We predict the first six months of 2018 to be a very good period for Naija music lovers than the last six. With some top artists releasing albums (Did I hear you say Burna Boy? Brymo?), we already have plenty of ear candy as there was in 2017. Turn up.
Generally, music depends on taste, music is diverse, song and lyrics can mean so much. It is basically an expression of a person and it is a language that is always understood. To that effect, the listener, the songwriter, the singer, even the producer can determine what makes a good song. You think you feel, you laugh and dance. From the witty/vibey to the heartbreaking, from sweet pop choruses to politically-charged rap verses, from pure Afrobeats to body moving reggae, we appreciate them all. It is significant to note that this particular digest comes up twice a year to ensure a swift digest.
It is also important to note that the playlist recognizes hits as you would know, songs from the best albums (including unreleased singles) to keep you aware and artists on the warm-up (LOL) with worthwhile songs. Also, the playlist ensures to keep things strictly (January to June), that is, irrespective of the release of the single, a 2017 album won’t make the list. We hope you enjoy our favorite songs of 2018 (January-June) so far as much as we love putting it out.
Here are 2018 best songs on shuffle (in no order, in no specific genre and no specific date of release). After all, it’s MUSiK We Love right? Enjoy fixing your playlist.
1. Brymo – Banuso
In his default state, Brymo makes music from the world around him; it’s not something new for listeners of Klitoris, Tabula Rasa or Merchant Dealers & Slaves. And in 2018, Brymo continues to educate and drill listeners with a breathing marvel of entertainment and illumination in varying Yoruba expressions. Off the OSO (The Wizard) album, Banuso is an obscenely catchy song where Olawale’s outstanding vocal meets brilliant percussions. Even he knows he has no comparable in the land.
2. Nonso Amadi – No Crime
Nonso Amadi released his first single of this year, and we all fuck with it.
3. Teni – Askamaya
Teni Apata continues to live up to her billing as the 2018 Headies Hip-Hop World Revelation and this song confirm she has no ceilings. Like her sister’s habit (the talk back in the song), she takes the crowd to the dance floor on the Spellz-produced joint but she does it her own style. Heard Teni – Wait?
4. MI Abaga – Playlist Feat. Nonso Amadi
MI is an icon. He has been the best rapper in Nigeria for over a decade not only because he spits the dopest flows but also his dynamism. His ever-changing formula sees him drop the R&B king he enjoyed much success with for an emerging one. It’s no miracle the song and the entire Playlist album is on top of many Naija radio playlist. That’s a rhyme, get me a feature!
5. Atela – Jankara
Who remembers the Jankara Market song? Well, we now have an Afro-pop bip-bap beat, guitar, and whistle to make us dance better and we have the Squeeze Records’ Atela to thank for it. As he has said, it’s a love song and nothing attached.
6. David Millz – Sides
Millz is a rapper on the come up, he’s got the rhymes, the flow, tempo and honesty that shot SA’s Nasty C up the chart. He’s got a couple trending singles after his cover of M.I’s You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life broke the internet but this love song titled Sides will walk into your playlist after first listen. A very solid effort.
7. Mystro – Ife Feat. Simi
Individuals that listened to Ajebutter 22’s 2017 What Happens in Lagos album know he made the opener A Good Place To Start, hence must be familiar with the name Mystro while others have their introduction in Ife, his album closer. The production itself is gentle but Mystro and Simi’s vocals are equally delicate, making the entire folk-inspired record an insightful/solicitous masterpiece and one of the best love songs in the country. The tip is you want to hear the piano as it reverberates through your heart. It’s called rhythm and blues for a reason.
8. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – Black Times Feat. Carlos Santana
Before Afrobeats, saxophonist- Seun Kuti is first of all his father’s son and it’s evidenced in his relationship with Egypt 80, a group his father achieved so much success with. By birth, protest and freedom songs are wired into the 35-year old youngest son of Fela Kuti but he’s serving us the infectious, protesting the power of Afrobeat refined and compact in his 2018 Black Times album. He grabbed legendary Carlos Santana to help drive the title track to new heights with his guitars after his call-and-response singing. Black Dream, Black Information, Black Education, Black Journey, Black Story, Black Strength, Black Pride, Black Strength and Black Knowledge. Its black time, be ready to be free.
