Within the years 1998-2009, a lot of classic Nigerian songs were released. With utmost commendations to contemporary music and beats, this time saw the rise of legends, production of classic albums, unique and evergreen songs. It was also this time that aided in the making of sounds, not only modern Nigerian pop songs but some of these musicians laid the foundations for Nigerian rap hits as well.
So, in no particular order, these are 5 of the most defining urban songs in Nigerian music and how their songs have built the foundation for modern artists today.
Shakomo by the Remedies (1998/Kennis Music)
MC Lyte’s hit song ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ declared the birth and successive take over of the mainstream music scene by a Hip-Hop motivated generation, that had been tyrannised by sounds coming from Ajegunle in Lagos.
In 1998, the trio of Eddy Remedy, Toni Tetuila and Eedris Abdulkareem popularly known as The Remedies began the rebirth of pop music in Nigeria.
Kenny ‘Keke’ Ogungbe and Dayo ‘D1’ Adeneye at their time had just established their record label Kennis Music and endorsed The Remedies leading to the release of the first urban hit of our generation and paved the way for other acts to come through. ‘Shako Mo’ went on to be the starting point of the pop explosion that has now engulfed the country.
My Car by Tony Tetuila (2001/Kennis Music)
Golden (later platinum) hair, Tony Tetuila recorded the biggest hit song of his career by recounting a sequence of funny incidents he had with his car as the main talking point(hence the title of the song) and a clever jab at his former group mate Eedris Abdulkareem and also a shout out to the then Governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu even gave the song more accolades and recognition.
Mr Lecturer by Eedris Abdulkareem (2002/Kennis Music)
He was not only controversial, but he also had his moments when he created social-political classics. More than 16 years after the release of single ‘Mr Lecturer’ the hilarious yet thought-provoking song centred at sexual harassment in universities is unfortunately still relevant today, most fans saw him as a man of the people and one rapper is known to always speak the truth regardless of the situation.
Femi Kuti and The Positive Force-Beng, Beng, Beng (1998/Barclay)
Son of Afrobeat legend and icon, Femi Kuti released this vibrant and sensual Afrobeat piece which gave a sign to the growth of the heir to the Afrobeat throne. Femi Kuti starter his reign as the King of Afrobeat just three months after the death of his father Fela Kuti.
African Queen by 2face Idibia (2004/Kennis Music)
This is one song that is evergreen and timeless, it is the first song that comes to mind when love is in the air. This classic love song ceases to fade and has beyond all doubts changed and affected Nigerian love songs that came after it positively. There is hardly any Nigerian or African that doesn’t know the chorus to this love song.