In September 2018, Chinko Ekun finally scored his long-sought hit. Under the Dek-Niyor imprint, the rapper fielded a team of Lil Kesh and Zlatan Ibile over a scintillating Rexxie production and released ‘Able God’ to the warm embrace of the streets. Over the record with dominant hard-hitting percussions, the three rappers call on to God for blessing while providing slang-laced commentaries on street hustles. The accompanying video shot largely in a church featured a new dance that entailed repeated hopping, punctuated with a faux flying kick. Before long, the record found its way to the clubs, dominated the airwaves, and stuck to the lips of music lovers. A hit record was born.
‘Able God’ was an enormous success that ushered in the Zanku dance to the mainstream as the successor of the globetrotting shaku-shaku and gave Chinko Ekun the much-needed hit single that has eluded him since his YBNL days. But the biggest winners of this record: Zlatan and Rexxie for whom the club-banger served as a launchpad to stardom.
Yes, Chinko Ekun had a hit to his name, pushed him in conversations that he never existed before, and had a good run of stage performances in the last quarter of the year including the busy Dirty-December all thanks to this single. But for Zlatan, this was the start of something way bigger.
Prior to its release, Zlatan was an underground indigenous rapper struggling to make a name for himself in the industry. He had recorded varying degrees of progress with a couple of street hot tunes but nothing close to the success of ‘Able God’. With the release of the smash, Zlatan whom many saw as an outsider just a year ago grew to become a household name. His standout-verse on the record was the first of his run of killer features that have introduced him to new audiences. Along with his Zanku (Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us) being the dominant dance move in the country at the moment, he has gone on to score a couple of hit records of his own.
In fact, it’s almost irrefutable that Zlatan is the hottest rapper right now, perhaps rivalled only by his friend and frequent collaborator, Naira Marley. Gradually, Zlatan is unseating Olamide as the go-to guy for street anthems, sizzling verses, and cool slangs. And as it stands, he could even go on to give Burna Boy a run for his money as the hottest Nigerian act in 2019.
And just like the YBNL General, the green-haired rappers has comfortably positioned himself as a staple for both the gritty corners of Agege and the wavy waters of Lekki. Even our biggest superstars, wanting to get a slice of the Zanku pie have continued to tap him for assists. Zlatan has teamed up with Davio, Tekno and even Burna, in the duet ‘Killin Dem’ which is still one of Naija’s biggest songs at the moment.
Another winner is Rexxie who has now moved from a producer seeking validation to a certified hitmaker. Ever since ‘Able God‘, Rexxie has gone on to work with some of Nigeria’s biggest acts like Davido and Tiwa Savage and has also been on a streak of bangers. Even his bio on his Twitter and Instagram forthrightly says “Hits Only”. Now when you hear ‘Yo Rexxie pon dis one‘, as a beat kicks in, you know that you’re in for a treat.
The young producer has been behind smash hits like Naira Marley’s ‘Soapy‘, and ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy‘ as well as the most recent DMW‘s ‘On God‘ with Dremo, Mayourkun and label boss, Davido.
‘Able God’ is more than just another hit. It was the ignition that propelled several acts into the mainstream after years of underground dominance. This is not to say that it is single-handedly responsible for their present successes. No. But it gave them the visibility that Zlatan and Rexxie particularly leveraged upon to take their careers to the next level.
Sadly, Chinko Ekun, on the other hand, is slowly fading back into obscurity and Lil Kesh is almost nowhere to be found.