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2021 Nigerian Music Year Review

Nigeria, the capital of Afrobeats and Afropop music in 2021 consolidated on their upward flight of her musical rocket. Freshly off 2020 where all mega stars in the world ware locked up at home for most part of the year, 2021 brought a blank canvas with it and Nigerians cashed in on it musically. Below are some of the ground breaking landmarks of the Nigerian Afrobeats musical force:


Over the years Nigerian music space has seen male artist dominate as the thriving acts of the industry. However in 2021 there was a little shift from the norm. For the first time, the Nigerian music space witnessed a partial dominance of music made by ladies. Although new acts like Ruga, Buju and Portable all dominated at different times of the year; one cannot but applaud the fit of Nigeria music ladies like Tems, Ayra, Liya and Fave. These ladies rocked the Nation and the world with so many dope music that they were fighting for musical space with their male counterpart in the heart of fans.

Top of the list is Tems who did not just end up in Wizkids album but did a double swing by featuring in international Rap super star: Drake’s Album. Tems was on another league taking her business away from the local scene to outside Nigeria which even earned her recognition from Rihanna. Ayra follows her in the ranking by releasing one of the biggest album of 2021. Armed with Mavin Records at her back, she dominated the radio, social media and street. She ended up having her lyrics tuned in street slangs and her songs remixed by many which for me is the apex of being viral. Fave ended the year of female dominance by releasing one of the best singles of the year. “Baby Riddim” as she called it could comfortably compete with most of the singles released by Rugar and Buju. 2021 was no doubt a big win for women music in Nigeria.


Amapiano is a genre of Afropop music which was developed by the South Africans. The sound which blends Afro house music with Electronic and Tecno sound became popular and was imported into Nigeria. Just like the Awilo sound which was imported into Nigeria not too long ago, Nigerian producers accepted the beat and made it a global sound. At the peak of the sound’s international prowess is its use for the popular Dorime remix which was rapped and performed by Bright Menor aka Goya Menor. The sound and the song became a global hit becoming a mad hit on tiktok. The song which talks about the social ill of street gangstar and cultism in Nigeria became arguably one of the biggest jam of 2021.


Nigerian music is not just big because of bloggers and media hypes but because Nigerian music has the number to back it up. In 2021, Ckay a popular Nigeria Afrosoul music singer had his song Nwantiti dominate Tiktok at the beginning of the year. At the middle of the year, Jaywillz, a Pon pon Beat Afropop musician dominated Tiktok for months before it was wrapped up by Goya Menor, a AfroRap star with the popular: “You want to bam ba?” Droime remix. Just like every other platform which Nigerian music have dominated, Tiktok felt the heat of the Nigeria music industry.


Judging from the fact that 2020 did not provide the space for musician who released albums to go on tour, 2021 provided the space for that. Championed by Burna Boy and Wizkid, Afrcian music was duly registered around the world with ground breaking records. Burna Boy shutdown France with his stage performance while Wizkid showed the world that a musician could shutdown and sell out an arena three days in a roll in the UK.


Just as the year was about to finish, Fireboy, the YBNL star released the remix of his mad 2021 single titled Peru. Working with the ever talented Ed Sheeran, they created a Hit song that found its way to the top of the UK chats on Christmas day which is a record on its own. Nigeria ended the year forcing the West to listen to our music.  

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