The Nigerian pop scene has had many newsworthy moments in 2023. Most were even globally relevant — for good, this time — while some others left us sad or upset. We compiled a list just to refresh your memory and give Nigerians everywhere a reason to be proud as the year comes to a close.


NBA half-time show

Tems, Burna Boy and Rema took Afrobeats to the 79th NBA half-time show in Utah, U.S., in February 2023. From Burna’s live performance of Anybody and It’s Plenty, to Tems’ Crazy Things and Rema’s Calm Down, it was a night to celebrate African rhythm on an important foreign stage. Next up? NFL Super Bowl halftime.

THE STORY: Nigerian Musicians Aren’t Playing; They’re on the Biggest Sports Stages Now

The year of Davido

After months of silence due to his three-year-old son’s demise, Davido returned to social media to announce a new album, two new signings to his label and a rebranded Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) on March 29, 2023. He dropped the album, his fourth full-length project, Timeless, the next day. The lead single, Unavailable, was a standout hit, toeing the line of his previous successes: Dami Duro, Aye and If

Beyond that, the consensus is Timeless is Davido’s best work so far, and the Afrobeats album of 2023. Perhaps to solidify this claim, the album made the Grammy 2024 nomination list for Best Global Music Album.

In October, he and his wife, Chioma, welcomed a set of twins, a year after the loss of their son. @albumtalkHQ

THE STORY: The Real 30BG Know These Are the 15 Greatest Davido Songs of ALL Time 

Debut at the MET Gala

In May, Burna Boy and Tems made their debut at the 2023 MET Gala, an iconic fashion and fundraising event in New York, U.S. As first-timers — only the second and third Nigerians to attend after author, Tomi Adeyemi, in 2021 — both artists showcased outfits people couldn’t stop talking about for days. Burna pulled up in a blue and black Burberry suit, while Tems wore a black and white dress styled by Dunsin Wright.

Image source: Punch

THE STORY: 20 of the Best, Mid and Worst Looks From the 2023 MET Gala 

The Grammy’s new Best African Music category

The American Recording Academy announced the new category on June 13, 2023. This is a welcome development to the “Afrobeats to the world” cause as our sound leaves the over-generalised canopy of “world music” in the academy’s eyes.

Image Source: The American Recording Academy

THE STORY: Grammy 2024: Davido Bags First Nomination, Major Categories List

O2 Arena domination

In August, after Asake released his sophomore album, Work of Art, and peaked at number 66 on the US Billboard 200 Albums chart, he sold out the O2 Arena and Barclays Centre in the United Kingdom. 

Two years after Burna Boy brought Rema out on the O2 Arena stage in 2021, the Edo-state-born artist held his own show at the same 20,000-capacity London event centre, on November 14, 2023. 

THE STORY: All the Best Moments From Asake’s O2 Show

Mohbad’s widely-discussed death

Singer and rapper, Mohbad, passed away on September 12, 2023. His demise generated public sympathy and divided commentary. Outraged fans and sympathisers took to the streets to protest his death and celebrate his call to glory. It’s the largest protest Lagos has witnessed since #EndSARS in 2020. @instablog

THE STORY: 14 Verifiable Events Surrounding Mohbad’s Death

Rema joins Spotify’s Billion Club

In the same month of September, Rema’s Calm Down remix with Selena Gomez became the first African song to garner a billion streams on Spotify. Rema now sits at the table with global acts like Taylor Swift, Drake, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

Image Source: Spotify

THE STORY: How Rema and Selena Gomez Bagged A Billion Streams

Wizkid’s mum’s burial

Wizkid buried his mum in October, and people on social media turned the sad event into a circus. The general public got to see a vulnerable Big Wiz for the first time when he shed tears at the funeral.

OlaDips’ death and resurrection

The latest artist to pull a fake-death PR stunt since Skiibii, OlaDips was reported dead on November 15, 2023, just a day before his album, Superhero Adugbo, came out. On November 25th, the rapper posted a proof of life on his socials. Although he denied the PR stunt allegations, the public rained insults on him for making them mourn in vain.

THE STORY: The Most Controversial Celebrities of 2023, Ranked

Pop culture

Hilda Baci’s cook-a-thon

Although Nigerians have broken Guinness World Records many times before, the buzz Hilda Baci received for her attempt is the largest so far. On May 11, she kicked off her cook-a-thon, which ended on May 15 after a 100-hour cooking session. They delivered her certificate for “the longest cooking marathon” at 93 hours, on June 13, 2023.

Image source: The ICIR

THE STORY: Hilda Baci Is Officially a World Record Holder: 7 Takeaways From GWR’s Confirmation Video

Davido vs Anita Brown

In June 2023, a U.S. entrepreneur and model named Anita Brown claimed she was pregnant for Davido. She went viral on social media for her hateful comments against Chioma, Davido’s wife. But later in October, she tendered an apology to the artist and his wife, and we haven’t heard from her since.

