The year 2016 saw great highlights in the Nigerian music scene with several artistes dropping hit after hit. Noticeable about the music scene in the under review is the enjoyment of fresh beats and catchy hook lines from these trending and top charting songs, unlike 2015 which came with a good number of dance styles tied to various songs. Worthy of mention is also the fact that we had the males rule the music industry than the females.
Making a list of music hits of 2016 would certainly be a long one, but below are just some of the numerous banging songs 2016 offered us in no particular order.
Reekado Banks’ Problem
Reekado Banks is the one artist possibly able to fill in the space left behind by D’banj’s departure from Mo Hits.
Reconstituting into Mavins with the addition of Korede Bello, Di’ja and Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy produced Banks’ first single, Chop Am, in 2014. But production duties for his array of artists have since been delegated to his lieutenant Babyfresh, who crafted Problem.
Rekaado Banks’ debut album is a pot of gems from which “Problem” sparkles. His singing, never an octave high, shows an improved confidence on account of being mannered and unshowy. Neither has Babyfresh’s tag “this gbedu is a problem” ever been as apt or his beat making as mature. Bank’s Problem definitely stood him out in the past year.
Ycee’s Omo Alhaji
Tekno 2.0 (Dance being version 1.0) started in earnest with Duro, which made the rounds on SoundCloud and YouTube before its not-as-exciting video dropped and gave the song a wider audience, making it a sure-fire hit. So it must have made sense to capitalise on the success of Duro with another song in the same tempo.
Pana is a slow soother, much like Duro and Diana. The lyrics don’t add up to much except memorable rhymes on account of their clunkiness (fajaba, lagbaja, gwagwalada).
Put it this way, if Tekno was allowed to headline his and Dbanj’s recently cancelled London concert, after the furore between D’banj and the promoters, most ticket holders would have happily made the trip to O2 in the winter cold, prepared to skip past Tekno’s unsubstantial catalogue, only for the one moment when he decides to play Pana. Pana surely made the hits list of Nigerian music in 2016.
“Who’s your daddy?” in Nigerian parlance could double as preamble to an actual pick-up line and as a status identifier.
It suited the older man that Banky W characterized on Jasi. It doesn’t suit Ycee, a young man, but when he’s rap-singing the line in the hook and verses for Omo Alhaji, this hybrid delivery—American-accented rap and the indigenous preference of afrobeat fans—wins you over.
The references might be essentially Nigerian, but E. Kelly’s beat is undoubtedly Ghanaian in its use of hi-hats. This blend of in-dance and in-sound is a sure winner. No doubt, the track is a big reason why Ycee was such an attractive proposition for a deal with Sony.
Patoranking’s No Kissing Baby feat. Sarkodie
Patoranking is the real deal. His afrobeats cred is not up for debate. But how much of a true dancehall artist he is was confirmed with this song and how much reception and appreciation it garnered.
His blend of patois and pidgin is seamless, requiring close attention to unpick.
Ghanaian star, Sarkodie is a mad-fluent spitter whose verse here is faultless in cadence, as always, even when delivered in Twi.
No Kissing Baby was produced by GospelOnDeBeatz, who uses a syncopated hi-hat that is uniquely Ghanaian, but is being borrowed by an increasing number of Nigerian producers.
The songs’s music video, released in June on YouTube, has already broken ten million views. The number has been steadily growing since then, which mean that it’s still being watched by returnees with insatiable appetites.
Olamide’s Who You Epp?
Until just over ten years ago, Nigerian rappers proudly flaunted both true and false African- American accents and colloquialisms. Now, afrobeats has grown into a confident genre that would rather make its Nigerian-isms fashionable (confirm = confam, paper = pepper and, here, help = epp).
This is a chief attribute of the indigenous rap wave (hopefully it’s more than that) which is to take pride and ownership in one’s own culture, colloquialism and idiolect, doing away with imported and rooted ideas of propriety—“I don’t know how to knot tie.”
Shizzi is said to have made the beat in 15 minutes and Olamide, as always, raps as if he’s shrugging someone off, a style that is effective here as he tells off, presumably, a one time associate who has returned to his fray now that he’s made. It certainly rocked 2016.
Phyno’s Fada Fada
Phyno is a constant music head-turner when it comes delivering in his signature Igbo and pidgin English style. He never fails to bring on the fire that we know him for, whether it’s his own song, or he’s being featured.
Fada Fada is just one of those songs that made the Nigerian music scene rich and tasteful. Appealing to more than just the secular crowd, the song brings about a kind of euphoria when played. With Olamide flavoring it up with his Yoruba-English, this ghetto gospel surely stands out in 2016
Newcomer Mayorkun makes an unprecedented claim to fame with his first ever single after signing to Davido’s DMW label last year. The reception to this song was massive as it had one millions views in the first 10 days of release which caused slight controversy in some part of the media.
Away from all that, the song is massive and has been one of the stand out songs in the first half of the year 2016