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The 25 Essential Wizkid Songs

All of Wizkid's biggest hits to date, including the Nigerian Starboy's massive singles and notable features. Updated in 2019.

Wizkid is one of the biggest artist coming out of Africa right now.


Since landing on the scene with 2010's "Holla At Your Boy" and rising to higher levels with his debut album, Superstar (2011), and the excellent tour de force, Ayo (2014), the young Starboy has been steadily staking his claim to the throne of new African pop.

With his smash hit singles, top tier collaborations, and awards—he's taken took home 3 Billboard Music Awards and a BET Award—Wizkid is clearly one of the leading African artists knocking at the doors of global pop stardom.

Related: Listen to New Wizkid Songs From His Surprise 2019 EP 'Soundman Vol. 1'

We look back at some of Wizkid's biggest hits to date, including solo singles and his many notable features.

Read ahead for The Essential Wizkid Songs and listen to its accompanying playlists on our Spotify and Apple Music channels.


"Pakurumo"

"Pakurumo" was way ahead of its time. Wizkid's addictive Superstar single, produced by Samklef, offers up an original take on the syncopated afrobeats-dancehall-reggaeton fusion that's become the backbone of so many pop songs nowadays—and it still bangs in 2017.

"Jaiye Jaiye" feat. Femi Kuti

Afrobeat meets afrobeats in "Jaiye Jaiye," the lead single from Wizkid's second album, Ayo. In this high-energy Sarz-produced track, the Nigerian star is given a helping hand and saxophone lines by none-other-than Femi Kuti.

"Caro" w/L.A.X

"Caro" is an undeniable jam. The Legendury Beatz-produced single was the first official recording released by Wizkid's own imprint Starboy Entertainment. A collaboration between Wizkid and L.A.X, the song was such a massive success that it was added to Ayo as a bonus track.

"Pull Over" w/ Kcee

One of the many smash hits Wizkid's been a part of as a featured artist, "Pull Over," alongside fellow Nigerian Kcee, was inescapable when it dropped and can still be heard dropping in DJ sets.

"Show You The Money"

"Show You The Money" was released as the sixth single from Ayo. The heavy dance track, which was produced by Shizzi, was paired with a music video that follows Wizkid to Surelere, the neighborhood he grew up in.

"Slow Down" w/ R2bees 

Wizkid takes the first verse and choruses of this Killbeatz-produced jam alongside R2bees. "Slow Down" showcased the supreme West African potential of Nigerian-Ghanaian musical collaborations.

"In My Bed"

Wizkid's "In My Bed" would become the seventh single of the tour de force that was Ayo. The pairing of South African outfit Uhuru 's beatwork with the Nigerian star's pleads for a girl to come home with him have made this one a DJ staple on dance floors across the globe.

"The Matter" w/Maleek Berry

Maleek Berry "The Matter" ft Wizkid Available Everywhere now! iTunes : http://tinyurl.com/mbthematter Apple Music : https://itun.es/gb/P6uYK?i=617172651 Spot...

"Ginger" w/ L.A.X 

Like "Caro," 2014's "Ginger" proved to be another heat-making collaboration between L.A.X and Starboy.

"Ojuelegba" 

The song that kicked off Wizkid's global rise. "Ojuelegba," produced by frequent collaborators Legendury Beatz, is a rags-to-riches story of a struggling artist. The single is "inspired by his experiences and sojourn in and around this part of Lagos, Nigeria (Ojuelegba)," Wizkid's team mentions. "Ojuelegba" was famously remixed by Drake and Skepta in 2015, sparking the relationship between the Toronto and Nigerian stars.

"Soweto Baby" w/ Dj Maphorisa & Dj Buckz

Nigeria meets South Africa in "Soweto Baby," a hard-grooving collaboration between Wizkid and SA's DJ Maphorisa and DJ Buckz. Maphorisa and Wiz would link up again a year later for "One Dance."

"Bend Down Pause" w/ Runtown & Walshy Fire

Wizkid was featured on Runtown's massive "Bend Down Pause," which also featured Major Lazer's Walshy Fire, who calls this track "the very first time that Nigeria and Jamaica have ever linked up." Whether that's true or not, this song was lighting up parties on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Final (Baba Nla)"

"Final (Baba Nla)" foreshadowed something big was coming from Wizkid. Released in late 2015, this sugary joint, produced by Legendury Beatz, is built on flute samples and keyboard jabs. It's as addictive of a track as we'd come to expect from Wizzy.

"One Dance" w/ Drake & Kyla

Drake went full afrobeats in "One Dance," one of the lead singles off his album Views. Wizkid co-wrote and co-produced the massive track alongside its producers, Nineteen85, South Africa's DJ Maphorisa, and Noah "40" Shebib. The track samples Filipino R&B singer Kyla's "Do You Mind" and features Wizkid on the post-choruses. "One Dance," of course, went on to be the best performing single of 2016, reaching number 1 in 15 countries and breaking the record for the most streamed song ever on Spotify.

