Best known for his Igbo rap hip-hop music style, Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike alias Phyno, is one of Nigeria’s finest rappers. The Igbo artist who began his career as a singer/rapper in 2003, is now celebrated for being one of the most successful musicians in the country. The best of Phyno’s old songs, including songs like “Isi Ego” and “Ghost Mode” have continuously topped many music charts across the country.
With about four successful studio albums to his name, Phyno has no doubt earned himself a worthy reputation for being consistent in releasing hit songs that will always be appreciated any time any year.
The Best of Phyno’s Old Songs
Popularly called the ‘King of the East’ Phyno is a Nigerian famous singer whose songs still make a huge impact no matter how long ago they were released. Most of Phyno’s old songs have withstood the test of time despite the steady release of hit songs in the Nigerian music industry.
Phyno formally began his music career in 2003, though he’s been in the industry for years longer, writing and producing songs for star artists like Bracket, Flavour, Timaya, Ruggedman, 2Shotz, J Martins, and Mr. Raw. The Anambra State native, born and raised in Enugu State, nursed his passion for music since his secondary school years and from learning to play musical instruments like the drums and piano, he grew to know how to create his own rendition of every recording he heard.
Phyno started rapping in 2010 and by 2012, he was already on his way to producing his first music album, No Guts No Glory. Today, he is ranked among the biggest music star in Africa. As an indigenous rapper, Phyno says his rap in Igbo was a show of his love for his Igbo culture and being himself. He, however, also incorporates a bit of Nigerian Pidgin and English into his music. Here are some of Phyno’s old songs that will never go out of fashion.
Ghost Mode ft. Olamide
Ghost Mode is one of Phono’s old songs that made so much impact in the history of the Nigerian Music industry. Not only did it bring about a collaboration of two indigenous rappers but it also played a role in the resurrection of rap music in the industry.
Featuring the popular Nigerian rapper Olamide, Ghost Mode is Phyno’s first single from his debut studio album which was released on October 25, 2012. Its video, directed by Clarence Peters, was released on December 7, 2012, and as expected, it received over a million views in just a few hours of its release. Phyno’s Ghost Mode went on to win his first two awards namely the 2012 The Headies Awards and the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best Collaboration.
Man Of The Year (Obago)
This is another one of Phyno’s hit tracks that can never leave the hearts of many. “Man of the Year” was released on March 23, 2013, and it featured Illbliss under the Sputnet Records. Although “Man of the year” is the 5th track from Phyno’s debut album “No Guts No Glory” the song marked the artiste’s second hit video that helped to elevate his status in the music industry.
Shot in Abakpa, a large town located in Enugu, Man Of The Year (Obago) was released on YouTube on Aug 20, 2013, and just a few hours after its upload on YouTube it garnered so many views that it won the best rap single award at Headies 2012. However, due to its “raw content”, the song was banned from being broadcast by Nigerian Broadcasting Commission in September 2013. Despite its ban, the song has continued to garner more views.
N.W.A ft Wale
This is a crisp mid-tempo jam that was released in 2014 and it features famous Nigerian-American hip-hop artist Wale. Rather than making his usual rap, N.W.A has Phyno taking up the role of a singer, leaving Wale to deliver his rap bars and lines to make the musical composition that brings them together.
Part of the lyrics of the song has Phyno boasting of his financial, as well as his gangster status and it was very well played on Nigerian radio. Its video was later released on YouTube on July 4, 2018, and was considered by many a big hit of that time with over three million views garnered on the online video sharing platform.
“Alobam” is one of Phyno’s old songs you can always relate to. More like a hitting buddy anthem, Phyno’s Alobam— which is Igbo slang that loosely translates to “my homies” or“my guy” — has the rapper/singer reminding his fans of how much importance he places on them. The lyrics of the song also have the artiste paying tribute to many of his industry peers, including Flavour, J Martins, Ice Prince, P-Square, and Olamide.
Through the song, Phyno was sure to let his fans know that the long years of hustle have finally paid off when he says “Anyi enwe buro cha, kita anyi naagu na puku’ meaning ‘We once had nothing, now we are counting in thousands”. He ended the song with a total appreciation to as many that played a role in his journey to musical success. A flawless track we must say.
The music video for “Alobam” was released on May 22, 2014. The video was directed by Clarence Peters and produced by Major Bangz, and it received over 1.5 million views on YouTube. The hit track also fetched Phyno two award nominations – Channel O Music Video Awards for Most Gifted Hip-hop, and The Headies ‘Best Street-Hop Artiste’ – although he could not win either of them.
This is one of Phyno’s old songs that you cannot help but dance to. Who says a song can’t be very hip hop yet groovy? Phyno’s Parcel is track No. 9 off the album No Guts No Glory. Although the lyrics of the song see the Enugu-raised singer bragging about his new status as a “big boy” and how he no longer spends in notes but in wads, this is largely accepted as one of his best singles, the kind that is best enjoyed in bars and clubs.
From the hilarious Parcel skit that literally presents great lines featuring Chi Gurl down to the major bang, we have Phyno presenting what many describe as very catchy lines that best define the true rudiments of great hip hop music, one that will last the test of time. Parcel garnered close to a million views on YouTube.
Fada Fada (Ghetto gospel)
You cannot but love it when two great rappers like Phyno and Olamide bring their awesomeness together to create new music. Phyno’s ghetto gospel is one of the artiste’s most widely received songs. It, in fact, has the highest views on YouTube with over 30 million views since its release on the video-sharing platform on May 13, 2016. Phyno’s ghetto gospel was released in his sophomore studio album titled Playmaker and the video was shot on Lagos Island.
