The 2010s have been a defining decade for Nigerian music, with our stars pushing genre boundaries and getting global recognition. So, as the 2010s come to an end, we’ve decided to highlight 10 of the best and most impactful Nigerian albums released between 2010 and 2019.
Da Grin — C.E.O (2010)
Released a few months before his untimely death, Da Grin’s C.E.O remains the most impactful Nigerian hip-hop album of the decade. With the awe-inspiring record, Da Grin singlehandedly crafted the blueprint for many indigenous rappers, paving the way for stars like Olamide and Lil Kesh.
Asa — Beautiful Imperfection (2010)
Following a debut album as instantly iconic as Asa (Asha) was never going to be easy, but with her stunning sophomore effort, Beautiful Imperfection, Asa proved more than up to the task. The album is staggeringly self-assured and thoughtful, much like its beloved star.
M.I Abaga — MI 2: The Movie (2010)
For rappers all around the world, maintaining artistic integrity while reaching for mainstream appeal has always been a near-impossible feat, but on M.I’s sophomore album, MI 2: The Movie, the acclaimed wordsmith makes that high-wire act seem like a veritable cakewalk.
Wizkid — Superstar (2011)
One of the greatest-ever debut albums by a Nigerian artist, Wizkid’s aptly-titled Superstar introduced us to an afropop juggernaut unlike any other. Filled with more iconic tracks than it has any right to have, the album will forever be remembered as a genre-shaping masterclass.
Brymo — Tabula Rasa (2014)
Brymo has dropped a shocking number of great albums this decade – from The Son of a Kapenta to Oṣó – but his magnum opus comes in the form of his fourth studio album, Tabula Rasa, an evocative body of work that’s flawlessly executed from start to finish.
Kizz Daniel — New Era (2016)
The strongest afropop debut since Wizkid’s Superstar, Kizz Daniel’s New Era proved the newcomer already had a maven’s grasp of the genre. Stacked with memorable singles and fantastic deep cuts, the album will go down as one of the decade’s most well-thought-out afropop releases.
Adekunle Gold — Gold (2016)
With his debut album, Gold, Adekunle Gold confidently announced himself as a breath of fresh air in Nigeria’s music scene. Thoughtfully written, vibrantly produced and wonderfully performed, Gold is the rare Nigerian album that truly deserves to be called a masterpiece.
Simi — Simisola (2017)
Simi is one of Nigeria’s greatest songwriters, and her eponymous sophomore album is all the proof you need. Her ability to pen relatable songs that capture the complexities of love in the millennial age is exactly what makes this album such an essential one.
Odunsi (The Engine) — rare. (2018)
As ridiculous as it seems in retrospect, it felt like the legitimacy of the alté movement was riding on the quality of Odunsi’s debut album. While that was obviously untrue, the fantastic rare. still managed to carry the torch, thanks to Odunsi’s singular, infallible vision.
Burna Boy — African Giant (2019)
It’s only been out for a few months, but Burna Boy’s career-best LP, African Giant already feels like a decade-defining classic. On the album, we find one of Nigeria’s most gifted stars operating at the peak of his powers, both as a performer and a songwriter.