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Friday, December 9, 2022

Nigerian Unforgettable Throwback Hit Songs Of All Time

When you were growing up, did you ever want to listen to popular Nigerian songs? The Nigeria music scene had a defining period between the 1990s and the 2000s. The message, rather than the sounds and perspectives, dominated the music scene back then. Nollywood is flourishing, and the creative industry is also experiencing a new transformation.
Due to the large number of brand-new players, the ambience was very varied. Numerous new record companies, studios, and musicians appeared with a desire to dominate a sector that was expanding quickly. An indigenous record label called Kennis Music had a dominance on the market in the early 2000s.

You were bound to only a little portion of the potential spotlight if you weren’t releasing music with them. By 2007, that dominance had effectively ended. By this point, the scene had mostly switched over to a more Nigerian look, moving away from a mainly foreign-dominated image. Popstars switched from their faux American accents to their regional dialect.

Hip-hop veteran Rugged Man foresaw this trend in 2006 when he rapped on the song “Ruggeddy Baba”: “Wetin go make them know where your music come from in the long run, na the fusion of grammar, your slang, and your mother tongue.” The subtext of this statement was that you have to incorporate a variety of inspirations, with your native tongue standing out, in order to fully capture every demographic in Nigeria and create timeless music. This showcased the cultural diversity of Nigeria.

9ice was a prime example of this embodiment because he frequently included Yoruba proverbs and adages in his music. He was able to connect with younger audiences while also capturing older viewers because of this. This was particularly evident in his hit “Gongo Aso,” which was the biggest song of the year and a precise interpretation of Ruggedman’s lyrics from the year before.

In 2007, debut albums by emerging singers like Asa and Timaya were released to both critical and commercial acclaim. Particularly Asa dominated the scene. Because her music was influenced by traditional folk, she was able to become popular. At the time, this sound was relatively uncommon, but like 9ice, it enabled her to appeal to every section of Nigerian society.

Children could sing her songs joyously and adults could relate to them in the same manner. The biggest label at the time, Mo Hits, released a compilation album for labels that was unique to Nigeria. The projects gave rise to songs including “Booty call,” “Move your body,” and “Close to you,” with Don Jazzy, the country’s most productive producer at the time, handling the most of the project’s production.

The three most popular ways to watch and listen to new music were TV, radio, and CDs. Music now reaches more ears and eyes than ever thanks to the transmission of MTV Base from cable TV to local TV. Around this time, Nigerian bands and labels also made the decision to focus more on their visuals, which led to a surge of musicians traveling to South Africa to shoot higher level music videos.

Videos like P-Square’s “Do Me” and Naeto C’s “Kini big deal” were the actual game-changers and set the bar for all other videos in the years that followed. Fans at the time had additional access to music through the Bluetooth and memory card sharing capabilities of mobile devices. Online communities where people may obtain music were still in their inception.

A lot more money than ever before was also invested in the sector at this time. Around this time, telecoms and other corporate entities began offering endorsement deals to artists. These partnerships included huge contracts and extensive advertising campaigns, further solidifying the prominence of artists as household names. The first companies to use artists as brand ambassadors were Globacom, MTN, Guinness, and Nutricima, among others.

Additionally, several of these corporate companies started sponsoring events like concerts, festivals, and parties more frequently. implying that since they received more bookings, performers earned more money. The sector has undergone significant change in the 15 years since 2007. Nigerian music can now be categorized as pop music on a global level as a result of its rapid growth.

Despite the fact that this is incredibly stunning, it would be negligent of anyone to minimize the effort that was put forth to make the scene what it is today. The Nigerian music industry today unquestionably benefits from the work that was done in the early and mid-2000s in particular by musicians, labels, and other industry partners.

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What are the top 30 Nigerian Unforgettable Throwback Hit Songs Of All Time?

The rich heritage of music will always be referenced and cherished owing to their distinctiveness, even though Nigerian music has advanced rapidly. Oldies or “old skool” Nigerian music could be said to be like the proverbial “old wine that becomes better with age.” What distinguishes a music as truly outstanding? Put aside sales, chart success, and hype. A great song must be timeless, inspire powerful emotions, change cultures, and have widespread appeal.

