The Headies has had more than its fair share of controversies and problems, but the awards have become a cultural institution and a huge part of Nigeria’s entertainment industry. For many, it has become a one-night summary of a year in music.


Of the different categories at the Headies, the next rated category has been the most exciting, most contentious and most controversial.

But despite all these, the category has become something of a trend spotter, highlighting musical acts that did well the previous year and, as the name suggests, will go on to achieve more milestone in the years to come.

We’ve closed out 2018 and are now turning the page on a new year. It seems fitting to look back at the past year and spot new musical acts that are most likely to be nominated for the 2018 Headies next rated act.


Teni, The Entertainer

If Burna Boy hadn’t won 2018 with his slew of high impact releases and distinct musical talent, then Teni would have been declared the winner.

Over the last year, Teni has blessed the culture with tasteful music, marked by her strong vocals, songwriting skills and willingness to experiment with different styles and approaches.


Without a doubt, Teni, who won the rookie of the year award at the last Headies, is the strongest contender for the next rated category.


Peruzzi was in top form on 2baba’s ‘Amaka’ – a form he maintained throughout the year with strong releases that became part of the culture, essentially setting himself apart from his peers.

In late 2017, Peruzzi, who has been rumoured to be the songwriting force behind some of Davido’s major hits, was officially signed to the DMW label.


He went on to feature on several songs alongside Davido who used his star power to further prop Peruzzi’s visibility.


Propped up by his proximity to Afropop superstar and Starboy label head, Wizkid, and his brother and hitmaker, Tekno, one expects nothing less from Spotless than musical stardom.

Featuring in ‘Soco’ alongside his Starboy label mates and, later, collaborating with Tekno on ‘Benz’, Spotless is definitely one to watch out for.


Victor AD

Victor AD’s ‘Wetin We Gain’ was a perfect summation of the Nigerian dream and hustle, the reason millions of people are stuck in Lagos’ traffic, under the sweltering sun.

The song also brought unexpected fame to its Warri-based creator, Victor AD. While ‘Wetin We Gain’ maybe Victor’s biggest hit, it is difficult not to be excited at what the future holds for him.

Zlatan Ibile


When shaku shaku dance took over the clubs, Instagram feeds and Owambe, so did ‘My Body’ – an infectious 2017 song by indigenous rapper, Zlatan Ibile, featuring Olamide.

The emerging rapper has also been credited as the originator of the zanku dance, which, just like shaku shaku, has taken over as the preferred dance.

Naira Marley

For a brief period, ‘Issa Goal’ became Nigeria’s unofficial anthem during the 2018 World Cup, capturing the patriotic spirit kindled by Nigeria’s short stint and win at Russia World Cup.

The song, which features Olamide and Lil Kesh, was sung by Nigerian-British musician, Naira Marley, and was originally released in 2017 but it became truly relevant during the World Cup.

It brought Marley into popular consciousness, while Marley has followed it up with a slew of other songs.


Terri’s cover of DJ Jimmy Jatt’s (featuring Wizkid) ‘Oshe’ brought him to public attention. And it became the beginning of his journey to being a signee to Wizkid’s Starboy record label.

On ‘Soco’, featuring his label mates, Terri showed that he isn’t here to play and his subsequent singles have only confirmed what everyone already guessed.

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