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Greatest Nigerian songs of all time

Fela Kuti – ‘Water No Get Enemy’ (1975) No discussion of Nigerian music is complete without mentioning the pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His…

Fela Kuti – ‘Water No Get Enemy’ (1975)

No discussion of Nigerian music is complete without mentioning the pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His “Water No Get Enemy” is a provoking anthem of resistance and persistence. Its wonderful rhythm, powered by Fela’s saxophone and addictive dance, along with informative lyrics pushing for social justice, make it a timeless masterpiece.

Chief Ebenezer Obey – ‘Evergreen Songs 1 & 2’ (1976)

“Evergreen Songs 1 & 2” are a combination of praise and worship songs that have become synonymous with Nigerian highlife music. With their beautiful lyrics and lovely melodies, the songs have inspired generations.

Prince Nico Mbarga – ‘Sweet Mother’ (1976)

Prince Nico Mbarga’s 1976 single, “Sweet Mother”, is a timeless tribute to maternal love in West Africa. Its melodious highlife rhythm and emotional lyrics commemorate mothers’ selfless dedication across generations, sending a universal message of thanks and affection.

Fela Kuti’s ‘Zombie’ (1976)

The 1976 song, “Zombie”, is a striking critique of authority. It discusses soldiers who behave without thinking, like zombies. Fela’s music combines jazz, funk and African rhythms. The song became a global protest anthem.

Christy Essien Igbokwe – ‘Seun Rere’ (1981)

“Seun Rere” is a joyous song about peace and goodwill. The song’s lively tempo and uplifting lyrics have made it a favourite during Nigerian festivals and social events.

King Sunny Ade – ‘Ja Funmi’ (1982)

Juju music icon, King Sunny Ade, created a masterpiece out of “Ja Funmi” by combining traditional Yoruba drumming with modern equipment. The song’s melodic chanting and repetitive guitar melodies create an exciting atmosphere, demonstrating Ade’s mastery of the genre and ability to entice audiences around the world.

Chief Steven Osita Osadebe – ‘Osondi Owendi’ (1984)

Since its 1984 release, Nigeria’s “Osondi Owendi” continues to stand as a timeless highlife masterpiece. Its happy rhythm and Osadebe’s charming voice elevates it to the status of a classic. The song’s title, which means, “What is cherished is cherished” in Igbo, celebrates love and happiness. It has remained popular across decades, demonstrating Osadebe’s talent of merging traditional Igbo music with modern sounds, resulting in a pleasurable experience for listeners worldwide.

Onyeka Onwenu – ‘One Love’ (1986)

“One Love” is a soulful melody that has become a classic in Nigerian music history. With its sincere lyrics about togetherness and love and Onwenu’s emotional voice, the song serves as an agonising reminder of music’s ability to elicit strong emotions and foster societal peace.

Majek Fashek – ‘Send Down the Rain’ (1988)

“Send down the rain” is a reggae-infused song that became a symbol of hope and resistance throughout Nigeria’s socio-political struggles in the late 1980s. Fashek’s beautiful voice and heart-breaking words resonate with audiences across the nation.

Onyeka Onwenu ft King Sunny Ade – ‘Wait for Me’ (1989)

In 1989, Onyeka Onwenu teamed up with King Sunny Ade on the song “Wait for me”. This song was a smash in Nigeria, blending Onwenu’s deep voice with Sunny Ade’s unique juju music style. It attracts audiences with its sincere lyrics and captivating beat, establishing it as a timeless masterpiece.

Femi Kuti – ‘Beng Beng Beng’ (1998)

Following in his father’s footsteps, Femi Kuti infused “Beng Beng Beng” with Afrobeat’s trademark energy and political criticism. The song’s loud horns, rhythmic drums and Femi’s compelling vocals create a joyful atmosphere while addressing societal challenges, making it unique among contemporary Nigerian music.

Lagbaja – ‘Never Far Away’ (2000)

Lagbaja’s “Never Far Away” combines Afrobeat and traditional Yoruba music components, including his trademark mask and aggressive social criticism. The song’s moving lyrics and captivating melodies have made it a favourite among Nigerian music lovers.

2Baba – ‘African Queen’ (2004)

“African Queen” is a classic love song that captivates hearts not only in Nigeria, but throughout Africa and beyond. Its smooth R&B melody, emotional lyrics and 2Baba’s soulful delivery pushed it to international fame, confirming its status as a timeless classic and demonstrating Nigeria’s influence on the global music scene.

Asa – ‘Jailer’ (2007)

“Jailer” perfectly blends soul, jazz and Afro-pop, showcasing Asa’s unique vocals and emotional poetry. The song’s insightful lyrics about societal restraints and personal liberty strike a deep nerve, establishing Asa as a distinct voice in Nigerian contemporary music and winning her considerable praise both domestically and internationally.

Dbanj – ‘Oliver Twist’ (2012)

“Oliver Twist” is a captivating song about a guy who can’t stop dancing with a female. Similar to Oliver Twist, who begged for more food, the guy keeps asking her to show him more steps. The song’s beat and lyrics makes you want to dance, making it a big hit in Nigeria and worldwide.

P-Square – ‘Personally’ (2013)

“Personally” is a tribute to the late Michael Jackson, combining Afro-pop with appealing sounds and aggressive dancing. The song’s catchy hooks and danceable beat pushed it to the top of the Nigerian and international charts. The song’s video is entertaining, with the twins dancing and having a good time. Overall, “Personally” is a positive song that keeps its listeners dancing.

 Mavin Records – ‘Dorobucci’ (2014)

“Dorobucci” is a popular Afrobeat song that is a hit in Nigeria and worldwide. Its melodic lyrics and lively beats celebrate enjoyment and prosperity. Released in 2014, it soon became a party and club favourite, reflecting Nigerian music’s colourful style. With its vibrant pace and memorable chorus. “Dorobucci” remains a popular single that continues to delight listeners.

Wizkid – ‘Ojuelegba’ (2014)

“Ojuelegba” is a popular song that tells about Wizkid’s journey and success from humble beginnings in Lagos. It celebrates his resilience and dreams, showing how he overcame challenges to achieve his goals. With its lively melody and meaningful lyrics, the song has become popular throughout Africa and beyond, motivating people with its message of hope and resilience.

Korede Bello – ‘Godwin’ (2015)

Korede Bello’s “Godwin” is about celebrating success and gratitude. The energetic melody combines Afropop and dance beats, making it ideal for festivities. Korede’s catchy chorus, “I don get alert, God win”, emphasises the importance of divine favour in obtaining success. The song’s uplifting message and dynamic energy have made it a huge hit in Nigeria and beyond.

Davido – ‘Fall’ (2017)

“Fall” is one of Nigeria’s most commercially successful singles. The song fuses Afropop and modern beats, demonstrating Davido’s own style. “Fall” received enormous publicity and streaming statistics around the world, showing Nigerian pop music’s expanding popularity. Its enticing melody and sympathetic lyrics about desire and affection have helped it become a fans’ favourite.

 Burna Boy – ‘YE’ (2018)

“YE” is a vibrant song about life and perseverance. It motivates listeners to keep positive in the face of adversity by using appealing beats and meaningful lyrics. The song’s rhythm and Burna Boy’s soulful vocals make it a popular choice among many, demonstrating his Nigerian roots and global appeal. “YE” is also a reminder to keep going and enjoy every minute of life no matter what happens.



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