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Top 3 Nigerian Musical Artistes


The Nigerian music industry is beyond doubt the biggest in Africa. It is also one of the biggest exports coming out of the country. In reflection, praise must be given to the artistes of different genres churning out impressive lines to general appeal.

The industry is brimming with burgeoning talents making names for themselves, established stars expanding their brands and the pioneers finally showing signs of slowing down, albeit releasing hit jams infrequently.

Afrobeats is probably the leading genre in Nigerian music culture, along with the subgenres like Afro-pop and afro-fusion. It should be no surprise the leading acts are masters of this genre. R&B, dancehall and reggae are also popular with the music lovers.

Honourable mentions; Mr Eazi, Runtown, Kizz Daniel.

3. Burna Boy

The man of the moment. If this list is on the basis of brilliance from 2018 onward, he has to be the number one. He was a known name in the industry prior, but it was in 2018 that he arrived at the fore. It has been an upward trajectory thereafter.

Burna Boy has been breaking limits and advancing boundaries. His 2018 EP ‘Outside’ received positive critical acclaim. “Ye” is the biggest single. Outside debuted at number three on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. Burna Boy won big at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, Bet Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards and The Headies after the album’s release.

Before the release of his fourth studio album in July 2019, “African Giant”, Burna Boy had already performed at Coachella and featured on Beyoncé “The Lion King” album. ‘African Giant got nominated for the Best World Music Album category at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Burna Boy idolises Nigerian icon, Fela Kuti. “Everyone’s got their hero,” Burna recently told the Associated Press. “For me, that’s my hero.”

Burna Boy’s style revolves around Afro-fusion, a genre that blends Afrobeat, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B.

2. Davido

Between 2013 and 2015, Davido dropped hits after hits. “Gobe”, “Skelewu” and “Aye” making waves nationwide. “Aye” released in 2014 won Song of the Year at The Headies and Hottest Single of the Year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in 2014. He has gone on to collaborate with many international artistes.

His achievements came as no surprise tho as he had won Next Rated at The Headies in 2012. In early 2016, he signed a record deal with Sony Music. Months later he founded his own record label (DMW).

Five singles in 2017 repositioned Davido and secured his spot at the very top of the music industry. “If” propelled Davido to the borders outside of Africa and won him multiple awards. “Fall” became the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history. “Fall” was ranked number 163 on Pitchfork’s list of the 200 Best Songs of the 2010s. The videos for both songs have each surpassed 100 million views on YouTube.

2019 was also a success for Davido. He collaborated with Chris Brown for the hit “Blow My Mind”, “Risky” followed. He released his third studio album A Good Time in November.

OBO, as he’s also referred to, has numerous endorsement deals and also has a sizable amount of major awards to his name.

1. Wizkid

On the current record, his placement as the number one on this list is debatable. But a sleeping lion should not be mistaken for a sheep.

Wizkid first broke into the limelight in 2008 when he featured on rapper M.I Abaga’s song “Fast Cars”. In 2011, he released his debut studio album titled Superstar. The lead single “Holla at Your Boy” was first released in 2010 but also featured on the project. The follow-up album Ayo in 2014, received mixed critical acclaim. Tho the album later won Best R&B/Pop Album at The Headies in 2015.

Wizkid achieved global recognition in 2016 for his collaboration with Drake on “One Dance”. The song reached number one in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Canada and Australia. He has gone on to collaborate with other top international acts including Beyoncé. It feels like all his songs are hit.

Former governor of Minnesota, Mark Brandt Dayton honoured the singer by naming a day after him in the US.
”One of the most influential artistes,” Mr Mark said. That is a testament to Wizkid greatness.

With multiple albums and counting, there’s no slowing down for Wizkid. He has his own record label. He has won countless awards both locally and internationally. He also has an almost endless list of records to his name. It is easy to understand why Wizkid is the King of African Music not only Nigeria.

Don’t forget to drop a comment, let us know your thoughts about this list.

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