynamic act who infused the hip-hop sounds she loved from abroad, with the domineering music from her home country — most notably the Fela Kuti-coined genre, afrobeat.
For one of her earlier singles that set her on course, Weird MC put her formal education in production to the test, adding her own percussion and flow to the horns and guitar off Fela’s “Look and Laugh”, emerging with “Allen Avenue”, the standout track of her 1997 album, Simply Weird.
Speaking to Vanguard about the success of the single that set her on her journey, Weird MC shared:
“I got the sign that ‘Allen Avenue; was going to be special after I finished recording the album.
I took it to Fela to listen to… [and] when he heard the song, he was impressed. According to him, no woman in Africa had ever used afrobeat music to do rap, such that it sounded so marketable.”
Coming as one of the only female rappers at the time, Weird MC was met with condescension by her male counterparts, who would ask her not to touch the equipment or, as insecure men are known to do, question her abilities.
However, that didn’t deter Da Rappatainer. Looking up to the likes of Queen Latifa, Salt n Pepa and MC Lite, Weird MC joined pioneers in the Nigerian hip-hop scene, Ill Bliss, Mode 9, amongst others, in bringing tastes helmed by American rappers to our Nigerian shores.
And as she did so, she paved the way for other female rappers to hop on the scene, such as Sasha P and Mo’Chedda. Weird MC herself is inspired by women who are making moves, changing things and breaking the barriers of the status quo — which she achieved through her groundbreaking career.
Since she ditched the mic, Weird MC has worked behind the scenes in the music industry, using her influence to push younger artists and also exploring her other hobbies, such as politics. Whatever it is she puts her mind to, we’re sure Weird MC will continue to break boundaries.
Listen to her biggest hit, “Ijoya” below:
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