"Daddy Yo"

"Daddy Yo," was Wizkid's first solo single after signing a record breaking deal with RCA Records/Sony, and the first we heard from Sounds From The Other Side. The track sees the Nigerian Starboy tackling some heavy reggaeton beats alongside Ghana's Efya, who holds down the chorus.

"Come Closer" ft. Drake

"Come Closer" saw Wizkid and Drake link up again after the massive success of "One Dance." The song, which first leaked as "Hush Up The Silence," has been getting heavy rotation on airwaves across the globe since it dropped.

"Manya" w/ Mut4y

Wizkid's "Manya" was another track set to heat up dance floors across Nigeria and the globe. For this single, Wizkid connected with MUT4Y, one half of the star production duo Legendury Beatz. The addictive tune was produced by Killertunes. The song's music video, which comes courtesy of Director Q, was shot at the Fela Kuti family's New Afrika Shrine. It's got a mixture of red-tinted studio shots and impressive stage performances that will give you life.

"Can't Believe" w/ Kranium & Ty Dolla $ign

Here's what Kranium told us about this one: "With Wizkid, he knows how to work his own unique sound and perspective into every mix. Music is all about melody, you don't have to understand it to feel it. I've worked with Wizkid before on the song "Boom"" with Major Lazer. When I heard the song produced by Major Lazer in Jamaica I immediately jumped on man, recorded the same day! The world is so connected and it gives the music world more and more opportunities to connect cross-culturally."

"Energy (Stay Far Away)"  w/ Skepta

Skepta and Wizkid had been circling around each others' sonic atmospheres since the massive "Ojuelegba" remix with Drake a few years ago. The two eventually came through with what was, surprisingly, their first official collaboration in "Energy (Stay Far Away)." The single is a low tempo, slow-burning jam produced by Nigerian hitmaker Sarz. It sees Skepta holding down the verses about keeping his women and money right while Wizkid taking over the hook.

"Soco" w/ Terri, Spotless & Ceeza Milli

"Soco" is the Northboi-produced single from the Nigerian superstar, which sees him team up with three artists off his Starboy label crew: new signee Terri (who got signed recently after tagging Wizkid in an Instagram video), Spotless, and Ceeza Milli. The vibrant song got an equally lively video, directed by Clarence Peters. There are some pretty memorable dance routines in this one, with Wikid even hitting the popular shaku shaku dance throughout the video.

"Nowo" w/ DJ Spinall 

Wizkid and DJ Spinall make a pretty stellar duo, as evidenced by their collaboration "Opoju," from Spinall's 2017 album Dreams. The two linked up again on the track "Nowo," and it's just as blazing. It's another party banger that sees Wizkid singing in Yoruba and pidgin, about making it rain on a girl who can hold her own on the dance floor, atop fiery, dance-inducing production from Killertunes—the beat maker behind Wizkid and MUT4Y's 2017 banger, "Manya."

"Kana" w/ Olamide

Naija afrobeats heavyweights Olamide and Wizkid linked-up once again on the breezy single "Kana" produced by Mutay of Legendury Beatz. We get to hear Olamide flex his singing chops on the 3 and a half minute track as he and Wiz go back and forth about pampering the women they love in Yoruba. It's a light, mid-tempo cut that sets the perfect vibe for the oncoming warm weather.

"Fever"

WizKid's single, "Fever," got A LOT of people talking due to its music video. In the video for "Fever," Wizkid ropes in fellow singer Tiwa Savage to play his lover, and boy, do they look comfortable! The video was directed by Meji Alabi. Read our contributing writer's take on this one: Wizkid and Tiwa Savage Are Manipulating African Curiosity for Profit.

"Brown Skin Girl" w/ Beyoncé, Saint Jhn, Blue Ivy Carter

Wizkid notably featured on the standout song from Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift album, alongside Saint Jhn and Blue Ivy Carter. The song sees the Nigerian superstar harmonizing with Beyoncé on a beautiful and perfectly-crafted song dedicated to bringing pride, adoration, and celebration to dark-skinned women.

"Joro"

Wizkid returned on Nigerian Independence Day 2019 with the drop of a new single, "Joro." The new track sees the Nigerian superstar delivering his signature vocals over a head-nodding mid-tempo beat produced by Northboi. The accompanying music video follows Wizkid and a companion as they dance across candle-lit rooms, hair salons and the streets of Lagos. It features actress/dancer Georgia Curtis.


Follow 'The Essential Wizkid' playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Interview
Image: Courtesy TIFF

Jenna Cato Bass is Capturing the Horrors of an Unhealed Nation

The film marks the South African director's third debut and stride towards making a name for herself in the international film circuit.

