The Best Nigerian Songs of 2022
Featuring Asake, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Rema, Davido, Pheelz and many more.
Nigerian music continued its meteoric rise this year as 2022 saw artists & sounds from the West African nation reach supreme heights across the African continent and the globe.
Cemented Nigerian superstars like Burna Boy and Wizkid released stellar new albums and headlined places like NYC's Madison Square Garden. Tems kept her buzz going with notable features, Black Panther soundtracks and Grammy nods, and Ayra Starr stayed at the top of the Mavin Records crop with her onslaught of releases. Last but not least, it was the year of Asake as the Lagos-born artist made himself inescapable in 2022.
Check out our Best Nigerian Songs of 2022 below, listed in no particular order.
Mavins "Overloading (Overdose)"
Mavin Records gathered the whole gang for the addictive posse cut, "Overloading (Overdose)," which was the first taste off their upcoming 10th year anniversary album, Chapter X. Produced by the label boss himself Don Jazzy, the song shines light on the individual talents of the Mavin roster as Crayon, Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Magixx and Boy Spyce drop their own verses, while also showing collective team effort to bring the project to life.
Burna Boy "Last Last"
Burna Boy officially returned with his sixth-studio album,Love, Damini, earlier in July—a collection of songs built on a wide bed of afro-fusion, R&B, dancehall, reggae, hip-hop, pop and more. While there are many songs we could've picked from the stellar 19-track album, our choice is "Last Last." The African Giant made his directorial debut with the single and the song sample's American R&B singer Toni Braxton's hit single "He Wasn't Man Enough For Me." Read our review of Love, Damini here.
Wizkid "Bad To Me"
Wizkid returned in big fashion with his single "Bad To Me," a record that highlights the afrobeats star's vocal versatility and penchant for a catchy beat. The sultry song, collaboratively produced by P2J and Sammy Soso, is a combustible culmination of elevated seductive energy with heavy underscores of amapiano. It also sparked quite the heated debate online about amapiano ownership and Nigerian artists' usage of the sound. "Bad To Me" was one of the clear highlights on the Nigerian superstar's new album More Love, Less Ego. Read our album review here.
Asake "Omo Ope" ft. Olamide
Fast-rising Nigerian singer and songwriter Asakeseems to have figured out his recipe for success. The Lagos-born star released his debut album Mr. Money with The Vibe—and the man simply did not miss. Asake got his major break earlier this year in January, when street-hop legend Olamide hopped on his single "Omo Ope," and signed Asake to his YBNL label shortly after. "Omo Ope" would go on to change the trajectory of Asake’s career, cementing his sound and beginning his domination of 2022 in Nigerian music. Check our features on The Unquestionable Rise of Asake and 2022 Was the Year of Asake.
Rema "Calm Down"
Rema, the prince of Nigerian music dropped his new album, Rave & Roses, in March of this year. He also shared the lead single from the project "Calm Down," a guitar-led mid-tempo composition produced by Andre Vibez and London. “Calm down is about the events that led me to finding love at the time," Rema mentions. "It started at a party where I saw a girl who stood out from other girls so I felt like shooting my shot."
Mr Eazi "Legalize"
Mr Eazi officially landed a new title—certified lover boy. The love song and accompanying visuals for "Legalize" captured the intimacy of Eazi proposing to his longtime girlfriend, Nigerian actress Temi Otedola. The heartwarming single is a hit, and it had no choice as a powerhouse team of international producers gathered to add their flair and expertise. Producers Michael Brun,E Kelly, and Nonso Amadi, all helped Eazi channel his love into it. The music video is set in Venice, Italy, where the couple got engaged back in April.
Pheelz "Finesse" ft. BNXN
Nigerian producer turned artist Pheelz shared his breakout single “Finesse,” which features contributions from BNXN (formerly known as Buju). With this Director K-shot music video, which sees him throwing bills across a mall, he announced his signing to Warner Records. The song had a big impact as it charted across the world and made it onto the Billboard Global 200.
LADIPOE "Big Energy"
Nigerian rapper Ladipoe came through with a summertime banger in the form of "Big Energy." Produced by Killertunes, the tune drips with bravado and swagger over sparkling synth arpeggios. “I feel like ‘Big Energy’... is what you feel when future eventualities come to pass. At the end of the song I say 'we didn’t come this far to come this far' which represents exactly how I feel.”
Crayon "Ijo (Laba Laba)"
Crayon shared the uplifting, Sarz-producedsingle "Ijo (Laba Laba) along with the captivating visuals directed by TG Omori. “’Ijo [Laba Laba]’ is a song intended to drive you to dance - regardless of your current predicament," Crayon explains. "As colourful and bubbly as a butterfly, this is a song that lifts your spirit and soul. You should also appreciate the multicultural vibe by singing in multiple languages. This is music that soundtracks a carnival”
Fireboy DML x Asake "Bandana"
YBNL star Fireboy DML connected with the buzzing Asake for "Bandana," an inspirational and thankful tune in which Fireboy counts his blessings while telling his story. The second offering off his 2022 album, Playboy, "Bandana" is built on a guitar riff and afrobeats-inspired percussion.
