by Tosin Adeda
This article is about 10 outstanding Nigerian albums that will never be forgotten in a long time, maybe even forever. Albums were released from the year 2000- 2010 and made massive impact in the Nigerian music world.
Kindly note that this is a personal selection, so if you do not find one of your favourites, it isn’t just that they were not good enough. Can’t have more than 10 after all.
FACE 2 FACE – 2FACE IDIBIA
In 2004 after a successful musical journey with the group Plantashun Boiz, 2face Idibia decided to embark on a solo career journey. Plantashun Boyz released two successful albums: Body and Soul (2000) and Sold Out (2003) under Nelson Brown’s record Label, Dove Records.
On the 15th of May, 2004, Mr Idibia dropped his first solo album titled Face 2Face under the Kennis music imprint. The album had back to back hits like Nfana Ibaga, U no holy pass, Ole, Right Here, Thank You Lord and the biggest of them all, African Queen.
African Queen is one of the most important songs ever to come out of Nigeria and was added to the sound track for the Hollywood movie Phat Girlz. The video for African Queen was also the first one to be played on the newly launched MTV Base Africa. African Queen won the World Music Award, BET Award and MTV Europe Music Award.
2face has since released five more albums, to cement his place as one of the greats of Nigerian and African music.
GONGO ASO – 9ICE
Born Abolore Alexander Akande, 9ice rose to fame on the wings of Gongo Aso, the title track of his sophomore album, also one of the biggest albums to come out of Nigeria.
After dropping his first album Certificate in 2007, 9ice went back to the drawing board alongside an inspired ID Cabasa to craft a classic stunner.
The album Gongo Aso was released in 2008 with songs like Kinda life, Bachelors life, Wedding day, Street credibility, Photocopy and the biggest of them all Gongo Aso. 9ice is known for his lyricism, laced in his native Yoruba dialect, garnished with proverbs which he learned from his mother-in-law.
Despite the language barrier, Gongo Aso was huge all over the world. On 17, June 2008, 9ice performed at the birthday celebration of late South African freedom fighter and president Nelson Mandela. Gongo Aso won series of Nigerian awards and International awards, including a MOBO award and MTV Base award, both in 2008.
GAME OVER – PSquare
The duo of Peter and Paul Okoye are one of the biggest musical exports from Nigeria. The Okoye twins first hit the airwaves with the song Senorita off the first album Last nite. The next two albums were the biggest of their career; Get squared released in 2005, and Game Over in 2007.
For the purpose of this article, I have selected Game over. The record is their best body of work till date and showed P-Square in their near perfect R&B form. With tracks like No one like you, Miss you die, More than a friend and Am I still that special man, P-Square can stake a claim to having one of the best R&B albums to surface from this part of the world.
The tracks Do Me and Roll It are the biggest songs off the album.
CURRICULUM VITAE – MO’HITS
Mo’Hits records comprising Don Jazzy, D’banj, Wande Coal, D’Prince and Kayswitch, gave Nigerians one of the genuine classics in 2007.
Curriculum Vitae was an album for everyone who loved Nigerian music. From the monstrous Don Jazzy beats, to D’banj’s entertaining lyrics laced with sexual innuendos, to Wande Coal’s golden vocals, the album comes close to achieving masterpiece status.
THE ENTERTAINER – D’BANJ
Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj is one of the legends of Nigerian new school music. He is also the best selling African artiste according to the World Music Awards 2014.
D’banj made a quick impression with his No long thing debut album that dropped in 2005 and followed up with Funk you up in 2006. These two registered the young man as a house hold name in Nigerian music.
His third album The Entertainer was released September 11, 2008 under the Mo’Hits records imprint. The disc was an instant success and became the best-selling D’banj album in Africa. Songs like Mogbono feli feli, Suddenly and Igwe were perfect for the clubs.
On the title track, D’banj answers his critics who fault his style of music and at the end of the song he asks, Are you not entertained? Pay me my money. D’banj went on to win the artiste of the year at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2009, Best International Act Africa at the 2011 BET Awards.
