Let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to the golden age of Nigerian music, where more than two artists contended for dominance on the charts, and when lyrics and edifying content were valued over sound and club appeal, the 2000’s.
This list was compiled, taking into consideration, factors like, airplay, chart dominance, street cred, lyrics and critical acclamation. Also we would not be considering songs without music videos, as music video charts are relevant to airplay on TV.
We understand that music is subjective to personal taste, and we apologise in advance if your favourite song did not make the cut, but there is no denying the fact that some songs are simply more creative, significant and more eloquent than most. So without further ado, here’s a list of our top 16 songs of the 2000’s. Please note, we would only be including songs from the year y2k to 2009. But before we proceed, here are a few songs that could have easily made the list but didn’t.
Edris Abdulkarim-Mr. Lecturer. P-Square-Do me. Resonance-Chinwike. Paul Play- Angel of my life. 2face- 4instance. Mc Weird- Ijoya. 9ice- Photocopy. Dbanj-Why me. Asa- Jailer. Psquare- Bizzy Body. 2Face- If love is a crime. Faze- Kolomentality. Wande coal- Bumper to Bumper. Sasha- Adara. Mohits- Pere. Bracket- Yori Yori. P-square- Ifunaya. 9ice-Street credibility.
Sound Sultan- Mathematics. (2000)
Welcome to Jagbajantis. Serving as a launching pad, this song introduced the world to the Naija Ninja, gaining him instant fame for his use of sarcasm and wit to deliver the serious message of a growing corruption in the country. This song gave a whole new meaning to the acronym B.O.D.M.A.S, and with a funny little video, sound sultan manages to ease tension with a little comic relief.
Olu maintain- Yahoozee. (2007)
Ever had a song stuck in your head simply because of the sheer amount of airplay the song was getting? This describes the hit song Yahoozee. Olu maintain uses this song to glorify the swindler’s lifestyle, portraying internet scam as a means to well ‘pop bottles.’ Not exactly the best message to pass across, but with the song’s catchy hook, and infectious beat, it’s no wonder, no one seemed to care.
Danfo Drivers – Danfo Driver. (2003)
In this song, the duo Mad Melon and Mountain Black, discuss the difficulties of being poor in a supposedly rich country. Using street slangs and ghetto sounds, they not only question GOD on their current predicament, they also plead with him to help them. The song was so infectious that it found its way from the slums of Ajegunle, to the most affluent of homes on the island, having every Nigerian bumping their head to it. Recently they were in the news for a little bit of intellectual property theft by Tekno.
M.I- Safe. (2008)
‘If there’s ever been a rap this fly, yo! It had to be done by another MI.’
Arguably M.I’s best rap delivery. Pyeri boy teams up with vocalist Bside boy to tell of his rise from grass to grace, in this crafty song. His rhyme sequence and delivery was nothing short of epic, coupled with Djinee’s vocals, which helped level the song, giving it a more chill appeal, sort of like the icing on the cake.
Djinee- Ego. (2006)
Speaking of Djinee, he too had a hit song during that period, which had many questioning their love lives. He opens the song, avowing that if he died, he would die happy knowing that he had known love. He later pleads that anyone who sees his ‘Ego’, (Ego referring to his lover) should help plead with her to stay. In the 2000’s this was the song you sang in class to woo that girl that has been giving you sleepless nights.
Dbanj- Fall in love. (2008)
You know it’s a great song when Genevieve Nnaji agrees to play the love interest. The same song had a reality show made, pitting several girls against each other all vying for a cameo in the video. Uncharacteristic of the artist, Dbanj delivers a love song that tells of how he is willing to put away his bad boy persona, to settle down with the love of his life. He hit the money on this one, showing fully well that he can be versatile.
Styl Plus- Imagine that. (2006)
‘Everybody move your body now, forget about the blue day.’
