2019 had a ton of great Nigerian albums, courtesy of big-name stars like Burna Boy and rising phenoms like Lady Donli. While all of these releases came with solid singles, all of them still have non-singles that are worthy of our attention as well.
Burna Boy’s “Wetin Man Go Do” (African Giant)
Burna Boy’s Grammy-nominated magnum opus, African Giant is overflowing with excellent deep cuts, but a clear standout is the hustler’s anthem, “Wetin Man Go Do”. Even Kel-P, the album’s primary producer, declared it his favourite track.
Lady Donli’s “Take Me Home” (Enjoy Your Life)
Lady Donli’s debut album, Enjoy Your Life was easily one of the best releases of 2019. While a lot of tracks on the LP could have made this list, the strongest has to be the BenjiFlow-assisted “Take Me Home”, an immensely sensual song about the allure of the chase.
Santi’s “RX-64” (Mandy & The Jungle)
On Santi’s transportive, genre-defying debut album, Mandy & Jungle, the singer invites us into his vivid universe, and the sun at its centre is the KrisIrie-aided “RX-64 (The Jungle)”. Excellently produced by Odunsi, the hypnotic deep cut shows Santi at his magnetic best.
Asa’s “Stay Tonight” (Lucid)
With Lucid, Asa’s masterful fourth album, the singer-songwriter brilliantly explored the messiness of love and heartbreak. On “Stay Tonight”, the LP’s dreamiest deep cut, she looks to heal from the hurt, bravely putting herself back out there in search of the one.
Simi’s “Immortal” (Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1)
On Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1, Simi tackles a host of different themes — from loss to fame — but it’s on “Immortal”, her sexiest song to date, that she truly shines. With a fantastic assist from Maleek Berry, “Immortal” is further proof of Simi’s dynamic range.
Falz’s “Follow Follow” (Moral Instruction)
Thanks to Sess’ faultless production work, Falz’s Moral Instruction emerged as one of the most technically impressive albums of 2019. The track that most perfectly encapsulates the album’s sonic mastery is “Follow Follow”, a Fela-inspired gem that calls out posers.
Davido’s “Get To You” (A Good Time)
The most cohesive project of Davido’s career, A Good Time finds the afropop juggernaut celebrating happiness and love. For the latter theme, the song that does the best job of capturing that is “Get To You” — a delightfully toned down and deeply romantic effort.
Tay Iwar’s “DON’T KNOW” (Gemini)
Tay Iwar is one of our most gifted musical minds, and he proved that on his astonishing debut, Gemini. Every song on the LP is a testament to his genius, but “DON’T KNOW”, which features his equally brilliant brother, Suté Iwar, shines just a little bit brighter.
Fireboy DML’s “Like I Do” (Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps)
With Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, Fireboy DML delivered one of the strongest afropop debut albums we’ve had in years. While littered with beautifully written and performed songs, a clear standout on the project is “Like I Do” — a truly heartwarming love song.
YCee’s “Dada” (YCee Vs Zaheer)
YCee’s debut album, YCee Vs Zaheer, served as an infallible reminder of his range — both as a singer and a rapper — but it was on the Dapo Turbuna-assisted “Dada”, easily the project’s most infectious deep cut, that he reminded us just how much fun he could be as well.