Additionally, these songs ought to affect language, reflect cultural attitudes, and be entrenched in popular culture. This list features a variety of musical genres, and writing styles. These qualities are what link them together, and we sincerely hope you enjoy these songs’ uniqueness and appreciate Nigeria’s diverse musical heritage.

1. 9ice ‘Gongo Aso’

9ice released what has since been the biggest single of his career in what was likely the biggest song of that year and featured production from ID Cabasa. The song’s appeal was that it was able to transcend Nigeria’s demographics. Its popularity necessitated that 9ice named his follow-up album after it when he released it.

2. Naeto C ‘Kini Big Deal’ ft. Ikechukwu

Before “Kini Big Deal” was released, Naeto C had been active for a longtime. But it was this song that completely transformed both his life and the development of rap music in Nigeria. Rappers of the time were less concerned with the commercial value of their music since they were preoccupied with the technical aspects of composing rap. They were shown by Naeto that you could still be a fantastic rapper and create fantastic rap-pop music.

3. Olu Maintain ‘Yahooze’

In 2007, your party was not a party if “Yahozee” by Olu Maintain wasn’t played. Yahozee was the epitome of an anthem; as soon as this song started, everyone had to start singing along. It was also Olu Maintain’s first significant solo triumph after leaving the band, “Maintain.”

Olu Maintain’s 2007 hit, Yahooze, may have left many of us too naïve to grasp where the income came from, but we all knew the song was a jam. So, in an effort to be crowned best dancer, we had honed our two-fingers-in-the-air motion, adding as much “effizi” as we could.

4. Timaya ‘Timaya’

In 2007, Timaya, also known as “Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa,” had the world at his feet. Timaya struck it big again in 2007 with his self-titled single, produced by K Solo for his iconic debut album, True Story, following the release of the equally well-liked “Dem mama” in 2005.

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5. TY Bello ‘Greenland’

In the early 2000s, TY Bello was a member of the gospel group KUSH. The band enjoyed considerable success, but they eventually split up, as most bands do. Following the band’s breakup and a couple of years of silence, TY made a comeback in 2007 with the mega single “Greenland,” an upbeat song about Nigeria’s fortunes. As ‘Greenland’ was frequently utilized in dance routines and choreographies in schools and churches, it became a national hit and was especially well-liked among schoolchildren.

6. P-Square ‘Do Me’

Game Over, Peter and Paul’s third album, was released in 2007. At the time, they were possibly the most well-known performers in the entire country, along with 2face and D’banj. They made everything they touched into gold. The most popular single from an album where every song was a smash was “Do Me.” The South African-shot film marked a notable improvement in the caliber of Nigerian music videos.

7. Asa ‘Fire on the Mountain’

In 2007, Asa was an outlier, a glitch in the system if you will. When she first came out, there was almost nothing in the mainstream that sounded like her. She released her seminal self-titled debut album with production assistance from the renowned Cobhams Asoquo. The project’s main single was “Fire on the Mountain.”

8. Shank ‘Julie’

The song “Julie” by Shank fits the definition of a masterpiece. Even though it didn’t top the charts as some of the other songs on this list did, to those who knew it at the time, it was the greatest thing ever!

9. Mo Hits ‘Booty Call’ feat Dbanj & Wande Coal

What happens when the top pop artists of the moment are paired with the best producer in the country? Simple, Curriculum Vitae, Mo’s greatest hits package. “Booty Call,” featuring Wande Coal and D’banj, was the most popular hit on the album.

10. X Project ‘Lori Le’

In 2007, X Project, a group composed of two Sierra Leoneans and one Nigerian, released their biggest hit, “Lori le.” “Lori le” was one of the most popular party songs at the time and the lead single from Sierra-third Naija’s studio album.

11. Close to You – Mo’Hits

When this Mo’Hits crew single was released, girls all around the world devoted their waists to whining off the hook in awe of the frantic sounds. And boys performed their most impressive party-scattering dances. Close to You, which was released in 2009, was everyone’s jam, despite the fact that most of us hadn’t yet felt such longing for another.