This line pretty much sums up the message embodied in this song. The trio known as Styl Plus dominated the Nigerian boy band scene in the 2000’s infusing styles used by the likes of Westlife into Nigerian sounds. Imagine That is yet another song that proved just how talented the trio are. Using sad undertones, and disheartening stories, they tell of the miserable love life they had endured, later, encouraging its listeners to enjoy themselves no matter how bad things seems.
- P-square- Senorita. (2003)
Long before the internet dramas and petty beefs that saw to the downfall of arguably the best musical duo the nation has ever seen, there existed P-square. For more than a decade, the twins Peter and Paul used great vocals, slick dance moves and magical sounds to hypnotise not just Nigerians but the entire continent for more than a decade, earning them the top spot in richest African musicians list. Their song Senorita proves why they were so highly coveted. Infusing a little latin flavour (a huge trend at the time), they vocalise just how much finding love had changed their lives.
African China- Mr. President. (2006)
The street anthem of Nigeria, African China, uses this song to call out corrupt politicians whose negligence is causing the common Nigerian untold hardship. African China uses a typical style ghetto sound and lyrics only the street understands, to put together this work of art.
Tony Tetuila- My car. (2001)
My car is another song we couldn’t help but love. Tony Tetuila was the prototype for the humor driven music that artists like Falz have come to master. Employing an infectious beat coupled with hilarious instances, expressed in its lyrics, Tony Tetuila sings about the many trouble that potentially awaits most Nigerian drivers.
Lagabaja- Konko below. (2000)
This was just one of those songs that made you proud to be Nigerian. Lagbaja was known primarily for his socially conscious music so for him to create a song that gave into Nigeria’s more baser instincts was an event in and of itself. And damn was he good at it.
D’banj- Tongolo. (2005)
“What is the koko?” A question no one cared to answer once the song really got into its groove. With an infectious beat produced by yours truly Don jazzy, D’banj sings another song that dominated the charts and airplay for months. Also this song introduced Nigerians to yet another powerful music Duo in D’banj and Don Jazzy, which later gave rise to the highly coveted Mo’hits.
Styl Plus- Olufunmi. (2003)
Olufunmi was and still remains that song. It was one of the first songs to truly merge our obsession with mushy love songs and our need for afrobeats. Plus the trio deliver a love song for the ages. This song expresses the emptiness that would be felt, if deserted by the love of your life.
Timaya- Dem mama. (2005)
Yet another street anthem and one with an even more powerful message, Timaya tells the story of the Bayelsa crisis at the time, touching on the military brutality and criminal killings in the state. He conveys this message in the way only Egberi papa knows how, using ghetto sounds and slang. The song has a dark undertone and lyrics that could make even the toughest mind melt, questioning if what he is talking about is truly real.
2face- African queen. (2004)
Truly one of the first Nigerian songs to get international recognition, outside delivering a social justice message, and arguably the most acclaimed song created by a Nigerian, African queen was a song far ahead of its time. 2face used this song to state clearly that he is solo now and ready to take over the Nigerian music scene. In this hit song, he glorifies the beauty of the African woman, making every single African woman feel proud of their black skin. The song would later gain the singer the position of most brilliant musician of this age.
9ice- Gongo Aso. (2008)
It has to be a hell of a song to top African queen on this list and this song was just that. Not necessarily being a better song than our number two pick, this song was picked number one because more Nigerians appeal to club banger than love songs.
You know you are a true Nigerian when you jumped out your seat following the sound of that opening quick beat progression. No Nigerian song had ever spent so much time atop multiple charts and playlist. Also this song gets its place above African queen because of its club appeal, get jiggy message, infectious sound, and the sheer amount of people that requested to have this song played. The singer 9ice really goes all out, encouraging its listeners to simply have a good time.
There you have it, our pick of best songs given to us in the 2000’s. Sorry if your favourite song did not make it on this list. Maybe next time. Till then, we hoped you enjoyed this trip to the past.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.