From Asa To Asake: The Peerless History of The Headies’ Next Rated Award

One of the most thrilling aspects of every edition of The Headies awards is the Next Rated Category. Year in and year out, fans and even the artists look forward to the announcement, if not with bated breaths, then with high hopes. In some cases, arguments are had, stan wars are fought, long pieces are written, and in some dramatic turns, beefs are triggered and squashed years later.

The Headies, formerly known as the Hip Hop World Awards, is a prestigious annual music awards ceremony in Nigeria, established in 2006, that celebrates outstanding achievements in the Nigerian music industry.

Often, winning the award feels like being on the cusp of something life-changing or career-changing. It’s like a springboard, like a good luck charm, and that is not taking away the obvious hard work that the insanely talented artist has to put in. We like good omens in Nigeria. We are a deeply superstitious nation, and when we notice patterns that are good, we pay attention to them and even wish for them to continue working in our favour.

Since its first winner in 2006, arguably 90% of the Next Rated winners have gone on to become superstars in their own right and churn out more good music. For all the winners, however, it’s a reward for their hard work and talent. That is, however, not the case for this work.

It is interesting to note and document, for the noble purpose of bringing nostalgia to your timeline, the important works of all the Headies winners, from Asa (2006) to Asake (2023).

The works that they did before the Next Rated Award and the beautiful pieces of music they blessed us with after it—call it a throwback or a look into the peerless curriculum vitae of the highly coveted Next Rated Award category.

2006: Asa

2007: Overdose

2008: Wande Coal

2009: Omawumi

2010: Skuki

2011: Wizkid

2012: Davido

2013: Sean Tizzle

2014: Patoranking

2015: Reekado Banks

2016: Mr. Eazi

2018: Mayorkun

2019: Rema

2021: Omah Lay

2022: BNXN (fka Buju)

2023: Asake