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The Best Nigerian Music Videos of 2018

Featuring Seyi Shay, Wizkid, Brymo, Yemi Alade, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Santi and many more.

Some music videos complete a song, realizing its message and intentions—if they are well executed. While other videos, "Kana" by Olamide and Wizkid for one, are a near- criminal waste of an otherwise exceptionally crafted song.

For the most part, 2018 has seen fantastic visual creativity and flair from directors, stylists and artists, no doubt driven by competition between artists but also as necessary branding.

Read along for our selection of the best Nigerian music videos of 2018. Listed in no particular order.

See our Best of 2018 coverage here.


Patoranking "Available"

Patoranking's "Available" was the earliest and best realized grafting of South Africa's gqom and gwara grawa to Nigerian shaku and pop sensibilities. The use of colors with strong chromatic contents may beg to be noticed but it's the sharp and snazzy editing that will hold your attention.

Davido "Assurance"

Davido's idea to shoot "Assurance," an ode to his true life lover, in idyllic Barbados is fully realized by director Meji Alabi, who explains in a note to OkayAfrica: "The thing about Chioma and Davido is that the love is real. The chemistry and energy is real. And although video models have their own chemistry—there's something about a backstory and knowing that this shit is real love."

Tiwa Savage x Wizkid x Spellz 'Ma Lo'

Shot on location at The Shrine in Lagos, Director Meji Alabi depicts Lagos nightlife as a heady and hedonist bliss featuring large amounts of smoke and drink, scuffling thugs, loving couples, steamy dancing, palm fronds and the charming tag-team of Tiwa Savage and Wizkid—a visual feast that improves on an already-winning song produced by Spellz. The video went on to shock Nigerians online by amassing 500,000 views in its first day.

Seyi Shay "Bia" 

It would help to recall that Seyi Shay was the lead singer of a girl band From Above managed by Matthew Knowles, father to one Beyoncé, she of eternal elegance. In the video for "Bia" taken from her Electric Package EP, Seyi Shay is the consummate performer, a sensual samba dance expert.

Brymo "Heya!"

The naturalism espoused in Brymo's music is crystallised on the song and video for "Heya" in which, clad in just a sheaf over his nether regions, he emotes on themes of life's simple essential wants on a grand piano looking at the expanse of a Lagos lagoon.

Tobe Nwigwe "EWU"

The most exuberant of Tobe Nwigwe's typically exuberant video series on account of the traditional Igbo costume isiagu and wrappers, and a set which looks like a sculptured-painting made chiefly from ceramic and glass, and some boisterous dancing by a middle-finger waving masquerade.

Olamide "Science Student"

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" remains the grand idea of a music video, nightmarish tropes from which director Kookey has adapted to the trendy (shaku dance, Fela's aesthetic) and topical (codine epidemic) in 2018, all at an indulgent 7 ½ minutes in Olamide's "Science Student."

Tiwa Savage x DJ Enimoney x Reminisce x Slimcase "Diet"

It's been the year of the shaku, where nary a music video (and Instagram post) is made without the dance. "Diet" scores high marks for artfully collaging the major talking points of Nigerian pop in the first half of the year with trendy phrasing from trendy drug use, energetic shaku dance, faultless features from Tiwa Savage and Reminisce, plus an elegant house beat by Sarz—egged on by hype man of the moment Slimcase.

Santi x Bridge x Nonso Amadi "Freaky"

Employing extensive use of digital intermediate color-grading throughout, the freakishness emphasized Santi's video draws heavily from horror film tropes. All black costumes, lit candles, fluorescent crucifix, mirrors, a convulsing woman press home what is grim and ghastly, little of which is ruined by Canada-based Nonso Amadi's scenes which appear to have been shot separately but unified by color saturation.

WurlD "Contagious"

What do afrobeat and United Colors Of Benetton have in common? Pristine and elegance is to be found in the tasteful combination of hypnotic dance and color palatse that evokes WurlD's Yoruba heritage, debt to Fela and hair dye, and the universality the Nigerian-American artist preaches.

Wizkid x Terri x Spotless x Ceeza Milli "Soco"

An excellent staging of still models and agile dancers, graffiti and on trend dances, sensible use of teal and spot on performances from the Starboy quartet on what is already the perfect pop song.

Yemi Alade "Heart Robber"

Specific items and combinations bring distinct glamour to Yemi Alade's videos which you don't find in many others. The coral-colored evening dress she wears is delightfully regal, but more interesting is the band of men and women in white turbans and print-heavy trousers & waistcoats which offers an Arab-African vision that makes one seriously consider an alternate reality of cultural cohesion, beyond the already fantasized world of music videos.

Odunsi x Zamir x Santi "Alté Cruise"

Footage from parties, concerts, idling and other unguarded moments are collaged into a single portrait depicting the youthful energy and creativity by the most exuberant sub-culture to have yet emerged from Nigeria which, decades from now, will remain a testament of unbridled creativity and a riotous celebration of life.

Maleek Berry "Pon My Mind"

Possibly taking a dollop of inspiration from Common's video for "The Light" (1999), Director Meji Alabi has assembled a most pleasurable visual palette made of up sexy lace gowns, oak floors, dropping curtains, a luxurious bed, life size mirrors, indoor plants and a gorgeous model making for the best dream ever.

