Millennials like me know that no one is doing heartbreak like Nigerian artists back in the day. Remember when P-Square had a meltdown after catching their babe with their best friend in Omoge Mi? Or the time Darey’s dramatic ass was playing a massive piano in Not the Girl, all because his girl had removed her wig and changed face? Those were the good times. But with everyone doing sungbalaja these days, I became curious to know if Gen Zs get heartbroken and, most importantly, the songs they listen to when it happens.
Tapped into my inner Gen Z to write this, and I hope I made my faves proud.
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1. Higher — Tems
I don’t even have to listen to the lyrics to know that Higher is about a severe heartbreak. Tems has a great voice, and you can hear the pain with every note she hits in this song. Even though she keeps saying she’ll wait for the person, she finally realises they aren’t worth it, and honestly, she’s probably right. Go bestie!
2. Beggie Beggie — Ayra Starr and Ckay
“See the way I dey beg you, shey bambi allah mo je ni”. For a generation that likes to avoid bad energy and vibes, Beggie Beggie sounds like stress and suffering. I guess this is the song you play when you’re still trying to make it work. Love yourself, boo, and break free from this toxic shit.
3. Understand — Omah Lay
When the love was sweet for Omah Lay, he sang about how his babe’s beauty was bursting his eyeglass. But now, home boy is entering the rain because he gave her his umbrella, and let’s not forget the part where she cheated on him with the friend he introduced her to. For a Taurus, Omah Lay’s reaction is not giving what it’s supposed to give.
4. Me You I — The Cavemen
Me You I is giving old Nollywood village film vibes, and I can’t help but stan. I can already imagine Pete Edochie as the king and Patience Ozorkwor as the wicked stepmother. Stop crying, my love. The juju will wear off one day, and your village prince will come back into your arms.
5. EGO — Sarz and Wurld
Honestly, I’m not surprised EGO came up in my discussions with Gen Z people. These days, everyone is trying to outdo the next person, even in relationships. So it makes sense that a song about not calling your lover because you want to form “hard guy” is an anthem for this generation. Quick question: why is everything a competition though?
6. Cold Outside — Timaya and BNXN
Who would’ve thought a Timaya song would make it on a Gen Z’s breakup playlist. Maybe it’s because we have baby giant BNXN singing about how he’s levelled up and doesn’t need his ex anymore. These are the things we actually love to see. While we’re on Timaya’s case, can someone please introduce Gen Zs to the classic that is Dem Mama? It’s not every time heartbreak up and down.
7. Searching — Lady Donli
Lady Donli is a Gen Z icon and that’s on Mo Abudu’s Brazilian bone straight. After telling everyone to get some cash, avoid suffering and enjoy their lives, Lady Donli sings about finding herself outside of a broken relationship. This is for when you want to start posting quotes on socials to remind them you’ve healed.
8. Away — Ayra Starr
This babe has a song called Cast (Gen Z Anthem) and you thought she’d only appear on this list once? Before starting a global movement with Bloody Samaritan, Ayra popped up on our radar with this badass song about unstaning your lover because their star sign doesn’t align with yours. It’s probably not what she said, but my version has more drama, so go with it.
9. LEAVE ME ALONE — Amaarae
Amarachi’s biggest song might be that “I really like to party, I really like spaghetti” song, but LEAVE ME ALONE is the breakup anthem I didn’t know I needed. Shoutout to my Gen Z faves for hooking me up. I’m literally obsessed!
10. Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me for a Fool) — Obongjayar
Not gonna lie, I felt it when Obongjayar sang, “Don’t be fucking with my head.” Like, I literally felt it in my spirit. It’s almost like I finally realised why Mercury has been drinking Lucozade since January.
Did it work? Did I sound like a Gen Z? Yassss!
11. Bibanke — Asa
I stan a cross-generational hit! Even though she’s now making happy music about love, friendship and breaking peoples’ backs, Asa will always be our guitar-wielding heartbreak queen.
12. Sip (Alcohol) — Joeboy
Personally, I’ve realised that there’s no breakup too strong for tequila and vodka (not together o, unless you’re a cultist). I guess Gen Zs and I have this in common, and that’s why this song is on their lists.