Phyno (Real Name: Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, born 9 October 1986) is a 35-year-old Nigerian singer, songwriter, rapper, and record popular for rapping in the Igbo language. He is best known for his hit songs some of which include Fada Fada, Connect, Highway, and Ghost Mode.
Phyno seemed to have come on the scene with a bang, dishing a unique brand of Igbo hip-hop and rap. His songs frequently feature as club bangers, and everyone, from those on the streets to well-to-do Nigerians, can relate resoundingly to his music. He is undoubtedly one of the most influential indigenous rappers in the country. Phyno is one Nigerian musician who releases hits after hits unapologetically from 2010 when he made his singing debut.
Aside from being a veteran musician, Phyno also is a record producer who has worked with many big names in the country, including 2baba, Timaya, and Flavour, among others. Also an actor, he appeared in Genevieve Najis’s highly rated Lionheart movie in 2018.
The 35-Year-Old Rapper Hails From Anambra State, Nigeria
Phyno, whose full name is Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson, is from Anambra State but was born on October 9, 1986, in Enugu State. He grew up in the same town and later adopted the name Phyno as short to Phenomenal – a name given to him by a friend while growing up.
At an early age, he dreamt of becoming a pilot but was soon swayed by the thoughts of having a music career when he was in secondary school. It was at that time that he learned the art of playing several musical instruments and creating his own rendition of every recording he heard. Graduating from secondary school, he proceeded to the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) in Enugu, where he studied public administration.
Phyno Started His Professional Music Career in 2003
As a student in IMT, the talented artist Phyno Fino went to a studio to have his Industrial Training (IT). However, professional music production for Phyno started in Enugu in 2003, which led to his becoming one of the biggest producers in the east from around 2003-2006. Phyno was moved by the dreams to expand, thereby moving to Lagos in 2007. This marked the beginning of a journey that would lead to the production of songs for many Nigerian notable singers such as Timaya, Ruggedman, 2baba, J Martins, Flavour, Bracket, and 2Shotz.
He worked with different artists but still could not birth his singing career until 2010. This decision he took with the influence of people like Timaya, M.I, and Mr. Raw, who encouraged him to start making music. Over the years in his career, Phyno has maintained a unique style of music where his native Igbo language remains the main language to pass his message. Regardless, he still has been able to maintain a position where his rhythm couldn’t have kept him away from the regions of the north, west, and other parts of Africa and beyond.
In his music, he deals with societal issues that cut across love, politics, and God, among other things. Although he ventured into music as a rapper, he soon became versatile with his singing adaptation rather than only rapping. According to the artist, this aspect of his talent will meet a larger audience and allow him to grace many other stages.
He Released His Debut Album in 2014
Phyno began recording his debut studio album, “No Guts No Glory,” in 2012, but the album was finally released in 2014 with Ghost Mode as its lead single. The album featured guest appearances from Stormrex, Omawumi, Olamide, Efa, P-Square, Timaya, Flavour N’abania, Mr. Raw, M.I, Ice Prince, and Runtown. Serving up instant hits; “Ghost Mode,” “Man of the Year,” “Parcel,” and “O Set,” his debut album was well worth the wait.
The album, as would also prove to be the case in subsequent singles and albums alike, was recorded in Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin. Phyno told Joan Omionawle and Netwon-Ray Ukwuoma of the Nigerian Tribune that rapping in his native language is his strong suit. This is also the musical approach of other musicians like Flavour, Zoro, and Olamide. Phyno’s collaborative album with Olamide, titled ‘2 Kings,’ was released on April 1, 2015. Plans for the album were first announced in January 2014 by both rappers via social media.
Fast forward to 2016, the artist released another album titled “The Playmaker,” which was again followed by the “Deal With It album,” which contained 21 tracks, including hits like Vibe ft. Flavour, Ride For You ft. Davido, and Problem. Although both albums have received positive reviews, “Deal With It” was reportedly plagued by bad timing for its release, as Nigeria was going through the heartache caused by a Xenophobic attack in South Africa.
