For the consummate Nigerian music fan, 2020 proved to be the most dynamic year musically in terms of output, quality, range and volume of projects that were released in a single calendar year.
Probably owing to the COVID-19 pandemic hat gripped the entire world and forced everybody to remain indoors, quarantined and isolated from friends, family and fans, a large number of creatives spent their time working on new music and delivering strong, spectacular bodies of work.
The mainstream music scene presented an array of albums, enough to satisfy a wide range of diverse musical tastes and as usual, after a rigorous listening process, we selected the top 10 albums of the year with one honourable mention selected by our editorial team. Check it out below.
- Commercial reception – 40%
- Lyrical/Composition/Sonic quality – 30%
- Cultural significance – 15%
- Critical acclaim – 15%
The final criteria are the ears of our editorial team, who utilized extensive knowledge of the Nigerian Hip-hop scene to thoroughly review all the projects and arrived at our informed conclusion.
QDot – Alagbe
Record Label:- Yorubad Boi Music
Guest Appearances:- Patoranking, T Classic, Jaywon, Pepenazi, Niniola, XSmile, 9ice, Pasuma & Zlatan
Producers:- XSmile, 2TBoiz, Pherari, Citiboi, Antras, Antivirus, Tozbeat, DaBeatHandle, Soshine, ShockerBeat, DJ YK Beat, Hennykong & Glow
Release Date:- 18 November 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- 37.5 Million
Since QDot made his debut with the spiritually charged single breakout hit single Alomo Meta, back in 2013, he has gone on to establish himself and his brand as one of the most talented and significant culturally adept musicians in the contemporary music scene.
His penchant for delivering intricate, philosophical and sometimes spiritual lyrics in his native Yoruba language can only be rivalled by his vicarious mentor 9ice– who also made an appearance on this project- has made him the go-to-guy for listeners in need of that unique ethnic sound.
The Ibadan raised singer spent the first few years of his career in his hometown and continued to represent IB City, until he began to gain enough recognition in Lagos to warrant a crossover also led to a significant increase in his collaborative endeavours with better-established artistes like Olamide, Reminisce, Niniola, and many more.
With 8 years of strong musical experience and 5 at the epicentre of the industry-Lagos, The artiste, who had also established his own musical imprint Yorubad Boi Music decided he had garnered enough goodwill with his fans to release his debut album and he did make an excellent job of delivering a momentous project, the semi eponymous Alagbe. fortified with 17 unskippable songs and guest appearances from some of the finest artists of his generation including Niniola, Zlatan, Pasuma and Jaywon, the project is befitting of a seasoned musician who is confident in his own skin and is not afraid to release a project in his native language at a time when Nigerian music is getting the biggest international recognition. With perhaps the slimmest budget on this list, Mr Alagbe maximised his resources sonically, collaboratively and musically o deliver one of the best debut albums in the history of the Nigerian contemporary music scene, that is as good as any project released in 2020.
10 Adekunle Gold – Afropop
Record Label:- EMI Records
Guest Appearances:- Tekno, Olayinka Ehi, Patoranking & Nailah Blackman.
Producers:- Seyi, E-Kelly & Pheelz
Release Date:- August 20 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- 54.6 Million
His musical career lit up like a wildfire after releasing the 2015 breakout single “Sade“, a rendition of the hit single “Story of My Life” which was originally performed by the British boy band One Direction. From that point, the former graphic designer turned musician has gone on to release 3 studio albums and establish himself as one of the most prominent contemporary musicians in the country.
His last album About 30 signified his maturity and growth as a husband and father, but Afro-pop has him embracing his youth and rolling back the clock to deliver a project that resonated with and won him a younger set of fans. On the album, Adekunle Gold also revealed a previously unknown penchant for making big club records, briefly deviating from his soulful, sullen and smooth sound. The resulting effect turned out to be extremely beneficial to his brand as Afro-pop has racked up over 150 combined streams across the major digital service providers and is still garnering critical acclaim by major industry media outlets, -including Nigerian Sounds. Clearly, Adekunle Gold’s career is still on an upward trajectory and Afro-pop is a testament to that fact.