Ever since premiering her debut film, Love the One You Love, which won the Best Feature Film at the Jozi Festival in 2015, Jenna Cato Bass has been a name to watch on the international film festival circuit. Her 2017 feature, High Fantasy, was the first of her films to land on the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) lineup, followed by Flatland in 2019. Her latest offering, Mlungu Wam (Good Madam), debuted at TIFF in September of 2021 — marking her third time at the esteemed Canadian film event.

Often provocative, always thought-provoking, Bass' films have come to establish her as a director who looks at South Africa's youth, the lives they're living and the future that awaits them, with a nuanced, open-minded lens. For the first time in her career, Bass uses the genre of horror to dig into an enduring mark of the country's past — that of the fraught, complex relationship between madam and domestic worker, in Mlungu Wam (Good Madam). Set in Cape Town, the film follows the unusual, disturbing things that start happening when a young woman moves back in with her estranged mother, who is the longtime caretaker for a rich, white household.

Bass also co-wrote the film Tug of War (Vuta N'Kuvute), which became Tanzania's first film to be selected for TIFF this year, and she co-wrote Rafiki, which was Kenya's first film at TIFF in 2018.

She spoke to OkayAfrica about playing in a new genre and her hopes for African cinema.

Still from Bass's film Mlungu Wam Image: Courtesy TIFF


This story revolves around the relationship between a domestic worker and her 'madam.' What made you want to make a film about this subject?

When I make films, I like the concept to revolve around something that we all have in common - because, despite the many fractures in our society, these shared places exist. And in South Africa, we felt that everyone - in some way or another - has been deeply affected by domestic work and domestic workers, who are a keystone in our society's structure. Additionally, the 'maid' and 'madam' relationship is the ultimate symbol of race relations in South Africa - as well as how they haven't changed significantly, despite almost thirty years of democracy. So a domestic worker was the perfect character around which to centre a South African horror.

The genre of horror works really well to explore this subject and tell this story — when did you know it would be the genre you'd want to use?

The early stages of developing a film aren't always linear for me. I'll be thinking about a genre I'm interested in, and then parallel to that I'll have an idea for a story or a character, and later on, will realize that these pieces all fit together. In this case, I'd been wanting to make a horror film for ages, but hadn't found the right story… until I had the idea for Mlungu Wam, and I realized I was finally ready to try this genre.

What challenges did you face in making a horror?

It was my first time working in this genre, and it was intimidating because there's no saving you if you fail. We were also working on a very, very limited budget, so it wasn't possible to show as much as we'd like to - but then again, this story was all about the subjective and the unseen, so I did as much research and planning as we could, and just had to trust it would work.

Where did you film, and did that have any impact on the process at all?

We filmed in a house in Cape Town, in a gated community in the Southern Suburbs. The house and the environment had a major impact on the film - especially because we were also quarantining there for the full 7 weeks of rehearsal and shooting. The house was our set and our accommodation, so it was very intense, very claustrophobic, and very triggering for many of our team members.

How did you and co-writer Babalwa Baartman work on the story? You've included cast members in the writing process in your previous work — did you do that here too?

Mlungu Wam was made along similar lines to my first two films, Love The One You Love and High Fantasy, where we started with an outline, cast actors, then workshopped the characters collaboratively before completing the story breakdown and using improv for the dialogue. Babalwa and I had worked together using this method on a short film we made in 2019 called Sizohlala. She really understands the process, and it was a really rewarding experience exploring the story with her and our cast.

How did Kristina Ceyton, who produced the excellent acclaimed horrors The Babadook and The Nightingale, through Causeway Films, come to be involved in this film?

I had met Sam Jennings, who is also a producer with Causeway Films, several years ago at a festival. We really connected and kept in touch over the years, sharing our work, and hoping there'd be a chance to collaborate. So when we were developing Mlungu Wam, I pitched her and Kristina the concept and they were immediately supportive. It has been a massive pleasure working with them both.

Your films are known to venture into themes of identity and healing from the past — how does this film speak to that?

Mlungu Wam is definitely about this too - it's a story about three generations of women (actually four, if you include Tsidi's grandmother, who is an unseen character in the film), how they are haunted by the past and eventually refuse to remain chained any longer. Their healing is collective, linked to each other, and wouldn't be possible for them alone as individuals.

Still from Bass's film Mlungu Wam Image: Courtesy TIFF


You've been at TIFF before - how has your experience of it been this year, with it being a hybrid of virtual and in-person?

Things have been quieter and a bit harder to navigate, but the TIFF staff have done incredible work getting the festival off the ground, despite endless challenges. It has felt very surreal to be here, and a privilege - and inspiring too, that we can still get together to celebrate films, even though our world is in such a mess. We had over 200 (socially distanced) people at our last screening, and that was an amazing feeling.

Yours is one of few African films on this year's line-up - is there anything you'd like to see happen to try improve that?

Regarding African cinema, TIFF has a real range of films this year, across several sections. Compared to many other festivals, they seem really invested in supporting cinema from the continent. Of course, this could be better, but it's also an example to other festivals who claim there aren't enough African films, that this is clearly not the case.

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