THE STORY: Should We Suspect These Other Lady-Names in Davido’s Songs?

Naira Marley’s NDLEA ambassadorship

Naira Marley visited the National Drugs Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) headquarters in Abuja on August 17 to give an anti-drug talk. The next thing we heard, the agency had made him their ambassador. Following public backlash, they denied this ever happened two days later. 

Image source: NDLEA

THE STORY: Weekly Roundup: UNICAL Suspends Professor Cyril Ndifon

Osimhen’s Ballon d’Or

On October 30, Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, became the first born and bred Nigerian footballer to be on the top ten list of the Ballon d’Or award. He was the highest-ranked African footballer at the awards with 26 goals in the last season. On the night of December 11, he also won African Men’s Player of the Year at the 2023 Confederation of African Football Awards.

Image source: Sports Brief

THE STORY: Napoli Sparks Outrage After Trolling Victor Osimhen on TikTok Over Missed Penalty

Oshoala’s win at the CAF Awards

On the same night Victor Osimhen got the CAF award for African Men’s Player of the Year, Barcelona striker, Asisat Oshoala, was crowned the African Women’s Player of the Year 2023. Nigerian players currently rule the African football world.

Image source: CAF Online

THE STORY: CAF Awards 2023: The Top Highlights as Victor Osimhen, Asisat Oshoala Win Big

Made Kuti’s high school love story

In November, social media was on fire when Made Kuti, Fela’s grandson, got married to Inedoye Onyeso. Inedoye was his school daughter back in secondary school. Their wedding story went viral as people gushed over their Bridgerton-like love story.

Image source: Linda Ikeji Blog


Queen of Nollywood films

2023 started on a shaky foot for the Nigerian creative industry. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the filmmaker who founded the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and Africa Film Academy, died on January 9 after a brief illness. Known as the “queen of Nollywood films”, she allegedly pioneered the screening of Nollywood films at international film festivals. Her family promised to carry on her legacy.

Image Source: The Culture Newspaper

Chidi Mokeme’s return

The return of veteran Nollywood actor, Chidi Mokeme, to our screens after a long hiatus was a triumph with his portrayal of Scar, a thug leader, on the hit Netflix mini-series, Shanty Town, in January 2023. Chidi owned his character so well that one would think he had once been an underworld boss. Something we rarely see with the newer Nollywood cats.

Image source: Netflix

THE STORY: Chidi Mokeme Was Fire: Let’s Try These OG Nollywood Actors Next

Saint Obi’s demise

In May, another OG Nollywood actor, Obinna Nwafor AKA Saint Obi, passed away at age 57 in Jos, after battling an undisclosed illness. Obi was known for his bad-boy characters in almost every action and romance Nollywood movie of the 1990s to early 2000s. News of his death sent shock waves everywhere, particularly because of his sudden disappearance from the limelight for the last two decades and the rumours surrounding his death.

Image source: MyNigeria

THE STORY: Action Star, Lover Boy and Legend: A Breakdown of Saint Obi’s Most Iconic Roles

Mami Wata at the Oscars

Before CJ “Fiery” Obasi’s Mami Wata even entered Nigerian cinemas in September 2023, the film had trended for its appearance at the Sundance Film Festival in June. In October, it was selected by the Nigerian Official Section Committee for the International Feature Film category ahead of the 2024 Academy Awards.

Image source: Lilis Soares

THE STORY: “Mami Wata” Is Taking Nollywood Around the Globe

Nollywood’s John Wick

You might’ve heard people call The Black Book Nollywood’s version of John Wick. The emotional thriller is one of the industry’s best releases of 2023, and the most expensive at $1 million. An immediate hit, the movie garnered 5.6 million viewers just two days after its Netflix premiere on September 22.

Image source: Premium Times Nigeria

THE STORY: Everything We Know About Editi Effiong’s “The Black Book”

Mr. Ibu’s battle for life

In October 2023, veteran comedic actor, John Okafor AKA Mr. Ibu, put out a video on his official Instagram page, soliciting prayers and financial support to treat his diabetes. Celebrities like Davido, Tunde Ednut, Paul Okoye and Kanayo O. Kanayo gathered support for him and promised to do what they could. 

As of November 5th, the actor had had seven surgeries. Despite the public’s donation, one of his legs was amputated. Amid the health struggle, his wife and daughter fought over the donated funds, accusing each other of hijacking the rumoured ₦300 million.

Image source: Nairaland

THE STORY: What We Know About Mr Ibu’s Health and How You Can Help



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