OLUFUNMI – STYL PLUS
When the trio of Zeal, Tunde and Shifi dropped the Olufunmi EP in 2003, it was a miracle. It was something new, it was greatness, and it was a breath of fresh air. They quickly became the hottest acts in Nigerian R&B and quickly earned the title, Africa’s “Boys 2 Men”.
These young mavericks with their mega hits like Olufunmi, Run away and Call my name changed the face of Nigerian Music. Their golden combination of classy western-style lyrics with catchy soundtracks and superb vocals proved irresistible.
TALK ABOUT IT – M.I
M.I Abaga rose to prominence after his record Crowd mentality made waves in 2006, way back in Jos. His rap style was somewhat refreshing to the Nigerian rap scene with his sound drawing comparisons to Lil Wayne, Jay Z and Kanye West.
M.I’s rap style of mixing English with basic street slangs made him more acceptable to the Nigerian audience. His debut album Talk about It dropped on 11, December 2008 and its success made M.I one of the greatest Nigerian rappers ever to emerge from Nigeria. M.I’s Talk about it had songs for everyone; the ladies, the intellectuals and the streets.
Talk about It won several awards like the best rap single 2008, best rap album 2009, Hip Hop World revelation, all three awards at the Nigerian Hip Hop world awards. He also got two awards at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2009 where he won the best new act and Best hip hop.
C.E.O – DAGRIN
Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun also known as DaGrin, God rest his soul, gave Nigeria one of the best rap albums ever. It was also the first rap album in an indigenous language (Yoruba) to achieve such success. Yoruba rap wasn’t new at the time but it wasn’t as popular, accepted or respected.
When DaGrin teamed up with veteran Hip Hop producer, Sossick in 2009 to produce the monster hit record Pon Pon Pon, it was merely a sign of things to come. The ghetto feel, the street slangs, the rawness of the lyrics, the language, the lyrics, the flow, it was evident that DaGrin had finally stamped his feet on the Nigerian rap scene and was just beginning.
C.E.O which stands for “Chief Executive Omoita” is actually DaGrin’s sophomore album. It dropped on the 26, January 2010, under Missofunyin entertainment and as expected was an instant hit. The album became bigger after the death of the rap icon.
DaGrin’s C.E.O album reshaped the Hip Hop scene in Nigeria as he paved the way for several other Yoruba rappers who have also gone ahead to be successful.
DaGrin won the Artiste of the year and won best rap album, at the Hip Hop World Awards in 2010.
MUSHIN 2 MO’HITS – WANDE COAL
Wande Coal, whose real names are Oluwatosin Wande Ojosipe signed to Don Jazzy’s Mo’Hits records in 2006. After featuring on D’banj’s singles Run down and Funk you up, where his vocal prowess added flavour to the material, he went on to be one of the best things to happen to the Mo’Hits compilation album Curriculum Vitae.
Ololufe was released off the CV album in 2007 and also doubled as his first official single. This turned out to be only a glimpse of the greatness to expect on his debut album. Ololufe is regarded as one of the best love songs to come out of Nigeria.
When his debut album Mushin 2 Mo’hits hit stalls in 2009, the eventual success wasn’t a surprise. The album is one of the best R&B/Pop albums out of Nigeria. It’s not surprising the album won him accolades both within and outside Nigeria. The awards include: Artiste of the year (Ghana music awards in 2010), best pop/R&B single (Hip Hop World Awards 2010), Hip Hop World Revelation (Hip Hop World Awards 2010), Artiste of the year (City People Awards 2010)
ASHA – ASA
Released on the 18th of February 2008 on iTunes, Asa’s debut album Asha instantly registered her as a force to be reckoned with. Asa’s whose music is more of soul than the regular afro pop popular in Nigerian music till date, found a way to give us soul music in a way we had never heard from a Nigerian.
The vocalist and guitarist who also has French roots touched on love, freedom, pain and other topics on her debut album. The release of the album saw Aṣa win the prestigious French Constantin Award in 2008, where she was voted best fresh talent of 10 singers or groups by a jury of 19 music-industry specialists in Paris.
Asa soon became a household name in Nigeria and despite her genre of music and was able to cut across different classes of the audiences.