Nigerian Afrobeat artists have carved a niche for themselves in the Music Industry and have become very popular both in the local and international scene this making Afrobeat one of the biggest music genres ever. Although Afrobeat is said to have originated from Ghana, artists like Fela Kuti made the genre popular and known.
Over time, Nigerian artists have been working consistently to reach the top of the ladder and the year 2021 sees the actualization of some of these dreams. Many hit songs were released and many artists were appreciated and recognized for their good works. To review the artists that have had a good year this year, we have put together some of the best pop stars of the year.
Wizkid, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun is one of the artists with lots of wins this year. Still revelling in the success of his ‘Made in Lagos’ album with features from Ella Mai, H.E.R., Burna Boy, Tems, Terri, Skepta and Damien Marley in the previous year, the album ushered him into glory this year. From selling out a 20,000 event centre to making it to the top of the highly coveted music chart and having a Grammy nomination and award to his name. He further went on a tour with sold-out concerts in the global west giving many artists from his home country a chance to make their debut performance outside the country.
The remix of the hit song, ‘Essence’ of the ‘Made in Lagos’ album featuring Tems and the Canadian music star, Justin Bieber also gave Wizkid another push this year while making it to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 music chart. He also released an 18 track deluxe version of the ‘Made in Lagos’ album that has also received a global commendation. Wizkid won many awards and nominations for the album including his Grammy nomination in two categories.
Burna boy, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu also known as the African Giant is one of the artists that have had a good year in 2021. The self-acclaimed African Giant welcomed the year with the exhilaration of his album, ‘Twice as Tall’ which won the Best World Music Album category at the Grammys Award. Most of the accolades he received this year are from the album released the previous year.
In sharing the experiences of his journey to stardom, he released the song, ‘Kilometre’ to tell that he didn’t just get to where he is and it took a milestone to get there. He also released a much-anticipated hit single featuring Don Jazzy and that further enhanced his work in 2021. The Odogwu also shared a stage at the 02 arena with Wizkid and he also released a joint single featuring the duo titled ‘Balloon D’or’ which is set to set 2022 on fire. One of his greatest achievements this year is him being the first Nigerian to be nominated back to back at the Grammy Awards. Although Burna dined off his 2020 projects much this year, he is bound to deliver more in the next year.
Temilade Openiyi popularly known as Tems is one of the breakout stars of 2021. She is a very good singer whose dynamic voice differentiates her from her peers. With her feature on Wizkid’s hit song, ‘Essence’, Tems put out some magic of her own and she was ushered into the spotlight. Her impressive output on this song led to her collaboration with Drake on his song, ‘Fountains’.
She released her own project of the year, ‘If Orange Was a Place’ and it reached the top 10 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, and she ranked no. 5 on the Billboard emerging artist. She also earned two US Top 40 entries on Billboard Hot 100 on her collaboration with Wizkid on the song, ‘Essence’ which later made it to the Top 10 on the Billboard and her collaboration on the song, ‘Fountains’ with Drake.
Olamide Gbenga Adedeji better known as Olamide or Baddo is one of the phenomenal acts of the year. He is one of the best street hop artists the country has ever known and he doesn’t disappoint be it Rap or Afrobeat. With his 9th album tagged, ‘UY Scuti’, he proved once again how versatile and industrious he is. He has many hit singles from the album and one of them is the song, ‘Rock’ which is a top-charting hit. Olamide is known to pull young acts up and pave the way for them and he is widely appreciated for this. He brought a new act, Portable to the limelight and he featured on his song, ‘Zazoo Zeh’. Olamide clearly killed this street song with the street acclaimed punch lines he gave in the song.
David Adeleke popularly known as Davido has also achieved some success this year. Like Burna Boy’s album which was released in 2020 and was still trending in 2021, ‘A Better Time’ was released last year but its success took place this year. Hit singles like ‘Jowo’, ‘The Best’, ‘Holy Ground’ and ‘La La’ are still making waves. He is also one of the most featured artists. Some of his monster features that did wonderfully well are; ‘Ke Star’ remix by Focalistic and ‘High’ by Adekunle Gold. His contributions to these hit songs are unrivalled and mind-blowing and he is widely known for being active on social media and widely appreciated for engaging more often with his fans.
Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe popularly known as Ayra Starr is still fresh in the music industry but she has been dropping hits back to back. Off her debut EP, ’19 and Dangerous’ are the hit songs ‘Away, DTR and Bloody Samaritan’ which have become nationwide household chants. The songs have cemented her place in the Nigerian Music Industry making her a breakout star of 2021 that everyone has grown to love and will love to see more of.
Joseph Akinwale Akinfenwa mostly known as Joeboy is an Afropop and R&B artist that trended heavily in 2021. His album, ‘Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic’ received positive reviews and acceptance from his listeners. Some of the hit singles from the album that captivated people are; ‘Show Me, Focus, Door and Alcohol’. He performed exceedingly well on the songs and they, in turn, became successful on digital platforms. They all generated lots of streams and downloads and it topped charts for several weeks. The single, ‘Alcohol’ became very popular following its release and it became a challenge on the popular social media app, Tiktok. This became favourable to Joeboy as he was catapulted more into the limelight making the song one of the biggest hits of the year.
Buju whose real name is Daniel Benson is a fast-rising Nigerian Afrofusion singer, songwriter and pianist who has made waves for quite some time this year. His feature on Ladipoe’s song ‘Feeling’ did him good as it made people know who he is and discover how talented he is. He has since then been dropping hits back to back be it features or his own songs. Singles from his album, ‘Sorry For The Wait’ that has been trending are; ‘Outside, Testimony, Never Stopped and Confident’. He has also been excellent in his features too making him the recipient of the City People Music Award for Revelation of the Year.
Stanley Omah Didia better known by his stage name, Omah Lay is a Nigerian music artist who has consistently secured his place at the top of the Industry. His hit singles, ‘Godly and Understand’ from the Extended Playlist, ‘What Have We Done’ are some of the biggest hits of the year and they both amassed positive reviews, lots of streams and downloads. The song, ‘Godly’ is one of the biggest songs we started the year with and it has been nothing short of exceptional. He also featured in some noteworthy songs like ‘Forever’ with Gyakie, ‘Pronto’ with Ajebo Hustlers and ‘Infinity’ with Olamide. ‘Infinity’ also had a slow-motion challenge to it which gave the song nuclear airplay and reception. They are all top-charting songs that further helped his career by pushing him more into the spotlight.
Adekunle Kosoko professionally known as Adekunle Gold or AG Baby is a Nigerian highlife singer, songwriter and graphic designer who have blessed many ears with his dynamic and catchy voice. Adekunle is another prominent pop star of the year that gave us never-ending hits. From the household song, ‘It is what it is to his collaboration with Lucky Daye on ‘Sinner’ and the club single, ‘High’ with Davido. The song, ‘Sinner’ is captivating to many listeners and it worked its way into their hearts. Also, ‘High’ is a very vibrant one that took the country by storm. Not only did it feature a superstar who did justice to the song, the catchy verses and lyrical prowess in the song is phenomenal. These two singles make him worthy of being