Hey people. Toolsman here and seeing as it’s my first time here; I guess a little background info is necessary. I’ll keep it short though; I’m an engineer turned banker cum blogger who’s currently the editor at www.thenakeconvos.com.
A couple of days back, I was asked to share my top 15 Nigerian songs of 2011 and the music lover in me initially got so excited that I didn’t really process the magnitude of the task till I finally sat in front of that blank document thinking, wait, this isn’t going to be easy.
First thing I realized was that some of major tunes we all celebrated this year were not even released this year so that ruled them out. Not a lot of the ‘big name’ acts put out music this year and as much as I love up-coming acts, I didn’t want to put out a list with completely strange names. So I made a minor adjustment and widened the duration of consideration from Nov. 2010 to Nov. 2011.
I also considered singles that were released last year but the albums were only released within the period of consideration. That being said, what you are about to read is TheToolsman’s Top 15 Naija Songs of 2011. It’s not based on album sales, popularity or whatever; it’s my list, my preferences; and hopefully most of you reading will at least agree with me on some of the songs.
If not, I’d like to read your comments on the flipside. Cheers.
15. Tiwa Savage – Love Me X3
Tiwa is the gorgeous songstress (and Grammy Award Nominee) who broke out sometime last year with her first single Kele Kele, which I really like. The follow up single isn’t as good even though she pretty much stuck to the same style. But it sure is good enough to make my list.
Tiwa Savage - Love Me Love Me Love Me (2.9 MiB, 4,723 hits)
14. Dbanj – Oliver Twist
Arguably one of the most popular tunes of the year; spurred by the viral video released with it as well as the dance competition, Dbanj showed his worth as a true entertainer who can do so much with so little. Most of the credit will definitely go to Don Jazzy for that insanely addictive beat. The lyrics to the tune isn’t exceptional and that shouldn’t surprise us, when it comes to Dbanj, I hardly look for content, I just want to be entertained.
D'Banj - Oliver Twist (2.9 MiB, 45,330 hits)
13. Terry G – Akpako
Another major hit of the year. Off his Terry Gzus Mixtape, Terry G also continued to show his understanding of the Nigerian music market. He has stuck to his style often recycling beats; yet, the response to his output has been positive.
Terry G - Apako Master (3.2 MiB, 8,148 hits)
12. SDC (Show Dem Camp) ft. M.I. – Dreamer
The SDC guys remind me of hip-hop back in 1999; the rap heads and freestlyers at Lere, Festac and Bamboo Box in Unilag back then. Their music carries a lot of message delivered in ways that elicit an incredibly nostalgic feeling. On this tune, they joined forces with M.I who also produced a an equally decent performance.
Show Dem Camp ft MI & Abasa Abake - The Dreamer (6.5 MiB, 805 hits)
11. P-Square ft. May D & Tiwa Savage – Do As I Do
The brothers put out another album this year and even though I’m a big P-Square fan, I must admit that the album did very little to impress me. It felt rushed, some of the production work was lazy but I guess their followership and hard work covered up for it. This particular tune off the album features the talented May D, who is now signed to their Square Records Label, and Tiwa Savage. You can’t really go wrong with that mix, can you?
10. W4 – Kontrol
This tune was officially released late December last year and even though it’s from an artist who has actually been around for a long time, it’s his break out single and I must say it’s a breath of fresh air. That ‘roll on’ line is one you’ll definitely find hard to get out of your head and it’s very apt for the Nigerian audience. Whether it’s a gimmick he’ll be able to sustain or not, we’ll have to wait and see.
W4 - Kontrol (4.7 MiB, 697 hits)
9. Davido ft Naeto C – Back When
Here’s another from a brand new act in the industry. I hear he’s only 18??? and he’s a performer as well as a producer; very impressive. The style is one that cuts across the various strata of the young Nigerian audience. He’s definitely one to watch.
Davido - Back When ft. Naeto C (4.2 MiB, 76,572 hits)
8. Darey – The Way You Are
R ‘n’ B singer, songwriter and producer, Darey dropped a new album this year and I must commend him for his effort. He’s one of the acts I feel is grossly underrated mostly because of the peculiarities of the Nigerian market but one way or the other, he’s been able to push through. The way you are is an excellent r’n’b tune that is very exportable.
