Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike (born 9 October 1986), better known as Phyno, is a Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer. He started his music career as a producer in 2003, and is renowned for rapping in the Igbo language. His debut studio album No Guts No Glory was released in 2014. It was supported by four singles: “Ghost Mode”, “Man of the Year”, “Parcel” and “O Set”. Phyno has worked with artists such as Timaya, Flavour, Ruggedman, Bracket, J. Martins and Mr Raw.
Life and music career
Although a native of Anambra State, Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike was born and raised in Enugu State. His stage name, given to him by one of his high school friends, was derived from the word phenomenal. Phyno developed an interest for music production during his secondary school days. He initially wanted to become a pilot, but was told he could be a doctor. Throughout secondary 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 there. 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 further his music career.
Phyno began 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, MI, Ice Prince and Runtown. It was primarily recorded in Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin. On 25 September 2012, he released the Olamide-assisted “Ghost Mode” as the album’s lead single. 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 won Best Rap Single 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 Clarence 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.
The album’s third single “Parcel” was released on 11 October 2013. It was originally titled “Parcel (a BIG Nwa)”. The music video for “Parcel” was shot by Clarence Peters and released on 19 February 2014. “O Set” was released as the album’s fourth single on 4 March 2014. The song was produced by WizzyPro and features vocals from 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 Clarence Peters. Produced by Major Bangz, the song is an Igbo slang for “My Guy”. On 2 September 2014, Phyno released the video for his “Authe (Authentic)” song with Flavour. On 7 October 2014, he released the Major Bangz-produced “Yayo”. It debuted at number 8 on the Pulse Music Video charts. The Clarence Peters-directed music video for the song premiered on 5 January 2015. Opeoluwani Akintayo of The Daily Times of Nigeria gave the video an overall rating of 8 out stars of 10, commending its use of props.
In June 2013, Phyno performed for 25 minutes in Owerri as part of the Star Music Trek tour. He 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 2013 Hennessy Artistry Club Tour. He performed at the 2014 edition of the Star Music Trek tour in Nsukka, Enugu State.
In March 2019, Phyno announced plans for the release of his third studio album Deal With It. It has been supported by two singles: “Agu” and “The Bag”. The album features guest appearances from Olamide, Falz, Davido, Don Jazzy, Zoro, Runtown and Teni.
He told the Nigerian Tribune he raps in Igbo because he respects his culture and loves being himself. Although he primarily raps in Igbo, he incorporates a bit of Nigerian Pidgin and English into his music. Phyno believes the elements of music makes it borderless.
In a 2014 interview with The Punch newspaper, Phyno denied reports about impregnating a woman named Rita Edmond.
- No Guts No Glory(2014)
- The Playmaker(2016)
- Deal With It(2019)