2023 is stacked with so many music releases that it’s easy to lose sight of some tracks we’ve found remarkable in the year.
In this list, we carefully curated twelve great songs that went under the radar when they were released.
Show Me Something — WeTalkSound ft. PDSTRN, Kaey & Vader the Wildcard
Aside from being Nigeria’s largest creative community and incubating talents, WeTalkSound, a.k.a. WTS, curates musical experiences and releases with its assembly of musicians. PDSTRN, a singer-rapper, takes the chorus of Show Me Something, and Kaey handles the first verse and hook. Vader, also a rapper, sings the second verse. If you’re looking for a groove your babe can whine to, or something you can ride to, press play on this.
Tales By Moonlight — Oyedele
If you weren’t a get-inside kid while growing up in the Southern West of Nigeria, you’ve likely heard the Yorùbá nursery rhymes that opened this record. Oyedele switched between singing and rapping and a sprinkle of call-and-response with ‘Tilewa, the featured artist, to examine relationship nuances.
Tánwá — The Musical Being
Only a few artists are still very active in the Nigerian folk music scene. The Musical Being strides in rich Yorùbá lyricism that shines together with his commanding vocals. Tánwá opens the titular EP and offers a message of hope that hangs between prayers and positive manifestations. The Musical Being joins the list of young musicians like Dotti the Deity and Mo’Believe, keeping the neo-folklore music alive.
Alive — Jola Bello
Though this song, Alive, can wash all over any listener who’s not reciprocated with the love they give out — Jola’s only trying to fire up the burning desire for intimacy. In what sounds like an assurance she can’t give, Jola sings, “Hop on me like a German / hop on me, hop on into freeway.” Alive is her second song produced by Kemena.
Devotion — IDVH
IDVH is a singer-songwriter, music producer and sound engineer who released a new EP, Xpress Music Vol. 1, in September. In Devotion, he’s having an honest conversation about his expectations from relationships. You have to wonder why he’s not staying single until he meets someone who genuinely likes him — instead of taking and giving half-baked romance. But his choice of song is so catchy that one runs back the tune and delves into his whole catalogue.
Run Me Love — Shalom Dubas
Guitar riffs are always consistent on Shalom’s songs. Run Me Love isn’t exempt. It’s a dreamy song about a love interest who is unsure of what they want.
“Do you want to whine me or whine on me?” The rapper wants to be certain.
Flashing Lights – Tekno
For the first time in my life, I’m rinsing and repeating Tekno’s music, and it’s beyond my usual allure of party, clubbing and jams filled with lamba. Flashing Lights is the third song on his latest album, The More The Better. This song is simple yet gets listeners emotionally invested in it. Flashing Light was my go-to during my just-concluded talking stage that led nowhere. Though that has ended, Tekno’s song will be on a playlist I’ll share with a new person. It’s that sweet.
Amma Hoe — Bizzonthetrack
When we count Nigerian artists who feed their listeners every three market days, mainstream or underground, Bizzonthetrack stays in the top ten list.It’s hard to miss his sexually-liberating amapiano jam, Amma Hoe. True to his nature, Bizz refuses to confuse any lady about what he wants from them. Currently, he’s into the business of making legs vibrate, nothing deep and serious.
Another Day, Another Naira — Kaey
As a Nigerian living in Nigeria, money preoccupies the mind before bed. When you wake up another morning, you’re screaming about money again. It’s even harder for a young creative person trying to make something because Nigeria is no country for dreamers. Another Day, Another Naira explores the hustle culture in Nigeria that prioritises money over everything else.
For everyone caught up in the hustle and bustle and stuck in the rat race, Kaey fixed an anthem for us.
Flying Corks — Brotha Pollock & Mxps Rellington ft. Ghaffar
Taking a trip into Brotha Pollock’s grimy lo-fi production and Mxps Rellington’s novelist mind, you’ll find psychological depth and dramatic structure, strings and references of pop culture moments — weaved together to present vivid imagery of respects they deserve and keeping their Hip-Hop music undiluted.
Mxps Rellington compares his grand moves to that of Dostoevsky. Name a more clever rapper.
To You — Dwin, the Stoic ft. Ogranya
When two brilliant singer-songwriters come together, a heart-bending magic is expected. Dwin, the Stoic and Ogranya wag their voices like a wand and deliver a heartbreak ballad about a love that shouldn’t crumble, hoping to spellbind their lovers to stay around with them. One can listen to To You and feel the waves of melancholy crashing down or the breeze of the beach blowing one’s colourful shirt. No matter what, the song will make you feel something.
Unconditional — Mojeed x Czure
Spellbound by his themes of immigration, Lagos nightlife, and chasing the bag, amongst other mundane things, Mojeed has put himself among the elite Nigerian rappers who can ghost us, and when he comes back, we’re there — listening. On his first 2023 drop, Unconditional, he opens up about his availability to a romantic relationship that’s not one-sided. The beauty of this record is the culmination of growth and maturity Mojeed has laid on Czure’s production.
He smoothly delivers in Yorubanglish, a mixture of Yorùbá and American-accented English, that has become the signature style of Mojeed.
He gave us Unconditional to hold body while he preps a mixtape, Monkeys, Men & Martians, and an untitled EP marked for this November.
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