9. Ruggedman – Is Police Your Friend?
Ace rapper Ruggedy Baba answered the rhetorical question with a 4:14 rap thesis and came out in flying colors. However, for the purpose of future learning, it’s a jamb question.
10. Davido – Assurance
There are probably a hundred types of people you can’t advise in life. The last is a Davido in love. The buzz around the song aside, Assurance will shoot up the charts like any Davido song these days. Meanwhile, there are also several things you can’t control on the internet. One of them is Davido’s Youtube views. Ugh. Congrats on the BET award, the wireless performance is the most real and we can’t wait for the album.
11. Femi Kuti – One People One World
Femi Kuti has drawn ideas from around Africa, America, and the world. His music is a mixture of funk, Afrobeat, and soul; influences he has soaked up over decades of performing and touring. As a result, his music expresses certain melodic tenderness, probably why he’s known for offering a more streamlined and accessible version of his legendary father’s music. On his tenth studio album One People One World, the Afrobeats is still revolutionary, conscious and dance-centered as created by his father Fela Kuti, even more; Femi’s music is mellow, polished and full of compassion rather than fighting spirit. The title track single commences with Afrobeat horns as Femi, his longlasting Positive Force band and backing singers deny racism, greed, and hatred. The message in the entire album is global, positive and fully summed up in the title One People One World.
12. Adekunle Gold – Ire (Goodness)
In what we can officially call the first single in his sophomore album, Adekunle exhibited what propelled his career to this point in Ire. The opening piano and bata talking drum set the stage for his story about compunction. Like Darey’s 2016 people’s choice Pray For Me, the chorus is another beauty on its own, but this time it wasn’t Soweto Gospel Choir. By the second verse, even the Simi’s if I had known vocal contribution is enough for every listener to reflect and by the end of the song, you want to replay. By the second play, your siblings, parents, and grandparents want to join in. Such is the awesomeness of Ire.
13. Mayorkun – Bobo ft Davido
Headies next-rated winner and his label boss continue.
14. Odunsi x Zamir x Santi – Alté Cruise
Afro-fusion for the culture. Applaud them.
15. Lady Donli – Games ft GJtheCaesar
Sometimes I feel proud folks like Donli and Wurld are from my country. This Lady has been a revelation to the Naija music industry really and GJtheCaesar is someone I wish to get more of. Lady Donli of Games is exciting and at her funky best while GJtheCaesar took it to a new height. This song was produced by Nosa Apollo (fantastic work) with support vocals from Tay Iwar and Preye, nonetheless, I’d like these two to work with Kaytranada. Anticipate Lady Donli’s forthcoming debut, Enjoy Your Life. After giving this song many repeats, check out Lady Donli – Poison, Kaytranada – Together ft AlunaGeorge & GoldLink or Kaytranada – You’re The One ft Syd.
16. Maleek Berry – Pon My Mind
Following the success of Last Daze of Summer EP last year, straight outta Berry’s Room is First Daze of Winter EP in 2018.
17. Burna Boy – Ye
Like many people around the world, Ye himself will have probably listened to this song before or after his 2018 album (LOL) and they all enjoy it from observation. On Ye, Burna recalls the legendary Fela Kuti’s grief on Sorrow, Tears, and Blood but repackaged it to suit his need in 2018. Easily another banger with plenty of repeats.
Cos dada cover my face they calling me lagbaja o
Bigi man wey no dey wear agbada!
18. Wani – 234
234 (alluding Nigeria’s telephone code, +234) is the last song off his debut EP; Lagos City Vice. There’s something with new wave artists and vibes. Y’all won’t kill us with diabetics, these songs are too sugary abeg. Parental ADVISORY, Explicit Content.
