How much do you know about “Patoranking”?

Nigerian dancehall-reggae deejay/singer Patoranking, who just signed a major deal with VP Records (with some help from Base!), is starting to make major moves internationally and in Africa and has been chosen as MTV Base’s Artist Of The Month for March 2015.

Patoranking (born Patrick Nnamemeka Okorie) is known for popular songs like “Alubarika“, “Girlie O” and “Girlie O (Remix)”, which features the vocal stylings of Naija pop queen Tiwa Savage.

He started his showbiz dream as a dancer, dancing to all kind of music – especially ghetto-made music and dancehall vibes in street jams, carnival, gigs. He also appeared in some local musical videos. He switched from dancing to miming and rapping in school and, with friends in the ghetto he started going by the name Patorico. In 2003 he joined a six man Afro hip-hop group known as Da Flavour Squad as the lead vocalist (and the youngest). They performed in plenty shows within and outside Lagos, and after some time he left the group for a solo career.

The name Patoranking was given to him by a Jamaican who has love for his music and respect for his personality; “ranking” meaning highly respected, was added to “Pato” to make Patoranking, and with his vocal command and patois flair, he has done over 40 collaborations with underground and established Nigerian acts like X-project, Konga, Ras Mike, Slam, K Solo and many more. He is on his first international tour in Ghana and has collaborated with some top Ghanaian artist.

His peek through the door before his big break came in 2013 was when he collaborated with Timaya on “Alubarika”, which made a few ripples. The reggae jam, whose title can be translated to “God’s blessings”, features a sunny melody and Patoranking’s magnetizing patois. He said in an interview that the song was about “the transition from ghetto to hero and grass to grace.” His musical influences include Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, and Chaka Demus.

In February 2014 he signed a record deal with Foston Musik and released the original version of “Girlie O”, produced by WizzyPro. Tiwa Savagewas so impressed by the track that she reached out to him to jump on the remix, which adds some polish to the song’s minimalist dancehall beat. All in all, Patoranking’s romantic charm, positivism and spirituality makes him a promising rising star in the global dancehall scene and a worthy #AoTM for MTV Base!

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