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Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)" music video.

The 15 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Zlatan, Burna Boy, Bella Alubo, Davido, Adekunle Gold x Simi and more.

It's official: zanku is the new dance craze of 2019. It has also made its originator, Zlatan Ibile, the hottest pop property in Nigerian pop so far this year. But other newcomers continue to make impressive strides with every new release, as do the tried and trusted, some of whom are quick jump on the newest bandwagon of soundscapes while one, a legend of afropop, revisits an old template with surprising results.

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


Zlatan "Zanku (Leg Work)"

2019 just got a whole lot better thanks to Zlatan Ibile. The rapper's dance is the new craze and he's capitalised on this by creating a song solely based on it. The brilliant house beat does the rest of the job.

Read: Is Zanku Set To Be the New Dance Craze of 2019?

Bella Alubo "Aiya"

"Don't want your number, want your name / don't want your money, want your time" clarifies Bella Alubo to a love interest on "Aiya," the stand out single from her re-Bella EP, the artist's most mature and enjoyable project thus far.

Casanova x Davido x Tory Lanez "2AM"

"I've got more keys than a trapper" brags Davido in a scene stealing verse that brings star power and afropop credibility to "2AM" from New York rapper Casanova and Tory Lanez.

Read our interview with Casanova about the collaboration

Burna Boy x Zlatan "Killin Dem"

Brilliantly energised singing from Burna Boy benefits from a competent, succinct verse from Zlatan which doesn't not outstayed its welcome.

Oxlade "Shugar"

Oxlade's feature on "Mamiwota" by Blaqbonez was a highlight of the latter's celebrated debut in 2018. Oxlade is no less impressive on "Shugar" on which his fine writing and engaged singing emphasises the song's urgent request from a love interest who is said to have a "fire waist."

Zamir x Kidda Kudz "Dangerous" & "Jan 1st"

A double release by both Zamir and Kidda Kudz draws closer attention to their shared vocal approach with slurry, lower octaves and muscular image as bodybuilders. Listen to "Jan 1st" here.

Phyno x Flavour x Deejay J Masta "Ani"

Time and again, the synergy between Phyno and Flavour is strong, urgent and rewarding as on "Ani"—enough to wish for a full project that will exhaust their combined musical ideas that goes beyond their mastery of the Igbo language and pop song making.

Shizzi x Teni x Mayorkun "Aye Kan"

A suitably melancholic and nostalgic piano chord progression by producer Shizzi is improved upon by Teni's wistful melodies, which are unspoiled by a Mayorkun's verse.

Tekno "Woman"

An ode to women and womanhood that dismisses old ideas of submission for equality. Rather than depend on the lofty messaging for musical value, Tekno's astute songwriting makes for an enjoyable song, enough to make it evergreen.

2Baba "Oyi"

2Baba's strongest musical influence is roots reggae despite an unrivaled reputation as a legend of afropop. On "Oyi," an otherwise decent love song is imbued with proverbs and maxims about self-regard and conduct towards others, conveyed in English, pidgin and Idoma, his ancestral language.

Adekunle Gold x Simi "Promise"

In both song and video, "Promise" is self explanatory about its themes of love, loyalty and fidelity. And with a proven musical synergy and vital independent careers, a joint album a la The Carters is and perhaps should be expected.

Patoranking "Everyday"

Patoranking's well-formed singing voice is smoothened out with autotune but not enough to to lack real character by the bigness of the production on "Everyday" whose heavy dembow beat and attention-seeking horns are busied by a guitar.

Ycee "My Side"

After a relatively quiet 2018, Ycee begins 2019 with the release of the video for "My Side" and news of his own record label Ain't Nobody Badder Than, a long bandied tag of his. For the song, he's repurposed Tony Tetuila's own reworking of "Omode Meta Sere" by King Sunny Ade to his particular way with rap-singing and knack for song making.

Tolani x Reekado Banks "Ba Mi Lo"

New comer Tolani's credible singing chops is a good match for proven balladeer, Reekado Banks, on "Ba Mi Lo" which is made even better by a heavy dembow beat that is couched in a patient piano.

Lil Kesh x Naira Marley "Royal Rumble"

Naira Marley's charmingly husky flow may have come in too soon after a winning start by Lil Kesh but both combine well enough to convince of the struggles of chasing money and wants.


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Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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