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The 30 Best Davido Songs
The essential songs from Nigerian superstar Davido’s broad catalog.
Very few musical acts have been able to succinctly capture the musical zeitgeist of the 2010s (and the eras after) like Davido. With a signature sound that basks in the simple joys of navigating life as a Nigerian, his decade-long career has been marked by songs that provide respite in the face of harsh realities. It does not matter whether fans can relate to his exaggerated, often cheeky lyrics or not; with Davido, there's always a good time to be had.
Since his remarkable arrival on the scene with the Naeto C-assisted "Back When" and the ballsy follow-up "Dami Duro," Davido has remained a consistent figure on the ever-evolving Afrobeats scene. From record-breaking singles and albums to his intrinsic ability to turn every collaboration into a "Davido song,” the singer is one of Afrobeats’ most decorated artists and is capable of creating music that seamlessly transcends into anthem status.
With the release of his long-awaited fourth studio album, Timeless, a record that inserts him back into the conversation after a brief hiatus, we delved into Davido's expansive collection of hits and underrated gems to bring you a list of his most essential songs.
“Back When” with Naeto C
Davido's first official single, "Back When," introduced the world to the teenage producer and singer in 2011. Joining a new wave of artists attempting to reinvent afrobeat for a new generation of internet-driven fans, Davido came in guns blazing with a banger about making it despite coming from nothing, an interesting narrative for an artist who later announced himself as the son of a millionaire. The self-produced track also featured a hard-hitting albeit playful cameo from rapper Naeto C.
Co-produced alongside Shizzi, "Dami Duro" allowed Davido to ditch his initial grass-to-grace narrative for one that felt truer to his public profile. Brilliant, joyous and braggadocious, "Dami Duro" was part-manifesto, part-party anthem, as the young singer loudly declared his intention to change the game while warning anyone who tried to stop him.
“Carolina” with Sauce Kid
Mere months before his debut album hit shelves worldwide, Davido collaborated with Nigerian rapper Sauce Kid (now known as Sinzu) on the Maleek Berry-produced "Carolina" to close out 2011. Combining Sauce Kid's smooth, buttery flow with Davido's signature vocals on an impeccable hook, "Carolina" became a certified hit and one of Afrobeats most enduring collaborations to date.
“All of You”
Coming off a string of successful singles while battling a nepo-baby perception that attempted to box his achievements, Davido had much to prove with his debut album, OBO: The Genesis. Carefully treading the line between obnoxious and self-assured, "All of You", the album's opening track, found Davido confidently declaring his position as one of the best in the game. This was a bold statement from a 19-year-old introducing his first body of work to the world. But looking back at "All of You" over a decade later, young Davido might have been right.
Digging deep into his Yoruba heritage, "Ekuro" finds Davido comparing his relationship to a palm fruit bean as he reassures his muse that their love would remain safe, come rain or sunshine. An underrated gem from his debut album, "Ekuro" was a far departure from the party fire-cracker the world was introduced to on songs like "Back When" and "Dami Duro". However, it lays the foundation for the artist to deliver future romantic classics like "Aye," "If," and "Jowo."
Before TikTok became the Gen Z-oiled machine that turned relatively obscure songs into sped-up chart toppers with choreographed dance challenges, Davido left his imprint on the global dance scene with "Skelewu" — his viral 2013 hit that birthed an even more viral dance of the same name. The Shizzi-produced song and its video helped Davido unlock a new level of Afrobeats influence similar to that of hitmakers like Daddy Showkey, Marvelous Benji, Olu Maintain, and Artquake.
Prior to Davido bragging about being able to provide his muse with the luxury life and everything money can buy on songs like "Fall," "If," and "1Milli," he released 2014’s "Aye.” The track is a folksy pop record, penned by “Mad Over You” singer Runtown, in which Davido sings about love free from the desire for material things. Produced by T-Spize, "Aye" has become a signature Davido song, soundtracking clubs and wedding receptions all over the world.
“Coolest Kids in Africa” with Nasty C
2016 was the undeniable year of trap music takeover. Migrating from dimly lit Atlanta clubs to the top of the charts, songs like Desiigner's "Timmy Turner" and Migos' "Bad and Boujee" became major anthems across the world. Always looking to experiment with the new, Davido enlisted South African rapper Nasty C for the "Coolest Kid in Africa" trap record off his 2016 Son of Mercy EP. Bouncing off each other and twitching typical hip-hop bass to reflect a more African sound, Davido and Nasty C cooked up one of the singer's most experimental songs yet.
