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Rema 'Bad Commando' cover art.

The 12 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Teni, Rema, Kizz Daniel, Tekno, Niniola, Davido, Wizkid and more.

Read ahead for our selection of the best Nigerian songs of October.

For more Nigerian hits, follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


Teni 'Billionaire'

"Wanna make love on the moon, dancing to my tunes / is it too much?" asks Teni on "Billionaire," the title track off her debut EP. "Billionaire" is introduced by zesty drumming and sustained by aspirational lyrics that manage to avoid vanity.

Kizz Daniel 'Pak 'n' Go'

The husk/rasp in Kizz Daniel's voice has long suggest maturity and here convinces especially over recorded live instrumentation by long term collaborator DJ Coublon.

Tekno 'Skeletun'

Over a delicious highlife beat, Tekno delivers his newest additions to the afropop dictionary with the words: "skeletun," "kelepu," and "keletu." Playful and nonsensical, "Skeletun" is the work of a fine music brain who continues to discover newer depths of musicality.

Niniola x Precision Prod 'Pocket' (Bitter Sweet Riddim) 

Niniola's first departure to Soca is helped by Trinidad & Tobago's Precision Prod, who have co-written and produced "Pocket." Niniola reins in her vocal power, perhaps more interested in supplicating her lover in the refrain, "will you be my mine?" But she still maintains her flashes of raunchy/suggestive lyrics like "come and enter my socket."

Wale 'Love & Loyalty' feat. Mannywellz

"I'm like a young Sunny Ade of my city" boast Wale on "Love & Loyalty," taken from his sithth studio album Wow… That's Crazy. The busily brilliant beat combines highlife and 808 drumming into a riotous production over which Wale impresses with speed and timing with solid support hook support from Mannyywellz.

Davido 'Risky' feat. Popcaan

Davido's "Risky" is a taste from his upcoming album A Good Time, which is set to drop on November 22. The new single sees the Nigerian heavyweight connecting with Jamaican star Popcaan as they both go in over afrofusion-meets-dancehall beat work. It was produced by DMW's in-house beatmaker Speroach Beatz. The track notably features Davido doing a cheeky flip of his own freestyle he did on Shade 45 earlier this year, which was made fun of across social media. "What you all laughed at !! You will dance to !! " Davido posted on Twitter.

M.I Abaga 'The Viper'

MI Abaga brings to bear his full powers as an MC, label head, OG and public intellectual on "The Viper,"his own character assassination of Vector's own character assassination "The Purge." Stretching over 5 minutes long, it buttresses and matches AQ's own diss at Vector "Distraction 2."

Vector 'Judas The Rat'

Vector leans into his background as a battle MC on "Judas The Rat." Alert, angered and, yet, zen, Vector's response to MI Abaga's "The Viper" is a studied take down and propels the rapper to the fore of conversations about supremacy which, before now, he was largely left out of. It's a fine display of skill sets by a proven craftsmen.


WizKid 'Joro'

By Wizkid's own admission on a recent Beats One interview, the word"Joro" means nothing; a non-word whose aural quality and four-lettered brevity is full of musicality as was "Soco."

ASA 'Murder in the USA'

A searching guitar introduces "Murder In The USA", the first song on Asa's fourth album titled Lucid. The drums come in the second verse, as do the cause of her lover's paranoia; "we'd just made love and it was so pure / and then my phone started ringing / you saw a name and got crazy." What followed isn't detailed but has led to this lover's death and her own impending demise via electrocution: "Guess ill see you soon now / they say i gotta face the chair now."

Rema 'Lady'

The best surprise on Rema's third project Bad Commando is "Lady," a delicious confection of house but rendered completely in Nigerian idioms. The beat's propulsive rhythms helps to showcase Rema's vocal control and the occasional flourish or stank especially when in pidgin, when he's just as convincing on a trap or "Soco"-inspired beat.

Erigga 'Ayeme' ft. YungZee Onos

Taken from his album The Erigma 2, "Ayeme" is a well rendered tale of steadfast love delivered in a near-ceasless flow. The song is memorable for its details and affecting for its portrayal of an eventful and lasting relationship.


For more Nigerian hits, follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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