Over the years, the Nigerian music industry has seen significant changes and cultural reset in afrobeats albums. Artistes have released works that changed the dynamism of the afrobeats industry. The industry is known to be competitive because of the creativity of Nigerian artistes. 

Some projects have stood out amongst others to hold different positions in the book of history, and they are;

1. Wizkid “Superstar” – 2010


Nigerian music industry was dominated by grown men for decades, it looked so impossible for a young person to break into the scene. Wizkid came into the scene at the age of 17 with a verse on M.I’s song “Fast Money Fast Cars” and he went ahead to unleash a groundbreaking debut album that became a cultural reset for Nigerian music industry. “Superstar” album revolutionized Nigerian music industry, it ushered in a generation of young artistes to an industry dominated by grown men. This album made Nigerian youth believe they don’t have to be 25 and above before having a chance in the music industry. However, it also became a reference points for youths when they confront their parents about their passion for music. This is an album majority of youths can sing every track on the album word for word. A decade after its release, the album still gets similar reactions from the audiences, it emerged as the album of the decade on different platforms at the end of the last decade (2020). The album spawned smash hits like “Don’t Dull”, “No Lele”, “Gidi Girl”, “Pakurumo”, “I Love My Baby”, “Wad Up” featuring D’Prince, “For Me” featuring Wande Coal etc. It is the biggest Nigerian debut album in history.

2. Olamide “Eyan Mayweather” – 2015


Olamide is widely known for his innovations and creativity, oftentimes he comes up with dance steps and slangs that become generally accepted on the street nationwide. “Eyan Mayweather” album opened Nigerian artistes eyes to a no-feature-album. Dropping a no-feature-album requires a whole lot of courage and confidence, Olamide broke that deadlock with “Eyan Mayweather” for Nigerian artistes. What makes this feat more remarkable is the fact that Olamide did this with a Rap album, as we all know the reality of Rap music compared to Pop music in the country. The album produced hits like “Eyan Mayweather”, “Goons Mi”, “Don’t Stop” etc. 

3. Wizkid “Sounds From The Other Side” – 2017


Wizkid began his quest to expand Afrobeats reach beyond African shores with Ojuelegba after Drake jumped on the remix. He announced he was working on his Third studio album “Sounds From The Other Side” in 2015, you could hear him talk about the coming of the album on Runtown’s “Bend Down Pause”, he made it known to people he would be importing western sound into Nigeria with the album. “Ojuelegba” remix with Drake and Skepta gave birth to the world smash hit song “One Dance” and eventually “Come Closer” which became one of the lead singles for his Third studio album “Sound From The Other Side”. 

The album brought down the veil between Nigerians and the realities of the sound from the othersides. So many Afrobeats records that were unknown to large amount of Nigerians were uncovered with the achievements of this album. It opened people’s eyes to new possibilities in the international market, from charts, certifications, sales to streams. This is the first Nigerian album to appear on Billboard 200 album chart since King Sunny Ade’s “Synchro System” in 1983. “Sounds From The Other Side” also popularized mid tempo sound in Nigeria, Wizkid took a big risk with the album and it attracted mixed reactions from fans but it’s a risk that has paid off for both Wizkid and Afrobeats. The album spawned smash hits like “Come Closer” featuring Drake, “Daddy Yo”, “African Bad Gyal” featuring Chris Brown, “Sweet Love” etc. 

4. Rema “Rema” EP – 2018


Rema broke into the music industry with an EP that was met with critical acclaim. This EP encouraged the EP culture we have today in the industry, although EP used to be a thing prior to the release of Rema EP, but it added fuel to a dying fire and breathed new life into an existing culture. The EP produced smash hit like “Dumebi”. 

5. Fireboy “Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps” – 2019


Fireboy gain popularity with his smash single “Jealous” in 2018, he went ahead to release a no-feature album which was met with positive reviews from music enthusiasts. The album has become the standard for the new generation of artistes starting from 2019, the success of the album has become an height every new generation artiste wants to reach and surpass. 

6. Burna Boy “African Giant” – 2019

Afrobeats album - African Giant


Burna Boy’s career took another turn in 2018 as he started getting his deserved credits. He was announced as one of the artistes set to perform at Coachella 2019 with his name written in “small letters”. Burna Boy was not pleased with this gesture and he made a statement about it, calling himself “African Giant”. As he was working on his album as at that moment, he decided to make a bold statement with the album and named it “African Giant”. This is an album that opened Nigerians eyes to the possibilities of winning a Grammy award with a contemporary music album. Following its nomination in 2020, it gave new generation of Nigerian artistes the courage to submit their projects for consideration. Prior to the release of the album, it was a popular belief that Grammy is an award reserved for veteran artistes like Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade etc. The album spawned smash hits like “Anybody”, “One The Low, “Gbona”, “Kill Dem” featuring Zlatan etc. 

7. Wizkid “Made In Lagos” – 2020


Wizkid announced his fourth studio album “Made In Lagos” at the end of his headline concert at the O2 Arena in 2018 in his conversation with Tim Westwood TV backstage. It took him 3 years to complete the album after recording the album 3 different times with different themes and directions before eventually dropping the last version he made. 

“Made In Lagos” album has made people understand that an album can be sonically appealing and also be commercially successful. It has surpassed the height no Nigerian album has ever dared to chase, it’s an album that appeals to both Nigerians and the world at the same time. The album dropped in a moment the world seemed to be in a tunnel, and Made In Lagos appeared to be the light at the end of the tunnel for music lovers around the world. 

Wizkid has always been a staunch supporter of “Afrobeats to the world” movement, but in 2020 he brought the world to Afrobeats music with “Made In Lagos” as the album opened Afrobeats music to new realities. The album spawned hit like Essence that broke the deadlock for Afrobeats music on Billboard Hot 100 chart, climbing as high as #9 on the chart. Hot 100 chart has always been a dream far from reality for Afrobeats artistes, Wizkid brought the possibilities to reality when he appeared on the chart with Drake’s “One Dance” and “Brown Skin Girl”. He eventually kicked the door open with “Essence” featuring another Nigerian artiste “Tems”. “Made In Lagos” has seen a huge commercial success in world’s biggest music market as it is the longest charting African album on Billboard World Album Chart (71 weeks and counting), highest peaking Afrobeats album on Billboard 200 chart (#28), coupled with a record 7 weeks at #1 on World Album Chart. The album has been certified silver in United Kingdom, and also pacing to receive Gold certifications in US, Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada this year. In addition, Wizkid received 2 Grammy nominations with “Made In Lagos” and “Essence” in the Global categories. 

People’s love for “Made In Lagos” album goes beyond “Essence” as tracks like “True Love”, “Blessed”, “Mood”, “No Stress”, “Smile”, “Piece Of Me” are amongst people’s favorites on the album. This is an album that made the world want to identify with Afrobeats sound, it is a game changer for the whole Afrobeats culture.

Many quality Nigerian albums have dropped in the last 12 years, but these are the albums with significant cultural impacts on Nigerian music industry. 

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2 Comments

  1. Afrobeats to the world… Nice write up ✍️. Good job I enjoy reading it ?. More strength and knowledge to??

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