It’s easy to remember 2013 as the year Instagram became a thing, while Blackberry, Ama Kip Kip shirts and carrot jeans faded away. But can we take a second to big up the music that dropped that year? From Tiwa Savage to Burna Boy, the hits flowed like unlimited Abacha funds, and we all had a good time. Somebody, please, take me back.
Baddest Guy Ever Liveth — Olamide
Remember when Olamide gave us albums yearly, and they all slapped? Good times. Baddest Guy Ever Liveth was Baddo’s third album in three years, and omo, it had zero skips.
Looking for owambe songs? Olamide gave us Eleda Mi O, Durosoke and Anifowose. Looking to scatter the club? There was Turn Up, Baddo Love and Yemi My Lover. This was one of the best albums of 2013 and one of Olamide’s best albums of all time.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Dope Money with Phyno. Listening to two of Nigeria’s greatest rappers go back and forth on a sick beat will always do something for me. These two have such great chemistry it’s no surprise they’re still making songs together ten years later.
Leaving an Impact for Eternity (L.I.F.E.) — Burna Boy
If you think this Burna Boy’s African Giant thing started with Coachella, then you clearly haven’t listened to his debut album, L.I.F.E.
After blowing up in 2012 with the smooth Like to Party and his round vintage glasses, Burna put his baby giant foot down with this album and hits like Run My Race, #YawaDey and Tonight. Even though he was just stepping into the spotlight, Burna moved with the confidence of an artiste who’d been doing this for over a decade.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Jah’s Love is True with Wizkid. Forget BD’OR and Ginger. This is Burna and Wiz’s best collab. Argue with yourself, please.
Once Upon a Time — Tiwa Savage
No one was doing it like Tiwa Savage when Kele Kele Love dropped in 2010. The good sis came in, served us looks, vocals, choreography and ate everything up. No crumbs left.
Going toe to toe with the guys in the industry at the time, Tiwa dropped Once Upon a Time, and this album was fire. From the controversial Wanted to the Don Jazzy-assisted Eminado, Tiwa gave us left, right and centre. We need to give Ms Savage her flowers, please.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Folarin. This song gave us a glimpse of Tiwa’s IDGAF attitude popular on songs like Koroba, 49-99 and Tiwa’s Vibe.
Blackmagic Version 2.0 — Blackmagic
Talking about alté music without mentioning Blackmagic should be a crime in Nigeria. This man did not drop Rainbow in 2011 to be forgotten by the new generation. Not many people got Blackmagic’s style of music at the time, but everyone can agree Repete was pure magic. Other songs like Confam with Sasha P and Pass You By with Oritse Femi helped position Blackmagic Version 2.0 as one of the best albums of 2013, no cap.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Amnesia with M.I. This song was popular-ish, but the truth is, it should’ve been massive. Come on, guys, Blackmagic and M.I dragging their real and imaginary haters for filth? Inject it into my veins.
R&BW — Banky W
By 2013, Banky W had already claimed his position as the king of baby-making R&B music with 2008’s Capable and 2009’s The Banky W Experience — I know y’all remember Strong Ting. But as the generous king he is, Banky gave us another classic album in 2013, aptly titled R&BW. Extending his reign, the album had bangers like Yes/No, To My Unborn Child and Good Good Loving. Whew, what a time.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Lowkey. This slow seductive song will remind you of the time Pastor Banky was deep in the world like the rest of us.
Desire — Iyanya
Iyanya finally hacked the Nigerian music industry in 2013, five years after winning the first edition of Project Fame and trying to win us over with vocals and romantic grammar. Kukure had everyone and their grandma doing the etigi dance, but Desire fully revamped Iyanya’s career with songs like Flavour, Sexy Mama with Wizkid and Your Waist with Emma Nyra.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Somebody with Tiwa Savage. These two are vocal powerhouses, and it shows in this song. Iyanya even stops Tiwa at some point while she’s singing her ass off to remind her that vocals don’t sell in Nigeria.
Take Over — KCee
Considering how much I heard Limpopo in 2013, I’d be happy if I never listened to that song again. Kcee, the taller half of the early 2000s group, KC Presh, came back with a vengeance as a solo artist towards the end of 2012, and by 2013, he’d dropped an album, Take Over, and started his own label, with Harrysong as one of the artistes.
While Take Over didn’t follow up with hits as big as Limpopo, we got to know what Kcee and Wizkid would sound like as road safety officers on Pullover.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Give It to Me with Flavour. If Limpopo had you whining your waist in 2013, best believe this Flavour collab would break your waist in 2023. Godspeed.
Words Aren’t Just Enough — Waje
Words Aren’t Just Enough, Waje’s debut album, came in 2013. This was five years after her vocals helped P-Square turn Do Me into a major hit, and three years after she made her mark with For a Minute. Whether it’s doing vocal harmonies with Tiwa Savage on Onye or reminding us that men are trash on I Wish, Waje made an album that deserved a lot more than it got back then.
Underrated song that should’ve been a hit: Grind with Burna Boy. I didn’t see this collaboration coming, but somehow, they made it work thanks to Leriq’s sick production. Add this song to your sex playlist, and thank me later.