Music
Detail from Burna Boy's Outside cover artwork.

The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Here are the best Nigerian afrobeats songs that came out last month.

Producers are still the unsung heroes of Nigerian pop today, as are the DJs and their remixing of well-known songs which are yet to become a staple in Nigerian pop. They also bring out more shades in a track and give it longer life—it's true of "Pree Me" by Burna Boy and "Can't Believe" by Kranium, Wizkid and Ty Dolla, both of which are by DJ Tunez along with D3AN on the former and Mutay (one half of Legendury Beatz) on the latter.

The second instalment of PRBLM, the collection of instrumentals by Sess The Problem Kid dropped, a year after the first freebie which he spoke about in an exclusive interview with OkayAfrica. The notable exception this month is "Find You (Nwanyi Oma), a moving power ballad by Djinee.

Read on for a selection of the best Nigerian songs of January.


D'banj "Issa Banger"

"Issa Banger" is an impressive take on gqom by the Kokomaster, D'banj, who continues the vitality he showed in 2017's King Don Come, his little praised comeback album. Issa Shmanger!

Maleek Berry "Pon My Mind"

"Pon My Mind" is just one out of the many gems that make up Maleek Berry's First Daze of Winter EP. the follow up to his solid Last Daze of Summer from last year.

Burna Boy "Heaven's Gate" feat. Lily Allen

Whoever decided Burna Boy and Lily Allen would combine well on a song gets full marks. His whirlwind delivery is a good match for Allen's sweet falsetto. They both sit well over jittery production that doesn't keep with any current music fads (this being a Burna Boy song). Burna Boy's new album Outside just dropped—it's definitely worth your time.

Olamide "Science Student"

Olamide digs deeper into the gold mine out of which came the madness of last year's massive hit "Wo." We called "Science Student" one of the first bangers of 2018. The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation might not agree as they've reportedly declared the song unfit for broadcast over its subject mater.

ClassiQ x MI Abaga "Gudu"

ClassiQ is scarily fluent when trapping in Hausa, while MI Abaga does two things impressively: he starts off with a disclaimer about his Hausa being patchy, only to flow well enough in the language you wonder why he bothered with excuses.

Yung L "Spray Me Dollars"

Yung L has outdone himself with this rather excellent take on Mr Eazi's "Pour Me Water", tracing the same melodic lines of the original, but reimagining them with snatches of Hausa and Igbo all tightly written and sung with winning commitment

Obesere x Seriki "Alhaji"

"Alhaji" makes you wonder why there aren't more juju singers (and many other traditionalists) who don't adopt the structure and sensibilities of afropop. It's those acts who are seasoned from routinely singing live and with a band and would make for even more convincing pop stars.

Yung6ix "Ferragamo"

Yung6ix charms his way over the hard bounce of a swinging Pon Pon beat in "Ferragamo." This should be the new theme song of any African Fashion Week in 2018.

MC Galaxy "Showers of Blessing"

The Pon Pon gospel gets a new evangelist in MC Galaxy who's made a psalm of thanksgiving over production by Spellz, who deploys some twinkling highlife guitars to delightful depths.

Cobhams Asuquo "One Hit"


In lesser hands, "One Hit" with its litany of name drops and easy rhyming would seem lazy or comical, but in Cobhams Asuquo's dexterous hands the song becomes a rousing devotional.

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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