This year (2018) has without a single doubt been a remarkable one for Nigerian music. New boundaries were broken, envelopes were pushed, ceilings were shattered, and doors were opened for generations behind.
Whether it was bringing to life a wondrous rollout plan, putting out records that brought joy to our spirits or signing major deals with international brands, our musical stars showed out this year. While this year saw countless artistes push the culture forward, these ten voices rang louder than the rest. Here is a list of the 10 hottest Nigerian artistes of 2018.
Small Doctor has had a sizable share of controversial moments this year but has been able to scale through all with noteworthy accomplishments. In truth, many thought the singer artiste would be a one-hit wonder, but he surpassed the expectation of nay-sayers and went on to even sell out a venue in London, the 02 Islington (where the likes of Yemi Alade and Falz have performed at), making him the first in his league of street-hop artistes to achieve this feat.
He also sold out the 4,000 capacity Agege Stadium right here at home with too much ease.
Teniola was a star on arrival. Quite reminiscent of Falz’s come up as a rapper, Teni has quickly become a household name with her bright social media personality and more importantly, her ability to pen instant bops. Staying away from drama and controversy, she has managed to build an exemplary brand for herself by working hard and playing harder.
Some of her notable releases of 2018 include; Askamaya and Case.
The year 2018 has been a busy one for Simi. Riding off the success of her popular self-titled album, Simi released a streak of music videos this year and also went on to quickly surpass the verdict of critics. The singer went from being dismissed and shut down on social media, to become a thought leader. From being bullied for her sense of style to becoming ‘style inspiration’ and from being called an alternative artiste, to and blessing pop stars with her magic.
Simi has also successfully headlined two sold-out shows this year (one in the UK and her recently-held, Lagos concert).
If there is an award for “comeback act of the year”, Duncan Mighty is more than deserving of it. The Port Harcourt son reintroduced himself to the world and a new generation of music consumers when he stole the show on his StarBoy collaboration “Fake Love” which marked the beginning of what would become a never-before-seen eruption by a single artiste.
Duncan Mighty went on to participate in twenty other records resulting in twenty-one features in twenty-seven weeks (May – November 2018).
Some of his notable features of 2018 include; Fake Love ft Wizkid, AZA ft Davido, and Peruzzi, Lova Lova ft Tiwa Savage, and Bio Bio ft Reekado Banks.
With the release of his critically acclaimed sophomore album, Adekunle Gold became the ‘attention to detail’ artiste that Nigerians had been (unknowingly) craving for. With every post, every release, you can really feel AG’s intent and big idea tactics. He left no stone unturned with his ‘About 30′ rollout plan and continued to make precise and calculated steps throughout the year. Whether it was randomly dropping a rap verse to Drake’s ‘Emotionless’ or getting Seyi Shay to make an appearance and record a verse in the music video for “Damn, Delilah”, AG had an excellent year by simply choosing to not wing it.
Mr Eazi is handing out digital marketing lessons to his contemporaries as he continues to leverage new media for what has become a global domination. Musically, be it on collaborations or solo drops, the singer kept his best foot forward. He also dropped his much anticipated “Lagos To London” project along with a brilliant documentary that astutely captures the evolution of Nigerian music, bringing consumerism to the fore.
Mr Eazi made a laudable run look easy.
An excerpt from his 2018 Headies Award acceptance speech; “we rise by lifting others” are the words that aptly describe Davido’s modus operandi for 2017. From blessing DMW hits, Mind and Aje with his star power, to shining a light on Odunsi with his verse on Divine, the pop star continued to raise the bar and made sure carry others on his wings as he soared to greater heights.
On personal success, Davido maintained his position as a global pop heavyweight by shutting down venues across the world including the nearly 5,000 capacity 02 Brixton and a 10,000 capacity venue in Suriname, South America. He also went on to accomplish the milestone of becoming the first African artiste to receive an award on the BET main stage. The pop star’s 2018 hit, Assurance also became the most viewed Nigerian music video on YouTube.
Retaining her crown as the hottest female act in Nigeria, Tiwa Savage made phenomenal strides in her career this year and also reached new levels of brash and unapologetic. 2018 saw her raise the bar and shattered glass ceilings by becoming the first Nigerian female artiste to sell out the nearly 3,000 capacity Indigo at the 02, first female African artiste to win an MTV EMA and only female Nigerian artiste that performed at the just-concluded Global Citizen Festival.
She’s also responsible for some of this year’s biggest hits and controversial moments.
This year, Wizkid did not play the quantity game, but with just a handful of records, the Star Boy stole the show. He went on to prove that his brand is beyond music with major moves like strutting the runway for Dolce and Gabbana to inking a deal Ciroc and launching a jersey line with Nike.
He also went on to hoist the Nigerian flag with numerous groundbreaking feats including his historic sold-out concert at the 20,000 capacity 02 Arena – making him the first African pop artiste to pull it off.
Some of his notable songs of 2018 include; Soco, Nowo ft DJ Spinall, and Fever.
If experiences are the benefits of mistakes, then Burna Boy gained an experience of a career-threatening magnitude. The singer refrained from controversy and the benefit is quite obvious, a run that is easily the best of his career so far.
Burna released ‘Outside’, the best album of 2018, ‘Ye’, Nigeria’s contemporary global anthem and follow up singles that became hits on arrival. He also went on a successful American and European tour which he crowned with a memorable show at the 5,000 capacity 02 Brixton. Also needful to note, his smash hit, Rock Your Body was scored and rendered by a band in Panama, Northern America.
Burna Boy did not only make 2018 his year, he also made it ours.
HONOURABLE MENTION; Falz the Bahd Guy and Kizz Daniel.
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