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Songs Of The Month: March 2020

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month​ (March)

Featuring Niniola x Femi Kuti, Burna Boy, Oxlade, Naira Marley, Davido, Mr Eazi, Joeboy and more.

Here are the best tracks that came out of the buzzing Nigerian scene in March.

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.



Niniola feat. Femi Kuti 'Fantasy'

Niniola shrared her infectious single "Fantasy," featuring Afrobeat icon Femi Kuti. The track, produced by Kel-P, is a sultry banger, featuring mellifluous vocals from Niniola, and groovy saxophone riffs and horn arrangements from Kuti. It's one of the best collaborations we've heard so far this year (and we've had it on repeat as we quarantine). The music video, directed by Sesan, takes place at New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, Nigeria and features colorful scenes and energetic dancers, wearing looks inspired by the late Fela Kuti's all-female dance crew, the Kalakuta Queens.

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Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela 'Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)'

Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen and South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela got together back in 2010, when they recorded the the "kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew" that will make up their upcoming album, Rejoice. Though they'd known each other since the 1970s, through their friendship & work with Fela, it took forty years—and a coinciding tour schedule that saw them both in the UK at the same time—for Allen and Masekela to make it to a London studio together. It was there that, along with producer Nick Gold.

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Burna Boy 'Odogwu'

Burna Boy dropped the single and music video for this first official release of 2020 "Odogwu." The new video, directed by TG Omori, follows Burna Boy and a crew through a number of striking scenes—from a supermarket to the waterside. The name of the rhythmic track ("Odogwu") refers to the title given to a victorious leader, particularly a man, who is believed to have accomplished great things in Igbo culture... the title seems fitting as Burna sings of his status and success atop pulsing percussion and strings by Nigerian beat-maker Kel P."

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Naira Marley 'Aye'

Naira Marley dropped his much-anticipated new single titled "Aye." The Rexxie-produced number explores the meaning of life and encourages the listener to keep pushing even in the midst of challenges. "Aye"—the Yoruba translation for "life"—makes use of number of instrumentals to give the track an overall bounce. While fairly mid-tempo, the rhythm and lyrics work together to convey Naira Marley's contemplativeness as he navigates what he feels is the meaning of life.

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Oxlade 'Away'

Buzzing Nigerian artist Oxlade shared his new single "Away" as the first release from his six-track EP Oxygene. On the Spax-produced track, the artist fuses elements of afropop, highlife, R&B, and more to deliver a catchy and melodic sound. The track's many sonic elements are a reflection of Oxlade's own musical influences, which range from Afrobeat to hip-hop and country.

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DJ Neptune, Joeboy & Mr Eazi 'Nobody'

DJ Neptune's "Nobody" sees him recruiting Nigerian superstar Mr Eazi and his prodigy JoeBoy. The track is the second single to be released from his upcoming project The Greatness II [Sounds of Neptune] following the successful debut single "Tomorrow" featuring Victor AD.

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Terry Apala 'Lock Up' feat. Niniola

Rising Nigerian artist Terry Apala shared "Lock Up," his first official release for this year. He recruits Niniola, the undisputed Nigerian queen of Afrohouse, in this smooth banger produced by Zaki Magic, "Lock Up" is a mid-tempo number that merges both afrobeats and Afro-House to create a smooth and laidback bop. While Terry Apala offers up some pretty strong verses throughout the track, Niniola contrasts his effort by slowing things down in terms of pace and softening the overall feel of the song.

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Davido '1 Milli'

Davido shared the visuals for "1 Milli," a track from his recent album A Good Time which was released towards the end of last year. The music video pays homage to the artist's impending marriage to his fiancée, Chioma Rowland.

Zlatan 'Life'

Zlatan gets pensive on his latest track "Life." The song is a departure from the Zanku (Leg Work) singer's usual dance-worthy style. Instead, the slow-paced anthem sees him reflecting on his rise, and making it as an artist against all odds. The video, directed by Hassan Al Raae, features a different setting for the artist as well, as the artist appears at a skiing resort surrounded by snow, which provides a crisp backdrop for the track's hopeful message.

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Wande Coal 'Ode Lo Like'

Veteran Nigerian musician Wande Coal, came through with a new music video for his single 'Ode Lo Like,' from his upcoming EP Realms. After releasing the track back in December, the artist, who recently signed to the US record label Empire, shares a showy music video for the upbeat track that sees him performing at a hazy nightclub with a live band. The visuals have a sultry Latin feel and feature several eye-catching dancers. It was directed by Adasa Cookey.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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