Visuals interpret a song, bringing it to life in ways that the audio experience alone cannot quite manage. We present to you 10 of the most striking we saw this year. From bottom to top.
- Aza- Davido Music Worldwide ft. Davido, Duncan Mighty, Peruzzi
The video for this surprise collaboration between Davido, Duncan Mighty and Peruzzi has Port Harcourt as the star. And not just the city, but the people and the cultural highlights that gives the region its distinct character. Clarence Peters captures smiling faces, environmental destruction, underdevelopment, dancing women and a chieftaincy title celebration in relentless succession.
- Ire- Adekunle Gold
The scenes in Adekunle Gold’s Ire video are beautifully played out. Gorgeously rendered in reverse, and in keeping with the song’s self-reflecting mode, the video is suffused with a sense of drama not unrelated to Yoruba church singers where the song no doubt takes its inspiration from. The climactic church scene with the backing choir comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen Mr Gold perform live.
- Bá’núsọ- BrymO
On the second single from his sixth studio album, BrymO withdraws into his folksy, introspective corner- long-time fans are all too familiar with this BrymO- turning to his roots for inspiration while preaching the importance of privacy. Filmed by Victor Adewale, a regular BrymO collaborator, the video is a superb rendition of stark minimalism.
- Bia- Seyi Shay
The most expressive video of the year has to be Seyi Shay dancing her heart out in the video for Bia, a single from her Electric Package EP. The devil works hard but Seyi Shay works harder as she toils under the direction of Clarence Peters, working her body like the consummate performer that she is and making it look so effortless.
- Freaky- Santi ft Bridge, Nonso Amadi
On Freaky, Santi employs the use of digital intermediate color-grading to create a scary world that is heavily inspired by American horror films. Religious imagery, all black costumes, strangely moving bodies, lit candles, and strategically positioned mirrors help set up a haunting, fearful mood that helps interpret the song’s dark undertones.
- All My Life- Major Lazer Ft. Burna Boy
For Major Lazer’s All My Life video- with contributing vocals from Burna Boy- director Adriaan Louw captures the energy of Lagos in through colors, neon lights, vigorous dancing and the violent beauty of the underground dambe scene. The song is about aspirations and succeeding despite hurdles and Louw observes this aching hunger in the arcs of his always in motion young actors.
- Games- Lady Donli
Games takes elements from electronic dance, 80’s disco and American bounce music. Lady Donli, a recipient of the Mr Eazi emPawa Africa initiative hired a predominantly female crew to realize her vision. The result? A fun, trippy ride that starts out using gray, sullen colors but blossoms into a vibrant pastel complete with funny, dancing emojis.
- Ewu- Tobe Nwigwe
The subtle genius of Ewu is credited to Tobe Nwigwe mostly because he does most of the writing and rapping but the single, as with every other Tobe Nwigwe music project, Ewu is the product of a solid creative partnership between Nwigwe, his wife, Fat, and producer LaNell Grant. Traditional costumes, a middle finger flipping masquerade and some smart choreography make this one a standout.
- Contagious- WurlD
In a move that may have been borrowed from Inception, reality lines are blurred when WurlD awakens to experience what seems like an otherworld. Through his view, WurlD is caught up in the trance of the mesmerizing rhythm of his song and the seductive allure of the exotic dancers. Elements of contemporary African art and modern pop culture are highlighted in this juxtaposition of African sounds with modern design.
- Available- Patoranking
Patoranking’s Available doesn’t say much but it doesn’t need to. The harvesting of South Africa’s gqom and gwara gwara to Nigerian afrobeats has been done many times since Available but never this realized. For the video, Clarence Peters employed bold, bright colors with strong chromatic content, snazzy editing and energetic dance moves. What’s not to love?
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.