Adekunle Gold "Fame"

"Sometimes my mama's house don't feel like home" goes the devastating admission in what is a convincing portrayal of what may at first seem like a song about existential loneliness, but is primarily about depression and one's helplessness before it. Muted reds, corals and brown emphasize the melancholy, as does Adekunle Gold pacing the entirety of vast, open floor plan all in one great wallow.

Burna Boy "Ye"

Ever a magnetic screen presence, Burna Boy as well as his models, dancers and entourage are the living part of a set that would also work well on it own as an exhibition of a fluorescent light sculptures.

Skepta "Pure Water"

Grime meets Fela Kuti in monochrome in "Pure Water." The music video sees Skepta amidst models attired in skimpy, beaded outfits in the manner of the afrobeat king's dancers, but set in a largely empty warehouse whose skeletal framework impresses on the stark grime beat.

Lady Donli "Games"

Starting out with melancholic grays and still, sullen facial expressions, "Games" is soon warmed up with a pleasing pastel palette and concert dance before the introduction of nine dancing emojis. The chromatic story may not strictly follow any necessary emotional development in the song but convinces on its own as a near-sensual and satisfying viewing experience.

Zamir "Hate"

A bare-chested and well-ribbed Zamir stalks the streets of Lagos collecting cash owed to him at an abattoir, down stairwells and in a church in what may look like a throwback to an older idea of masculinity in rap but is livened by the hyper-realism of a pig's head superimposed on his targets and policemen.

Wizkid "Fever"

In the music video for "Fever," Wizkid roped in Tiwa Savage to play his lover for what looks like a baecation. The visuals have had tongues wagging all over Twitter, and we didn't blame y'all. Our contributor Joey Akan, however, argued that the two stars manipulated African curiosity for profit with this clip, as he wrote, "Wizkid and Tiwa Savage aren't dating, they have successfully utilized public attention on their interactions to improve their bottom-line."

Follow our Best Songs of 2018 playlist on Spotify.

News Brief

Prominent Zimbabwean Activist  Sheds Light on Current Crisis

Doug Coltart, a vocal activist and human rights lawyer based in Harare, speaks to Okayafrica about what's currently happening in Zimbabwe.

A few days ago, the Zimbabwean government issued a directive to major cellular network providers Econet and TelOne to disable the internet and all access to social media. The directive was an attempt to prevent any information from spreading outside the country's borders with regards to the nationwide protests which have led to the deaths of at least five people and the injury of at least twenty-five others.

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The front page of The New York Times on January 16, 2019

Kenyans Are Furious at the New York Times for Posting Photos of Terrorist Victims

After the the deadly attack on Tuesday, many are accusing the American newspaper of having a double standard on which dead bodies they allow into the paper

Is the New York Times guilty of a double standard when it comes to publishing images of dead bodies?

Kenyans, and others fed up with the coverage, took to social media in the hundreds to denounce a Times article that included an image of victims of Tuesday's Nairobi terrorist attack, bloodied from bullets, and lying hunched over their laptops, dead.

It has cause enough debate online to where the Times' incoming East Africa Bureau chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura felt the need to explain their photo policy, which is to show the dead only if their faces cannot be seen in the image. The photo in question fits the policy as the faces are facing away from the camera. She would later apologize before posting the official policy to her Twitter account. The photo remains up.

The Times' official response, as those tend to do online, has only created more anger. But unlike many unruly Twitter mobs, those responding to the official statement have a rather coherent message—"you wouldn't do this with photos of the American dead."

Some of the responses to the Times' official statement.

In a response to the controversy from the Poynter Institute, a typically astute observer of journalistic practice in the United States, they run through the typical American journalism school approach to publishing photos that might shock or offend. They write:

Should the Times have run the photo?
There is no easy answer.
The first question any news organization must ask when deciding to publish violent images is: WHY show it?
In other words, what is the news value? Does the public need to see such an image to fully grasp what happened? Does the public need to see such a photo to confirm or disprove the official account of the events?
An argument could be made that a writer's words could accurately describe the scene without being as disturbing as the image. In addition, when it comes to an act of terrorism, might publishing such a photo actually advance the cause of the terrorists, showing the damage they caused, thus fueling dread and panic?
Also this: The photo on the Times website came without warning. As a reader, you didn't know you were going to see a photo of dead people until you actually saw it.
Those are arguments to not run such a photo or, at least, warn readers of its graphic content.

While it's a fine analysis of when to show a violent image, it misses the central issue at play for those aggrieved by the Times' posting—that the American news-gaze values certain lives differently. Black, brown, foreign, poor—American journalism organizations, including the New York Times, cannot escape a base ethnocentrism in their coverage. It's so embedded into how these institutions operate, and the gap in understanding is so wide, that to much of the world, the Times' official response is laughably wrong at first glance.

"We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens--balancing the need for sensitivity and respect with our mission of showing the reality of these events"

And while there are examples from the Times that complicate this feeling, like these images of the dead in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, it doesn't discount the wider and correct feeling that the white victims of American mass shootings are treated differently than their African counterparts. And while there are complicated and systematic reasons for this which will always make discussing it difficult, to simply deny that different standards exist, does not increase the Times' credibility with Kenyans or the newspaper's growing online audience which will only become more vocal about how they're portrayed.

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Falz 'Moral Instruction'

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Falz, King Monada, Zlatan, Yemi Alade and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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