Before singles by artists became popular in Nollywood, theme songs were the real deal. And we couldn’t help but sing along to them when they were used in films and TV shows.

Soundtracks were used in Nollywood as a narration device for stories, complementing scenes with focused lyrics. Though soundtrack songwriters and performers were not as popular as other players in the movie industry, their contribution is undisputed. We bring you some old Nollywood soundtracks that are evergreen. Which ones do you remember?

Karishika (Queen of Demons)

The plot of Karishika, in usual Nollywood fashion, is about a battle between darkness and light. Karishika came out in 1996 and still remains one of the industry’s biggest horror flicks. Bianca’s naivety or Karishika and Jonathan’s evil doings may make you cringe, but the bouncy, melodious “lucifer, lucifer, prince of darkness, Karishika, Karishika, queen of demons” soundtrack made by singer-songwriter Stanley Okorie, still sends chills down my back. It sounds like something Cruel Santino would make. 

Chain Reaction 

In simple lyrics, Stanley Okorie — whose name you’ll see more than twice in this article, performed the gloomy soundtrack. “Chain Reaction” came out in 1999 and its cast boasts of established names like Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Liz Benson, Klint Da Drunk. The soundtrack warned “in this life you reap what you sow,” but the movie’s antagonist, Eucharia (Liz Benson), still didn’t get exactly what she deserved.

Nneka the Pretty Serpent

A horror-mystery film from Nollywood that dates back to 1994, written and directed by Zeb Ejiro. Millennials regard it as one of the best horror films from old Nollywood. The classic Nneka the Pretty Serpent‘s soundtrack was composed by Mike Nliam, performed by Mike and Doris Madu, and produced by Kingsley Ogoro. The mellow soundtrack is one of one. You’re instantly reminded of the old movie that sent morbid fear into your 12-year old self.

Final Whistle

Back in the good old days when the barber’s shop was the Netflix we knew, this romance starring Nollywood OG bad boy, Saint Obi (of blessed memory), was a fav.

Saint Obi played Richard, a rich guy who fell in love with Fina (Rita Nwankwo), his mum’s housemaid. “Final Whistle” was a commercial success, thanks to its soundtrack. In the 2000 Nollywood production, we saw Richard and his babe Fina become R&B singers, singing to each other at sea, promising to never separate. We know you probably played it over and over as a kid because you wanted what they had when you grew up. Do you still want that Richard and Fina love?

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

Koto Aye and Koto Orun

It’s not in every movie you’d see a king pregnant with a bird. This Nollywood horror movie shows a village and its people suffering from the wickedness of witches who loudly chant what turns out to be the movie’s soundtrack. The Nollywood film got the most attention from 1989 to 1992, but even over a decade after, the youngins still watch it. The soundtrack is still as gripping as when it was first created.

The Campus Queen

This was definitely one of the coolest movies from old Nollywood. The Campus Queen, directed by Veteran director and producer Tunde Kelani, follows the story of a young lady Banke on her university adventure. The movie has a great cast of actors, including the late Sound Sultan who was also in charge of the movie’s soundtrack. On the official single, Sound Sultan, Faze and El-Dee were seen trying to impress the Campus Queen with their music.

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The Master

Coincidentally, Yahooze by Olu Maintain came out a year before The Master was produced. The former was a viral hit song that exalted cyber-fraud culture. The latter is a story of a 419 scammer who became a master of the craft, but everything went crashing down when he refused to pay dues to the person who taught him. 

The soundtrack, written by Stanley Okorie and performed by the lead actor Nkem Owoh is definitely one of the most popular soundtracks in Nollywood ever. It’s hard to not sing along when you hear:

“If anybody fall mugu

My brother, I go chop

National airport, na me get am

National stadium, na me build am”

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.