Written and produced by Tekno, "If" was the song that started a Davido renaissance, ending the dry spell the singer experienced after the lukewarm reception of his Son of Mercy EP. Often referenced as one of Davido's greatest songs of all time, "If" became somewhat of an unofficial national anthem for Nigerians. The song won Davido a Best African Act of the year award at the MTV Europe Music Awards, inspired a fashion collection with internationally-acclaimed Nigerian designer Orange Culture and helped cement the name of Davido's fan club: The 30 Billion Gang or 30BG.
Loudly regarded as Davido's magnum opus, "Fall" was the song that helped Davido transition from Nigerian musical hero to global superstar. Drawing influences from the trending 2016 synth-based mid-tempo sound popularized by both Runtown's “Mad Over You” and Tekno's “Pana,” Kiddominant's production helped elevate Davido's lyrics about wanting to leave the streets behind for love. "Fall" made history as the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history in 2019, way before Nigerians started becoming fixtures on Billboard lists.
Very few songs on Davido's discography are as vulnerable as the 2017 single, "FIA." Diving into the emotions of a man frustrated by his lover's lack of contentment, Davido is in top form here as he toils with the idea of what could've been while making the hard decision to walk away from a love that demands too much of him. In a year that saw Davido establish himself as a maestro of romance with "Fall" and "If," "FIA" felt like a more emotionally grounded exploration of love for the singer.
Davido bookended his 2017 hit run with the release of "Like Dat," which followed the success of "If", "Fall", and "FIA." Another collaboration with Shizzi, the song, which was also co-written by Teni, has gained an almost cult-like status, with many referencing "Like Dat" as his best song of that era, despite being deluged by the popularity of the songs that preceded it.
Davido is no stranger to pouring his heart out in a grand attempt to prove his love through music. While bits and pieces of the singer's love life had been fodder for the press since his debut, he finally took creative control of the narrative with the release of "Assurance" in 2018. Taking his relationship public with the Meji Alabi-directed video, Davido's muse finally had a face, with the singer promising a lifetime assurance of his love.
“Divine” with Odunsi The Engine
The release of Odunsi The Engine's 2018 debut album, rare, was pivotal for Nigeria's non-traditional alté movement. The album disrupted the frequency of what Nigerian audiences were used to and was quickly followed by daring projects from Tay Iwar, Lady Donli, and Cruel Santino in 2019. Tapping into the independent Y2K-inspired scene before it filtered into the mainstream, Davido gave his energetic vocals and signature "Shekpe!" adlib to Odunsi's "Divine," a song that converted genre skeptics, and reminded audiences of the possibilities that exist when both the familiar and outlier find a sonic middle ground.
“Blow My Mind” with Chris Brown
After a string of hits teasing his sophomore album, Davido brought on Chris Brown for "Blow My Mind," a sleek vocally-driven R&B love song penned by singer Wurld and produced by long-time collaborator, Shizzi. The song set the tone for the album's final singles, "Risky" featuring Popcan and "Sweet in the Middle" featuring Naira Marley, Wurld, and Zlatan.
“Risky” with Popcaan
Davido brings his signature energy to "Risky," a vibrant and sultry dancehall track, with Popcaan finally getting retribution for his bare-there appearance on Drake's "Controlla.” Speroach Beatz's production on the song elicits images of fluorescent-lit clubs, sweaty bodies and slow seductive whining.
“D&G” with Summer Walker
Making his move to cross over into the international market, Davido collaborated with American singer, Summer Walker on "D&G," a compelling addition to an oeuvre already bursting with incredible love songs.
With Davido, love is not just about committing physically and mentally but also about investing financially. On this Teekay Witty-produced track, Davido is entirely enthralled by his muse, as he asks if one million dollars would be a decent compensation for her attention. "1Milli," off his 2019 album A Good Time, also serves as an unofficial follow-up to 2018's "Assurance."
It would be remiss of anyone to talk about the 2020 #EndSARS movement without acknowledging the role music played in soundtracking and fueling marches scattered across the country. But if there was one song that succinctly captured the palpable tension and general feelings of exhaustion in those two weeks, it was Davido's "Fem". The singer employed the word "fem," which can be translated as "shut up," as a response to his haters. However, when protests kicked off that year, frustrated Nigerians flipped the song into a loud middle finger directed at the Nigerian government.