The “Afro Pop, Vol. 1” album which embodies 10 solid tracks featured few top-notch singers; Nailah Blackman, Patoranking, Olayinka Ehi & Tekno.
The album begins with a self-titled Afrobeat song “AG baby” on which he unveiled his alter-ego, the party-loving, carefree and highly spirited energy that inspired his new unique sound.
It then runs through to his impressive song ‘Sabina’ & and moves on to the Patoranking-assisted, ‘Pretty Girl’ a sultry dancehall song, inspired by creating a rhythm that would shake the club and appeal to the ladies and he did just that
Adekunle gold also took us on a ride to discover a carefree existence on the mellow song, “Okay” as well as pure vibes & of course the portrayer of ‘love’ on the other tracks; “Something different”, “Water Carry Me”, “Firewood”, “Exclusive” & “Here For Ya”.
The singer stayed true to his musical identity without diluting or downgrading his style, Afro-pop unveiled never seen before facets of his creativity and came across as a shining project that stands as one of 2020′ best
9 Yemi Alade – Empress
Record Label:- Effyzie Music
Guest Appearances:- Dadju, Patoranking, Estelle, Vegedream, Rudeboy & Mzansi Youth Choir
Producers:- VTek, Krizbeatz, Jimi Huru, Egar Boi, Ken Kabongo, Ken Vakene Bora, Yung Felix, Dr Amir, Philkeyz, Youp Boelen, Project Money & IAmBeatz
Release Date:- November 20 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- 6.8 Million
Less than one year after releasing her 4th studio album Woman Of Steel, Nigerian Afro-pop diva Yemi Alade proved that she still had more than enough firepower left in her creative arsenal and delivered a barrage of hit records on her fifth studio album Empress. No other Nigerian female artiste has released two studio albums in quick succession, nonetheless charted internationally on the billboard charts but we are talking about Yemi Alade, an exceptional performer who has done everything necessary to live up to her self acclaimed cognomen King Of All Queens.
Ever since she emerged as the winner of the popular Peak Talent Show in 2009, Yemi Alade has gone on to build herself into a global musical powerhouse, winning several awards in the process & setting too many records that are too numerous to mention. The most significant of which include becoming the First Nigerian songstress to hit 1.62M subscribers & 128 million views on YouTube on her biggest hit song – ‘Johnny‘, and also becoming the most followed Nigerian public figure on Facebook among others.
After delivering four award-winning, chart-topping albums, she released Empress, a vibrant project that represented a potpourri of her musical influences including elements of gospel music, couple decale, soul, pop, dancehall and highlife. The album cemented her status as Nigeria’s premier contemporary music diva and embodied the monicker “Nigerias first lady of songs“, which was formerly held by the late Nigerian music icon Christy Essien Igbokwe.
Empress is a dense blend of contemporary African musicial sounds, bound together by a collage of diverse Afrocentric sonic pulses that embody her musical identity and has placed her firmly at the top of the Nigerian music scene for over a decade.
8 Davido – A Better Time
Record Label:- Davido Music World/Sony Music.
Guest Appearances:- Nicki Minaj, Lil Baby, Chris Brown, Young Thug, Mayorkun, Ckay, Mugeez, Hit-Boy, Nas, Sho Madjozi, Bella Shmurda & Sauti Sol.
Producers:- Shizzi, Speroach Beatz, Tekno, Kiddominant, P2J, London on da Track, Fresh VDM, Seyi, Teekay Witty, Ray Keys & Vstix
Release Date:- November 112 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- Nil
Since he made his debut on the Nigerian music scene with his breakout hit single Back When Featuring Naeto C, the artiste fondly referred to by his fans as Omo Baba Olowo, Davido has gone on to establish himself as arguably the most internationally recognized contemporary musician to emerge from the Afro-pop music scene.
Davido has continuously stretched the limits of his creativity, not only in terms of performing and showmanship but most importantly in employing songwriters and utilizing an extensive array of producers all in an effort to give his fans the finest version of creative capabilities.
After releasing his debut album Omo Baba Olowo in 2012, he went through a four year period of soul searching and deep introspection and spent the next 4 years developing his brand HKN Records and cutting his teeth as a record executive/A&R as well as his songwriting capabilities, which most of his critics pointed to as his biggest handicap.
