2016 Headies:The ouuhs, aaahs and naahs

Next Rated

  • Tekno
  • Ycee
  • Mr Eazi (Winner)
  • Humblesmith
  • Aramide

Tekno criticized his choice as a nominee for this award and this necessitated a public clarification by the organizers. In response to the statement that he was a vet, the Headies told us it didn’t matter how long you had been in the game as long as you hadn’t released an album yet.He boycotted all pre-award activities required of nominees and this earned him a ban just days to the event.

Tekno was the clear favourite and his omission made it tighter. This category had been the most controversial over the years and this edition wasn’t bereft of it.

Mr Eazi is a great artiste with a unique sound but i’m baffled to no end as to how he beat Ycee to it.Its simply impossible to justify that.

Ycee made a monster hit in Jagaban and followed it up with Omo Alhaji which was stellar stuff as well.He made more hits, had more collabos and notched up endorsements (doubt if Eazi even has one). He was the favourite rapper’s favourite rapper to use that all too familiar cliché when Baddo named him his number one rapper.

A lot of people rate Humblesmith higher than they do Mr Eazi and you wouldn’t blame them for that. Mr Eazi is a breath of fresh no doubt-distinctive style that blew everyone but more than a year in (at least officially), Bankulize still remains the closest thing he has to a hit. Humblesmith’s original and remix versions of Osinachi were all hits. That is just by the way anyways.

Mr Eazi over Ycee?. Naaah.

Best Vocal Performance (Male)

  • Something Good Is Happening-Brymo
  • Smile-Shaydee (Winner)
  • Pray For Me-Darey Feat Soweto Choir Group
  • Gentleman-Ric Hassani
  • Super Woman-Wande Coal

Shaydee was the best choice. He put those chords to phenomenal use on Smile and I’m really glad he won and I really feel sorry for Wande Coal though. He did put in some great work on Super Woman.

Best Vocal Performance (Female)

  • Love Don’t Care-Simi (Winner)
  • Play Na Play-Omawunmi Feat Angelique Kidjo
  • Right Now-Sheyi Shay
  • Love Me-Aramide Feat Adekunle Gold

The organizers got it right in this category as well (vocal performance is non-voting).In as much as I think Sheyi Shay’s Right Now is the best song listed,I most certainly agree that Simi displayed the best vocal prowess on her Love Don’t Care.

Best Street Hop Artiste

  • Who U Epp-Olamide (Winner)
  • Bad Gang-Ajebutter Feat Falz
  • Jagaban-Ycee
  • Gbera-Small Doctor
  • Ko Le Werk-Koker
  • Customer Dada Ni-2t Boys Feat Seriki And Small Doctor

This was always going to go one way- Baddo’s. He blew up the slang and had everyone using it after he dropped the song. If we had a Nigerian dictionary, I’m sure Who U Epp would have been the last word added to it and maybe the first to be added in the last 10 years.

That having been said, I don’t think the quality of the song measures up to that of Ko Le Werk or Customer Dada Ni in the street hop context. Great slangs but they were also great songs. The fact that every rapper wanted to jump on Who U Epp after Baddo’s crew and close associates did helped blow a decent effort out of proportion.

Olamide was never one to worry about strategy and the sorts. It was just music and more music all year long. The one time he got ‘strategic’, it paid off handsomely. After his gang did their versions, everyone did same. It was the most remixed song of the year no doubt.

If it were up to me, I would hand this award to 2T Boys. Customer Dada Ni had the craziest concept I heard in a really long while and it’s the most creative song on the list. Koker did his thing in grand style on Ko Le Werk. I feel sorry for Ycee like I did for Kiss Daniel last year. Hard to think Jagaban didn’t get at least a plaque for all its quality.

Best Alternative Song

  • Gentleman-Ric Hassani
  • Something Good Is Happening-Brymo
  • Wait For Me-Johnny Drille
  • Pick Up-Adekunle Gold
  • You Suppose Know-Bez (Winner)

A lot of observers and critics usually get lost in their own little world before every award show. Everyone shuts out how much buzz the songs generated, the calibre of artistes that made them and just focuses on how good the songs truly are. In my little world, it was a walk over for Johnny Drille’s Wait For Me. Song is just so out of here…sumn like an Audemar telling Mars time. He should be bronzed for it. Wait For Me in a few words is-International quality.

