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Niniola. Image courtesy of the artist.

The 13 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

Featuring Niniola, Burna Boy, Falz, Odunsi x Davido, Tay Iwar and more.

September was packed with full project releases that included Language by MNEK, New North by ClassiQ, Lazy Genius by Ayo Jay, as well as those that were released at the tail end of August and included 1997 by Tay Iwar and Bad Boy Blaq by Blaqbonez added to which are the ton of singles from which we have picked 13 of the best.

Read on for our selection of the Best Nigerian Songs of September.


Niniola "Bana"

A musical match made in heaven. The duo of Niniola and Sarz perfected Nigerian house music on "Maradona" and would seem to have repeated the same feat in "Bana," which is another winning combination of Nigerian pop sensibilities, Yoruba and welcomed raunchiness from the singer with a busily elegant house beat.

Chidinma x DJ Coublon "Nwoke"

Chidinma has found the perfect foil in DJ Coublon, whose use of live instrumentation and rich textures fits the celestial goodness in her voice. It's all made better by the restraint and flair not too common in her songwriting but used here to winning effect.

Terri "Bia"

A delightful first single by the starlet of Starboys who first impressed in "Soco" and has made a bold statement though with stank and melodic cues from both Wizkid and Kiss Daniel, as well as the latter's use of recorded live instruments all of which is done crisply, if not imperceptibly.

Tay Iwar - "Space" & "Sugardaddy"

"Space" and "Sugar Daddy" are two of three songs that make up Tay Iwar's remarkably terse and yet satisfying 1997 EP, a long-anticipated follow-up to the much lauded Renecistia (2016). On "Space," both Santi and Preye turn out memorable verses, especially the latter whose description of herself as "gasoline and spice" is beautifully abstract. The slow swing and bounce on "Sugardaddy" makes for an infectious trap beat which, even without a significant change to it, accommodates Odunsi's perfectly snug hook in Yoruba. The star of the show is undoubtedly Iwar who, as well as producing all the songs, continues to charm with his silky voice and exemplary song making.

Burna Boy x Major Lazer "All My Life""

Ever mercurial, Burna Boy deploys his most effective musical instincts for synthesising genres and seamlessly blending patois and pidgin on "All My Life," in what is Major Lazer's most enthusiastic adoption of Afrobeats yet.

Falz "Sweet Boy"

A big bounce of a beat is the perfect serving for the ounces of charm in Falz' story telling and humor which lends himself easily to his campaign as the president of the "Sweet Boy Association" which, in typical theatrical flair, is said to have a manifesto.

Ray BLK "Empress"

A simple and patient guitar unobtrusively accompanies Ray BLK's message of self-respect and self-affirmation that may seem a little on the nose but is no less crucial and needed, or enjoyable.

Davido x Odunsi "Divine"

If you keep in mind that Davido's substantial hits in 2018 are unabashed love songs that leaned heavily on RnB, the outcome of a collaboration with Odunsi, who is himself resolutely RnB, would not be so hard to imagine. Attention-seeking piano plinks away but held sturdily by bass and snare drums. The bridging of top layer afropop with the underground vitality of "alte" establishes a new and exciting lattice work in Nigerian pop which, just a few years ago, was hard to fathom.

Timaya x Olamide "Bam Bam"

The work of ace producer Masterkraft, "Bam Bam" is a clever blending of dancehall and Igbo folk music in a manner few others have done. Timaya's hook may be a straight lift off from Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam" (1982) but the one drop guitar synonymous with reggae is insinuated with what sounds like a flute played on a piano while the percussion—heaving drums and clinking ogene or metal gong—is unmistakably Igbo in origin.

Ruby Gyang "Crushing"

Ruby Gyang's latest guise as a jazz singer reveals her majestic singing voice, especially when deployed with a pop songwriting structure and strong RnB flourishes. The succinct hook and flurry of falsetto makes a heart-rending song about longing even catchier. More please, more!

Wurld x Mutay "How Deep is Your Love"

Wurld's run of singles in 2018 have been nothing short of impressive in a list that includes "Trobul" and "Contagious," and is now followed by "How Deep Is Your Love". Produced by Mutay (of Legendary Beatz) who has relied on the lasting goodness of a dembow but softened with sun clappers, piano and guitar, Wurld sweetly agonises over a pertinent question and song title once famously posed by Dru Hill.

Yung L "Bam Bam"

On "Bam Bam", Yung L sustains the persona of a husky seducer and party chief in engaging fashion that recalls Banky W's "Jasi" and Skepta and Boy Better Know's "Too Many Man." What would otherwise be hideous drumming by a less astute producer, is made a polyrhythmic delight by Chopsticks whose collaborations with Yung L don't get nearly enough praise.

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Still from YouTube

Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

The Mirza-produced song sees both artists singing suggestively about their lovers. "Go go, go all the way," Dyo sings smoothly on the track's chorus.

Still from YouTube

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Events

Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

Make sure to grab your tickets here and we'll see you on the dance floor!

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Interview
Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Audio
Sho Madjozi "John Cena"

The 19 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sho Madjozi, Odunsi, Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, Fuse ODG, Santi 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 our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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