2021 was a year of recovery.
Sometimes it seemed like music was all we had to get us through the most trying times of the year. Thanks to stats made available by YouTube, these were the biggest and most popular videos of the year. Beyond viewership which obviously was the biggest criterion, YouTube considered other factors like engagement, shares and likes.
10. Understand- Omah Lay
New kid on the block Omah Lay continues his dominance of the pop charts with Understand, his plaintive ditty of love lost. Topshotta directed the video which has some striking moments and has amassed a respectable audience of 26 million views.
9. Jehovah Overdo- Chidinma
This year former pop chanteuse Chidinma announced her 360 degrees transition to full time gospel ministering. This radical transformation hasn’t appeared to have hurt her career so far as the video to her first gospel single Jehovah Overdo directed by Avalon Okpe has quietly amassed 17 million views since its May premiere.
8. Hallelujah Challenge Praise Medley- Nathaniel Bassey
In a difficult and exhausting year, gospel minister, singer and saxophonist, Nathaniel Bassey helped us get our church on with Hallelujah Again, his new album of praise and worship standards. The Hallelujah Challenge Praise Medley was a firm favorite with over 15 million viewers tuning in.
7. Bounce- Ruger
The eye-patch wearing Ruger was a major sensation thanks to the sweaty rhythm of Bounce, a no holds barred declaration of the act of copulation. Sex never sounded sexier than on Ruger’s Bounce. The video directed by Ahmed Mosh announced the arrival of a star. 20 million viewers agreed.
6. La La- Davido feat. Ckay
The Dalia Dias directed video for Davido’s La La, a duet with Ckay gathers more stars- JJ Okocha, Laycon, Oxlade- than it knows what to do with. But that did not stop 8.7 million people from checking it out. The story is a football match between Davido’s DMW gang and a Ckay fronted all-star team of opponents.
5. The Best- Davido feat. Mayorkun
Over 9.2 million viewers rocked with The Best, a highlight of Davido’s A Better Time album. Directed by Dammy Twitch, the music video pays homage to childhood favorite flick, The Karate Kid. Davido plays the role of the master and Mayorkun is the student, with both working to becoming their best selves.
4. Ginger- Wizkid feat. Burna Boy
A collaboration with two of the biggest names in Nigerian pop music was always going to be a splash. The expressionist video for Ginger directed by Meji Alabi quickly amassed 28 million eyeballs. Wizkid and Burna Boy are performing in a sparse warehouse, assisted by an impressive team of back up dancers.
3. Essence- Wizkid feat. Tems
It made sense that the video for Essence, the biggest Nigerian song of the afrobeats era- maybe even ever- would also be a gigantic hit on YouTube clocking in at about 54 million views. Wizkid and Tems make for quite the seductive pair, giving off enough chemistry to light up Lagos for a month.
2. For You- Teni feat. Davido
The biggest hit of Teni’s Wondaland album is this Davido assisted duet in which the two singers trade earnest declarations of love. The Dammy Twitch directed video is fresh with a playful Bonnie and Clyde narrative. The sheer star power of Davido and Teni must have been enough to attract 16 million eyeballs.
- Running to You- Chiké feat. Simi
Simi brings new life to this favorite off Chike’s Boo of the Booless album. The video directed by Pink is not much to look at and has that modest Nollywood vibe with its tragic Romeo and Juliet love story at the center. But 33 million viewers are loving it.
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.