Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua, a British heavyweight boxer, knocked out Ukrainian Vladimir Kiltschko on Saturday night to claim the IBF, vacant WBA (Super) and IBO heavyweight titles. The fight was held at the Wembley Stadium in London , England and attracted a post-war record audience of 90,000. Klitschko went down three times during the fight with Joshua, himself being downed once by the Ukrainian. Joshua, born of Nigerian parents is the most recent on a long list of entertainers, sportsmen and other professionals who have brought glory to other nations despite their Nigerian origins.

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Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko

Around the world and in key positions, Nigerians abound. From doctors and nurses in hospitals, to engineers and other professionals across different professions, the story is the same. Just a few years ago, Will Smith played the role of a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist, Bennet Omalu, in the movie, Concussion, which chronicles his work on chronic traumatic encephalopathy suffered by American football players. The movie went on to gross a whopping $43 million against a $35 million budget. And a few decades ago, Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon turned out for the Houston Rockets, becoming one of four NBA players ever to record a quadruple-double.

We could go on and on about this, from Sade to Seal and from New York to Melbourne, the brain drain continues. The truth remains that wherever Nigerians have set foot on, they have excelled. From children breaking educational records to entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley,the case has been the same. The cause of the brain drain is indeed not far fetched but for how long it will continue to rob Africa’s largest nation, by population size, of its brightest minds remains to be seen.

Here are a few hip hop influenced acts of Nigerian origin;


In 2007, rap artiste Chamillionaire won a Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for his song, ‘Ridin’ with Krayzie Bone. He, again, was born to a Nigerian father. These days, he is seen around Silicon Valley, and is heavily involved in a few entrepreneurial ventures.

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MMG’s Wale is fully Nigerian and he does not fail to show it. Numerous mentions of ‘green-white-green’ or ‘Naira’ abound in his songs and have even culminated in him featuring Wizkid, Olamide and Davido on his latest effort ‘Shine’.



Skepta is an English grime artiste, songwriter and record producer of Nigerian descent. Having released his Greatest Hits album in late 2007 and his second, Microphone Champion in 2009, both independently, his third studio album Doin’ It Again was released in 2011 by AATW, His fourth studio album, Konnichiwa, was released on May 6, 2016 to critical acclaim, winning that year’s Mercury Prize.

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Photo credit – FactMag

Skepta, it was, who first introduced Wizkid’s sound to Drake.


Popularly known for his “Classic Man” single, Jidenna is known to always blend ankara prints into his outfit. Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records , and was born in Wisconsin to a Nigerian father and a white mother. He, however, grew up in Nigeria and in 1995 his family moved back to Boston. His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards.

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Jidenna has since gone on to release his debut album ‘The Chief’ including the song ‘Bambi‘. His dress sense is not the only thing Nigerian influenced, but his songs and videos as well.

Tinie Tempah

Born Chukwuemeka Patrick Okogwu, Tinie first broke onto the UK music scene with the songs “Pass Out” and “Written in the Stars”, in 2009/10 which went on to chart in the UK in that year. Wizkid has been heavily affiliated to his ‘Disturbing London’ imprint and even collaborated with him on the single ‘Mamacita‘ last year. He has also performed at the opening ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics.

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Youth album cover

Tinie’s third album, ‘Youth’ is in stores now.

This list is endless. We have limited it to those who have been active in the past year.


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