Darey - The Way You Are (5.4 MiB, 5,380 hits)
7. Naeto C – 5 & 6
I must say that I’ve never really been a Naeto C fan. There’s just something about his style that I can’t get past. Being the open-minded critic I am, I copped the Super C album and even though it didn’t convince me, I must admit that there are a few good tunes on it. 5&6 is one of them and it’s a tune that almost instantly gets you moving.
Naeto C - 5 and 6 (3.8 MiB, 4,229 hits)
6. May D – Soundtrak
His signing to the P-Square brothers’ record label – Square Records came as a huge surprise to me but then again, as it’s fast becoming a global trend among big name artistes, recruiting a decent early retirement plan such as May D wasn’t a bad move by the brothers.
He sure isn’t a Justin Bieber or a Wizkid but he’s one heck of a talent. Soundtrak is possibly the best ‘summer’ hit that came out of Nigeria this year and it even had a few covers/remixes, one of which was from Vivi, an upcoming rapper I keep telling people to watch out for. Many caught on to it late and I’m sure some are only hearing about it for the first time now. Either ways, listen to it and watch out for more from Mister May D.
MayD - Soundtrack (4.5 MiB, 600 hits)
5. Wizkid – Pakurumo
Arguably the biggest tune from one of the biggest albums out this year. Some may say this was due to the fact the most of the other ‘big names’ in the industry didn’t put out new tunes but I say, Wizzy is now more or less on that A-list. Here’s another act whose content might not matter ‘so much’ but when it comes to delivery, the kid is top of his game.
Wizkid - Pakuromo (3.3 MiB, 13,257 hits)
4. J Martins ft. Cabo Snoop – Good Time
Forget talent and all, you can’t knock out business from music nowadays and J Martins is one man who not only knows this, but has successfully combined it with his talent to achieve great results. There’s an obvious gap in the African music scene.
As successful as some of our artistes are in other African countries, I don’t think any of them have successfully married our music with that of other countries as much as J Martins. You might not think much of it now but give it a few years; if he continues at this rate and throws in some serious hard work, he’ll shoot straight to the top. All that aside, I seriously love this tune. It’s fresh; it’s different and very enjoyable.
J Martins ft Cabo Snoop - Good Tym (3.7 MiB, 55,330 hits)
3. BlackMagic – Rainbow
This is definitely one of the most exciting acts that came out of Nigeria this year. I totally love music made by this man not just because it’s different but because you can tell that a lot of work and thought process went into developing the style and subsequently the music. With consistency and proper strategy, he can easily skip a lot of years and share the same position with other acts who bridge the divide between Nigeria and Europe.
Blackmagic - Rainbow (5.1 MiB, 7,942 hits)
2. Bez ft eLDee, Ice Prince & Eva – Super Sun (Remix)
Brother Bez (that’s not me famzing, it’s a little inside joke) is an amazing artist with incredible talent. Backed by one of the best producers in the country – Cobhams, they have almost successfully pushed out a sound many said would not do well with the Nigerian audience.
The Super Sun album is all kinds of amazing and the original version of the title track is equally good. I was skeptical when I heard a remix was being done especially after I heard the rappers that were going in on it but I was more than surprised when I heard it.
Eldee brought back some of him from the ‘pre-commercial era’ – totally on point. Ice Prince gave a decent performance and Eva totally did her thing. Together, they created a perfect fusion between mainstream Nigerian hip-hop and that sound many claim is foreign to us. Excellent.
Bez ft eLDee, Ice Prince & Eva - Super Sun(remix) (3.8 MiB, 4,072 hits)
Before I get out of here, I’d just like to give a huge s/o to the good people of 360nobs for letting me do this. I’ll also like to mention a few tunes that almost made it on the list as well as new acts that caught my attention during the year in no particular order
1. Timi Dakolo ft. M.I. – Heaven Please
Yes. Not what you expected? Well, I did warn you. Timi Dakolo is another one of those grossly underrated artistes we have in this country. I’ve heard the man sing, I’ve watched him perform and all I can say is, his passion he has for what he does is astounding. I was privileged to listen to this song a long time ago, even before he thought up the album and from the moment it came on, till the end of that day, it was the only thing I heard.
I loved it so much, I got on my system, wrote a script for the video and sent to Timi. It’s a perfectly written and perfectly delivered song and I didn’t want any part of it to be anything less. M.I. reminded me of the Mr. Incredible who performed ‘short black boy’ at the Future Awards in 09. You could feel the hunger, the passion, the emotion with every word.
Timi Dakolo ft M.I - Heaven Please (4.2 MiB, 651 hits)