Downtown’s Best Of 2021 Pt.1: Entertainment & Tech
With each year that passes, some sectors of Nigerian mainstream offerings keep a linear progression. Think about a child coming of age – you never really know what they are capable of until they actually do it. Last year saw the actualisation of some of our potentials, in entertainment and technology.
Looking back at the previous year, our songs garnered worldwide attention, record producers delivered impeccable music production, skitmakers ensured that Nigerians kept laughing through the bizarre happenings that engulfed the year, and tech companies took their operations to a new level, in a bid to make our daily operations as seamless as possible.
Here are some of the people and projects that defined the Nigerian entertainment and technology space in 2021.
Essence by Wizkid featuring Tems
Essence remains the biggest hit off the widely successful Made In Lagos album. Very few duets will rival this “Big Wiz” and Tems body of work in the entertainment industry.
Feeling by LADIPOE featuring Buju
Buju was one of the biggest winners of the year, and so was LADIPOE. This collaboration was almost perfect as it also has a sentimental value seeing that both artists have worked so hard to get to this point in their careers. Feeling was the biggest song in the country at the time of release.
High by Adekunle Gold featuring Davido
This was perhaps the most random collaboration last year. Alternative artist, Adekunle Gold brought in serial hitmaker and popstar, Davido. The result? A nationwide amapiano banger.
Monalisa by Lojay and Sarz
One of the most important lessons we’ve learnt last year is that Sarz is ‘not our mate’. The legendary producer teamed up with a relatively unknown Lojay and almost immediately shot him to stardom. Similar to what the beatmaker did with Wurld, Sarz and Lojay served us an EP that was nothing short of breathtaking. One of the hit singles on it is Monalisa.
Peru by Fireboy DML
With two well-composed studio albums in two years, Fireboy has quickly established himself as a top artist in the Nigerian music scene. When he’s not busy dropping classics or getting his songs featured on popular football video games – FIFA, he is dropping hits. Peru (para) was one of the biggest songs of 2021.
Osabuohien Osaretin (Sarz) –
EPs: Sweetness by Obongjayar and LV N ATTN by Lojay
Richard Olowaranti Mbu Isong (P2J) –
Album: Made In Lagos by Wizkid, Singles: System and Lazarus by Dave feat. Wizkid and Boj respectively.
Michael Ovie Hunter (London) –
Album: 19 & Dangerous by Ayra Starr, Singles: Gyrate by Wizkid, Koroba by Tiwa Savage, Bounce and Soundgasm by Rema.
Adebajo Oluwanifemi Adebanjo (Niphkeys) –
Singles: Naira Marley by Zinoleesky, Feel Good by Mohbad, Ale Yi by Zlatan.
Michael Alagwu (Tempoe) –
Singles: Love Nwantiti (ah ah ah) by CKay, Understand by Omah Lay.
2021 was the year of tech in Nigeria as we became more welcoming to innovations than ever before.
Here are three fintech apps that had their breakthroughs last year.
Abeg is a fintech app co-founded by Muheez Akanni, Michael Okoh and Dare Adekoya in 2019. The app was launched in September and is already generating a buzz on social media for its unique approach to solving fintech problems. It gained popularity after it was one of the headline sponsors of the most-watched TV show in Africa, Big Brother Naija.
Kuda Bank formerly called Kudi money is a Nigerian free digital-only bank that was founded in 2017, and was renamed Kuda Bank in 2019. It was founded by Babs Ogundeyi and Mustapha Musty. It rose to the top of the fintech ladder thanks to its ‘totally free banking’ USP (unique selling point) and its tagline – bank of the free.
Formerly known as PiggyBank, this app is a savings and investment platform. It was first launched in January 2016 as a savings-only platform before it was rebranded to PiggyVest in 2019 and began offering direct investment opportunities
The skit industry saw a lot of traction as well. Although stand-up comedy is still a thing, Instagram skitmakers are gradually phasing out life-performing comics.
Debo Adedayo (Mr Macaroni)
Ooiin! He did well! In a year that followed his courageous activism during the #EndSARS protests of 2020, Mr Macaroni reminded us all just how much he brings to the table as he brought the “father figure” role his character is known for, to life. Mr Macaroni has redefined the skit space with his short films being heavily star-studded, featuring fellow skitmakers, veteran Nollywood actors, and all-around entertainers.
Chukwuemeka Emmanuel Ejekwu (Mr Funny)
A relatively new face in the Nigerian Instagram comedy space, Mr Funny rose to the top of the food chain last year. His character, Sabinus, is a frustrated Nigerian youth who, in a bid to better his living situation, becomes susceptible to the ills of society. His “Something Hooge” skit was one of the biggest last year.
Maryam Apaokagi Greene (Taaooma)
Taaooma has been around for a while and there are no signs of her slowing down. Her skits mainly show the relationship between African parents and their children, and several people find them relatable.
Nosa Afolabi (Lasisi Elenu)
Nigeria’s foremost ranter, Lasisi Elenu, keeps setting the bar higher with his impeccable improvisations. Whatever role he plays, he does to perfection.
Self-identifies as a middle child between millennials and the gen Z, began writing as a 14 year-old. Born and raised in Lagos where he would go on to obtain a degree in the University of Lagos, he mainly draws inspiration from societal issues and the ills within. His "live and let live" mantra shapes his thought process as he writes about lifestyle from a place of empathy and emotional intelligence. When he is not writing, he is very invested in football and sociopolitical commentary on social media.