What A Run! Best Music Artist’s Runs Since 2017
Every year in Nigeria, hundreds of thousands of songs are released. The competition in the music industry is one whose magnitude cannot be truly quantified. Constantly, artists are battling each other for our attention, which has been dealt a blow by digital streaming platforms that have truncated their span to have a semblance of a housefly.
And so, many of them work twice as hard after their breakout hit single—when they eventually get people’s attention—because if there is anything more difficult than getting people’s attention, it is keeping it. This is why consistency is one of the most essential traits of any successful music artist, and for the not-so-successful, their bane.
Some musicians check the consistency box in grandeur, putting together a run of hit singles, and sustaining the attention for a whole year. With the year ending, here are five artists with the best yearly runs in Nigeria.
• Omo Ope featuring Olamide
• Sungba remix featuring Burna Boy
• Featured in Pallazo by DJ Spinall
• Peace Be Unto You
• Featured in Bandana by Fireboy
Ahmed Ololade Asake, popularly known as Asake, got into the mainstream with his hit freestyle, Mr Money, in 2020. Although the song was played at parties across the country, people didn’t exactly identify with the artist behind it, so he was underground again for a while. Two years later, he was spotted by music mogul and YBNL label owner, Olamide, who gave him a verse on his hit
single, Omo Ope, and a record deal. Since then, Asake has taken the bull by its horns and hasn’t looked back. This impressive year he’s had has so far featured a widely acclaimed EP, Ololade Asake, several chart-topping singles and features, and his debut album, Mr. Money With The Vibes.
BNXN fka Buju, 2021
• Italy featuring Blaq Diamond
• Featured in Feeling by LADIPOE
• Featured in Bling by Blaqbonez
• Featured in Mood by Wizkid
• Featured in Cold Outside by Timaya
Daniel Benson, known professionally as BNXN (pronounced as Benson) and formerly known as Buju, has been searching for his big break since 2018. In 2019, he put out mildly successful singles such as L’enu and Spiritual, which, thanks to his friends and fans, got the attention (and a feature verse) of the street-hop star Zlatan.
Having gathered a little traction within the alté community, BNXN started making moves to mainstream his craft. This saw him sign with Burna Boy’s record label, Spaceship Records. Although his time at the record label was short-lived, BNXN seemed to have leveraged the opportunity to announce what he’s all about. Last year, he was involved in so many chart-topping songs that he gained the industry’s respect for being the biggest feature artist at the time. Everyone wants him on their songs, even Wizkid.
Omah Lay, 2020
• Bad Influence
• Featured in Pami by DJ Tunez
• Featured in Infinity by Olamide Stanley Omah Didia, widely referred to as Omah Lay, gained widespread recognition in early 2020 after his self-produced single, Bad Influence, went viral on social media, becoming the most streamed Nigerian song on Apple Music at the end of the year. The same year, he released his five-track debut EP, Get Layd. The EP peaked at number one
on the Nigerian Apple Music charts, with all five songs from the EP reaching the top 15 of the Apple Music charts for Nigeria, and You peaking at number one.
Omah Lay is fondly remembered as ‘owning’ the music industry through a pandemic year when people were more at home and on their phones than ever before. He won the Next Rated award at the 2020 Headies Awards to cap
off his year.
Naira Marley, 2019
• Am I A Yahoo Boy
• Opotoyi (Marlians)
• Bad Influence
• O Por with Lil Kesh
• Instagram with Olamide, Reminisce and Sarz
Naira Marley’s 2019 was perhaps the wildest of any artist-run in Nigeria as it transcends just music. Born Azeez Adeshina Fashola, Marley began his music
career as far back as 2014. He got his big break in 2017 after he released the Olamide and Lil Kesh-assisted hit single Issa Goal, which became the theme
song for the Super Eagles at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
But 2019 was when he became a consistent fixture not just within the music scene but also with the government. The self-acclaimed President of his fan
base, ‘Marlians,’ began his run with his highly controversial hit single, Am I A Yahoo Boy, which spread like wildfire, setting off alarms within the Nigerian crime scene—he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that same day. A few days after he was released from prison, he released another controversial single, Soapy, narrating the masturbation culture found among inmates.
Naira Marley didn’t just make hit songs; he created a whole polarising movement that was embraced by some and admonished by others.
• Fake Jersey
• Uyo Meyo
Having started her career with a hushed label drama, Teniola Apata, widely known as Teni’s proper introduction to the limelight, came when she released
the single Fargin in September 2017. The following year, she would embark on
her journey of back-to-back hit releases, including Askamaya, Case and Uyo.
• Pere featuring Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug
• Like Dat
David Adeleke, known globally as Davido, is one of Africa’s most prominent music artists of this generation. His introduction to the music was as loud as could be; his debut album forced a direct comparison with Wizkid, who was the hottest act on the block at the time, and together, they are two of the biggest acts from Africa today. But Davido’s career took a minor hit in 2016 when he signed a record deal with Sony Music, a move that was met with mixed reactions.
In the same year, he released the 5-track EP Son of Mercy, which featured guest appearances from Simi, Tinashe, and Nasty C that didn’t resonate with the Nigerian audience. Davido’s fierce comeback run in 2017, which included If, Fall, Fia and Assurance (early 2018), would eventually reposition him as
one of the most successful afrobeats artists of all time.