This year, 2023, is no exception, as numerous Nigerian tracks have been dominating the airwaves and streaming charts.
From Afrobeats to highlife, hip-hop and other genres, the music of Nigeria continues to capture the attention of audiences across the world with its irresistible rhythms and captivating melodies.
With each passing year, fresh hopes and aspirations are kindled in the Nigerian music industry. The year 2022, often referred to as the “Asake year,” seemed to be quite monopolistic in its outlook. As a matter of fact, the YNBL act, Asake, had one of the most exceptional runs in the Afrobeats genre, as confirmed by data.
With an EP (Ololade Asake), an LP (Mr Money With The Vibe), and several collaborations in his 2022 portfolio, Asake dominated the airwaves and charts in Nigeria to a remarkable extent.
However, there were other artists who put in excellent performances last year, including Burna Boy, Wizkid, Rema, and Tems, who were widely acclaimed as the faces of Afrobeats on the global stage.
Unlike the preceding year, wherein the most outstanding artist could be almost identified as early as the first quarter, the year 2023 has been comparatively more open-ended, nebulous, and intriguing all at once. A considerable number of artists have had their share of delivering hit records. From Spryo’s “Who is Your Guy” to Kizz Daniel’s “Rich Till I Die (RTID)” and Rema’s “Holiday,” among others, these are the hottest Nigerian songs in 2023 thus far, presented in no particular order.
It is noteworthy that this list is not restricted to Nigerian tracks released between January and March 2023, but also includes late 2022 releases that generated a buzz in the first quarter of 2023.
Spyro – Who’s Your Guy
Without Spyro’s “Who is Your Guy,” the conversation about the hottest Nigerian songs this year obviously won’t hold water. After operating under the radar for years, the gifted singer-songwriter is blessed with his biggest record yet.
Whenever the song comes on, the atmosphere is instantly charged with the exhilarated energy that was fused into Mr Soul’s magnificent production. However, Spyro’s catchy hook takes the largest piece of the cake. “Who is your guy, na only me walai, see as we dey like beans and rice, I will never leave your side,” the lyrics revolve around friendship, loyalty, trust and dedication.
Released in November 2022, “Who is Your Guy” mostly gained popularity in 2023 and became the hit-numero-uno on Spyro’s relatively young catalogue. The song was later supported and elevated with a remix assisted by Tiwa who was praised by fans as the perfect collaborator for the job.
Kizz Daniel – RTID (Rich Till I Die)
Five days into 2023, Kizz Daniel wasted no time and debuted with “Rich Till I Die (RTID)” and the song has since then become one of the hottest songs released this year. The award-winning singer-songwriter who scored one of the biggest Nigerian songs of 2022 with “Buga” is currently replicating the same tactics this year. With RTID and his strategic involvement in Gwagwalada, Kizz Daniel has been on a roll in 2023.
The song expresses the desire for wealth and success, which is a theme that resonates with many young people in Nigeria who are striving for success in their careers and personal lives. Kizz Daniel’s smooth vocals and catchy lyrics add an extra layer of appeal to the song, making it easy to sing along to.
On the track’s production, Kizz Daniel collaborated with Blaise Beatz and Reward Beatz. The track’s music video, which captures Kizz Daniel in various luxurious settings, has also contributed to its popularity. The video perfectly captures the theme of the song, showcasing a life of wealth and excess for some, and the struggles of others.
BNXN – Gwagwalada feat. Kizz Daniel & Seyi Vibez
BNXN (formerly known as Buju) has been criticized and accused of being carried by collaborations over the years. His catalogue is packed and decorated with a couple of hit records, but for the most part, as a featured artist; Pheelz’s “Finesse,” Timaya’s “Cold Outside,” and Wizkid’s “Mood” to mention a few. To that effect, BNXN infiltrated the pool of hits and came back with a big catch; Gwagwalada.
BNXN finally responded with one of the hottest songs of 2023 so far, “Gwagwalada.” Success they say, is the best revenge. Led by BNXN himself, the song features the best of Kizz Daniel and Seyi Vibez. All three acts added their unique styles to the song, with Kizz Daniel providing a memorable intro, BNXN with the catchy chorus and Seyi Vibez delivering a lamba-rich verse. The collaboration between the three artists has been praised for its synergy and ability to showcase their artistic strengths.
“Gwagwalada” is produced by one of the greatest Nigerian record producers, the one and only Sarz.
Rema – Holiday
Following his incredible, monstrous and ceaseless run with “Calm Down” and its remix with Selena Gomez, Rema opened his 2023 campaign with two singles, one of which (Holiday) has become one of the hottest songs out this year.
