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T.B.T: Most Influential Afrobeats Tracks of All Time [part1]


Afrobeats has grown into a highly coveted genre of music—  the whole world now pays attention to what Afrobeats artists have to offer. Before this time, Afrobeats has recorded minute yet laudable success across the African continent and beyond with several of its forerunners breaking into the international/intercontinental scene. 


In this article, we talk about some of the most influential Afrobeat tracks of all time. This list is one millennials will relate to much more than Generation Z.


Millennials come forward. Gen Z, just sit back and enjoy while you wait for your turn.


1. Zombie by Fela Kuti

"zombie no go go unless you tell am to go"


You're bitten by pangs of nostalgia when you hear the intro to this track. Historical. Amazingly Artistic. Insanely Influential.  


A lot has been written about this song. And it's inarguably the sound that gave birth to the afrobeat genre. This song is intriguing, first for how Fela gave an African twist to a mixture of Jazz, Funk & Soul and Blues. A review on The Sonic Collection described the song as  "a bombastic, funky, percussive and soulful journey into another time and place". 


Truly, the song is highly spirited— it is like a portal to the past and the present at the same time. Second, for the theme it addresses— a highly politically conscious song released when the military has a stronghold in Nigeria. It is believed that Fela "sacrificed" his mother as a consequence of this song. 


Regardless of the story, it is already evident that Zombie is the most influential Afrobeat track of all time thereby making Fela the father of Afrobeats. 


A lot of Afrobeats artists have sampled the song and several other students in Nigeria and abroad have attempted a study of the song as projects, class assignments et al. 


Pitchfork Media ranked it number 90 on their list of the 100 best albums of the 1970s. The album which houses the song was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Amazing, innit? Another cool thing is that the song has appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: IV.


2. Somebody call my name by Daddy Showkey

Do you think song-invented dances came with Zlatan? Think again. bloody golden morn pikin said, "no". Ever heard of Daddy Showkey? 


Showkey has been in the Nigerian music scene since the early 1990s and peaked around the early 2000s. He is known as a standout proponent of the Ajegunle Ragga sound— an afro sound that borrowed from the Jamaican Reggae. He and other acts like Danfo Drivers, African China, Baba Fryo, and Marvelous Benjy were forerunners of the style. This style was the benchmark for "street songs" in the early 2000s. 


Showkey popularized the galala and konto dance in his age as most of his music videos came with performances of those dances.  


“Somebody Call My Name” was the kind of song that made you scream, "Showkey!" as you danced in different styles to the melody. 


sorry, kapaichumarimarichupako generation.


3. Olufunmi by Styl Plus


Indomie generation, I'm not sorry if you can't relate, but this track is one of the most influential afrobeats tracks you'll ever listen to in your entire lifetime. Olufunmi is one of those tracks that laid the bricks for the foundation of the modern entertainment powerhouse that we have now. 


"when I said to you, that I never want to love another woman,..." Thank you for completing the lyrics, true millennial.


Styl Plus did an amazing job with Olufunmi especially as they made it the biggest track requested on radio between 2003-05. Many compared the group to all their faves overseas, but they remain unique afrobeats artists.  


"Olufunmi ooo, ma pa mi l'ekun ooo, Olufunmilola…"


With the release of Olufunmi, the bar for Nigerian music was raised so high that many began to believe top-notch quality could break out of the country. 

 

I'll pause my heart for you & You'll be the only one to make it move 


An Astonishing, timeless and beautiful track. 


4. African Queen by 2face Idibia


Released in 2004 under the Kennis Music label, African Queen was the most influential track of its age and remains one of the most iconic love songs to ever come out of Naija—it's 2021 and it still slaps really hard! Friggin Timeless and beautiful.


"you captivated my soul, now every day I want you more"


I can hear the millennials sing along. Gen Z too can relate 'cause they saw the song in 10 Day in Suncity. 😂


The Face 2 Face album released by 2face Idibia in 2004 owed much of its success to this lead track. The track made an impact across Africa and Europe as well. It's unarguably the track that gave 2baba his pivotal start as an incontrovertible Afrobeats legend.


