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Phyno – Best Igbo rapper


Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike (born 9 October 1986), better known by his stage name Phyno, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. He started his musical career as a producer in 2003. He is renowned for rapping in the Igbo language. His debut studio album, No Guts No Glory, was released in 2014. It produced the singles “Ghost Mode”, “Man of the Year”, “Parcel” and “O Set”. As a producer, he has worked with artists such as Timaya, Flavour, Ruggedman, Bracket, J. Martins and Mr Raw.

Life and music career

Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike was born and raised in Enugu State, though he is a native of Anambra State. His stage name Phyno, which is derived from the word ‘phenomenal’, was the nickname given to him by one of his high school friends named Emeka. Phyno developed an interest for music production during his secondary school days. He initially wanted to become a pilot, but was told that he could be a doctor. Throughout high school, he learned to play the drums and piano. He also learned to create his own rendition of every recording he heard. He studied Public Administration at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, and started profiting from music during his second year at IMT. Phyno told Ifeoma Onoye that Mr. Raw is one of the few people he looks up to. Phyno started rapping in 2010 and relocated to Lagos to continue his music career.

2012–present:No Guts No Glory, Guinness campaign and 2 Kings

Phyno started recording his debut studio album, No Guts No Glory, in 2012. The album features guest appearances from Stormrex, Omawumi, Olamide, Efa, P-Square, Timaya, Flavour N’abania, Mr. Raw, M.I, Ice Prince and Runtown. It was primarily recorded in Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin. On 25 September 2012, he released “Ghost Mode” as the album’s lead single.[9] The song features Olamide. It won Best Collabo at both the 2012 The Headies Awards and 2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. The music video for “Ghost Mode” was released on 7 December 2012. It was shot and directed in Lagos by Clarence Peters. Sputnet Records released the album’s second single, “Man of the Year (Obago)”, on 23 March 2013. The song, which was produced by Phyno, won the Best Rap Single category at the 2012 The Headies Awards. The music video for “Man of the Year (Obago)” was uploaded onto YouTube on 20 August 2013. It was also shot and directed by Peters in Abakpa Nike, and features a cameo appearance from Illbliss. In September 2013, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation banned the music video from being broadcast.

“Parcel”, the third single off the album, was released on 11 October 2013. The song was originally titled “Parcel (a BIG Nwa)”. The music video for “Parcel” was shot by Peters and released on 19 February 2014. On 4 March 2014, “O Set” was announced as the album’s fourth single. The song was produced by WizzyPro and features P-Square. The music video for the song was directed by Jude Engees Okoye. On 22 May 2014, Phyno released the music video for “Alobam”, which was directed by Peters. The song, which is an Igbo slang for “My Guy”, was produced by Major Bangz. On 2 September 2014, Phyno released the Peters-directed visuals to his “Authe (Authentic)” song with Flavour N’abania. On 7 October 2014, Phyno released the Major Bangz-produced “Yayo”. The song debuted at number 8 on the Pulse Music Video Charts. The music video for the song, directed by Peters, premiered on 5 January 2015. Opeoluwani Akintayo of The Daily Times of Nigeria gave the video an overall rating of 8 out of 10 stars, while commending its use of props.

Phyno’s collaborative album with Olamide, titled 2 Kings, was released on 1 April 2015. Plans for the album were first announced in January 2014 by both rappers via social media.

Notable performances

In June 2013, Phyno performed for 25 minutes in Owerri as part of the Star Music Trek tour. Phyno toured with D’banj, Burna Boy, Chidinma, Vector, Pucado, Seyi Shay, Show Dem Camp, Kay Switch and Sean Tizzle as a supporting act on the Hennessy Artistry 2013 Club Tour. In April 2014, he performed at the 2014 edition of the Star Music Trek tour in Nsukka, Enugu State.

Artistry and sound

He told the Nigerian Tribune that he raps in Igbo because he respects his culture and loves being himself. Although he primarily raps in Igbo, he combines a bit of Nigerian Pidgin and English in his music. Phyno believes that the elements of music makes it borderless.

Personal life

In a 2014 interview with The Punch newspaper, Phyno denied reports about impregnating a woman named Rita Edmond.


Studio albums

  • No Guts No Glory (2014)
  • The Playmaker (2016)

Collaborative albums

  • 2 Kings (2015) (with Olamide)

Selected singles

    • “Oringo”
    • “Yayo”
    • “Connect “
    • “Asai”
    • “Got it in my Vein” (featuring De Boss and RunTown)
    • “Nnunu” (featuring Stormrex)
    • “Ezege”[27]
    • “Man of the Year”
    • “Alobam”
    • “Street (Kush) Muzik”
    • “Connect”
    • “Fada Fada (Ghetto Gospel)”
    • “E Sure For Me”
    • “So Far So Good”
    • “Isi Ego”
    • “Link Up” (featuring M.I. and Burna Boy)
    • “Augment”(featuring olamide)
    • “Mmili (Freestyle)”(featuring DJ Enimoney)
    • “Mkpotu” (featuring Zoro and Tidinz)


  • “One Chance” (featuring Kranium)


  • “No Be My Style” (featuring Burna Boy)
  • “Okpeke” (featuring 2Baba and Flavour)
  • “Onyeoma” (featuring Olamide)
  • “NWA” (featuring Wale)
  • “IWA” (featuring Tekno)
  • “Fuwa Sewa” (2018)
  • “Agu” (2019)


Year Film Role Notes
2018 Lionheart as Obiora Movie

Awards and nominations

Phyno awards and nominations
hideAwards and nominations
Award Wins Nominations
The Headies 3 15
Nigeria Entertainment Awards 1 3
Channel O Music Video Awards 0 1
City People Entertainment Awards 1 4
Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) 0 1
African Muzik Magazine Awards 0 2
MTV Africa Music Awards 0 1
Channel O Music Video Awards 0 1
Awards won 5
Nominations 28

MTV Africa Music Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2015 Himself Best Hip-hop Nominated

Channel O Music Video Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2014 “Alobam” Most Gifted Hip-hop Nominated

City People Entertainment Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2014 Himself Rap Artiste of the Year Won
No Guts No Glory Rap Album of the Year Nominated
2013 “Ghost Mode”
(featuring Olamide)
Best Collabo of the Year Nominated
Himself Best Rap Artiste of the Year Nominated

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2014 Himself Best Rap Act of the Year Nominated
2013 Best Rap Act of the Year Nominated
“Ghost Mode”
(featuring Olamide)
Best Collabo Won

African Muzik Magazine Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2013 Himself Best Newcomer Nominated
Best Rap Act Nominated

Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2013 “Man of the Year” Best Afro Hip Hop Video Nominated

The Headies

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
2014 Himself Artiste of the Year Nominated
Phyno for “Alobam” Best Street-Hop Artiste Nominated
No Guts No Glory Best Rap Album Nominated
Album of the Year Nominated
“Parcel” Best Rap Single Won
“Dope Money”
(Olamide featuring Phyno)
2013 Himself Next Rated Nominated
Lyricist on the Roll Nominated
“Ghost Mode”
(featuring Olamide)
Best Collabo Won
(Lynxxx featuring Ikechukwu, Illbliss, and Phyno)
“Man of the Year” Best Rap Single Won
“Anam Achi Kwanu”
(Illbliss featuring Phyno)
“Ghost Mode”
(featuring Olamide)
2012 “Shutdown” Best Rap Single Nominated
Phyno (for “Shutdown”) Lyricist on the Roll Nominated


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