From 2012 to 2016, his career progression continued to escalate to an upwards trajectory and saw him release chart-topping singles, including some of the biggest of his career Skelewu, Gobe, Aye, Good Life Featuring Mafikizolo, The Sound and Dodo. Most of his singles performed strongly enough commercially, to warrant a lucrative record deal from international music powerhouse Sony Entertainment, who offered him a groundbreaking contract that included a solo deal, as well as a partnership with his new label Davido Music World.
Upon establishing his record company and reportedly bequeathing his shares in HKN Gang to his older brother and cousins B-Red and Sina Rambo, The DMW boss got straight to business and recruited fresh personnel like Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Yonda, and Dremo, as well as producers Shizzi and Fresh VDM, all of who formed the core of his musical circle. In 2016, the EP Son Of Mercy was made available on I-Tunes, with 5 tracks and was powered by the Nasty C assisted Coolest Kid In Africa; Though the project was not a commercial success by his standards, the sonic disposition and guest appearances on the project pointed to his pursuit of a more luxurious and ambitious international sound.
Three years late, His sophomore album A Better Time  was released became a musical embodiment of his colossal position as a contemporary African music powerhouse. The album contained guest appearances by Chris Brown, Summer Walker, Gunna, Popcaan and A Boogie With The Hoodie, as well as Peruzzi, Wurld, Naira Marley, Yonda and Mayorkun. It was released in December 2020 and in less than 10 months, had racked up over 1 Billion collective streams on digital service providers, making it the most-streamed album by an African artiste to date.
A Better Time (2020) was released the following year and could be considered as a Disc B of sorts to its predecessor as It continued its pattern for scoring big international guest appearances and displaying diverse sonic dispositions. Grammy award winner, Chris Brown made simultaneous guest appearances on projects by an African artiste for the first time in his career and Nicki Minaj, Nas, Young Thug and Lil Baby all assisted in reinforcing the quality he first introduced on AGT. The album proved that the success of AGT was not a fluke and consolidated his position as one of the most accomplished African artistes of his generation. Not only does it stand as the soundtrack to the life of the contemporary African youth, but it is also one of the most internationally viable albums from the Nigerian music scene.
7) Flavour Nabania – Flavour Of Africa
Record Label:- 2Nite Entertainment.
Guest Appearances:- Tekno, Fally Ipupa, Odumeje, Phyno, Biggie Igba, Beenie Man, Waga Gee & Larry Gaaga.
Producers:- Masterkraft, Rotimi Keys, Selebobo, Spax, Stadic, Jonny Blaze, Marvio & DJ Tunez.
Release Date:- December 3 2020.
Streams On Audiomack:- 9.91 Million.
Whenever I hear the words underrated and unsung, the first artiste hat comes to mind s the contemporary Highlife superstar Flavour Nabania. Perhaps, owing to the fact that he performs his music primarily with the Igbo language; nonetheless, he has continued to release strong albums that can be appreciated by music lovers of various cultural dispositions, if not linguistically, at least rhythmically.
Having started out his career in 2005 with his debut album Nabania, which was powered by the single of the same name that features Mr Raw Nwanne, Flavour has gone on to release Uplifted (2010), Blessed (2012), Thankful (2014), Ijele the Traveler (2017) and Awele which was released in 2018 and served as his latest album until 2020.
for the entirety of 2019 and early 2020 however, Flavour kept busy appearing on impressive collaborations, most notably Vibe by Phyno, Umu Jesus christ by Odumeje, Equipment by Masterkraft, Tene by Larry Gaaga, Culture by Umu Obiligbo and Phyno as well as the monster Smash by Del B, Consider, which also featured Wizkid. Flavour also topped off 2019 by release a 5 track collaborative EP with diva Chidinma titled 40 Years. a strong project that we listed as one of the strongest and potent EP’s of 2019.
With less than 3 weeks to the end of 2020, Flavour delivered Flavour Of Africa, his 7th studio album which contained 15 tracks, as well as guest appearances by his regular collaborators Tekno, Phyno Waga G and Larry Gaaga, as well as collaborations with Congolese superstar Fally Ipupa and Jamaican dancehall icon Beenie Man on a track that served as his first international collaboration.