Ayra Starr "Rush"
Ayra Starr released the new single and music video for "Rush." The video itself is a fusion of vibrant hues, balanced with a mix of monochrome schemes. The music video showcases Starr's vast palette for fashion, and even highlights some signature Y2K looks that the singer has become known for. The visual for "Rush" came a few weeks after the singer initially released the audio for the song, which became her first solo single of 2022.
Pheelz x Davido "Electricity"
Pheelz and Davidoshared their dance floor-ready joint record "Electricity" which has amassed millions of views on YouTube shortly after it dropped mid-August—and with its uplifting beat and vibe, we can see why. The song, written by Pheelz and Davido, is the ultimate ode to Lagos nightlife and the glitz that it often carries. The vibrant video was directed and shot by the talented Nigerian music video director and cinematographer TG Omori.
Nigerian singer-songwriter Joeboy came back on our musical radar with his single "Contour." The "Cubana" crooner recruited longtime collaborator and producer Tempoe, and fellow Nigerian bluesy guitarist Kemena to deliver his "feelgood heartbreak song" before the end of the summer. The release illustrates the complexities that follow when two romantics decide to part ways.
Oxlade "Ku Lo Sa"
In a year that has had major young Nigerian stars like push African music to bigger frontiers globally, Oxlade laid his claim with the viral hit "Ku Lo Sa." The eargasmic Afro-tune was Oxlade’s latest offering in collaboration with German creative house COLORS Studios. For Oxlade this was all unplanned, but he was grateful and excited to share what he had in store, he told us in an exclusive interview.
Tems "No Woman No Cry"
Tems became the voice of Wakanda Forever as she covered Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry' for Marvel's upcoming Black Panther sequel. When Marvel released the trailer to the highly-anticipated sequel, the sounds of Tems’ smooth vocals took over the screen and everybody's ears.
Davido "Stand Strong" ft. Sunday Service Choir
Davido connected with Sunday Service Choir for "Stand Strong," a soulful and gospel leaning single built on afro-fusion percussion. "It was just a different feeling, a different kind of record," Davido told Apple Music, "I don't think I've ever released a record like that. But funny enough, my earlier records, before afrobeats and stuff, that's the kind of music I was geared to, like R&B, slow, soulful type stuff."
M.I Abaga "The Guy"
Iconic rapper M.I. Abaga, a prominent voice in the African rap scene for over ten years, shared the new music video for "The Guy," the title track from his eleventh studio album, which dropped last week. In the video, put together by TG Omori, the veteran rapper pays homage to his roots by wearing various Northern Nigerian regalia and, at several points, changing outfits from a religious leader to a military general.
BNXN & Wande Coal "Kenkele"
BNXN (formerly Buju) connected with the icon Wande Coal for this bouncy number "Kenkele," the first taste we got off his upcoming project Bad Since 97. The uplifting SAK PASE-produced song is all about living the best life and follows both Nigerian artists to a full spa day.
Mádé Kuti "No More Wars"
Nigerian musician Mádé Kuti's first single of the year "No More Wars" came with an important message. On the groovy track, Mádé explains: “No More Wars is entirely about temper, control, and focus. It's about experiences I’ve had that taught me to reflect intentionally before I react. The lyrics are inspired by my father’s consistency in following his path despite dealing with an overwhelming amount of harsh, untrue, and deliberately cruel people inside and outside of his circle.”
Asa came back in full swing with the release of her fifth studio album, V. "Oceans" one of the later singles from the album, sees her riding low-tempo guitar riffs with her serene vocal delivery in a song about comparing a love to the sea. Watch the striking video above. Read our interview with Asa around her new album V.
Superstar Tekno dropped his the single and music video “JINJA" in partnership with SoundCloud. On the track, a steady rhythm pulsates as he goes in with his seductive croons. The accompanying video finds Tekno appreciating the fine and expensive things in life.
Adekunle Gold "Mercy"
Nigerian star Adekunle Golddropped the futuristic visuals for "Mercy," one of the highlights from his album Catch Me If You Can. The new DK-directed music video pairs sci-fi cinematography with classic Nollywood aesthetics, and features a cameo from Baba Fryo whose '90s song "Dem Go Dey Pose" is sampled on the track.
Patoranking "Kolo Kolo" ft. Diamond Platnumz
Nigeria met Tanzania as star names Patoranking and Diamond Platinumz connected for "Kolo Kolo," an afro-fusion head-nodder produced by Yung Willis. The song's music video, which was filmed in Dar-es-Salaam, features Nigerian actress Nancy Isime as the love interest who has Patoranking going crazy.
Victony plays on unique sonic turf. His songs are lined with influences which stretch beyond Afropop and, on his latest release Outlaw, those qualities merge into fully realized bops. "Kolomental," off that tape, establishes his grasp of masterful lyrical arrangement and an astute ear for great beats. Read our review on howOutlaw emboldens the scope of Afropop and check out our older interview with Victony.
Bad Boy Timz "Big Money"
Bad Boy Timz dropped an addictive and energetic single in the shape of "Big Money." The track folows Timz in as he captures the economic realities for many in his home country Nigeria, and his desires to change his financial situation and that of his family for the better, a press statement explains.
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