“Barawo” with Ajebo Hustlers
Port Harcourt-based Ajebo Hustlers were relatively unknown when they released "Barawo", a song calling out an endemic corruption system among Nigerian politicians. With the #EndSARS protests propelling the song to a new level of notoriety, the group enlisted Davido for a remix that has, over time, become almost, if not more, impactful than the original.
As far as Davido's love songs go, "Jowo" will go down as one of his most potent performances. On the track, Davido wears his heart boldly on his sleeves as he tries to convince his lover to focus on what they have and block out the rest of the world. Even if his plea fails to convince the song's subject, they go a long way in connecting with his audience, making "Jowo" the most streamed song on the singer's A Better Time album.
“The Best” with Mayorkun
Taken off his third album, A Better Time, "The Best" is a standout collaboration between Davido and former Davido Music Worldwide signee, Mayorkun. While most of Davido's other attempts at marking his territory as a leader in the game come with a sense of urgency to exert his influence, "The Best" relies on cheeky one-liners and humour, revealing an artist who doesn't feel the need to prove that he's the best to anyone, not even himself. With this song, Davido finally believes his own hype.
“Ke Star” with Focalistic
Outside of being one of the most important voices in Afrobeats today, Davido has seamlessly evolved into a cross-continental musical chameleon capable of delivering zesty features with artists from across the globe. On the remix of Focalistic's "Ke Star," he matches the South-African rappers swaggering chants with the flow of an Afropop juggernaut with a penchant for skating genres. Exploring the now-popular amapiano sound, at the moment it was transitioning from an underground favorite to global phenomenon, was a major creative frontier for Davido.
“High” with Adekunle Gold
Five years after winning widespread critical and commercial acclaim for being the poster boy for modern-day Juju and Yoruba-folk-inspired music, Nigerian singer Adekunle Gold decided it was time to expand his sonic purview. Although Adekunle Gold's rebrand was facilitated by 2020's Afro Pop, Vol.1, it wasn't until "High," his scintillating house-meets-amapiano collaboration with Davido that he finally made the jump from folk-boy next door to pop leading man. Riding on a Pheelz-produced beat, the two go toe-to-toe on a song about chasing the euphoric high from having a good time.
“Champion Sound” with Focalistic
Barely a year after he joined Focalistic and Virgo Deep for the highly addictive remix to their 2020 single, "Ke Star'', Davido teamed up with the South-African rapper once more on another amapiano earworm, "Champion Sound." The song, which finds Davido using lyrics like "Tell them make dem calm down, 10 years I've never gone down" to declare his enduring impact over a decade after his debut, was already a hit before an official release with its leaked version lighting up dancefloors from Lagos to Cape Town.
Not many people knew what to make of Davido's "new" sound when he teased "Stand Strong" in 2022. Accompanied by The Samples, the group famous for collaborating with Kanye West for his Sunday Service Choir, we see Davido perform his most vulnerable song yet. Replacing theatrics with raw honesty, he confronts his deepest fears about fame while carving out space to acknowledge his journey so far and his resilience through it all. "Stand Strong" is a triumphant testament to Davido's versatility.
A biblical reference and killer sax instrumental serve as the base of "Over Dem", the opening track of Davido's long-awaited fourth studio album, Timeless. Davido is back and ready to reiterate his undisputed position as a leader in the game. But rather than announce his return with an exuberant beat or cadence, the singer opts for a neat and tightly controlled mode of delivery. The mid-tempo track is the perfect springboard for an album aiming for the highly competitive king of Afrobeats crown.
“Unavailable” with Musa Keys
Davido is done dealing with everyone's BS and taking time to do him. He turns this PSA into another cross-continental amapiano number by pulling in South-African singer and producer Musa Keys for "Unavailable." Produced by Asake's frequent collaborator, Magicsticks, "Unavailable" has recently found a home on TikTok thanks to a dance challenge started by the artist himself.
“Kante” with FAVE
Davido has consistently proven himself to be an incredible duet partner on female collaborations — "D&G'' with Summer Walker and the highly underrated "Tanana" with Tiwa Savage — so it is no surprise that he creates magic with singer Fave on "Kante." Handing the reins to the "Baby Riddim" singer, Davido handles the backseat with finesse as the two coo and flow on the Damie-produced slow burner.
“Na Money” with The Cavemen and Angelique Kidjo
One song that readily illustrates Davido's profound role as a musical curator is "Na Money," featuring high-life duo The Cavemen and Grammy favorite, Angelique Kidjo. Produced by 1da Banton, the unusual collaboration harnesses the sound and aesthetic of each featured act, resulting in an overall symmetry that is both familiar and excitingly fresh.
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