Although the Afrobeats genre hasn't been well-pronounced at the time of its release, African Queen is a mixture of Nigerian folk music and hip-hop; which is what Afrobeats is.


5. Raise the Roof by Jazzman Olofin & Ayuba

Another 2004 classic jam. 

If you jammed to this song in the club, you should be married with kids now. 'cauuuuse! Talk about evergreen— this song is timeless. Absolutely influential classic. 


it's bubbly oh, e je ko ma bubble oh/ shuku shuku bam bam, / eni to ba wù kó bè eyin ti ijinle pam pam/ throw your hands in the air, Raise the Roof 


Jazzman Olofin did a number on this song with the delivery. He laid down the vibe of what a party jam should look like in the early 2000s. This track raised him from 0 to mega-stardom 💯; tell me about Raising the Roof. 

 6. My Car by Tony Tetuila 


Only Gen Zs will argue that this isn't one of the most influential Afrobeat tracks of all time. For the artist, Tony Tetuila, My Car is his most successful track of all time even though he wasn't alone on this one. He featured Pasto Goody Goody, one of the generation's rap artists.


you don hit my car, oyinbo repete/ you don bash my car, gbese repete


This song was particularly influential not just because it was on everybody's lips. Rather, it was influential because of its unique storytelling style. Although utterly basic, it has an easy-to-follow flow which made it a hit. 

7. Bizzy Body by P-Square 

P-Square had every club and party speaker buzzing with Bizzy Body in 2005/06. One would have thought they wouldn't be able to outdo the success of the track as it was the track that brought them to the limelight. 


If I catch you / I go turn you on / When I grab you / To the breaking down / You go lose control / Bizzy body oh oh oh


A mix of swagger, eros, and a bit of macho vibes, both the original track and remix featuring Weird MC had massive influence as club bangers and remain timeless tracks that would get you in your dancing shoes the minute they come on. 


8. Why Me by D'banj

"but it was a one night stand, baby don't you understand"


Why Me was a major 2006 hit. Although D'banj was already making waves before its release, this track further heightened the influence of the Koko Master in the Afrobeats scene. 


Some have argued that this track— and D’banj & the MoHits—marked a watershed moment in the Nigerian music industry.  It changed how songs were made with artistic brilliance as the primary factor. Thenceforth, music was made with commercial viability in mind. And it went on to succeed. 


Nonetheless, fhe track is remarkable for the astuteness Don Jazzy showcased on the beat, the dopeness of the lyrics, the mouth organ in between, and the "two fingers in the air" Why Me/Yahooze dance. 


na only leg work una sabi these days. no hand job (cleanse your mind with hypo if you're thinking XXX).


9. Gongo Aso by 9ice 

Before 9ice, no other artists used the Yoruba language as powerfully as he does with a blend of proverbial lyrics. 

 

"Gongo Aso / kutupu awu / anywhere I dey now..."


With the release of Gongo Aso in 2008, 9ice paved the way for other Yoruba artists to get onto the scene with their creative style. With the song gaining popularity, 9ice was asked to perform at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute concert in London, the United Kingdom in June 2008.


This song earned him the award of the Best Hip Hop Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards. He also won Artiste of the Year and Song of the Year in the 2009 edition of the Hip Hop World Awards (now Headies Awards).


10.  Pon Pon Pon by DaGrin

"ọmọ Naija ni mi, Naija lo bi mi sí / Naija ni mo ti bẹrẹ sí ní ká ABC"  was the Nigerian anthem in 2009/10. 


With Pon Pon Pon, DaGrin revolutionized the rap game in Nigeria and opened the way for hardcore Yoruba rappers to burst into the scene, especially after his demise. 


This track is incontrovertibly the most influential Yoruba hardcore rap song. To date, its influence cannot be ruled out as many upcoming artists still use this as a benchmark for their rap game. 


Gen Z, we're sorry we're not sorry for putting you in the back seat today. We'll get to you in the next episode. For now, selah!



My Forever Sweet Valentine: 11 Songs You Should Add to Your Valentine's Playlist.


Hello, lovebirds— and my fellow singles—gather 'round! Valentine's Day is upon us and the air is thick with mushy love & heat— courtesy, activities from the other room. So, we thought what better way to add to the romance than a playlist?


