According to Spotify, the list of African rappers who was streamed more often this year than any other includes Ice Prince; one who not only divides opinion with his lyrics but is also believed to be having a ‘quiet’ year.
Every December since 2013, Spotify comes up with an end of the year review list in which users can look back at their most-played songs, artists, albums, genres, while artists also get a wrapped total of their music streams, hours, etc.
The end of the year streaming numbers for 2018 have been rolled out and many are wondering how Ice Prince comes high on the list of most streamed African rappers despite not having scored a major mainstream hit in a while and this has led to questions and debate from music fans.
Ice Prince’s impressively high number is a bit ironic, especially when placed side by side that of South African rapper Nasty C during the year under review.
Spotify statistics show that his numbers come in at 19M with 1M listening hours while that of the South African rapper, Nasty C is at 17M streams, 910k hours and Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie has 9M streams and 602k hours.
The former Chocolate City vice president made major waves back in 2010 following the release of his breakout hit single, ‘Oleku’. He then enjoyed sustained mainstream success with his studio albums, ”Everybody Loves Ice Prince” the following year and ”Fire of Zamani” in 2013.
Ice Prince became the first Nigerian artist to appear on the popular American radio show, ‘The Breakfast Club’ in 2015, but since then it has been a bit downhill for the rapper, which is quite contrary to the career of his South African counterpart, Nasty C.
Ever since the release of his debut album, ”Bad Hair” in 2016, his career has been on a meteoric rise winning awards and gaining global recognition.
He appeared on the ‘Breakfast Club’ and ‘Sway In The Morning’ in 2017 while this year, he has featured on both top American shows, ‘Ebro in the morning’ and ‘Hot 97.’
It is the year that has also seen him release his fairly successful sophomore album, ”Strings and Blings” which has a number of hit singles including ‘King’ which features A$ AP Ferg.
His freestyles easily become trending topics on Twitter and he is one of the major reasons why the Nigerian audience point to South African rap over ours.
Nasty C is at the point in his career where Ice Prince was a few years back, and with the way the music industry is shaped where an artist who is no longer at the top rarely gets mentioned, it is quite surprising to see the numbers that Zamani has turned over at the end of the year.
What are the factors that could have made this happen?
Spotify is yet to give a detailed breakdown of how these numbers were gathered but while we can draw up arguments and inferences, data don’t lie, Spotify numbers can’t be manipulated and all we can do is attempt to unravel the ‘how.’
1. His followers and loyal fan base, especially in the disapora
There seems to be the existence of a strong and loyal fan base that continuously seek his music on streaming platforms.
Despite what social media sells to us, Ice Prince at some point was the biggest artist in the country and one of the biggest in Africa and it is impossible for people who loved his music when he was truly hot to have all turned their backs on him.
Also considering that Spotify is not officially available in Nigeria, majority of these streams were gathered from fans all over the world. A quick look at cities that contributes to his almost 300,000 monthly Spotify listeners show cities like Paris, Toronto, New York, LA and London high on the list.
2. His old songs
Ice Prince released his EP, ”C.O.L.D” in June this year and while not breaking any new grounds musically, it was one that critics warmed to easily and also served as something fresh for his fans who had been waiting on him.
Then he teamed up with one of 2018’s sensation Peruzzi in ‘Yawa’ which has been making rounds on charts and radio stations and followed it up with ‘Control Number’ featuring Jesse Jagz.
His most popular songs on Spotify are however made up mostly of old songs leading with his feature on Major Lazer‘s enormous hit single, ‘Particula’ which features both Ice Prince and Nasty C, [51M streams].
Ice Prince’s other most streamed songs include ‘I Swear’ with French Montana [1,563,411 streams,2013], ‘Aboki’ [1,099,433 streams, 2013], ‘Oleku’ [811,484 streams, 2010] and ‘Juju’ [719,156 streams, 2011].
Despite what you think of him, Ice Prince remains the ultimate millenial pop star and while his fire may not be burning at its brightest, there remains enough spark to attract listeners to his direction.
And for every time the internet generation comes at him for his lyrics or social media posts, and hashtags like #IcePrince bars becomes an internet trend, there is a large crowd who get curious or seek to relive his brilliant moments and go consume his music on their popular streaming platforms.
Just for additional context, Ice Prince on Instagram has more followers 3.1M than a number of top African rappers including Nasty C [1.7M], Cassper Nyovest [2.3M], AKA [1.6M] and Sarkodie [1.9M].