19. Femi Kuti – Na Their Way Be That
The second single off One People One World opens with cooking reggae before his saxophone solo and an Afrobeat chant cut in from the margin. The song also plays with a loose groove, led by a twisting, menacing saxophone riff as Femi battles corruption and all things unsavory. Unlike his father Fela or brother Seun, Femi is in tune with his peaceful side, sacrificing that scathing wit for messages of hope in part-rant part-plea. He might not serve hot, pounding Afrobeat but his music is unique, not confined to a genre, and suit the peace, unity, love, and understanding that UNICEF spokesperson, children’s rights activist, and HIV/AIDS education advocate Kuti means to convey; why the attention his voice commands is well-deserved.
2o. StarBoy x Duncan Mighty x Wizkid – Fake Love
In a rare collaboration, Duncan Mighty dictates the melody of this song with his ever-bright voice and his native language. Duncan Mighty can say whatever he likes in the song, we like it and we’ll vibe. Thank you.
21. SESS – Original Gangster with Reminisce and Adekunle Gold
SESS the problem kid is no regular DJ This or That as you would know. The man behind a majority of Falz’ hit has a very good idea of a perfect artist combination as evidenced in this song. With the beat complementing his featured guests, you know those two can’t go wrong from there. Adekunle Gold with the chorus and Alaga with the flow, SESS! WehdoneSir.
22. Johnny Drille – Awa Love
Drille went Owl City at first, then switched to an African classic later on. With funky guitar and a knack for impeccable percussion lines, this track is almost a complete whirlwind of emotion.
23. DJ Spinall – Baba ft Kizz Daniel
Baba o. Baba o. Baba o.
24. AYLO – LITT FT TAY IWAR
After a hardworking 2017, these guys are still not sleeping in the synth-driven LITT. You won’t get trap music like this except it is 2 Chainz’ PGLTM or Migos’ Culture I. The flowwwwwwww.
25. Mr. Real – Legbegbe ft Idowest, Obadice & Kelvin Chuks
iPhone 1. iPhone 2. iPhone 3.
26. Olamide ft Wizkid – Kana
‘Kana’, brought two of Nigeria’s top acts together creating something special. Olamide & Wizkid reminded us on the hit ‘Kana‘ why they are both the stars topping Nigeria’s mainstream music industry.
27. Sarz X Wurld – Trobul
This dude stole our hearts in 2017 with Shizzi-produced Show You Off and the same girl is probably giving him Trobul in 2018, but produced by Sarz. There’s something about Wurld; he’s not just making music, he ensures you put words like unique and exceptional before his music. I wish to know this man more. You should too.
28. Falz the Bahd Guy – #ThisisNigeria
While other rappers are either checking for their spots, stunting, and some are singing and auto-tuning, Falz is one of the rare ones repeatedly addressing social and political issues in real life and he’s probably making it look easy through comedy, maybe why he’s not getting the deserved respect. This is another song that placed itself on the list. The politically charged hit pressed every Nigeria wound at 57 years and it pressed where it hurts and we can all relate.
29. Naira Marley – Issa Goal (remix) ft Olamide, Lil Kesh, Simi, Slimcase & Falz
Is it true Naira Marley cannot pronounce letter R in a word? Meanwhile, this list issa goal. Read on
30. DMW x Davido x Peruzzi x Dremo x Mayorkun – Mind
30 Billion Gang squad up. I want a form.
31. MI Abaga – Your Father ft Dice Ailes
MI, Your Father
Dice, Your Father
If you’re reading this, Your
And to all the lyricists, MI is Your Father.
Heard Brymo – Olumo? This guy is the best.
32. Ajebutter22 x Boj – Yawa
We knew these two are a great music pair but their effort this year verify they can achieve great things together like they did on Spaxx-produced Yawa. Also from their collaborative 5 track – Make E No Cause Fight EP, 24 and Tungba are both delightful.
33. Dj Enimoney – Diet ft Slimcase, Reminisce and Tiwa Savage
Reminisce, Tiwa and Slimcase were all online on the Sarz-produced beat.
34. Dj E-Cool – Ada ft Davido
Another one, courtesy of 30 Billion Gang.
35. Starboy x Wizkid x Ceeza Milli x Spotless x Terri – Soco
Oya soco soco.
36. Wande Coal – So Mi So
No doubt the jam was influenced by Juls’ production but Wande Coal is awfully good at making music.
