At a time female rappers are having a tough time stepping out of the shadow in a male-dominated industry in Nigeria, a Nigerian-American rapper is fast gaining popularity and amassing endorsements from top hip-hop heads, including the legendary Ice T.
The twenty-one-year-old Alabama-born Chika Oranika, or just CHIKA, is having an April to remember.
On April 21, she dropped a video – a sort of reply to J. Cole’s ‘1985’, a track of his latest album, KOD.
The video resonated with the Alabama native’s followers and has been viewed over 1.4 million times and has 24 retweets and 63 thousand likes.
my response to @JColeNC’s “1985” just a couple thoughts. enjoy! pic.twitter.com/ox2vnwkhzn
— CHIKA (@oranicuhh) April 21, 2018
“1985’ re-inspired a little bit of hope into me,” she told HipHopDX after the video was posted. “Somebody still cares about the impact of what they’re saying to the culture. It was something that made me extremely excited, and I had to respond to it.”
Six days later, CHIKA turned more heads than she could have ever imagined after responding to a flurry of tweets by Kanye West with an open letter, laying up thick bars over West’s ‘Jesus Walks’ track.
A letter to Kanye Omari West. Over his own beat. pic.twitter.com/5xdxKJ7d4l
— CHIKA (@oranicuhh) April 26, 2018
“Now Mr West take a seat, I implore ya,” she begins in the video which has now amassed more than 5 million views, 107 thousand retweets and over 288 thousand likes.
And then she goes into I-no-dey-look-Uche-face mode, delivering savage bars that will make seasoned battle rappers do a double take.
“And your music has been wack/and your views are moving back to a day that triggers n*ggas because we still hear that whip crack,” she raps.
Bars like those, Ice T says, blew his mind and it was no surprise that the video quickly went viral.
You gotta follow this artist. She just blew my mind! https://t.co/JzPQbenE3D
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) April 27, 2018
“THIS NAIJA WOMAN RIGHT HERE!!!!!!!!! If you people don’t pay attention fast you will lose out!!!! Come on through Chika,” says Grammy and Tony awards winner Cynthia Erivo, who like CHIKA, has a Nigerian background.
Can I just say that this girl @oranicuhh is sooooooo talented. If your ears need to hear something real and actually sick, go check her out please. I will be buying her album when she makes one. One of my personal faves….https://t.co/ioRkTTNMbO
— Naomi Scott (@NaomiScott) April 26, 2018
Even CHIKA did not think her open letter to Kanye would be such a monster hit and blow up her social media following very fast.
“When you hit 50k on IG at 6 am, take a 2-hour nap and wake up to 60k,” she tweets with a surprise emoji next to it.
“It’s not even about the numbers but 50k has been a milestone I wrote down when I first started this. I saw it, screenshotted so I could thank everyone, took a nap and it was on to the next one.”
Earlier in the month, the independent artist had begged for financial help to boost her career.
“Someone give me a shot. Lock me up in a studio. Forget the money, you I’ll get it back,” she says. “Invest in me and you won’t be sorry.”
Apart from being a rapper, she is also a poet and spoken word artist. Her poetry EP, Full Bloom was released on Soundcloud in 2017.
Riding on the waves of her newly-found popularity, CHIKA is expected to drop her mixtape soon. Will that mixtape be bar-heavy too? Probably.
“I’m good at what I do,” she says in a post on Instagram. “I’m proud of that fact. Now let me show y’all for real, for real what I’m made of.”