In recent times, Phyno’s most acclaimed song is “Highway” (2020), where he was featured by DJ Kaywise. The song was named NET Honour’s Most Played Streethop Song (2021).
Breakdown of Phyno’s Songs and Albums
Some of His Songs
- Bia (2021)
- Eff All Day – Timaya ft. Phyno (2021)
- Somebody -Olamide ft. Phyno (2021)
- For the Money ft. Peruzzi (2020)
- Highway – DJ Kaywise ft. Phyno – (2020)
- Chop Life – Flavour ft. Phono (2020)
- Ride for You (2019)
- Ojimo (2019)
- God’s Willing ft. Runtown (2019)
- The Bag (2019)
- Ka Anyi Na Ayo ft Teni (2019)
- Fuwa Sewa (2019)
- Onyeoma ft Olamide (2018)
- So Far So Good (2017)
- Augment ft. Olamide (2017)
- Zamo Zamo ft. Wande Coal (2017)
- If to Say (2017)
- Fada Fada (2016)
- Never (2016)
- Financial Woman ft PSquare (2016)
- Pino Pino (2016)
- Okpeke ft. 2Baba and Flavour (2016)
- Link Up ft Burna Boy & M.I (2016)
- Connect (2016)
- Obiagu (2016)
- O Set ft. P-Square (2014)
- Aju ft Olamide & Efa (2014)
- Alobam (2014)
- E Sure For Me (2016)
- Mistakes (2016)
- N.W.A. ft. Wale (2014)
- Ghost Mode with Olamide (2012)
- Shutdown (2012)
- Deal With It (2019)
- The Playmaker (2016)
- No Guts No Glory (2014)
- 2 Kings (with Olamide, 2015)
Phyno’s Honours and Awards
- City People Entertainment Awards for Best Rap Artiste of the Year (2014)
- Nigeria Entertainment Awards, for Best Collabo (with Olamide for Ghost Mode, 2013)
- 2x The Headies for Best Rap Single Man of the Year and Parcel (2013 and 2014).
His Career Saw Him To Having The Biggest Concert In Africa
As an expansion of his career, the Enugu-raised singer joined many other artists in Nigeria in 2013 to perform at the Star Music Trek tour. He after, he again joined other artists on the same tour. In 2015, Phyno began a festival called Phynofest with a debut at the Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium in Onitsha, Anambra State, his state of origin. The festival witnessed the presence of about 12,000 people. The success of the Phynofest led to its sequel in 2016. However, this time around, he chose to take it to the state the nurtured him – Enugu!
The festival was even bigger as it was attended by more than 30,000 people. More than two times the number of people who attended the festival a year before. The 2016 Phynofest had its attendance the likes of P-Square, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Zoro, Onyeka Onwenu, Lil Kesh, Patoranking, and Kcee. Despite its success, Phyno had better success in the 2017 edition of the festival, which has been tagged the biggest concert in Africa by an artist. The Phynofest was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.
More than 50,000 people watched performances from prominent artists, including Yemi Alade, D’Banj, Timaya, Mayorkun, Flavour, and Duncan Mighty. Since then, there have been expectations for even a bigger and better concert by the artist. However, none came for a while. Regardless, many fans of the singer choose to keep their finger crossed in the hope that he will them another.
How Phyno Accrued a Net Worth That is Above $10 Million
Phyno has an estimated net worth ranging from $10 million to $12 million, according to different reports. This net worth makes him one of the richest musicians in Nigeria. The artist’s major source of wealth is music. The platform allows him to earn from song releases, the sale of albums, shows, and concerts, among others. Although it is unknown how much he charges for a concert, many artists of his caliber receive nothing below a million Naira.