12. Kiss Your Hand rmx – R2Bees ft. Wande Coal

The debut album of Wande Coal, Mushin to Mo’Hits, is recognized as a masterpiece by every child of the 1990s. This is a result of the quality of the songs on the album. Numerous songs became hits, but none was as seismic as the remix of “Kiss Your Hand” with R2Bees from Ghana. This song, like jollof rice, united Ghana and Nigeria in a refreshing manner and had us chanting every word of the record.

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13. Olufunmi – Styl Plus

A pop reggae loaded with a lover’s anguish we were unaware of. However, this did not prevent us from singing the song with all of our heart and even feeling the emotions while doing so. With this 2003 hit, Styl Plus gave many of us a gentle introduction to the emotional roller coaster that is love.

14. Nfana Ibaga – 2Baba, formerly 2Face

2Baba, then known as 2Face, began this song’s hook with the lyrics “Wake up in the morning and I stretch up my feet, say a thank you prayer and I brush my teeth,” and that was all we needed to make the song the soundtrack of our every waking minute and the inspiration for our dreams and aspirations. This was also everyone’s introduction to 2Face, since he debuted with this song in 2014 before giving us even bigger hits.

15. Mr President – African China

Before the emergence of legwork movements such as shaku shaku and zanku, an unconformably wave took over the country and inspired people to do rhythmic legwork to reggae and dancehall music. Mr. President, one of the songs to which we had danced to at the time was thought-provoking and socially sensitive, African China. Sadly, despite the fact that the song is 15 years old, it still conveys the deplorable status of the country. Even though we babies of the 1990s may have rusty galala, we sing our hearts out with as much vigor as any galala move to this record.

16. Kerewa – Zule Zoo

This is one of those songs where everyone has a personal experience of singing along to the explicit and colorful lyrics and then being punished by an African father for daring to do so. Surprisingly, the topic wasn’t sex, but rather the increasingly prevalent issue of rape. A realization that many of us in 2005, when it was a hit, were too naive to realize.

17. Ijoya – Weird MC

It began with upbeat hip-hop sounds that made you want to stand up and do the one-two step or just step in any direction, while Weird MC encouraged the audience by saying, “It’s time to show the beautiful people how to go down.” Hearing that music while viewing or recalling the novel and animated video was all we required to feel alive at the time. In addition, Weird MC’s seemingly queer persona which was unusual then in 2006, was an undying topic for discussion across the country.

18. Omoge Mi – P-Square

This song will go into the books of history and the hallways of Nigerian music as one that made 90s babies feel the pain of a lover’s betrayal before we ever understood the notion of romantic relationships. For this 2005 romantic hit, we transformed into love-torn adolescents, singing our guts out about a lover who had an affair with our best friend.

19. Mathematics – Sound Sultan

It’s strange that this song begins with a teacher addressing his students, given that this list is composed of songs that 90s babies sang collectively in schools. The level of reminiscence reaches its peak when Sound Sultan begins to sing the remedies to the country’s problems, and we recall simpler days years ago, when the exchange rate was not our cup of tea.

20. Mr Lecturer – Eedris Abdulkareem

During that era, a number of songs functioned as reflection on society issues. This 2014 song by Eedris portrayed the story of an immoral professor who harassed a helpless female student. When the BBC documentary Sex for Grades aired years back, we were reminded of this song, and the topic of sexual harassment for many children of the 1990s came real force.

21. Konko Below – Lagbaja

On the advent of the new millennium, the masked entertainer Lagbaja (who had dominated the music market since the 1990s with his blend of Yoruba highlife and current genres) released a three-in-one song titled ‘Me,’ ‘We,’ and ‘Abami’. Off ‘Me,’ he released the timeless rump shaker ‘Konko Below.’

Lagbaja, rather than capturing lightning in a bottle, captured thunder on a compact disc. The thunderous rhythms, the sweet guitar strums, and Ego’s (his sidekick vocalist) smooth voice helped create a captivating groove that still captivates people on various dance floors today. The Y2K mega tune Konko Below has transformed into a Nigerian classic.

