No top 20 list can reflect everyone’s opinion but after careful considerations, I came up with a list of my own. The list does not imply that one song is better than other but it only highlights the significance of one song over the others. By significance i mean the overall impact of the single on the Nigerian music industry . Some songs laid the foundation for the successes of other records or other acts.
20. Da grin – Pon Pon
Da grin broke the monopoly of Afrobeat and high life to serve a kind of hip hop never seen in the country before. Although he wasn’t the first known person to rap in Yoruba , his music was heavily influenced by street/thug life which made him very unique. He was respected among his colleagues and was touted as the King of the Streets.
19. D’Banj feat. Snoop Dogg – Mr Endowed Remix
Dbanj’s song featuring Snoop Dogg paved the way for Nigerian artiste to collaborate with their USA counterparts. The single also laid the foundation for Dbanj’s collaboration with Kanye West.
18. Sound Sultan – Mathematics
Sound Sultan’s single mathematics is a major part of every Nigeria’s growing up. He took people’s minds off love songs and party songs to address some of Nigeria’s socio-political issues. Sound Sultan creatively used a mathematical acronym BODMAS to profer solutions to the country’s problems.
17. Baba Fryo – Denge Pose
Baba fryo’s Denge pose was an instant hit when he released it. It was part of the gala movement of the late ’90s which started in Ajeguunle Lagos.
16. P. Square – Senorita
P.Square set the standard for dance videos in Nigeria.The twin brothers peter and Paul entered into the music scene with the single Senorita and quickly gain people’s love and attention.
15. Plantashun Boiz – Somebody say
This is arguably the first successful boy group from Nigeria. The group comprises of 2face Idibia, Faze and Blackface. The group went on to archive a lot of successes together but eventually broke up along the line, each member is now chasing their solo careers.
14. Styl-Plus – Olufunmi
Styl-Plus is a Nigerian R&B group that rocked the country in the early 2000. The Single Olufunmi is one of the biggest single to come out of Africa.
13. 9ice-Gongo Aso
Gongo Aso was the biggest single in Nigeria between 2008-2009. It took 9ice to legendary status with a lot of people expecting him to bring home the Grammy.
12 . Lagbaja – Konko Below
No Nigeria dance floor was spared when Lagbaja dropped the single Konko Below. The vibe of the song was infectious and till this day, you will still find it on the major event.
11. Faze – Originality
After Plantashun boiz broke up, each member set out to prove they could function alone. Faze had a good spell releasing several hits which placed him amongst the greatest musicians ever to come out from Nigeria. In many quarters, Originality was his biggest hit. the single pays tribute to Nigerian music Legends before him.
10. Eedris Abdulkareem -Wackawikee MCs
This is one of the most relevant records to come out from Nigeria especially with the fact that it set off a trend of major events that would change the face of Rap music and music business in general in Nigeria. Idris called out members of the Plantashun boiz and it received massive airplay and created a lot of buzz.
9. Modenine – Cry
This is the song that made Nigerians believe that made in Nigeria boom-bap rap music can get International acceptance and recognition. Asides from selling several copies, Cry won a lot of international awards and endorsements for Modenine. Modenine’s storytelling abilities were on the full swing, he kept it real and emotional. I was very deeply touched by the lyrics of this song. It remains one of the greatest Hip hop records from Nigeria.
8. Tribesmen – Plenty Nonsense
This is the First & only official Trybesmen video ever released. Due to the unprecedented success gained by this single Eldee developed into one of the biggest music businessmen in the country and Africa at large. Plenty things was the biggest Single in Nigeria
7. Mr.Incredible – Safe
When this record dropped the entire country was shook . Who in the world is M.I and where did he come from was the question on everyone’s lips. Chocolate city had unleashed a beast. He sounded so ahead of every competitor. M.I heralded the new era of rap music in Nigeria, he was very successful commercially and it changed the perception that rappers could not be commercially successful.
6. Banky W. – Ebute Metta
Although this wasn’t an original composition, it still rocked the airwaves in Nigeria and received massive airplay from radio oap’s and djs. After the success of this single, Bankky W would later grow to become Chairman at EME music which is responsible for nurturing one of Africa’ biggest talents at the moment, in the person of Ayo Balogun (Wizkid)
5. Daddy Showkey – Somebody Call My Name
This became the National anthem in Nigeria. Everyone was dancing to this track and all doing the galala dance step. Daddy Showkey is another artiste in the Ajegunle galala movement that became a national star. He came from the Ghettos in Lagos and became a household name in Nigeria. Daddy Showkey brought the Ghetto to national T.V. Up till date his shows are packed and his performances are still lit. He is regarded as a Legend by music lovers.
4. Wizkid – Holla at your boy
He is the youngest on the list but arguably has the most hit and has sold the most numbers. Wizkid needs no introductions, he is the most sort after artiste in Africa. when his first single Holla at your boy dropped under E.M.E records we all knew a Star has been born.
3. Tony tetuila – omode meta n sere
Tony Tetuila was getting kicked out of his group THE REMEDIES because he had requested that he be considered as a singer instead of a dancer. The group refused to grant him his request so he decided to desert them and go solo. He released a single titled Omode Meta featuring Tuface Idibia, Blackface and ruff rugged and raw. The highly controversial single is responsible for breaking out Tuface and Tony Tetuila into limelight.
2.Ruggedman ft Nomoreloss – Ehen
Ehen is the most controversial song of our time. It was definitely a turning point for hip hop in Nigeria, something like Jay Z’s Death of Autotune, we could actually divide the rap timeline to Before Ehen and After Ehen . Ruggedman was waring with the powers that be in the music industry. He lyrically attacked Kennis music acts like Idris Abdulkareem and Rasqie and then also called out maintain and Big Bamo. He was making it clear he was in this to take the crown. Ehen was cold and reformed the entire music business including give power to the iindependent artist.
1. 2Face – African Queen
Without no doubts in my mind, African queen by Tuface is the most relevant record in the recent past. It is the first Nigerian song to win major awards in Europe and America and was featured on the soundtrack of several Hollywood movies. African queen help shed the light on the work Nigerian acts were doing and opened the doors for more international collaborations.