The song’s comprehensive storytelling, catchy beat and infectious rhythm are the key elements that make it stand out. The track begins with a high-energy beat that is guaranteed to get listeners’ attention. Rema’s vocals are also impressive, with his unique voice adding a special and distinctive flavour to the song.
Lyrically, “Holiday” is a celebration of how far he has come in the game. “Straight out of Benin, I drop Rema EP, 2019 dem think say the gbedu go finish, my music is travelling from India to Asia to Berlin,” the lyrics hit differently when you realize Rema has signalled a next-level-unlocking world tour, with stops at India and Jerusalem.
The lyrics are simple but effective, the Nigerian international singer highlighted where he is coming from (“straight of out Benin“) and where his music has travelled to (“my music is travelling from India to Asia to Berlin“). They are relatable, and many listeners can easily connect with the emotions expressed in the song.
Khaid & Boy Spyce – Carry Me Go
After Khaid and Boy Spyce churned out the impressive songs, “Jolie” and “Folake” respectively, they joined forces and produced something bigger; the highly infectious SiGNAL-produced “Carry Me Go.”
The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics make it a popular choice for the life of the party. The track’s opening bars “carry all my money make you carry me go Sambisa” immediately grab the listener’s attention, and the driving beat keeps them engaged throughout. Khaid and Boy Spyce’s smooth vocals add an extra layer of appeal to the song, making it easy to sing along to.
Lyrically, “Carry Me Go” is a love song that expresses and eulogizes that special someone. The lyrics are relatable and reflect the desires of many young people in the country, especially those in love.
Adekunle Gold – Party No Dey Stop feat. Zinoleesky
With Adekunle Gold’s perpetuity and Zinoleesky’s hot form, their collaboration on the track “Party No Dey Stop” is a strategic move that has proven to be highly effective in producing a hit song that is among the hottest in 2023 so far.
The collaboration on the track is one that was carefully thought out, with both artists bringing their unique strengths to the table. Adekunle Gold, known for his fusion of afro-pop, urban highlife and alternative sounds, brings his exceptional songwriting skills and vocal range to the track. Zinoleesky, on the other hand, adds his signature high-pitched vocals, bringing a fresh and youthful energy to the song.
Produced by Kel P, “party no dey stop” is a feel-good song that centers around the theme of enjoying life to the fullest and celebrating the joys of the present moment. The track features a blend of Afrobeats and highlife rhythms, combined with catchy lyrics and an infectious beat that is sure to get listeners dancing.
Tiwa – Stamina feat. Ayra Starr & Young Jonn
Tiwa has maintained her position as the number one African bad girl for years now and it seems she isn’t letting it go anytime soon. After collaborating with Asake on her 2022 single “Loaded,” Tiwa opens 2023 with her first single as a lead artist with “Stamina” featuring Ayra Starr and Young Jonn.
“Stamina” is a blend of Afrobeats and R&B that showcases the creative synergy between Tiwa, Ayra Starr, and Young Jonn. The song has been well-received since its release and has become a fan favourite among music lovers.
The song begins with a captivating beat that sets the tone for the rest of the track. Tiwa vocal prowess is on full display as she opens the song with her soulful voice, which is characterized by a rich blend of tones and melodies.
Ayra Starr’s unique sound complements Tiwa vocal prowess, creating a beautiful harmony that draws listeners in, Young Jonn’s delivered his polling unit as well and has been regarded by many as the soul of the track.
Magicstick’s expert production skills come into play as he masterfully blends the instrumentation and the vocals, creating a sound that is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Odumodublvck – Declan Rice
The assertion that hip-hop is dead in Nigeria is an opinion that has been espoused by some individuals in the music industry, and it is one that is not without its critics. Many have argued that such a statement is ignorant and discrediting to the numerous talented Nigerian hip-hop artists who continue to produce good music.
One such artist who has debunked this notion is Odumodublvck, whose latest single “Declan Rice” has been making waves in the music industry since its release. The song has caught the attention of high-profile superstars, including the actual Declan Rice, an English footballer, who was flattered by the reference to him in the song.
Odumodublvck’s “Declan Rice” is an example of the unique sound and creative talent that Nigerian hip-hop artists bring to the table. The song showcases the artist’s skills and ability to craft lyrics that are witty, lamba-rich, exuberant and engaging. The production is also top-notch, with a catchy beat and well-crafted instrumentals that elevate the overall sound of the song.
