This is perhaps because some of the heavy hitters of Nigerian pop haven’t opened their 2019 accounts. Even so, Nigerians still dance in clubs and at home, singing along to fresh music. And if the year produces a hit as big as ‘Soco’ from last year, be sure that this list will be updated.
10. Joeboy – ‘Baby’
It’s not very common for an animated video (or a visualiser) for a song by an upcoming act to get a million YouTube views. But that is what Joeboy’s visualiser for ‘Baby’ has done. It has beaten the million views mark by over a half-million views. There are a few reasons why this has happened: it is one of the songs chosen by Mr Eazi’s pawa initiative, the video tells a simple love story between two charming characters and, ultimately, the song is catchy.
9. Timaya – ‘Balance’
“I really got plans to make the world dance,” Timaya sings on dancehall track ‘Balance’. Mission accomplished.
8. Olamide – ‘Woske’
The video for ‘Woske’ has Olamide in a suit channeling Michael Jackson in ‘Smooth Criminal’ and perhaps ‘You Rock My World’. The song has faint disco elements but retains a Nigerian vibe. A similar mix of foreign and local styles gave him the hit ‘Motigbana’ last year. He has pulled it off again.
7. DMW, Davido & Zlatan – ‘Bum Bum’
Released under DMW, the name of Davido’s group and label, ‘Bum Bum’ features the vocals of popstar and rapper of the moment Zlatan. No marks for guessing what the song is about.
6. T Classic – ‘NFPY’
Newcomer T Classic sings a love song over a beat with traditional Yoruba elements, soft strings, as well as a galvanising pop beat. The chorus’s insistence on the beloved’s beauty—“Nobody Fine Pass You”—means fans have a line to chant to in the clubs.
5. Burna Boy – ‘Dangote’
Nothing sells in Nigerian pop as much as talk of money, and nobody in Nigeria, and the continent, has as much money as Aliko Dangote. Burna boy uses the name as the chorus and as with Teni’s ‘Case’, which also named-drops the billionaire, Burna Boy’s Dangote is a hit.
4. Zlatan – ‘Zanku (Leg Work)’
The song that is the soundtrack to the current dance craze across the country was released last year. The video, though, was released this year. As everybody expected, it is filled with variations of the dance.
3. Fireboy DML – ‘Jealous’
The album from Olamide’s group YBNL Mafia might not have caught on like the rapper’s first few albums, but ‘Jealous’ from the album has become a fan favourite. For many, the song was first heard in the video for Olamide’s ‘Woske’. That snippet was enough to send many looking for the song. When they found it, young act Fireboy got his first hit.
2. Kizz Daniel – ‘Fuck You’
It seems like everybody has recorded a cover to this Kizz Daniel song: From Simi to Tiwa Savage to Ice Prince to Victoria Kimani. Each of the covers has contributed to the song’s popularity. Initial gossip regarding who the pronoun in the title refers to has also fueled the song’s popularity.
1. Burna Boy x Zlatan – ‘Killing Dem’
Two of the country’s hot artists got into the studio and the result is the impressive ‘Killing Dem’, a song that is all killer and no filler. From the moment Kel P’s beat drops, there is no respite for the listener. If you don’t move, you might have to check with the doctor.