The title of the song which can be loosely translated to mean ‘ The Lord has made a broke child wealthy”, has indigenous rapper, singer, and record producer; Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike appreciating his creator yet again for his new status as a wealthy man. If you are one of those wondering why the song received such wide positive reviews, well, it’s probably because the Penthauze frontman knows how best to knit words in a way that he passes the right message to his audience.
While doing his usual bragging about his new financial status, lines like “Never forget where I come from na from the ghetto”, he goes ahead to remind himself, as well as his audience of the importance of remembering your root. “Fada Fada” was not just a popular rhyme in Nigeria but even with its indigenous Igbo lyrics, the song topped the music charts of french and Portuguese-speaking countries like Burkina Faso and Cape Verde. This of course is indicative of the ever-growing influence of Nigerian music on the African continent.
A list of Phyno’s old songs that still make the most buzz would therefore include the following:
- No Guts No Glory
- “Man of the Year”
- N.W.A ft Wale
- Financial Woman
- Fada Fada / Ghetto Gospel
- E sure 4 me (Olisa doo)
- So Far So Good
- Fuwa Sewa
Other hit songs Phyno has released so far include:
- Pino Pino
- I’m a Fan ft Mr Easi & De Carlo
- Authentic ft Flavour
- Nme Nme
- Good Die Young
- Paper Chaser ft Illbliss
- Shey You Know
- Multiply ft Mr Raw
- Carry me go ft Storm Rex
- Ochie Dike ft Onyeka
- Mkpotu ft Zoro, Tidinz
- No be my Style
- Okpeke ft 2baba, Flavor
- Ino Nma
- Yes I Pray (Nwa Ogenta)
- Zamo Zamo
- If to say
- Link Up ft M.I & Olamide
What Was Phyno’s First Song?
Ghost Mode was Phyno’s first single. It was released on Oct. 25, 2012, and it featured his closest ally, Olamide. Prior to the release of the song, Phyno’s singing and rapping career was only known to him and the few celebrities close to him. It apparently took him over eight years (2003 – 2012) to let the world know of his musical talent by releasing the hit track “Ghost mode”.
Phyno’s “Ghost mode” has earned him a number of awards. They include the 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Best Collabo and The Headies 2013 awards for Best Collabo.
List of Phyno’s Albums
As of the time of writing this article, Phyno has recorded a total of four studio albums plus one collaborative album. Phyno’s albums notably have a mixture of Igbo rap afrobeat and Igbo highlife. His first album No Gut No Glory was released in 2014, although he began recording it in 2012. The album which incorporates Afrobeat, rap, and highlife, was recorded in Igbo and Nigerian pidgin and consists of 18 songs.
Talented artists featured in the album include the likes of Timaya, Stormrex, Ice Prince, Efa, P-Square, Olamide, Flavour N’abania, Mr. Raw, Omawumi, MI, and Runtown. It is worthy to also note that the album received a number of commendations for its indigenous and lyrical depth and was nominated for the City People Entertainment Awards and The Headies in 2014.
The Playmaker was Phyno’s second album released on November 1, 2016. The album which arguably made him the playmaker of the Nigerian pop music space includes songs about life stories, women, aspirations, and introspection. It featured guests like Psquare, M.I, Burna Boy, 2baba, Flavour, Decarlo, Mr Eazi, Onyeka Onwenu, Olamide, Zoro, Tidinz, Burna BoyPsquare, M.I, Burna Boy, 2baba, Flavour, Decarlo, Mr Eazi, Onyeka Onwenu, Olamide, Zoro, Tidinz, Burna Boy.
Described by Nigeria’s popular music and review website Tooxclusve, as the best thing recorded in the music industry, Phyno’s album Playmaker includes songs like “Pino Pino”, “Fada Fada” ft Olamide, and “E sure for me”. Though no awards were won, the album earned notable nominations at the 2017 Nigerian entertainment award for best Album; The Headies 2018 for best album of the year and best album.
Deal With It and Something To Live For are Phyno’s third and fourth albums, released in 2019 and 2021 respectively. While the former consists of ten mind-blowing tracks supported by two singles: “Agu” and “The Bag”, the latter has a total of sixteen amazing melodies that have continued to top various music charts till today.
The release of Phyno and Olamide’s collaborative album 2 Kings in 2015 was not so surprising considering how far they have come together in the music industry. Phyno had revealed that this was done due to popular demand from friends and fans. Like the rest of Phyno’s albums, 2Kings features guests like Wizkid, Lil Kesh, Storm Rex, Pheelz, Major Bangz, B.Banks, and Young John.
A complete list of Phyno’s Albums includes:
- No Guts No Glory (2014) in 201
- The Playmaker (2016)
- Deal With It (2019)
- Something To Live For (2021)
- 2 Kings – with Olamide (2015)
Awards Phyno Has Won So far
Thanks to his musical success, Phyno has a number of notable awards that widely serve as proof of his artistry in the music world. Currently, the artist and his songs have received a total of twenty-eight (28) award nominations, five of which he won. Interestingly, most of the awards won are credited to Phyno’s old songs like “Ghost Mode” (featuring Olamide), “Parcel” and “Man of the Year”.
Most of his award nominations come from the Headies where he has recorded 14 award nominations out of which he’s won three. The rest of his awards won were from the Nigeria Entertainment Awards and City People Entertainment Awards. In 2021, Phyno and his songs were nominated for Net honor’s “Most Searched Musician (male)” and “Most played alternative song” awards. However, he lost the awards to Davido and Tem’s song “Damages”.
A complete list of Phyno’s awards:
- 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards for “Best Collabo”
- The Headies 2013 for “Best Collabo” award category,
- The Headies 2013 “Man of the Year” award category
- 2014 City People Entertainment Awards for “Rap Artiste of the Year”,
- The Headies 2014 for “Best Rap Single” award category