While the floodgates of releases might be barred during the first quarter of each year, the Nigerian music industry, in 2022, is taking off at an interesting pace, especially with the inauguration of an Afrobeats-dedicated segment on America’s Billboard Charts. This development would see more Nigerian records inch towards global relevance as its inaugural edition rakes considerable discourse amongst music lovers around the world. From Rema, Asa, Adekunle Gold to WurlD, it’s already raining projects, just three months in. The likes of Tiwa Savage, Joeboy have announced headline tours while Pheelz, Asake, L.A.X are taking no chances to stake their claim with chart-topping records and collaborations.
Ahead of the full swing, we thought to bring you up to speed on some of our favorite Nigerian songs so far.
Pheelz (feat. BUJU)
Pheelz, one of Nigeria’s leading producers tapped BUJU for what would become the hottest song out in Nigeria so far. “Finesse” went viral soon after it was teased on TikTok by the producer. In this record, Pheelz rocks the boards and mic, alongside a legion of men singing about living in the fast lane. “Finesse” was the most Shazamed song in the world within one week of release and has spawned a moment in pop culture with quotables like “if I broke, na my business” that have since gone viral. It’s quite a discovery to see Pheelz hold his own even with BUJU on the record.
Sungba (Remix) (feat. Burna Boy)
“Sungba” is a single off Asake’s new project, following his signing to Olamide’s YBNL. Asake’s sound is less-conventional Afrobeats and more like a stir of Fuji and Street that has served the likes of Bella Shmurda, Zinoleesky, and others. “Sungba”, meaning Lie Flat in Yoruba, has an oddly-appealing sexual undertone, with a hint of egotism about his musical know-how and financial stamina. “Sungba” closely follows the success of “Omo-Ope” which features Olamide. The record took off on social media before snowballing into a national hit that would interest Burna Boy enough to jump on the remix.
The 1980s R&B/Soul-inspired number is one of the most experimental records off Rema’s new album, Rave & Roses. “Addicted” takes a whole ‘nother turn from other songs in the project. Here, the singer paints the picture of a love interest addicted to vices of youthful exuberance. “Everyone is allowed to have fun but there should be a balance,” he said, “being at the career height I am, I know that I can have this life to the fullest but I still have my laidback time to create a balance”. The record’s haunting yet enthralling badge upholds Rema’s range and penchant to tap into exotic sonic palettes beyond conventional waves.
Good Times (feat. The Cavemen)
Asa teams up with Nigerian highlife sensation The Cavemen for an ode to friendship in her recent album. “Good Times” muses over the Black pride of Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and the enthused warmth of Eddie Okwedy’s “Happy Survival”, courtesy of The Cavemen. “I was thinking about Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo when writing this one,” she mentions, “there’s just something acoustic that brings me to Southern Africa here”. The record touches on love in the context of friendship. According to her, “it is one of my easiest songs because it’s about remembering a good friend.”
“Obsessed” has since become a fan-favorite following the release of Fave’s five-track project dubbed Riddim 5. “It was banging from the beginning of the beat when [producer] Krisbeatz played it to me,” She says, “whether or not I’m getting an inspiration, I just know I have to sing on it because it was that good”. “Obsessed” marks Fave’s growth and ability to paint with words, as she’s one who unabashedly wears her heart on her sleeve. The intriguing chants in its opening seconds, chorus, and melodies all see the record live up to its title.
Make It Snow
Wurld taps into his expansive sonic palette to deliver the provocative number. According to the singer, “Picture this, ‘when we come together, we make it snow’. I wanted to create what happens when you connect with your significant other and when you both climax together, you’re making snow. Everything that you experience in the song is the highest feeling of what climax feels like and I didn’t start creating the song until I felt at the highest level of just feeling.” “Make it Snow” is a breath of fresh air on Wurld’s debut album, My WorlD With U.
Catch Me If You Can
In the title-track of Adekunle Gold’s recent album, he’s confrontational as he takes a swipe at media critics and cynics. In his chat with PAM, the singer had highlighted “Catch Me If You Can” as his favorite record on the then-forthcoming project. “The song almost tells the entire story of the album. It’s about my journey – how hard I worked to get to where I am,” he continued, “I know that people say you must be given their flowers, but I’m at the point where I’m getting my own flowers. A whole field of lavender.”
Options (feat. Ayra Starr)
L.A.X recruits Gen Z maven Ayra Starr as they sing about love, heartbreak, and ego on “Options”. The ATG-produced number portrays a tender exploration into L.A.X’s ability with gentle verses, which marinates with Ayra Starr’s dulcet vocals as she asserts “…but rookies can’t mess with pros”. The record is accompanied by stunning visuals captured in a chic setting, fusing avant-garde and traditional elements in both the set direction and styling. “Options” is a follow-up to L.A.X’s EP, Zaza Vibes.