Whether you're coupled up like jollof rice and fried plantain, or solo like Agege bread waiting for its perfect akara partner (or jam, or beans or butter), this playlist is for you. 


  1. Vision - Qing Madi

Do you know how love works? Oh, not you single potato. I'm talking to those in matching Pjays.


Before love's arrival, you swear with the solemn conviction of a court witness that you know exactly how love works. You promise yourself it's never going to be on your priority list.  


“…even now, i no won loose guard / no won follow you go, forget my path” 


You swear you are impervious to their fever. Yet, when love arrives, you get sick— love-stricken, you can't even account for how you got here.  You are right there in the middle of the tempest of love. Qing Madi can relate, too.


…but when you come you / got my vision in a blur / be like I forget wetin me i come do / got me feeling lost…


This is the perfect song to confess to your lover that they swept you off your feet— even when you had your shoelaces perfectly knotted.

  1. Aduke - Tjan

Standing here, hand in hand, forever feels like forever and a day. Your love is waxing stronger. You don’t want it to stop. This is the track for you.


“...standing here in this place / wondering how long forever will last”
  1. Look what you made me do - Adekunle Gold & Simi

Did you also make a vow they'd never catch you falling but now, you've fallen on your face?


The vows we make when love's a distant dream, right? Swear it off, call it overrated. Pretend you're immune to Cupid's darts. Then there they are, those butterflies you swore were extinct, fluttering around like a confetti storm.


And suddenly, "falling on your face" doesn't sound so bad, especially when it's for someone who makes you laugh 'til your sides ache. You couldn’t rewrite the stars, although you tried. 


For the single folks still running from Cupid, keep up the pace. You'll do “wow” and “awwwn” again next year, with your untaken heart aching. 

  1. Emiliana - Ckay

Long distance relationship? Worry not. Ckay’s got something for you, lovebirds. This is your secret weapon.


kiss me through the cellular / kiss me through the phone


Absence might make the heart grow fonder, but with Ckay's soundtrack, it won't feel so absent after all.


Single Pringles can’t relate ‘cause your phones are permanently on Do Not Disturb—like there’s even anyone to disturb you.

  1. Number One - Ric Hassani

…I'd never leave you / I'd always love you / you're my number one / forever love…”


Words of affirmation much? Tell that to the heart skipping a beat every time you tell them "I love you."


We all crave that validation, that feeling of being chosen, of being someone's "number one." 


Don't be bitter, "single potato," maybe someday you'll understand the melody behind those sweet nothings. For now, if you're looking for a diss track for your ex who ghosted you like NEPA— you can look into Thunder Fire You. Tag them on social media. 



  1. Tempted to Steal - Kizz Daniel 

Their love language involves gifts, but this dispensation is stifling your pockets? You can renew their hope in love again. 


“was i ready to be jailed for life / omo everyday I dey think of you / how I wan take please you


Tell them the lengths you're willing to go— what is prison that you can't go to for them?


This is also suitable for jilted singles *wails in unrequited love. Use this moment to reminisce, and remind yourself that they don't deserve you— You can check out Time Heals by DOTTi the Deity. He got you. 

  1. In Love - Ajebo Hustlers, Fave

“I thought I was shy but /since I fell in love I dey talk die now / E be you wey I fit die for.”


Fill them with words of affirmation! Tell them how this love got you feeling fragile like a porcelain doll— cutely vulnerable. Willing to go to heaven (hell isn’t an option in this heat) and back for them.

  1. Nwa Baby - Davido

“you don' thief my heart / what if i die?”


Need to tell them how much they drive you crazy— leave you needy like you're on life support? This is the song that.

“you’re the lyrics to my tune”. 
  1. Energy - Fireboy 

You are one of the most articulate people you know, but their presence leaves you tongue-tied? That’s how love works, my friend.

 

“i get shy when i look at you” / “you’re my heaven, you're my home”


Home is where the heart is. And with them, it feels like paradise. Yeah, we know. Here's the song to tell them that. 

