2019 saw a lot of defining Nigerian songs — from Rema’s breakout hit, “Dumebi”, to Burna Boy’s Obama-approved “Anybody” — but there were still a lot of great tracks that got overlooked. So, we decided to spotlight 10 songs that deserved to be so much bigger.
In no particular order, here they are:
1. Ladipoe’s “Jaiye”
Exceptionally produced and performed, Ladipoe’s “Jaiye” was easily one of 2019’s best songs, but it never got the attention it very clearly deserved. Even with a flawless music video, which nabbed a Headies nomination, the song stayed frustratingly under the radar.
2. Tems’ “Looku Looku”
Tems’ “Try Me” was one of the biggest breakout songs of last year, but before that anthemic track, the rising star kicked off 2019 with the hypnotic “Looku Looku”. Singing about a trifling lover, Tems brought the same intensity that made “Try Me” so instantly appealing.
3. Adekunle Gold’s “Kelegbe Megbe”
With “Before You Wake Up” and “Young Love”; 2019 was the year Adekunle Gold showed off his range. In between those hits, however, he dropped “Kelegbe Megbe” — a Fela-inspired ode to authenticity. The underrated gem is undoubtedly one of the singer’s most accomplished efforts.
4. Falz & Dice Ailes’ “Alakori”
Even with expectedly fun verses from Falz, a really strong music video, and one of the catchiest hooks of 2019, courtesy of Dice Ailes, “Alakori” inexplicably failed to become the monster hit it was tailor-made to be. Would it have blown if it came out in a different year? We’ll never know.
5. YCee’s “Dakun”
On “Dakun”, YCee had a little something for every kind of fan — from those who love his impeccable flow to those who were won over by his solid voice. Not since “Juice” has a YCee single been this radio-friendly, which is what makes its tepid performance all the more frustrating
6. Asa’s “Good Thing”
After leaving us for half a decade, Asa returned with a bang. Following the beloved “The Beginning”, she dropped the empowering “Good Thing” — a song about realising your worth. The powerful message alone should have made the stunning track perform a lot better.
7. Fireboy DML’s “King”
Fireboy DML had many wins in 2019 — from the success of his breakout hit, “Jealous”, to the release of his acclaimed debut, Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps — but we still think the fantastic “King”, easily the best single he put out, deserved to soar higher than it did.
8. Reekado Banks’ “Put In Pressure”
The always-great Reekado Banks was responsible for one of 2019’s most inescapable hits, “Rora”, but his equally impressive follow-up, “Put In Pressure”, didn’t quite take off the way we expected it to, even though it was released right in time for Detty December.
9. Omawumi’s “For My Baby”
More than any other song on this list, Omawumi’s astonishing “For My Baby” got totally ignored last year. One of the best-written love songs of 2019, it’s downright criminal that its accompanying music video hasn’t even been able to amass up to 10,000 views on YouTube.
10. Oxlade’s “Legend”
Oxlade is clearly destined to be a star, and on his underheard 2019 single, “Legend”, he declares as much. Thoughtfully written and passionately performed, this is the up-and-comer at his most self-assured, and we can’t wait to see all that promise to finally pay off.