37. Tekno – Jogodo/Wizkid – Highgrade ft Ty Dolla $ign
Tekno is guilty of turning one sound into more than three hits. Anyway, Tekno’s Jogodo is a refix of Danfo Driver’s Kpolongo into a love song. Can’t Believe, One For Me and this one? Wizkid surely has TY on his speed dial before any other American artiste and it works every single time.
38. J Hus – Dark Vader
After his debut project was a success packed with a lot of chart-topping hits, he released a 3 song project as a teaser for his second album. Dark Vader definitely has all the vibes we know Hus for.
39. Black Magic – No Need
Love is a complex topic. It is based on belief and that is what No Need is about. Black Magic is another artist we’re expecting an album from later in the year (3.0?). You can’t keep a good man down; Magic has proven that over and again.
40. Olamide – Science Student
January – March felt the heat of this song. We still don’t know where Olamide is standing on the drug issue though.
41. Dwin, the Stoic – Are You The One?
Who listens when we pray? Who pulls the strings of the world as we struggle today? And the silence of God?
These are questions Edwin Madu, known as Dwin, the Stoic; a multi-talented Nigerian alternative singer-songwriter and poet seeks answers to over guitar harmonies and dispersing echoes. Dwin has got something special about his artistry and it’s amazing. His debut album Heavy Heart is very fresh, 13-track long, but mostly short tracks. It’s got fantastic artists such as Davina Oriakhi and 3rty on it too.
42. 2Baba – Amaka Feat. Peruzzi
To be fair, Igbo girls have been very inspirational to many Naija hits. Chioma, Amaka, Omalicha, Caro, and the notorious Ada. Anyway, this is 2Baba and DMW’s Peruzzi narrating their troubles with Amaka over a Speroachbeatzz and it’s an instant banger. We anticipate equally great music for the remaining half of the year. The boxes for the best of (July – December) have some great songs ticking them already.
43. Santi – Icy Feat. Izzy, Mainson & Odunsi
Ozzy B/Santi has been creating a masterpiece which he keeps teasing via his social media, with collaborations to keep us craving for more. In April, he released his first single of the year ‘Icy’ accompanied with a video and it got all of us keeping our Nike’s extra clean. It’s playlist regular as we wait for his project.
44. PretyBoy D-O – Chop Elbow
D-O continued his winning streak of smash singles with the politically conscious ‘Chop Elbow’, a song that touches on issues like politics, power shortage, SARS, all mixed into his trademark off-beat flow. It definitely got all of us putting an elbow up, with a shout-out coming from Olamide who loves the song as much as all of us.
45. Trill Xoe – Love Like This Feat. Tonero & Rilwan
This is probably one of the most slept on songs of the year by one of the most slept on producers but it’s still a song that needs to be heard a lot more cause we definitely haven’t gotten tired of it and you shouldn’t be too.
46. Skepta – Bad Energy Feat. Wizkid
After many trial and errors, the combo of Skepta with the grime flow and Wizkid’s core Afrobeats presence, a cocktail of both worlds emerged creating a hit that we’ll be jamming all summer.
47. Kwesi Arthur – Anthem
The special man from Tema, Ghana who’s story of grass to grace shoot the entire African hip-hop sphere and got him a BET nomination. He released his first single of the year Anthem, a song that didn’t disappoint as he did what he does the best, rapping and creating melodies only someone of his gift could.
48. Tomi Thomas – Shaken
This is the most recent song on the list but under a short period, it’s gathered a lot of airplay and streams. It’s certainly one of the best songs we’ve heard from Tomi Thomas in a while after lending his voice on feature to many hits last year, he finally blesses us with a gem of his own.
49. Nasty C – Jungle
Arguably one of the best rappers in South Africa right now, before he released his acclaimed second album Strings And Bling, the 21-year-old rapper released two singles with ‘Jungle’ being the breakout that got everyone’s attention.
50. Yxng Bane – Vroom
It’s no secret how much influence Afropop has had on the UK’s music scene in recent years, breaking out stars like J Hus, Naira Marley, and others Yxng Bane wasn’t left out with his smash single Vroom! Putting him up there with other artists breaking in a new sound for the UK with African inspired roots.