The album was crafted specifically to appeal to a broader audience with songs like Omo T’emi [performed with the Yoruba language], Umu Igbo [Crafted for his biggest audience in eastern Nigeria], Berna [influenced by East African soukous and Makossa sounds], Sawa Sawa [featured Beenie Man for the Caribbean market] and Product Of Grace [a clear cut Gospel record that was directed to his Christan fans]. Flavour managed to produce a compilation that cut across various sonic, social, cultural, continental and linguistic barriers to delivering one of the top 3 albums of his glowing discography.
Flavour Nabania is currently the reigning king of contemporary Highlife music in Nigeria and a champion of his culture, language and sonic identity as an Igbo man, which may have somewhat affected the mainstream appreciation of his music but that has not stopped him from continuously releasing albums that can rival any other artiste of his generation and newer emerging future stars. His music has proven to cut across generations and continues to crossover into various international realms.
For an avid listener, it’s quite difficult to rank his albums in terms of musical composition and commercial appeal, this is due to the standard of excellence which he has continuously maintained on each project, nonetheless at Nigerian Sounds, we believe that Flavour Of Africa, ranks alongside Ijele The Traveller and Uplifted as the top 3 most exceptional albums of his illustrious career.
6 Timaya – Gratitude
Record Label:- Dem Mama Records
Guest Appearances:- Nil
Producers:- Orbeat, Spotless, Yung Willis, Ayzed, Chillz, Vybe O, Wildxyouths, Boombeatz, Krizbeatz, and Chrisstringz
Release Date:- 18 November 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- 27.4 Million.
When Nigerian Afro-pop superstar Timaya started working on his first album in 6 years, Gratitude he set his sights firmly on recapturing his musical essence and presenting his fans with a body of work that matched his award-winning debut album True Story, which is generally considered by critics and fans as his Magnum Opus.
Timaya decided to deliver a contemporary version of his debut album, as well as pacify his teeming fans who were yearning for him to follow up his multi-platinum 2014 album Epiphany. While he was in the studio working on gratitude, he released an EP titled Chulo Vibes in 2019, which was intended to test the waters and whet the musical pallettes of his fans and give them a taste of what to expect from Gratitude.
Chulo Vibes was an immense success and spurred the national hit single I Can’t Kill Myself, and was also generally adjudged to be one of the best EP’s of 2019. The commercial acceptance of Chulo Vibes reinforced his position as an in-demand musician who has transcended two generations in the contemporary music scene and convinced him that the time was right to drop his 7th studio album.
The album “Gratitude” was one of his most unique dancehall/reggae albums that was released in 2020 and also contained strong elements of today’s sound and musical direction that is obtainable in the traditional afro-pop sonic tradition.
With optimum production from contemporary beatsmiths like Orbeat, Spotless, Yung Willis, Ayzed, Chillz, Vybe O, Wildxyouths, Boombeatz, Krizbeatz, and Chrisstringz, all of who combined to provide Timaya with the most ideat sonic foundation for him to give his fans a glimpse into his bubbly lifestyle.
The album opens up with Born to Win‘s gentle jive before picking up a slightly higher tempo on Iberibe. Reality meets exotic ragga and afrobeat on Don Dada and Something Must Kill A Man as Timaya touches on topics like discipline, priorities, karma, and more. He expresses his limitless nature on No Limits after which he switches into a zone full of positive vibes with The Mood and Chulo Bother Nobody. Okaka is the thematic anchor of the Gratitude album. Reminiscent of True Story’s Ogologomma, Okaka is Timaya’s way of appreciating his creator for how far he has come. Gra Gra reaffirms his easy and zen way of life while Local and Bougie presents the multiplatinum-selling artiste at his most goofy.
On Ebiola Papa, Timaya recounts a delicate period of his life while reiterating his total submission to God. He darts off to the romantic lane on L.O.V.E before employing a track called The Light to put Nigeria’s burning issues in perspective. I Can’t Kill Myself maintains its stance as a global lazy anthem and Buru brings things to an inspirational halt.
A classic addition to his expansive catalogue, Gratitude attests to the fact that Timaya’s long run in the music industry is far from over. Not only did he manage to recapture the magic on True Story, but he also combined elements from various aspects of his musical evolution to deliver an album that is relevant to the contemporary music scene at the start of a new decade.