  1. Susu Song - Banky W

“…girl I need you, I be needing you like air…”


Whether you're planning a candlelit dinner, a Netflix and chill sesh, or a solo dance party in your PJs, this is a song that you shouldn't miss. Hit play and let the love (or the sass) flow.


Slow Dance under the moonlight. Sway in each other's arms like Oshodi buses dodging potholes. 


“...will we still be in love in heaven?”


And for our single fam rocking singlehood like a personalized Asoebi, you can listen to this track and remind yourself of self-love. Or think of what could be. *sobs in lacute oneliness. 


  1. Forever Sweet - Dotti, the Deity

This playlist should be titled Forever Sweet, Valentine. If your partner is Yoruba, they'll especially appreciate this. It's sweet. It makes the heart flutter.  And makes the body shudder.

 

Did you also notice that the first letters of all the songs 1-10 put together spell Valentine's?


Did you enjoy this playlist? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. 





Expanding the Frontiers: Usher and Pheelz Drop Afrobeats-Infused Anthem, "Ruin


Usher, the legendary R&B icon, and Pheelz, the Nigerian producer and singer-songwriter, have joined forces to create an unusual musical earthquake with their new single, "Ruin." This track is more than just a collaboration; it's a cultural collision, seamlessly blending Afrobeats rhythms with Usher's signature smooth vocals, resulting in an infectious anthem that's destined to dominate charts and playlists worldwide.

"Ruin" isn't your typical love song. It delves deeper, exploring the complex emotions of a love gone wrong. The lyrics, penned by Pheelz himself, paint a picture of heartbreak and betrayal, questioning the lingering memories and the lasting impact a toxic relationship can have. Yet, there's an underlying strength and resilience woven into the narrative, a message of moving forward and refusing to let the past "ruin" you.

The Afrobeats’ influence is undeniable, pulsating through the track's rhythmic foundation. Pheelz's production masterfully blends traditional percussion with contemporary beats, creating a dynamic soundscape that's both familiar and fresh.Usher, as always, delivers his vocals with effortless precision, adding a soulful layer that elevates the entire experience."Ruin" has already garnered massive buzz, amassing millions of streams and sparking conversations across social media.The accompanying music video, directed by the acclaimed Dave Meyers, takes viewers on a visually stunning journey that visually interprets the song's emotional weight. With its infectious melody, poignant lyrics, and captivating visuals,"Ruin" is a recipe for success, poised to become a global phenomenon.

The strength of "Ruin" lies in its innovative fusion of genres. It doesn't feel forced or gimmicky; instead, it seamlessly blends Afrobeats and R&B, creating a sound that's both distinctive and accessible. However, some might find the lyrical themes a bit somber compared to Usher's usual repertoire. While "Ruin" is a masterpiece in its own right, it opens doors for further exploration. One can imagine an entire album built around this fusion, delving deeper into the sonic possibilities of Afrobeat and R&B collaborations.

"Ruin" is more than just a usual collaboration; it's another testament to the growth of  innovation in music, especially now that the afrobeats genre and West African artists are being acknowledged for their uniqueness.  This is a gem that will resonate with listeners across the globe. 



Africans Shine Bright at the 66th Grammys: Tyla Wins, Burna Boy Electrifies, and Trevor Noah Makes History


This year's Grammy's ceremony marked a significant moment for African talent on the global stage, and the excitement is palpable!


The 66th Grammy's was a night of triumph for African music, with South African singer Tyla taking home the award for Best African Music Performance, Burna Boy delivering a showstopping performance, and Trevor Noah captivating the audience as host for a record-breaking fourth year. Blaqbonez shining on the red carpet also is one for the books— Emeka always shines.



Tyla Makes History with Groundbreaking Win

Johannesburg-born music sensation Tyla etched her name in history by winning the inaugural Best African Music Performance award for her global hit "Water", edging out Nigeria's Burna Boy, Davido, Ayra Starr and Asake.


This victory, while met with mixed reactions online, is undoubtedly a significant achievement for the young artist. "Water" took the world by storm, topping charts and amassing streams on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. 


Her win is a testament to the power of her music and its ability to resonate with audiences worldwide. Interestingly, it is her first ever award— and at the age of 22!

Burna Boy Lights Up the Stage with Energetic Performance