Collaborations between Nigerian and foreign artists don’t surprise us anymore. But after 2021 gave us Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran’s Peru, Tiwa Savage and Brandy’s Somebody’s Son, and Wizkid, Tems and Justin Bieber’s Essence, the pressure for 2022 to deliver was definitely on another level.
Did 2022 deliver? Check out this ranking of some of the international collaborations we enjoyed (or didn’t need) in 2022 to find out.
Frozen remix — Madonna, Sickick and Fireboy DML
The original Frozen dropped 24 years ago and Fireboy DML already had a hit remix on his hands with the Ed Sheeran-assisted Peru, so neither Madonna nor Fireboy needed this remix. Apart from being a forgettable and downright bad one, something about Fireboy (a black man) kneeling in front of Madonna (a white woman) rubs me off the wrong way. It’s giving coloniser vibes.
Verdict: An unnecessary flop.
Ku Lo Sa — Oxlade and Camila Cabello
If there’s one song that can compete with Burna Boy’s Last Last as the most viral song of the year, it’s Oxlade’s Ku Lo Sa. After inspiring a TikTok challenge and countless covers, Oxlade employed the help of former Fifth Harmony singer, Camila Cabello, for a remix that fails to capture the beauty of the original.
While we can acknowledge this as a smart move at increasing streams and maybe gaining a Billboard Hot 100 entry for Oxlade, it doesn’t mean we have to pretend that the song slaps, because it doesn’t.
Verdict: The flop we saw coming.
Calm Down — Rema and Selena Gomez
After giving us major collaborations with Chris Brown, 6LACK, Yseult and AJ Tracey on his debut album, Rave & Roses, Rema’s Calm Down remix with Selena Gomez is a sonic misstep for the Mavin Records artiste. The song is still a banger, but that has nothing to do with the featured artist.
Why have a remix when it does nothing to make your song better?
Attention — Omah Lay and Justin Bieber
For a song called Attention, Omah Lay and Justin Bieber’s collaboration tried and failed to hold our attention. This song came and left faster than a Lagos man after hearing his girlfriend is pregnant. Attention might not be the year’s best feature, but unlike my previous mentions, it deserved more than what we gave it.
Verdict: Would’ve been a bop if people listened.
Bloody Samaritan — Ayra Starr and Kelly Rowland
Bloody Samaritan was the song that cemented Ayra Starr’s current title as the It Girl of Afrobeats. Tapping into that Gen Z “IDGAF” attitude, Bloody Samaritan became a global hit that resonated with everyone, regardless of age. Even though most of the elements and lyrics that made the original song a success exist on this remix, Ms Kelly’s verse, especially towards the end, sounds like it belongs on an entirely different song.
They should’ve just recorded a new song together. Now, that would’ve hit in all the right places.
Verdict: Not a flop, but not really a bop either.
RECOMMENDED: 5 International Afropop Collaborations that Were Totally Meant to Be
Every Chris Brown Feature
If Chris Brown wants to move to Lagos, wear a white t-shirt and start break dancing on one of those promo trucks, then he should just do it. This man is basically a Nigerian at this point. From his remix of Lojay and Sarz’ Monalisa to Time N Affection with Rema and Call Me Everyday with his regular collaborator, Wizkid, no international singer did more Nigerian collabs than Chris Brown this year.
Verdict: We hate to say it, but these are bops.
WATAWI — CKay, Davido, Focalistic and Abidoza
CKay is the obvious star of WATAWI. But after dropping the Ke Star remix and Champion Sound in 2021, I’m a bit offended that Davido and Focalistic haven’t released a joint album or EP yet. The magic is there between these two; we need it harnessed for an album that could save humanity.
Verdict: Cute bop.
Cloak and Dagger — Burna Boy and J Hus
It’s safe to say a Burna Boy and J Hus combo will always work. Teaming up again after 2017’s Good Time, Cloak and Dagger off Burna Boy’s Love, Damini proves their chemistry is still as potent as ever.
Verdict: Bop as usual.
All I Ever Wanted — Asa and Amaarae
If someone had told me last year that Asa would be on a song about hotel sex and “5-star diamond dick”, I would’ve called them a detty liar who lives a fake life. But here we are today. I didn’t know how much I needed this Asa and Amaraae break-up jam, but now that I have it, I feel like it’s all I ever wanted.
Verdict: The bop we didn’t know we needed
One Woman — Adekunle Gold and Ty Dolla $ign
People aren’t talking about Adekunle Gold’s Catch Me If You Can enough, and it’s upsetting me and my homegirls. I thought AG was our baby?
Apart from solo gems like It Is What It Is and Mase Mi, Adekunle also kills it on the feature side with guests like Fousheé, Davido and Stefflon Don. However, it’s One Woman with Ty Dolla $ign, where he compares his babe to ofe nsala that hits all the right spots, for me.
Verdict: An underrated bop.
Wait for U — Future, Drake and Tems
Temilade, I love you, but I’ll gladly pay to never hear Wait For U again. The Future and Drake hit, which samples Tems’ vocals from the soon-to-be classic, Higher, was everywhere this year. Like, all you had to do was breathe, and you’ll hear Tems sing “If the world was ending” and Future replying with “Travel around the world.”
While Wait For U is a great song that has earned Tems two Grammy nominations and her first number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, I’d be glad to leave it behind in 2022.
Verdict: An overplayed bop.
Stand Strong — Davido and the Sunday Service Choir
If there’s one artist who can go from singing about chopping Nigerian koboko straight from Magodo to dropping one of the best gospel-inspired tracks in the same year, it’s Davido. Can we talk about the range?
Featuring the same choir Kanye West made famous with his Sunday Service sessions, Davido delivers a stand-out track about facing fears and finding strength amid the pain. Stand Strong is a significant departure from the hyper Davido we know. Still, his sincerity ties the song together beautifully, leaving us excited for what his next album might sound like.
Verdict: The ultimate bop.
ALSO READ: We’re Judging Anyone Who Didn’t Listen to These 10 Albums in 2022