He Earns From Being a Notable Producer
Still in music, he earns from being a producer. According to sources, an average music producer in Nigeria earns about 10,000 Naira per hour. Since Phyno is above the average level and mostly produces for big names, his earnings are believed to be far above that.
His YouTube Channel is a Contributor to His Net Worth
YouTube Channel is one other platform that Phyno generates his wealth from. He has more than 400 thousand subscribers and above 157 million views. On average, YouTubers earn between $1 to $20 per 1,000 videos. This automatically leaves Phyno claiming about $157 thousand to about $3 million.
He Has Several Endorsements Deals
In addition, Phyno, dubbed as one of the best rappers in Nigeria, also amasses great wealth from his numerous endorsements and investments. He has signed many deals with reputable companies, including sports betting company Nairabet. He is a brand ambassador for Airtel Telecommunications. In August 2014, Phyno became an ambassador of Guinness Nigeria’s Made of Black campaign alongside Olamide and Eva Alordiah.
Breakdown of the endorsements That Add to Phyno’s Wealth
- TomTom (2019)
- Life Larger Beer (2018)
- Monster Energy (2018)
- Nairabet (2015)
- Airtel (2015)
- Guinness (2015)
All The Controversies Phyno Has Been Involved In
Being a celebrity generally puts one in the position of having many aspects of his life being the subject of many discussions, especially by the media. This is not far-fetched from the fact that Phyno’s success equally comes with several controversies. Here are some:
He Allegedly Impregnated an Upcoming Singer
Back in 2014, rumors were rife that Phyno impregnated an upcoming singer named Rita Edmond. Other sources went as far as claiming that Rita had the intention to terminate the pregnancy. However, both Rita and Phyno refuted both claims. According to Rita, she claimed to have no idea how or where the rumor came about. Still, it sure affected her career positively as many people gave her attention because of the said relationship. Regardless, the rumor still was able to leave her with tears as she felt that it dragged her name to the mud.
There Are Claims That Women Were Raped During His Pynofest Festival
In 2017, during the Phynofest that hosted more than 50,000 people, it was alleged that more than 20 ladies were raped. Others claimed that there were hoodlums who ripped others of their belongings at the concert. On his part, Phyno, through Twitter, earlier claimed that the concert venue was armed by security personnel. Regardless, the claims were reported to security, which led to investigations.
The rape allegations during the Phyno concert are, however, not the first in Nigeria. Many music concerts in Nigeria have been followed by the allegation of women being sexually assaulted. However, apart from that of Phynofest, which made several headlines, another one was the FlavourofAfrica Concert in 2018. The claim also includes alleged gang rape. Nevertheless, the police in Enugu said any woman that was raped should report to any station. When none was done and the message was taken off social media, it was assumed that the story did not hold any water.
Phyno’s Song ‘I Am A Fan’ Left Him With Theft Scandal
In 2016, Phyno released the I Am A Fan song off his The Playmaker album. Another version of the same song was released in 2017 by an American singer, Pia Mia. This led to many people who heard Phyno’s initial release of the song tag Pia Mia as a song thief. Not long after the theft allegations were out, it was said that Pia Mia, who featured Jeremih in her version of the song, did not steal the song from Phyno. Then who did?
It was later disclosed that Phyno, Jeremih, and producer Remo were working on the song until something came up and the project was discarded. Phyno instead of using Remo, sorted with the help of Banjamz, another producer who produced the I Am A Fan that features Mr. Eazi and Decarlo. Remo, who had the abandoned project that Remo did with Phyno, took it and put it to good use.
In another tale, Decarlo wrote the song and gave it to different artists and gave it to Pia Mia and Jeremih, whose version he authorized. Phyno then shared his conversation with Declaro on WhatsApp, where he claimed that it was the last time he was going to talk about the controversy. Mr. Eazi also claimed that Phyno did not use the song without authorization, but it was Declaro who begged Eazi and Phyno to use the song alongside 14 other songs, but he wanted his vocals to be used.