5 Fireboy DML – Apollo
Record Label:- YBNL/Empire Records
Guest Appearances:- D Smoke, Olamide and Wande Coal
Producers:- Pheelz, Type A, P.Prime and IAmBeatz
Release Date:- August 19, 2020
Streams On Audiomack:- 88 Million.
YBNL Records youngest-in-charge Fireboy DML officially launched his musical career in 2019 with a spectacular debut album Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps, which was generally adjudged as one of the best projects that were released in the year and also staked its claim as one of the best debut albums in Nigerian contemporary Afro-pop history. Songs on the project included Vibration, Sere, Like I Do, Scatter and the chart-topping Jealous all of which resonated with the mass populace and won him a throng of loyal fans who became increasingly struck by the mesmeric qualities of his signature, velvety voice and resonant delivery.
Not every young artiste would possess the requisite confidence to release their sophomore album less than 10 months after a highly successful debut that is currently sitting at over 30 Millon streams on Spotify; But when the demand for a product becomes astronomical, the full laws of capitalism has to be obeyed and YBNL Records struck while the iron was hot and released a sophomore album Apollo which unveiled a darker, deeper and more introspective side to the geniality portrayed on his debut album.
Musically, the album served as a broader amalgamation of his diverse musical influences which range between R&B, Afro-pop, Alte, and Hip-hop. The sound on the album is familiar, yet somewhat unrecognizable, as Fireboy recruited his usual collaborative partners Pheelz, P.Prime and Type A, but opted for their less obvious signature sounds. Themes explored include carnal hedonism (Tattoo), existential contemplations (God Only Knows) and the pitfalls of false affection (Afar). The strongest moment on the album was the electrifying duet with veteran Wande Coal on Spell, a song that signified a moment where Wande passes the torch of vocal distinction to one of the fore-runners of the newest cadre of Afro-pop stars; which also includes Oxlade, Ckay, Joeboy, Rema and Omah Lay.
4 Kizz Daniel – King Of Love
Record Label:- Flyboy Inc./Empire Records.
Guest Appearances:- Nil
Producers:- DJ Coublon, Philkeyz, Majorbangz Runtinz, ATG and Krizbeatz.
Release Date:- June 25, 2020.
Streams On Audiomack:- 55.4 Million.
Since he broke into the national consciousness with his monster smash Woju, contemporary Afro-pop artiste Kizz Daniel has surreptitiously trying to carve a niche out for himself in an industry that has been dominated by more prominent names like Olamide, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Mr Eazi and others, who emerged around the same time as Vado but have all seemingly experienced higher degrees of success than the flyboy Inc CEO. Nonetheless, Kizz has continued to stake his claim as a musical powerhouse of his era and has delivered strong records to buttress that position.
The legal wranglings between him and his former record label G-Worldwide Entertainment, which has continued for __ years and even led to a highly publicized rebranding from “Kiss” to “Kizz” would have been enough to derail any artiste in Nigeria; but not Vado. Since his rebranding, he has not only managed to stay afloat but has continuously elevated his career as a performing artiste and label CEO.
Kizz Daniel has also built up a reputation as an artiste who is seemingly averse to collaborations and has consciously created albums with little or no guest appearances. His debut album New Era contained 20 tracks, but only featured his erstwhile labelmates Sugarboy on 3 songs. His previously released album No Bad Songz contained 20 tracks, and repeated the same formula by including only one guest appearance by a Nigerian artiste-Davido, on the smash hit single One Ticket. With King Of Love, Vado solidified his stature as a lone ranger and this time opted for no guest appearance on the 17 track album.
Recruiting some of his familiar sonic collaborators like DJ Coublon, Krizbeatz and Major Bangz, Kizz Daniel expounded on his signature theme of romantic expression on the album from start to finish. Despite maintaining one primary topic throughout the album, it remained perfectly consistent and coherent throughout. With 57 songs across 3 albums, Kizz Daniel is arguably the record holder for the highest number of songs by a Nigerian artiste over a trilogy of albums (someone verify this statistic please) and I posit that King of Love is the most concise and seamless Nigerian album I have heard with no guest appearances since Sean Tizzle‘s 2014 offering, The Journey.