What Odumodublvck has accomplished with “Declan Rice” is not just a personal win for him, but also a significant victory for Nigerian hip-hop. It proves that the genre is not dead, but rather evolving and producing fresh talents that can stand alongside their Afrobeats counterparts.
Ayra Starr – Sability
Sability n: the ability to sabi. Ayra Starr has proven the aforementioned since her debut and most recently, on her latest single titled “Sability.” Once again, Ayra Starr has demonstrated her immense talent and skill, solidifying her position as one of the leading female artists in the Nigerian music industry. Her musical prowess and unique style have captivated audiences both locally and internationally, establishing her as a force to be reckoned with in the competitive and ever-evolving music scene.
With “Sability,” she continues to push the boundaries of her artistry, experimenting with a different sound while maintaining her distinctive style. Her ability to seamlessly blend different musical elements and create something entirely new and exciting is a testament to her creativity and vision.
The production of “Sability,” led by London, is top-notch, with smooth transitions between the verses and the chorus. The use of electronic beats and guitar riffs creates a dynamic sound that complements Ayra Starr’s vocals perfectly. The track is a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary elements, making it both captivating and fresh.
Joeboy – Body & Soul
Within the music industry, Joeboy has skillfully fashioned himself as a figure of understated yet impactful artistic expression. In a milieu rife with sensationalism and attention-grabbing antics, he has maintained a dignified and tasteful demeanour, eschewing the trappings of scandal and controversy that often ensnare his peers.
Despite his reserved persona, Joeboy has been remarkably prolific in his output of sonically compelling and thematically resonant compositions. With a steadfast dedication to his craft and a keen ear for melody, he has produced works that are at once emotionally evocative and aesthetically pleasing, endearing him to a loyal following of discerning listeners.
Through his unassuming approach to both his public persona and his creative output, Joeboy has established himself as a true luminary of the music industry, a quiet noise that resonates deeply with those attuned to the power of artistic expression. His consistency in delivering music of the highest quality has cemented his reputation as an artist of rare talent and integrity, and his legacy will undoubtedly endure as a testament to the enduring power of authentic creativity.
The song “Body & Soul” by Joeboy is a masterful musical composition that evokes a spectrum of emotions through its deft interplay of melody, rhythm, and lyrics. The track opens with a lush soundscape of dreamy synths and delicate guitar arpeggios that gradually build in intensity, creating a sense of anticipation and tension.
Joeboy’s vocals, with their smooth and velvety texture, add an extra layer of emotional depth to the track, as he sings about the complexities of love and desire. His lyrics are imbued with a sense of yearning and vulnerability, as he reassures his love interest of her place in his life: “All these things I dey feel right now, I dey feel am for my body and soul.”
The track’s production is equally impressive, produced by E-Kelly, it is a carefully crafted mix that highlights the nuances of each instrument and layer of sound. The drums and bass provide a solid foundation for the track, while the ethereal synths and guitar riffs add a sense of otherworldliness and mystique.
Khaid – Jolie
Khaid is currently experiencing a seamless rise to stardom, having enjoyed an immensely successful year that has surpassed all of his previous achievements.
While he certainly made a strong impression with the release of his popular song “With You” last year, 2023 has been a true breakout year for the young artist, marked by his involvement in two different hit songs – the solo release “Jolie” and the Boy Spyce-assisted track “Carry Me Go.”
“Jolie” stands out as a true showcase of Khaid’s exceptional musical talent and artistry. This soulful and evocative track has quickly become a fan favourite, capturing the hearts of listeners with its infectious rhythm, captivating melody, and emotive lyrics.
With its fusion of traditional African rhythms and contemporary pop influences, “Jolie” is a true testament to Khaid’s versatility and creativity as an artist.
Asake – Yoga
Following Asake’s remarkable success in 2022, where he consistently released chart-topping hits and delivered a standout debut Afrobeats album, the talented artist continues to soar to new heights in 2023. Kicking off the year on a tranquil note, Asake delights fans with the soothing track “Yoga.”
Accompanying the song is a visually stunning music video directed by TG Omori, receiving widespread acclaim as one of the year’s finest visual creations. “Yoga” has quickly become one of this year’s most popular songs, capturing the hearts of listeners and further solidifying Asake’s position as a proper superstar in the music industry.
- Shallipopi – Elon Musk
- Minz – Wowo (Remix) feat. BNXN & Blaq Bonez
- Zinoleesky – Last Time feat. Omah Lay
- Falz – Yakubu feat. Vector
- Zinoleesky – Personal
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