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Olamide "Woske" cover art detail.

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Olamide, Santi, Teni, Zlatan, BankyOnDBeatz and more.

This month, our assortment of songs paints a widely-diverse picture of Nigerian afropop—from bashment by a rejuvenated singer to new interpretations of highlife, to folk-indebted soft rock and imaginative beatmaking by seldom-lauded producers.

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

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


Olamide 'Woske'

"They cannot stand the stamina" says Olamide. He could be talking about his continuous run of pop-rap hits, which appears to come easy for him. The house beat on "Woske" is a winner as horn stabs take turns with a synthesiser piano held steady by faithful and unshowy drumming. The MJ impersonation in the video suggests a poverty of ideas until you remember that Olamide has been closely-linked to the best dance crazes of the last few years from shoki to shakiti bobo, shaku and now zanku.

Santi 'Sparky'

A good part of Santi's charm is what he shrouds in mystery. Strong imageries (e.g "bon chiga with a darkie") are layered over uncommon references ("sexy punk rider") in a mumbled-patois that draws the listener in rather than explain the work it is doing. The song was produced by his alté scene counterpart, Odunsi the Engine, with additional production from Le Mav. The track had been premiered on Apple Music's OVO Sound Radio in May last year and fans have been waiting eagerly for its release since then.

BankyOnDBeatz x Tomi Thomas x L Marshall 'Hello'

Tomi Thomas released a criminally under-appreciated EP, Illusions, alongside producer LeriQ last September. On "Hello, Thomas recalls simpler, happier times with a former lover when he sings "there was a time when I felt no pain." The wistfulness is emphasised by the insistent guitar that is often given heft by a thumping bass drums, the work of producer BankyOnDBeatz. Coming in after Thomas is L Marshall, a Nigerian singer with a growing body of work since his 2013 EP, Live All The Way. He blends well enough here, bringing his uniquely Black-British vocal stank that'll introduce him to afropop fans beyond his shores.

"Hello" is available everywhere now

Simi 'Ayo'

Twin electric guitars search and prod all over Simi's "Ayo," bringing polyrhythmic goodness to a song about self-affirmation and self-assertion with authority from the most high. It's produced by the Legendury Beatz duo, who last worked with Simi on "So Rire" for their debut album, Afropop 101.

Cynthia Morgan 'Porshe Panamera'

Cynthia Morgan's re-emergence will soon encourage platitudes that will name her the 'Queen of Nigerian or African dancehall.' Her mature music-making has her accent sounding truer and the twang in her voice sounding richer in this new single which is really one big luxury car metaphor with one standout turn of Nigerianism: "You're aint talking money just chill / Don't point what you can't kill."

Teni 'Gele'

An ode to the most noticeable accessory at parties, "Gele" is clever songwriting that could cause a playful show off when played at any party where trads are worn. It could in fact become evergreen for the same reasons, especially over a highlife beat. Go Teni!

Johnny Drille 'Forever / Shine'

Johnny Drille writes unironically about reaffirming faith in the everyday. "Forever" is addressed to a wife-to-be while "Shine" is a call for optimism—"Do your best but don't lose yourself / Cause in the morning time, the sun go shine." The song is built over a steady swell of guitar, horns, and hand claps that makes for a rousing, uplifting close. Good-natured with a sunny disposition, and always wearing his heart on his sleeves, you wonder what Driller is ever cynical about.

MzKiss 'Braaa'

MzKiss' vitality as an MC is not nearly as celebrated as it should be. Supported on the one word "Braa"—a pronunciation of "Bro" that is more common to Ghanaians—she rides the thumping and propulsive drumming here with ease, delivering lyrics packed full of humor and misdirection. Although she does this with less of the dizzying brilliance she exhibited on the last big single "Merule".

Sound Sultan x Small Doctor 'Twin Broda'

The cover art for "Twin Broda" references the comic hit film Twins, which was largely reliant on the physicality of both actors, but more important here is how well a vital veteran like Sound Sultan combines with the charismatic Small Doctor and his unique blend of RnB and Fuji.