I would place Adekunle Gold’s Pick Up second and the instrumental to Brymo’s Something Good Is Happening was top notch but then he opens by telling you ‘everyone is hustling and trying to be boss but if you listen hard you will hear the sounds of victory’. Highly contradictory. You hear those sounds when you are boss or at least aren’t just ‘trying’ to become one. After all said and done, I don’t I would ever hand this to Bez.

Best Rap Album

  • Eyan Mayweather-Olamide
  • Powerful-Illbliss (Winner)
  • Stories That Touch-Falz
  • Yagi-Lil Kesh

One of the non-voting categories where the organizers shocked you again by getting it right. Though it was obvious Illbliss made the best rap album of the pack,there was no ruling out a gift to Falz who was co-host and current rave of the moment. Illygaty tha Oga Boss aka Abrahamovich put together a splendid album in Powerful and I’m really glad he is getting the respect he deserves. Illbliss is quite frankly one of the very few cats the rap game owes some dues.

Lyricist On The Roll

  • Chukwu Agozi Gogi-Illbliss (Winner)
  • Asalamalekum-Reminisce
  • Jagaban-Ycee
  • Show You Something-Boogey
  • Agu Ji Ndi Men-Aq
  • No Matter What-Modenine

Here, we allowed the Headies choose and they failed us. The only good thing about Lyricist on the roll in 2016 was that Mode9 didn’t win it like a lot of us expected and since some other yardstick besides friendship was used (presumably quality) then it’s worth a good look. Illbliss’s Chukwu Agozi Gogi lyrically had nothing on all the other songs on the list. Pound for Pound, it is the whipping boy. AQ’s delivery isn’t always top notch but Agu Ji Ndi Men was one of those times he got it right; communicated really well. Reminisce is second only to my winner- Show You Something By Boogey. He flew us first class back to the ’90s with not a single element missing. He held you spell-bound and pulled you into the story he was telling. Real timeless  stuff.

To Mode9 and all the other purists out there-Hip Hop ain’t dead…*scratches*, this is how it should be done!!.

Hip Hop World Revelation

  • Ghetto University-Runtown
  • Yagi-Lil Kesh
  • Sheyi Or Shay-Sheyi Shay
  • New Era-Kiss Daniel (Winner)

There is no way in the world New Era is a better album than Sheyi Shay and if anyone tells me people voted it ,I will instantly demand proof because Lil Kesh is the most loved and popular of the nominees. He would clinch it on that basis while those who listened to all the albums would pick Miss Shay.

Album Of The Year

  • Stories That Touch-Falz
  • New Era-Kiss Daniel (Winner)
  • Wanted-Wande Coal
  • Sheyi Or Shay-Sheyi Shay

There are all good albums and somewhere deep within me, I think Falz would have gotten this if votes truly counted for the simple reason that he is the current industry darling. No one who has listened to all these albums would give this to Kiss.

New Era had a wider gulf between the good songs and the not-too-good-ones and what’s more? We already heard its two best songs about a year before it was released.

Artiste Of The Year

  • Olamide
  • Yemi Alade
  • Falz
  • Wizkid (Wizkid)
  • Tiwa Savage

It was 60-40 Falz even with Wiz’s Shabba featuring Chris Brown, Trey Songz and French Montana in the equation till you remember Wiz was on Drake’s One Dance and then a blow-past. Falz on Wiz’s rearview. Congrats Starboy, our most viable music export.

Song Of The Year

  • Final(Baba Nla)-Wizkid
  • Pick Up-Adekunle Gold
  • Osinachi-Humblesmith
  • Reggae Blues-Harrysong Feat Orezi, Iyanya, Olamide & Kcee
  • Fada Fada-Phyno (Winner)

Any one of Osinachi, Fada Fada, or Reggae Blues deserved to walk away with this and in the end Phyno’s Fada Fada was the lucky recipient. Fada Fada cemented Phyno’s status as unarguably the most versatile Nigerian artiste of all time. He became pop and hiphop royalty at the same time.

Special Recognition Award


No disrespect to Flavour but I think he has a few more notches to clear. There are more deserving recipients than I can count-OJB Jezreel (post-humously), Dbanj,Clarence Peters,P-Square to mention a few.

They really need to put their house in order.

This Year’s Headies has had a lot of fans wondering if it is the beginning of the end. Its been sad to watch its credibility wane over the years and though no ‘official’ gossip has been leaked as to why   it was boycotted by almost all the stars, it may just be because they are as aggrieved as the fans. No one can safely rule out a coming together for that purpose.

The biggest music industry in Africa deserves a much better spectacle to call its biggest award show.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano. He tweets @alaye26

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