The 13 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month
Featuring Runtown, Santi, DJ Tunez, Asa, Olamide, Kah-Lo, Skepta and more.
Read ahead for our selection of the best Nigerian songs of March.
DJ Tunez 'Gbsese' feat. Wizkid & Blaqjerzee + 'Causing Trouble' feat. Oxlade
Frequent collaborators DJ Tunez and Wizkid link up for their latest "Gbese" featuring Blaqjerzee, and we must say it's one of our favorites."Gbese" is a breezy banger that sees Wizkid flexing his vocals throughout the mellow track. Oxlade is in fine form on "Causing Trouble" contrasting the hook's feathery falsetto with afropop "stank" in the hook and verses elsewhere on a steady marimba embellish backbeat.
Olamide "Oil & Gas"
Both of Olamide's releases for May rely on the house production he used to good effect on "Woske," his previous major release. "Oil & Gas" utilises call & response for structure and musicality while "No" sees the Nigerian artist pinning for a love interest with good humour—"reasons why I love you is uncountable / you dey show me different things more than my cable"—and delivering an easy, sing-along hook.
Asa 'The Beginning'
A plaintive, unhurried piano ushers in Asa's mourning of a relationship—"so when you said goodbye with a smile on your face / I thought it was as usual / you'll be gone for just a little while"—but the loss may be lasting despite her wish to start all over. Additions of strings and drums build to a cathartic crescendo but the much needed relief is for variety from the artist, for "The Beginning" is simply decent and many expect genius from Asa.
Yung6ix x Peruzzi 'What If'
The unmistakable delight of a recorded live guitar and saxophone benefits from a fitting hook from Peruzzi and well-judged verses from Yung6ix, who remains an articulate and attentive rapper. Here, he gets quality support from an expert hook man and a continuing evolving producer in Fresh DVM.
Nonso Amadi ft. Kwesi Arthur 'Comfortable'
Nonso Amadi is an even more interesting singing personality when he subverts his sweet voice and mild manners as is true on "Don't Make Me Love You" and his brilliant verse on Santi's "Freaky." On his new single, he warns a lover against complacency—"you only have me for one night / don't get too comfortable."
Naira Marley x Zlatan 'Am I A Yahoo Boy'
Blatant courting of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was not going to go unnoticed and has led to Naira Marley and his cohorts to be arraigned before Nigerian courts. The beat is a delight, and while Marley is a strong individual presence, tag-teaming with Zlatan adds even more relevance and gusto to a song and ever topical subject matter.
Skepta 'Bullet From A Gun'
The picture Skepta paints in his new single is a chilling realisation of possessing even more powers in himself (or one's self) than that which the first flush of success has brought on. "I found my way home / then I saw my granddad's name on the gravestone, the same as mine / already dead, nothing to fear / I been here from time / Chief SK sipping on Palm Wine." The emotional and existential benefits of a return to his ancestral home in Nigeria is deepened by rediscovering a lineage with dead ancestors and the conference of a traditional title.
D'Prince Ft Rema 'Lavida'
On "Lavida," Rema—a convincing new talent—gives boost to a proven solo star in D'Prince, while in turn benefitting bags of goodwill built over the last two decades of Nigerian pop by Mavins and Mo Hits Records. Over a steady syncopated backbeat, Rema sings and slurs, shedding much of the Wizkid influence in the afropop songs on his self-titled EP before Prince reminds us of his star status, as they both bring new fizz to a flat and overused Spanish phrase.
Patoranking 'Temperature' + 'Go Crazy' + 'Black' feat. Busiswa
Ignore "Lenge Lenge" the Fela-bait that is the touted first single from Patoranking's new sophomore album, Wilmer, and look to "Temperature" for lean and effective dancehall, "Go Crazy" for feverish soca, "Black" for authoritative spoken word sermonising and "Open Fire"—featuring the ever formidable Busiswa—over a brilliantly boisterous house beat by Sarz. Wilmer improves upon the gumbo of genres Patoranking displayed on G.O.E his 2016 debut album since which he's established himself as a human synthesiser to which few compare.
Kah-Lo 'Give Dem' Diplo, 'Ballie' with Idris Elba, 'Spice' with Michael Brun
Kah-lo is queening this May with three topnotch collaborations with superstar DJs. First up is "Ballie" featuring Idris Elba who she vaunts as the "hottest DJ in the world right now," then Diplo over whose nocturnal beat she celebrates house parties on "Give Dem" from his Higher Ground EP. Kah-lo rightly brings the attention back to herself on the standoffish and self-celebratory "Spice" with Haitian producer and DJ Michael Brun.
Santi 'Raining Outside' + "Diamonds / Where Have You Been' feat. Seki
Taken from Mandy & The Jungle, the much anticipated follow up to Santi's influential 2016 debut Suzie's Funeral, "Diamonds / Where Have Have You Been?" is either two songs tacked as one or a two-part suite shared with Seki and best represents the sensible choice of collaborations on the album. "Raining Outside" is one of seven songs out of 16 that are sung solo and allow more berth for his often mercurial vocal abilities.
"Emotions" is one gem among the 6 songs that make up Tradition, the new EP by Runtown. The key would appear to be Spellz' delightful beat which matches to Runtown's well proven songwriting abilities.
Rotimi 'Summertime' + 'Sip Slow'
Two standouts from Walk With Me, the new EP by actor-musician Rotimi, whose buttery R&B chops impress over the twinkling and playful beat of "Summertime," even more than they do on "Love Riddim," whose afropop approximations are avoided on "Sip Slow," despite the reliance on a dembow beat.