Properly analyzing the situation, it could look like the whole lockdown saga had one thing or the other to do with our artistic sphere – music specifically. This phase saw Nigerian music evolve with more voices being heard. It was observed that contents became somewhat more creative and engaging. Nigeria and her neighbours have seen the better of the whole COVID-19 regulations and that didn’t necessarily decline the value and quality of contents our Afrobeats watchmen dished out to us.
In spite of the circumstances, things never seemed better, with one of Nigeria’s finest bagging a Grammy award, this season seems to be more of a blessing than a woe.
In this article, we’ll be taken on a ride – a countdown ride of the ten best Afrobeats songs released between the months of January to April. It comprises and appreciates the finest songs we’ve heard so far this year. In case you’re looking for a perfect playlist compilation, in no particular order, this should be your best bet yet.
“World” by Bella Shmurda
Produced by SB, Bella Shmurda shares a new record entitled “World.” This song serves as a major follow up to his hit song, “Rush.” Shmurda has really been on his feet, working on new projects and gaining major grounds especially with the latest collaborations he has been involved with – getting one with Davido and another with Olamide. In other news, it is even reported that his fans are to buckle up for a new release with WizKid.
Interestingly, “World” points out and openly ridicules some odd societal happenings like father sleeping with daughter, pastors seeking and using black magic (jazz), homosexuality among others.
“Warri Boy” by Glenn Mena
In “Warri Boy,” Glenn Mena talks about his upbringing and life in Warri, the pride he feels coming from this city, the fearlessness the people possess, the simple lifestyle they live, and the negative and untrue perception people seem to have about them. In the chorus, he proudly mentions the popular roads and streets in the city. In the 16-bar verse accorded to him, Erigga talks about his struggles he and his mother faced while growing up but how the teachings he got helped shape him. Warri Boy is an anthem that is relatable to all who were born and bred in Warri. The song was produced by Jethro Lion Productions and the Visuals which is available on Glenn Mena’s official YouTube account was directed by CHASE.
“Dignity” by Angelique Kidjo Feat. Yemi Alade
After the huge success “Shekere” made in the airplays and music charts globally, the duo have once again linked up to produce a proper cynosure and mash up of African sounds and rhythms. It is an African tune that everyone ought to have added to their playlists. The 4-time Grammy Award winner saw it fit and rightly timed to unleash this spirited anthem inspired by the youth-led movement to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and is accompanied by a poignant music video starring Kidjo and Alade.
“This song is against brutality, but it’s also about how we need to treat each other with dignity, treat nature with dignity, and treat ourselves with dignity. Because if we can’t see the dignity that Mother Nature gave to all of us, then how can we walk tall?” Says Kidjo during the press release. The track was produced by Vtek da Awesome, and inspired by Nigeria’s youth movement, which has been protesting police brutality perpetuated by the nation’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad
“Forever” by Gyakie Feat. Omahlay
Right after being confirmed by Apple Music as the cover for Africa Now playlist, Gyakie, the Ghanian songstress teams up with Nigerian sonical maestro, Omah Lay to unveil the remake of her already existing tune, “Forever.” After amassing a lot of views on YouTube, Gyakie’s fans never expected a remix of the song. This remix seems more engaging and is a knot to inter-nation interests and understanding. While she continues on her journey to taking over, she’s convinced that consistency and originality are the major ingredients she’d require.
“Bad Dancer” by Johnny Drille
Johnny Drills unveils this tune after his widely accepted offering, “Mystery Girl.” The record, which was self-produced by Johnny Drille, spotlights a singer-songwriter who is comfortable with wearing his heart on his sleeves for all to see. “I am often the reserved and socially awkward kind, I make music as a reflection of who I am and have been; a misfit on a quest to find true love, to find that one person that is just perfect for me, one that gets me, one I can be my awkward self around. That’s the picture I paint,” in the singer’s words. If you’re a sucker for Disney romance films, then this song is right for you as it recounts the adrenaline and excitement equally embedded in such movies. Enjoy “Bad Dancer” below.
“Thunder Fire You” by Ric Hassani
Off his second studio album comes this soul-stirring and yet humorous tune. This song clearly depicts the switch from a hopeless romantic to a distressed flame. “Thunder Fire You” was inspired by an experience too grave and incomparable to how stern it is being perceived. Irrespective of the ban received by the singer, the song still flies and is still being accepted. This is certainly one of the biggest tunes in the country right now.
“Flex” by Kizz Daniel
Merging an Afrobeats backbone with droplets of folk saxophone and Pidgin lyrics, “Flex” is composed around an amazing and enjoyable call and response system with Kizz Daniel delivering an inspirational ‘you only live once’ tune while outlining liquor, beautiful Ladies and exuberant energy. Nesting on the foundation of an Afro-fusion, Kizz goes full party mode as he declares in his lyrics, “I just wan flex, make nobody Halla for my head”. The video was rendered in an uptown-type black and white video. Vado is seen enjoying himself in this video which emits that 60s feel.
“Kilometre” by Burna Boy
His year started well with streamlined features with Becky G on ‘Rotate’, Headie One on ‘Siberia’, Sia on ‘Hey Boy’, Justin Bieber on ‘Loved By You’. It’s of no surprise that the Nigerian artist is in a celebratory mood on this new piece. It promises a well balanced mix of dancehall, reggae, and Afrobeats. Grammy winner, Burna Boy taps talented music producer, Chopstix to create his latest offering dubbed “Kilometre.” This single was a response to the several questions asked by his fans.
“History” by Cheque Feat. Fireboy
Penthauze golden boy, Cheque collaborates with YBNL’s wave maker, Fireboy on a tune- “History”. It seems to be like a new generational bromance is being stirred between the two, just as in the case of bosses- Phyno and Olamide. Produced by the excellent beatmaker himself, Andyr, this resonance is sure to hit the top charts. This playlist could not have been put together without this tune being a part of it. The song has become very popular in Nigeria now, topping charts and gaining massive airplay. This tune is a literal celebration and ode to the positive things that have befallen the artists since their professional debut in music. The goal is to keep moving forward, leaving history behind.
“La La” by Davido Feat. Ckay
This release is a conscious and intentional effort by the DMW boss to satisfy the “cravings” and “call-outs” of his fans that have urged him to unlock new content. Davido’s relevance is indescribable as he is always up to something – either in the music category or in something else. The song which was produced by Blaise Beatz is an afrobeats tune which bears the number 12 track off Davido’s third studio album, “A Better Time.” The video was shot and directed by Dalia Dias and this video features scenes from the football match Davido played with his DMW gang and other music stars which went viral a few weeks ago.