The first half of 2020 did come with its moments – largely unfortunate events. But through it all, there was music and videos, the latter particularly important as much of the world locked down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through it all, these are our favorite Nigerian videos from these six months, featuring the best directors and musicians across the industry.
Fireboy DML – Vibration
Fireboy DML followed his hugely successful debut album (Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps) with an impressive batch of videos. “Vibration,” one of its best songs got similarly acclaimed visuals by way of TG Omori, who appropriates cultural items of many places –from Nigeria to Brazil– into the video’s aesthetic.
Lady Donli – Corner (feat. VanJess & The Cavemen)
A much discussed work, the visuals for “Corner” sees director Shaun Kalu infuse Old Nollywood elements to tell a tale on the contemporary issues facing Nigerian women, from being asked by lecturers to offer sexual acts in return for grades, or punishing women who get by doing sex work. Lady Donli’s “Corner” video (it is rightly being presented as a movie) was a good reminder that music can entertain and protest in equal measure.
Rema & Rvssian – Beamer
Rema’s first single of the year was the Rvssian-produced “Beamer.” The video (directed by Fxrbes) takes inspiration from the teenage bad boy image often applied to the whiz kid’s branding. With fast-paced scenes and jeweled teeth, Rema’s commercial and sexual appeal is immediately present to anyone who sees the video.
Davido – 1 Milli
On the video for this song off Davido’s A Good Time, an outdoor wedding scene was evoked in beautiful colors and African-style designs. As it was in “Assurance,” Davido starred alongside fiancée Chioma Rowland, offering tender touches and warm gazes into each other’s eyes. It was directed by Priorgold Picture.
Burna Boy – Odogwu
TG Omori, with just a little over two years in the industry, has worked with big names such as Wizkid and Olamide, boasting a very illustrious client list. Boy Director, as TG calls himself, is known for his colorful videos and innovative concepts. That is the case on “Odogwu,” where he pairs articles from the Igbo culture to Burna Boy’s global appeal, making it an Afrocentric work that can hold its own against any other video globally.
WurlD – Love Nobody
The blue-haired WurlD is an ambitious artist. His video for “Love Nobody” is something straight out of a Bond movie. It’s in fact inspired by a fight scene from Casino Royale. While a dangerous woman in black leather kicks ass, WurlD sings about jealous love and heavy intimacy. Co-directed by WurlD and Parker McMillan, it’s a video directors of cinematic thrillers will be proud of.
Joeboy – Call
Afro Pop star Joeboy’s video for “Call” is set in dystopian Lagos. With its impressive Marvel–esque scenes, director TG Omori paints the Joeboy character in heroic colors as a love story is told against the destructive backdrop.
Vector – Comfort (feat. Davido)
Last 2019, veteran rapper Vector released his EP, Vibes Before Teslim, a prelude to an album that’s supposed to drop later this year. A standout of the project was “Comfort,” a Davido–assisted song which takes on the relative themes love and assurance. TG Omori casts both artists against a backdrop of color and splendor, with cut and paste effects making for fresh visuals.
Adekunle Gold – Something Different
Adekunle Gold continued the run-up to his forthcoming project with “Something Different.” A glorious song of longing, the Moyo-directed video wears a similar hue and has been described as “simple yet bewitching with its use of complimentary colors and African garments.”
Yemi Alade – Shekere (feat. Angélique Kidjo)
The phenomenal Yemi Alade is one artist who dons her African identity like a badge of honor. On “Shekere” she features the legendary Beninese singer Angeliqué Kidjo –its vibrant video is directed by Ovie Etseyatse and casts Yemi Alade and Ms. Kidjo in extravagant looks. The dancers are not left out, fitted in colorful Ankaras and beads.