19. Wizkid Ginger ft Burna Boy: A collaboration of two of Africa’s most extraordinary acts produced a novel and harmonious Afro-Latinx record bathed in dancehall rhythms.
18. Damages Tems: Rising Alternative royalty Tems used her voice to cry for female liberation in toxic relationships.
17. ELI Fireboy DML: Fireboy DML showcased his music versatility in his 2nd studio album APOLLO. ELI delivered mixed feelings of submission to female sexuality.
16. FEM Davido: Originally perceived as a diss to his assumed rivals in the music industry. Over months of its release, it became more as Davido’s ‘FEM’ became a clapback anthem for many Nigerian individuals towards their haters.
15. WOMAN Rema: If there’s one thing Rema is known for, it is his infusion of raw lyricism. Whether it’s trap, afro, indie, happy or sad, Rema puts it all out there just as he did with WOMAN. A confession for his love of women, which he expressed in a way he is proud of.
14. Koroba Tiwa Savage: Tiwa Savage’s Celia album explored many facets of Nigerian ladies but none like ‘Koroba’. In which its waves echo against society’s misogynistic views of ladies who date older rich men.
13. 20–10–20 Burna Boy: The 20th of October 2020 is a day that will always be remembered for the Lekki massacre. This single aims at frustration and anger towards the people in government responsible for the pain and tears of the Nigerian people. This song highlights the injustice and lack of value for human life from the Nigerian government. The heartbreaking bit of this single is the outro. In which a live recording of the massacre is inserted. Till today, as I write this, Nigerians still await justice for the lives taken at the Lekki tollgate on the 20–10–20.
12. Laycon HipHop ft Deshinor: This fusion of afro-pop and indigenous rap. Laycon, in his lyrical flows, condemns the strict branding of rap music and shows us how versatile he can be. The newcomer displayed his fervour, interchanging his tongues in three languages; Yoruba, Pidgin, and English, with a high tempo, beat in the background.
11. Laycon Fierce ft Chinko Ekun & Reminisce: Who is Laycon? Only a few could answer that question before he stepped into the big brother Naija spotlight; Laycon became a household name for millions of Nigerians assembling under the name ‘ICONS’. His track featuring Chinko Ekun and Reminisce, Fierce was the hymn for a global fan base. At the same time, they voted endlessly for their fave lockdown housemate to seal an incredible landslide BigBrother Naija victory.
10. Omah Lay Bad Influence: Bad influence sounds like a man exploring his demons due to an encounter with a certain someone. In his breakout EP ‘Get Laid,’ Omah Lay uses his silky voice to blend Afro melody with R&B and variations of highlife.
9. Adekunle Gold AG Baby: Featuring Nailah Blackman carrying the energetic chorus The fully rebranded artist reminded the country his relevance in the industry is unwavering. ‘AG baby’ is here to stay.
8. Terri Ojoro: Starboy’s 21-year-old singer showed he is willing to walk down his mentor’s path to prominence with ‘Afro series’. ‘Ojoro’ is a love song that draws attention to the frustration of persuasion before a romantic relationship begins. Something a lot of young adults can relate to. [Myself included]
7. Oxlade Away: In simple words, Oxlade’s Away took our minds away.
6. Bella Shmurda, Lincoln, Zlatan CASH APP: When Bella Shmurda hyped vision 2020, little did we know he was referring to his career growth. The Lagos state university graduate has been associated with big names, including (Davido, Wizkid, Popcaan, Burna Boy, Olamide and more) since his vision 2020 success. If Vision 2020’ was big ‘CASH APP with rapper Zlatan, and Lincoln is bigger. Interestingly, the two respective singles have similar social commentaries on the ‘Hustle Culture’ as Bella Shmurda sings, “Many days I never sleep”. The street single indirectly promoted a financial app and Nigerians scrupulous activities on it. But what do we care? The focus is on the “Ice on his neck.”
5. Dj Kaywise ft Naira Marley, Zlatan & Mayorkun WTOD: 2020 was a year DJ’s came out of their booth to show us what they had to offer. Dj Kaywise’s assembly of hit-makers Naira Marley, Zlatan & Mayorkun came together to do what they do best. ‘WTOD’ is a song that kept the party going across rooftops, courtyards and living rooms while the clubs were under lock and key.
4. Dj Neptune, Joeboy & Mr Eazi Nobody: Released a few weeks into the lockdown. Joeboy and Mr Eazi combined their vocals for this Afro-pop classic complemented by a colourful 90s themed video. Nobody came at an obscure time, reassuring troubled Nigerian minds everything was going to be alright.
3. Isolate Teni: The lockdown was a trigger for several artists’ creativity Teni included. Her ‘quarantine playlist’ of four tracks, ‘Isolate’ included, was for the lovers and couples stuck in quarantine. The singer appreciated not the reason for the lockdown but the company of family and beloved ones, which was all we had at that moment.
2. Abule Patoranking: Fashioned in dancehall, Patoranking penned a memorable memoir to his happy place with happy people.
Olamide Infinity ft Omah Lay: Infinity is remarkable for its subtle beat and soothing vocals Omah Lay delivers effortlessly. And it was crowned by autochthonous lyrics that have become Olamide’s unique signature.
Cheque Zoom: 2020 had a lot of new voices in the afro scene. Among those voices was Cheque. For months, the breakout track Zoom from ‘razor’ EP peaked No2 on top 100 Nigeria on apple music. With its clear-cut verses and aesthetic music video, Cheque manifested his destination and urged a growing fan base to witness his peak yet to arrive.
1. Rexxie & Mohbad KPK: Acclaimed producer and Mohbad collided for this Amapiano track ‘KPK’ that will cause the South African genre to see rapid popularity in Nigeria. Released in the first few weeks of the last month of an unforgettable year, KPK was a song that got heads nodding, hands swinging, and hips hopping.
Although KPK lacked a clear message, it was a song that drove us into a dancing spirit filled with energy, positivity, and hopes as we entered 2021.
Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.
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