Nigerian music has evolved over the years, getting better as the years go by. The songs produced in the industry not only delight but also educate and empower listeners across the continent. Which are the top 10 Nigerian songs of all time?
Do you know any famous song that would get included in the top 10 Naija songs of all time? It is not strange to find some of the top Nigerian songs in the 20th century still streaming or playing on various platforms today. Likewise, there are many tunes in the current generation that people will remember for many years to come.
Top 10 Nigerian songs
Here is our selection of the best Nigerian songs from the 20th and 21st centuries.
10. Onyeka Onwenu ft King Sunny Ade – Wait For Me (1989)
Wait For Me features one of the most potent collaborations in Nigeria from the previous century. Onyeka Onwenu and Sunny Ade teamed up to release the song that made people think of family planning methods. It is one of the top Nigerian songs of all time.
9. Fela Kuti – Zombie (1976)
Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, was considered a hero by many in Africa. His music and outspokenness made him a true insurrectionist against the ruling government back then. His Zombie record even took shots at the military regime and mocked its soldiers.
He would later pay the price for his rebellious character after soldiers attacked his home area, Kalakuta, beating and killing people and destroying properties. The soldiers beat Fela close to death, while his mother died from injuries.
8. Korede Bello – Godwin (2015)
Nigerian singer Korede Bello released his famous tune, Godwin, on January 28, 2015, under Mavin Records. It amassed over one million views on YouTube after only five weeks of its release. The visuals were shot and directed in Lagos, Nigeria, by Adasa Cookey. The song also features backup vocals from Don Jazzy.
7. Onyeka Onwenu – One Love (1986)
Onyeka Onwenu has numerous achievements in her music career, including releasing one of the top Naija songs in the 20th century. The One Love track encourages people to forget about their differences and come together.
Onyeka also enjoyed a successful career as a journalist and actress. Some of her famous movies and TV shows include Muna (2019), Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)), The Tyrant (2005), and Not Your Wealth (1999).
6. Majek Fashek – Send Down the Rain (1989)
Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is one of the best-known reggae artists in Nigeria. His song, Send Down The Rain, was a hit and was even considered mystical. The country experienced its highest rainfall ever after the artist released the song from his album, 'Spirit of Love.'
5. P-Square – Personally (2013)
Personally is a popular tune by famous Nigerian twin brothers Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye, also known as P-Square. It was the second single from their sixth studio album 'Double Trouble' (2014). The song received positive reviews from many people for its catchy beats and lyrical rhyme schemes.
The Nigerian R&B duo got nominated for several awards for the song, including the 2013 Soul Train Music Awards for 'Best International Performance.' They also received a nomination for 'Song of the Year' at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. The video has over 95 million views on YouTube.
4. Prince Nico Mbarga – Sweet Mother (1976)
One of the most popular songs across Africa is Sweet Mother by Prince Nico Mbarga. The African hit sold at least thirteen million copies across the continent. It was recorded by the Rogers All Stars Recording Company in 1976, after many refusals from other companies, including EMI and Phillips Records. The melodious tune celebrates and praises a mother for her struggles and sacrifices in the upbringing of her child.
Mbarga was born on January 8, 1950, near Abakaliki to a Cameroonian father and a Nigerian mother. He grew up in Ikom and passed away on June 24, 1997, after sustaining injuries from an accident.
3. The Mavins – Dorobucci ft. Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Dr. Sid, D'Prince, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello & Di'Ja (2014)
The song received positive reviews from fans and music critics for its production, instrumentation, and composition. Dorobucci featured Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Dr SID, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, Di'Ja and D'Prince.
Dorobucci won Best Pop Single and was nominated for Song of the Year at The Headies 2014. It also got nominated for Hottest Single of the Year at the 2015 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
2. D'banj – Oliver Twist (2012)
Second in the list of top Nigerian songs of all time is Oliver Twist by Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, known by his stage name, D'banj. The talented artist ditched a career in the army after his older brother died in a plane crash. D'banj would later develop an interest in music.
The song, Oliver Twist, was his first under the GOOD Music label. It was initially released in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2012, and debuted at number nine on the country's singles chart.
Oliver Twist got nominated in the Hottest Single of the Year category at the 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Awards and for the 'World's Best Song' and 'World's Best Video' at the 2014 World Music Awards.
1. 2Baba – African Queen (2004)
Top in the list is Innocent Ujah Idibia's African Queen. The Nigerian artist is popularly known as 2Baba. His song made history as one of the most successful hits in the current generation. In the record, 2Baba talks about the importance, beauty, and life of the African woman.
In Nigeria, Africa, and the world over, millions of copies were sold and also the soundtrack, African Queen, used for American romantic comedy film, Phat Girlz (2006). The single reached the top of the African pop charts and also helped 2Baba win the MTV 'Best African Act' award at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon.
Which of these top 10 Nigerian songs did you find interesting? Feel free to leave your views in the comment section below.