3 Patoranking – Three
Record Label:- Amari Musiq/Empire/VP Records
Guest Appearances:- King Promise, Tiwa Savage, Sauti Sol, Flavour.
Producers:- Mr Kamera2C Killa Shay, Hysaint, Telz, Culan, Ctea, Dera Coublon, & Jaydot.
Release Date:- 28 August 2020.
Streams On Audiomack:- 29.2 Million.
Patoranking is a chip off the old block. Inspired by the successes recorded by the heavyweights of the then fading Ajegunle Ragga/Konto/Galala/Suo scene; The contemporary dancehall exponent began his journey into music in 2012 and was groomed vicariously by the likes of Danfo Drivers, Marvelous Benjy, Kimi Ranking, Original Stereoman, Soldiers Of Christ, Fada U-Turn, African China, Daddy Showkey and Baba Fryo, who were some of the major names that nationalized dancehall music in Nigeria.
As the Ajegunle music scene continued to become more obsolete to emerging Afro-pop wave, Patoranking found himself unable to continue performing the primary sound that influenced him and began to adapt his music to evolve accordingly with the mainstream musical direction. His first national breakthrough on Park Well Featuring Skarfizo indicated his sonic versatility and creative malleability which were then at their earliest stages of cultivation.
He had previously signed a record deal with veteran producer K-Solo‘s Igberaga Records in 2010, but the deal was shortlived, as his CEO was the peak of his powers and was more focused on producing records for bigger names like Timaya, Terry G, AY.Com, Danny Young and Deebee. However, his fortunes changed when he released the prayerful crossover song Alubarika, which won him a horde of new fans and created a cross-generational appeal that eventually led to him securing a lucrative partnership with Dem Mama Records, the new label that was set up by dancehall superstar Timaya.
The next two years were spent operating as a protege to Timaya and learning the deeper intricacies of the music business, whilst also further developing his creative talents until 2014, when he received an official record contract from budding record label Foston Music, who took him on board and set him on a path to international prominence. Shortly after, he secured a lucrative distribution deal with the Reggae Music label powerhouse VP Records, which was responsible for the promotion and marketing of global superstars like Sean Paul, Damian Marley, Elephant Man, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer and Yellowman. The deal made Patoranking the first Nigerian dancehall artiste to sign to the label and placed him in a prestigious league in the world of international Reggae music.
His debut album God Over Everything (2016) and his sophomore album Wilmer (2019) were both groundbreaking projects and signified a spectacular evolution of the aforementioned Ajegunle sound but also represented the authenticity and evolution of the dancehall superstar. Three (2020), however, is a robust expansion on his songwriting, performance and production to cement his position as Nigeria’s current reigning king of Dancehall music. The album is a contemporary reincarnation of a combination of classic Ajegunle albums- Sample Ekwe (Original Stereoman), Danfo Drivers (Mountain Black and Mad Melon), Welcome (Daddy Showkey), Crisis (African China) and Ghetto Child (Blackface) – to create an original contemporary dancehall sound. Three is a definitive modern-day, dancehall classic that lives up to the age-long idiomatic expression, “third time’s the charm”.
(2) Wizkid – Made In Lagos
Record Label:- Starboy/RCA Records.
Guest Appearances:- Burna Boy, Skepta, Damian Marley, H.E.R, Ella Mai, Tay Iwar, Tems, Terri and Projexx.
Producers:- P2J, Kel P, Sarz, Juls, London, Mut4y and Blaq Jerzee.
Release Date:- October 30, 2020.
Streams On Spotify:- 60 Million.
Following the release of his third studio album Sounds From The Other Side (2017) – which was also his first album on an international record label- contemporary music icon Wizkid spent the better part of the next three years establishing himself as a label CEO and launching the careers of his artistes Terri, DJ Tunez and Spotless all of whom had recently signed to his record label outfit Starboy Music. The arrival of his third child Zion Balogun that same year seemingly contributed to restricting his solo musical output, but somehow he managed to continue to appear on a handful of chart-topping collaborations and releasing hit singles to keep himself at the top of the maintain his highly coveted spot at the top of Africa’s musical ecosystem.
