The Nigerian music industry has witnessed a very remarkable calendar year. Great songs were recorded, new dance steps and artistes emerged, and Nigerian artistes got a lot more international recognition as they headlined sold-out concerts all over Europe and with several of them going on very successful tours. In the midst of all these, the centre that holds everything together is the quality of music they produce, it’s acceptance on the street and the number of awards and nominations these songs gathered in the calendar year. Truth be told, several hit songs dropped this year, and some of them were simply outstanding based on the following reasons. The following songs, in no particular order, became street anthems in a very short while, these songs rocked the clubs and these artistes headlined all the major concerts in the country and beyond because of the hits. In total, these artistes have over 150 awards and nominations between them for these songs. We call them the life of 2014…the reasons why we always looked forward to hanging out and rocking in the clubs every weekend all through the year. Here are the top 10 songs of 2014 (in no particular order)…
‘Aye’ by Davido This song was released on February 1, 2014 as an innocent love song to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t originally intended to be a club banger, but in just a couple of days after it dropped, the gospel of the ‘Aye’ song spread like wild fire. When the video, shot and directed by Clarence Peters was released, on February 7, those who didn’t believe in the song at first were immediately converted. And today, Davido has won several awards with the song, which puts it firmly on this list.
‘Girlie O’ by Patoranking On February 4, 2014, dance-hall act, Patoranking released ‘Girlie O’ as a follow up song to his break out single, ‘Alubarika’. Like Davido’s ‘Aye’, ‘Girlie O’ was also a love song for the Valentine season and in a very short while, the song became a hit so much so that multiple awards winning pop diva, Tiwa Savage expressed her desire to be part of the remix. And on May 19, 2014, her wish was granted when the now even bigger ‘Girlie O’ remix dropped.
‘Alobam’ by Phyno Alobam is one of the songs off Phyno’s debut album, No guts No glory released in March 2014. In spite of the language barrier for most who are not from the Southeast part of the country, Phyno delivered a sweet blend of rap melodies on the song and it’s no doubt one of the biggest songs of 2014. ‘Alobam’ is now one of the street words commonly used and its T-shirt merchandise helped the song’s growth.
‘Story for the gods’ by Olamide YBNL boss, Olamide released ‘Story for the gods’ as a random single on June 20, 2014 and few days after the song dropped, it became an instant hit. According to reports, just a few weeks after the single dropped, he started getting calls from Alaba marketers to make an album. This gave birth to his fourth studio album titled Street OT on November 14, 2014.
‘Shake body’ by Skales Skales began his career as an independent artiste with the release of ‘Shake Body’ on May 6, 2014. He had just parted ways with E.M.E Records and not much was expected from him. He, however, proved critics wrong and went far beyond the expectations of even those who believed in him all along with this song. Shake body turned out to be a huge hit and dance floor favourite.
‘Show You The Money’ by Wizkid Starboy boss, Wizkid released ‘Show you the money’ to celebrate his 24th birthday on July 16, 2014. The song dropped with a Patrick Ellis-directed video and the rest is history. ‘Show you the money’ is no doubt one of the biggest songs of 2014. The song has also has a remix with American rapper, Tyga.
‘Baby Hello’ by Wande Coal Black Diamond boss, Wande Coal comes through with this lovely tune, ‘Baby Hello’ produced by Maleek Berry. The song was released on April 5, 2014 and its melodious tune, chorus and Wande Coal’s smooth delivery made it an instant hit. This song is unarguably one of the most intelligent commercial songs of this decade. A classy video for the song directed by Sesan Ogunro was followed on August 19, 2014.
‘Dorobucci’ by Don Jazzy-led Mavin Crew The song, ‘Dorobucci’ dropped on May 1, 2014 at a period when over 200 girls had just been kidnapped from Chibok. Pundits lashed out at Don Jazzy for being insensitive and dropping a song at such a time, little did we know that ‘Dorobucci’ would be a consolation of sorts to make Nigerians happy in the moment of tribulation. The song grew in leaps and bounds despite all the criticism aimed at it. So big was the song and its influence that virtually every hip-savvy person added ‘Doro’ as a prefix to their names and everything they did at the time and after. ‘Dorobuicci’ further cemented the music production prowess of Don Jazzy as he effortlessly blended 7 different artistes on a song that has no chorus really.
‘Gallardo’ by Runtown ft Davido Produced by T-Spice, the same producer responsible for Davido’s ‘Aye,’ ‘Gallardo’ is widely regarded as one of the songs that set the pace of what to expect in the year 2014. The song was released on January 29, 2014 and it became an instant street anthem and club banger, officially catapulting Runtown to limelight and his career has clearly benefitted so much from the effort.
‘Shoki’ by Lil Kesh, Orezi and Dre San: If there’s a song that has crossed borders this year, then it has to be ‘Shoki’. This song comes with a dance step and it’s arguably the biggest dance step in Africa as a whole at the moment. Lil Kesh and Orezi dropped their versions of the song on March 27, 2014 while Dre San’s version was released a little earlier. The rest they say is history. It’s difficult to say which version of ‘Shoki’ is the best though but this list won’t be complete in any way without mentioning ‘Shoki’ either as a song or in reference to the dance form.
Just in case you’re wondering why some of the favourite songs you rocked in 2014 didn’t make this list, well, they were probably not released in the year 2014. Songs like ‘Johnny’, ‘Surulere’, ‘Double Wahala’, ‘Caro’, ‘Emergency’ and others are all songs of 2013 but which grew on everyone in 2014. ‘Double Wahala’ by Oritsefemi, was released on September 12, 2013, ‘Pull Over’ by Kcee and Wizkid was released on October 30, 2013, ‘Surulere’ by Dr Sid and Don Jazzy dropped on November 12, 2014, Ruggedman’s ‘8 Figures’ was released on October 10, 2013, Wizkid’s ‘Caro’ was released on August 20, 2013 while Yemi Alade’s ‘Johnny’ was released on October 21, 2013….