22. Diana – Daddy Showkey

A characteristic of outstanding songs is that they are straightforward and effective. It does not get more straightforward than Daddy Showkey’s “Diana.” The song’s storyline is strikingly similar to countless Nollywood tales involving a childless woman scorned by her in-laws. Simple story-telling, ghetto life, and the galala music were employed by Daddy Showkey to produce an enduring song. Few Nigerians are unable to perform the chorus of this song due to its immense popularity.

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23. Dem Go Dey Pose – Baba Fryo

Beginning in the mid-1990s, the neighborhood known as Ajegunle was a breeding ground for musical talent, particularly those who sang ‘Galala’ (a Nigerian version of ragga music). Nigeria was barely emerging from the Reggae craze when Galala emerged. Initially, Daddy Showkey was the movement’s poster child, but as time progressed, other artists produced hit records. One of these songs was Baba Fryo’s “Dem Go Dey Pose.”

Baba Fryo, armed with a star eyepatch, scored a massive crossover smash. Baba Fryo blasted hypocrites who flaunted their phony lifestyle with a skeletal beat, a frequent motif in popular Nigerian music. Dem Go Dey Pose was a surprise hit that nobody saw coming. It assisted in establishing Galala music in the minds of Nigerian music enthusiasts.

24  Fuel For Love – Wrinkars Experience

Nigeria enjoyed an interesting decade in the 1970s. The country struck gold with crude oil and was flush with cash. It was the golden age of alternative music, with rock and psychedelic rock music at the forefront. Even a certain Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was experimenting with a new enticing sound, which he would later name Afrobeat. “Fuel For Love” is an authentic rock classic from the Nigerian rock generation.

The band Wrinkars Experience, comprised primarily of Cameroonians and Nigerian lead singer Dan Ian, composed a love album that remains a classic from a golden era of rock heroes. Fuel For Love is the place to start when searching for Nigerian rock music. Unfortunately, the group did not endure long. The band disbanded in 1973, but in 2014, the surviving members, including Dan Ian, reunited for a powerful performance at the Lagos Jazz Series.

25. Shakomo – The Remedies

To inform people who are unaware, without this song there would be no Wizkid, Davido, Rema, Burna Boy, etc. Why? Prior to Remedies, the Nigerian music scene was adverse to Hip-Hop and urban music. Despite the prominence of American Hip-Hop and urban music, there was no indigenous urban/Hip-Hop movement that achieved mainstream success.

When Kenny ‘Keke’ Ogungbe and Dayo ‘D1’ Adeneye founded Kennis Music, this would change. The Remedies, comprised of rapper Eedris Abdulkareem, singer Eddie Remedy, and backup vocalist Tony Tetuila, was the first group on the famed label. Their debut song was an MC-Lyte-remixed version of Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl” titled “Shakomo.”

26. Psquare – Story story

The twin power pair record their beginnings up until the time when the shows began pouring in and the money started rolling in.

27. Maintain – I catch cold

The humorous classic by singer and songwriter Olu Maintain was the pop anthem of the time, with the song’s hook particularly popular. However, it’s catchy (at least as of that era).

28. 2face – Right here

This track from Innocent Idibia’s album “Face 2 Face,” released on August 5, 2006, demonstrates his hopeless romanticism.

29. Banky W – Capable remix

This song was the origin of the singer’s self-proclaimed title “Mr. Capable.” It is a melodic song by the R&B artist. So good that he had to remix it.

30. Da Grin – Thank God ft Omawumi

From his 2010 album CEO, Da Grin and Omawumi masterfully “finished work” on this appreciative track with Omawumi.
Adesola Adewumi
Adesola Adewumi
Adesola is a purpose-driven man, critical thinker, problem solver, inner peace seeker, nature addict, writer, and a good listener. As a content writer, he has written several published and unpublished articles, as well as life-changing masterpieces on various social media platforms and websites. Adesola as an ardent knowledge seeker seeks to maximize various opportunities to grow, develop, and become productive in his world.

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