Some of these tracks include Manya, Commando, Gucci Snake, Soco, Arizona, Blow, Gbese, Low, Fake Love, Nowo, Bad Energy and the Grammy-nominated Brown Skin Girl by Beyonce all of which helped him maintain his dominance at the top of music charts in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. in 2019, with little or no fanfare or promotion, he released the EP, Soundman Volume 1, a project which was intended specifically to test the international market and get his fans geared towards the release of Made In Lagos. The 7-track EP was received with magnanimous fanfare and eventually became a resounding success that had all his fans anticipating his official fourth
The anticipation was dully justified when Made In Lagos was released in October 2020. The album served as a perfection of the formula first expounded upon on Sounds From The Other Side and represented Wizkids consolidation of his position as Afro-pop’s most recognizable international ambassador. Guest appearances on the project included Damian Marley ( Jamaica), H.E.R (United States), Skepta and Ella Mai (United Kingdom). The appearance of young trailblazers Terri and Tems also signified his appreciation of the new crop of talents at the forefront of the Nigerian music scene.
Wizkid channelled his decade long experience at the pinnacle of the Nigerian music business to create an album that not only stands as arguably his best album yet but also reinforces his reputation as a co-writer of one of the best selling singles of all time, One Dance.
(1) Burna Boy – Twice As Tall
Record Label:- Atlantic/Bad Habits/Spaceship Records.
Guest Appearances:- Stormzy, Sauti Sol, Naughty By Nature, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Youssou N’Dour.
Producers:- Sean Combs a.k.a.Diddy, Telz, P2J, Timbaland, Leriq, Rexxie, Skread, Andre Harris, Timbaland, Mario Winans, Matthew Baus, Sauti Sol, DJDS, Matt Testa, JAE5 and Mike Dean.
Release Date:- 12 August 2020.
Streams On Audiomack:- 37.2 Million.
With his 5th studio album Twice As Tall, Nigerian Afro-fusion superstar Burna Boy cemented his status as a behemoth of contemporary African music and arguably the most accomplished Nigerian musician of his generation. With less than 11 months between the release of his last album and TAT, most industry commentators doubted his ability to surmount the success of his previous project, nonetheless because of his timing of the release but primarily because of the widely held the erroneous opinion that he had seemingly exhausted the depths of his creative capabilities and simply could not deliver a better album.
However, they must have underestimated the effect that losing the Best World Music category to Angelique Kidjo at the 62 Grammy awards had on the Port Harcourt born artiste and his resolute determination to live up to his self proclaimed moniker of “African Giant“. Following his loss to the Beninnoise music icon, he immediately announced the release date and title of his next album, as well as the co-executive producer, who he revealed as African American music mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs. With that Burna Boy joined an exclusive league of great artistes – Notorious B.I.G, Mary J Blige, Jay Z, Usher Raymond and Rick Ross – who have had an album executive produced by the Bad Boy Records founder.
Other renowned sonic architects called in to sharpen and polish the production on the album include Timbaland, Mike Dean, Mario Winans and Andre Harris, all of who contributed to elevating, expanding and elucidating the sonic and thematic blueprint that was previously introduced on his last album. The guest appearances on the album also followed a similar pattern to African Giant, as Burna reached out to Stormzy, Chris Martin of Coldplay (UK) and Naughty By Nature (United States) possibly in a bid to spice the album with a touch of cross-continental global flavour.
Thematically Burna Boy reinforced his subjects of African misrepresentation by international media, neo-colonial sentiments and covert racism (Monsters You Made), as well as balancing his celebratory moments (23) and romantic sensibilities (Onyeka) with a strong dose of sober reflection (Real Life). The outcome was an album that was sonically dazzling, thematically thought-provoking and artistically futuristic. The album helped him claim his second Grammy nomination in a row, an unprecedented feat by any contemporary African artiste and was good enough to appear on various year-end lists at reputable international publications like The Fader, HiphopDX, NME, Pitchfork and Vice. However, at Nigerian Sounds, we believe that Twice As Tall was the most concise, creative, credible and certified album that was released from the Nigerian contemporary music scene in 2020, bar none.