Masterkraft x Zlatan x CDQ 'Are You Sure?'

The appropriately named Masterkraft is a producer of dance music with strong melodic lines that could tell stories on their own. Together with the rapper CDQ, both men long formed a rewarding partnership, especially over variations of the house music that has defined each of their music careers. On "Are You Sure?" they've recruited Zanku mastermind and man of the moment, Zlatan, who adds his own signature zest.


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

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Adamawa State Governor Bindow and the 21 freed girls (c) Adam Dobby

Isha Sesay’s Bold New Book Forces Us to Remember the Chibok Girls, Even If Social Media Has Forgotten

In 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree' the Sierra-Leonean author offers "the first definitive account" of what took place on the ground following the girls' abduction.

Five years ago, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their school in northern Nigeria by a group of Boko Haram militants. A global outcry ensued with social media and the international press proclaiming their devotion to the missing girls. #BringBackOurGirls became the digital rallying cry for the movement. Even the most famous of public figures—the likes of then First Lady Michelle Obama—stood behind it. This level of attention was unique, and frankly rare for a tragedy occurring in Africa, and it seemed that the help of the entire world was exactly what was needed to topple the threat of growing extremism in Northern Nigeria, and bring the girls home safely.

Then, the world moved on—with the exception of a few. Sierra Leonean-born journalist Isha Sesay, the host of CNN Africa at the time, was one of the foremost voices covering the events taking place in Chibok, following and reporting on every painstaking detail about the girls and their possible whereabouts, even earning the network a Peabody Award in 2014 for her coverage. Her commitment to their story didn't wane—even when it was clear that the news cycle had moved on. For Sesay, the threat of erasure was further motivation to continue following the girls' story. As new developments occurred, beginning in 2016, Sesay hit the ground. She traveled to Chibok and followed those who'd been freed, while continuing to advocate for the immediate release of the 112 girls who are still missing.

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Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Watch the Trailer for Wale's New Studio Album 'Wow...That's Crazy'

He says this sixth studio album will be his last.

This year has been a phenomenal year for Nigerian artists both on the continent and those part of the diaspora. Nigerian-American rapper, Wale, recently took to social media to announce that he'll be dropping his sixth studio album Wow...That's Crazy on the October 11th. This new project comes after he released three singles this year including "Gemini (2 sides)", "BGM" and "On Chill", a track he worked on with Jeremih. While fans are excited by news of the upcoming project, Wale has indicated that this will be his last album.

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Still from YouTube

Watch the Music Video for Stonebwoy and 'Ololo' Featuring Teni

A fire collaboration!

Ghanaian rapper Stonebwoy enlists Nigerian artist Teni the Entertainer for his latest single 'Ololo,' his latest since dropping "Tuff Seed" earlier this summer.

The duo shine as they exchange loving lyrics atop sultry, upbeat production by Prinx Pappi. Stonebwoy opens the track with a fiery verse about giving his all to a love interest, while Teni brings the her usual high-energy to the second verse as she delivers passionate lyrics directed at a lover. Their musical chemistry, making for a catchy jam-worthy track.

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Seyi Shay & Teyana Taylor Connect For 'Gimme Love' Remix

An afrobeats-inspired take on R&B.

Seyi Shay comes through with the new remix of "Gimme Love" featuring none-other-than Teyana Taylor.

The new remix sees the Nigerian singer linking up with the GOOD Music star for an afrobeats-inspired take on R&B, as the two artists trade romantic verses over the Sarz-produced beat.

The new music video for "Gimme Love Remix," follows Seyi Shay and Teyana Taylor to Harlem, New York. They head to brownstone homes, bodegas and bars as they get courted by their 'love.' It was directed by Walu and produced by JM Films.

"Gimme Love" is the lead single from Seyi Shay's upcoming EP, which was executive produced by Sarz and Harmony Samuels, and is due in November.

Watch the video for "Gimme Love Remix" below. The single is available everywhere now.

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