Writing and performing your own original music in your native dialect or Pidgin English is a unique part of being a musician in Africa, whether it’s a solo effort or as part of a band.

For some, it’s casual creativity; for others, it’s dream career. But in the competitive Nigerian music industry, the reality is that you will need to lay the foundations independently to maximise your chances of making it big. This is why Hero Lager in 2023 offered a platform to indigenous acts in Nigeria through ‘The People’s Hero Initiative’, an offshoot of Hero Lager’s Uru Dia campaign, which seeks to recognise and reward talents and give fast-rising artistes the much-needed platform, including funding and mentoring to navigate the daunting journey to acceptance and recognition.

Making it to Hero Music camp with other artistes and producers could be described as a turning point for Ikpa Udo, as the camp produced an album, ‘Gen URU’ with his active collaboration on some tracks.

The name, Nsidibe Sunday Ukim may not be familiar to many, but his alias, Ikpa Udo is well known by lovers of Afro hip-hop, most especially those of the Ibibio origin, the 4th largest tribe in Nigeria.

Ikpa Udo is a Nigerian rapper, who hails from Akwa Ibom State. On November 29, 1992, he was born the last child in a family of three to Mr and Mrs Sunday Ukim.

Edidem’s style is unique. He does Afro hip-hop with a fusion of dance, rapping in his indigenous languages – Efik/Ibibio and weaving it stylishly to sit well in the hip hop market.

This approach to music is what carved a place for him despite the growing number of musicians springing up in Nigeria daily. He recently established Blown Starz Entertainment to pursue his career as an independent act.

Ikpa Udo made a mark in the mainstream following the launch of The People’s Hero initiative by International Breweries Plc, to support creatives on their journey to relevance.

For Ikpa Udo, it has been a long journey to success in his musical career, which spans well over a decade. This led to his recent ambassadorial deal with premium lager, Hero.

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Ikpa Udo toured major cities, serving as his unveiling as the new face of the brand, from May 17 to 19 at Uyo and Eket in Akwa Ibom, and Calabar, Cross River State. The concert brought together music lovers and fans of the lyrical Edidem, heralding a new phase of his career. 

Before now, to keep the family on their toes, pending the release of his much-anticipated ‘Son of the Soil’ album, Ikpa Udo released two smash singles off the project for listening pleasure of his fans. One is a melodious Afro-rap imbued with the capacity of authenticating and validating the rise of another iconic musician.

Halle, featuring Graham D Baba, produced by VT, mixed and mastered by WickedMix, is a track that portrays the rapper’s new position in the industry and how the story of his success has captured the zeitgeist. 

Though, the track’s public perception revolves around its propensity to give worshipful appraisals to God for upliftment and divine push to stardom, a contrary semantic import of the song is the obvious celebration of fame as the brand ambassador, whose journey to the mainstream is now more visible.

With Graham D on the hook, the duo displayed their appreciation to God for the gift of life, blessings, achievements and the ever-increasing fan base responsible for the replay values that his projects enjoy.

Ntom is another hit single, delivered both in English and Ibibio, the bars revolve around the rapper’s eventful journey from a gifted teen entering the game, to the ‘Neighborhood Hero’ he has become.

The track is in appreciation of the constant massive love Ikpa Udo has enjoyed from fans all over the globe, ever since he broke into the mainstream.

One striking feature about Ntom is its slow Afrocentric pace and pattern, with a beat that makes it unique in every sense. Thus, depicting Ikpa Udo’s high level of musical creativity, and why he is the fans’ favourite in the Afro-rap music lineage. Sounds of Africa produced the songs, and both were released early this month.

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