Sifting through the loads and loads of music put out during the calendar year, we made use of parameters such as audience acceptance, pop culture effect, quality of recording and lyrical content to assemble our 10 best songs of 2016.
- So Mi So- Wande Coal
Wande Coal peaks with the sweetly seductive and compulsively hypnotic So Mi So. This Juls produced gem doesn’t actually say anything but good luck attempting to resist that groove when it creeps up on you quietly and holds you hostage for four hot, sweaty minutes. Coal’s voice is an instrument in itself and he marries it suitably to the trancey, laid back melody that Juls brings on. Submission is the only outcome.
- Bad Energy- Skepta ft. Wizkid
The first official collaboration between Wizkid and London based grime artiste, Skepta is a welcome surprise. Who would have thought they would blend so well together? For this laid-back fusion of hip hop and afrobeat, Skepta comes to the culture with respect and curiosity and Wizkid gives back only good vibes. The instrumental is well suited for the summertime, driven by an up-tempo, bouncy percussive arrangement.
- Ewu- Tobe Nwigwe
The subtle genius of Ewu is credited to Tobe Nwigwe mostly because he does most of the writing and rapping but the single, as with every other music project that Nwigwe does, is the product of a solid creative partnership between Nwigwe, his wife, Fat, and producer LaNell Grant. The southern twang on Ewu is raw and edgy and Nwigwe’s rhymes are sophisticated and simple, all at once.
- Wetin We Gain- Victor AD
Wetin We Gain isn’t ashamed about what it represents. It is a love song, but for money. A hopeful prayer for the kind of money that will make Aliko Dangote sit up. Who here hasn’t dreamt of riches of that sort? Victor AD ties in two of Nigeria’s favorite past time, money and God, with the later compensating for the sheer thirst for the former, giving off the illusion that the song is a heartfelt prayer. Brilliant move. Is it any wonder that the song is so popular?
- Freaky- Santi ft Bridge, Nonso Amadi
The latest single from Santi re-imagines Ikechukwu’s classic 2008 hit Shobeedo, and churns it out as a mélange of post-groove sound design courtesy of producer Genio. Coming along for the wavy ride are Santi’s hypnotic dancehall-inflected flow, rapper Bridge’s distinct drone and R&B crooner Nonso Amadi’s gorgeous lament. Somehow it all works out fine.
- Uyo Meyo- Teni
Teni’s Uyo Meyo, a traditional dirge sung in her Ondo dialect started life as an Instagram skit timed to celebrate her graduation from University. Months later and Uyo Meyo arrives as a full-fledged single, continuing Teni’s stellar 2018 run and deepening her artistry. Uyo Meyo is a jubilant yet soulful celebration of life that refuses to dwell in the pain.
- Contagious – WurlD
One of the most audacious pieces of music to be put out this year, WurlD’s Contagious borrows heavily from the fuji sub-genre and updates it with a slick coating of western pop and afrobeats. The result is interesting and utterly beguiling and the hopeful message of self-love and living one’s best life is much needed in these times of strife.
- Bá’núsọ- Brymo
On the second single from his sixth studio album, BrymO withdraws into his folksy, introspective corner- fans are all too familiar with this BrymO- turning to his roots for inspiration while preaching the importance of privacy. Deploying proverbs generously, BrymO packs a punch into every line and the production elevates the hymn from navel gazing emptiness.
- Falana- Ride or Die
Fashion’s new It girl found her way back to music this year and the comeback single, Ride or Die is definitely worth the wait. Evoking the charms of a faithful lover, Falana turns in an emotive and sincere vocal performance over a bouncy beat that rises and drops with her vocal control. Ride or Die is the work of a proper artiste confident of her place in the scheme of things.
- Heaven’s gate- Burna Boy ft. Lily Allen
Heaven’s Gate, a stunning duet with Burna Boy and British Grammy nominated singer, Lily Allen sounds like nothing else on radio. Heaven’s Gate which appears midway into Outside, Burna’s latest album is a burst of rapid machine gun fire that starts out with Burna Boy in menacing vocal form where he unleashes words and rhymes from some scary but exciting place within. He lets up briefly mid stride but picks up shortly after and powers the patios drenched record to a stunning conclusion.
The writer tweets from @drwill20
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.