Nigerian music, which is also the commercial hub of Afrobeats, is still very much alive and well, thriving with power and pomp.
The West African country is witnessing a streak of impressive submissions. Smash hits from , such as Olamide’s ‘Loading’ featuring Bad Boy Timz, Burna Boy's ‘Onyeka’ and Wizkid’s ‘Ginger’, have continued to amass appreciable rotation in the new year. Nonetheless, an exciting new stack, led by an almost unexpected contingent including Ayra Starr and Bella Shmurda asserting themselves as fresh favourites, is collecting thick and fast in the mainstream.
Feeling by Ladipoe ft. Buju
‘Feeling’ is not only the brightest moment of Ladipoe’s career but also an iconic one for pop from West Africa. It is rare for a rapper to shoot to the forefront, but Ladipoe, an underground hip hop king for many years, has done it. During a trip to Ghana in 2021, Ladipoe acknowledged this to colleague Sarkodie. Nigerians “respect rap, but they don't really elevate,” he said. “To me, my whole thing is that I want to make a statement. I've been hustling. I’m humble, but I'm ready.”
For You by Teni ft. Davido
On the Davido-assisted ‘For You’, Teni celebrates love, patience and sacrifice, like 2018’s ‘Case’. ‘For You’, whose Dammy Twitch-assisted video is constructed around a tale of prison escape, announced Teni’s debut LP Wondaland, which was released in March.
Focus by Joeboy
Taken from the album Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic, ‘Focus’ was inspired by true events encountered by one of Joeboy’s associates. The majestic highlife record explores the all-too-familiar subject matter of unrequited love.
Loading by Olamide ft. Bad Boy Timz
Taken from Olamide’s last album Carpe Diem, ‘Loading’, featuring the fast-rising Bad Boy Timz, was a December staple, and its impact has carried on deep into this year. On the one hand, the bouncy jam continues Olamide’s run as Nigeria’s biggest rapper today. On the other hand, it ushers Timz in as a new Afrobeats flagbearer.
Kilometre by Burna Boy
The energetic dancehall record is the Afro-fusion star’s first release after his historic Grammy win. Produced by longtime collaborator Chopstix, with Clarence Peters handling the accompanying video, ‘Kilometre’ sees Burna Boy taking stock of his remarkable musical journey, which also saw him grab his third consecutive BET Award for Best International Act in 2021.