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Complex Magazine Lists ‘5 Nigerian Hit Songs You, and Jay Z, Should Know’



Complex MagazineAfter Jay Z announced that his cousin was in Nigeria to scout for new talent (click here if you missed it) there has been a lot of focus on the Nigerian music industry.

In the past there have been huge collaborations with International music stars with the most recent being Davido and Meek Mill (click here if you missed it) but none of the records were majorly pushed in the US.

Now Complex Magazine has taken time out to research the top 5 Nigerian hit songs.

The article, written by David Drake, states:

There’s a good reason to believe that Nigeria could very well influence the future of popular music both internationally and here in the U.S. First off, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and, thanks in part to its oil wealth, the African nation with the highest GDP. In 2009, Nollywood—Nigeria’s answer to Hollywood—became second only to Bollywood in film production, surpassing the United States; likewise, its music industry is highly developed. Nigeria’s stars are Africa’s stars as well; and although Ghana and South Africa, in particular, can rival Nigeria in creative output, for the moment, Nigeria feels like the world’s aesthetic center.

This is due in part to Nigeria’s relationship with the outside world—and the way it co-opts other styles, but presents them in a singularly Nigerian way. Listening to a Nigerian record in isolation could fool you into thinking it was just R&B, Soca, EDM, hip-hop, dancehall, South African-style house music, or Ghanaian Azonto. But hearing the country’s biggest stars in succession makes it clear these styles are shades of paint for the Nigerian Afropop artist. The elements that bring it all together can be abstract—the cultural cues and references to Yoruba and Igbo culture, or the melodies that reference Nigerian musical history. But there are two common links for an outsider: Many of the songs are sung inpidgin English, making them easy club hits. Secondly, the rhythms of Nigeria’s current popular sound, though much more complex than American records, are also much more compulsively danceable.

In Nigeria, the rhythm is as important to the composition as its melody.

The article also talks about the influence of Nigerian music and the growth that can be expected from the Nigerian music industry.

Listing the top 5 hit songs in Nigeria, Complex magazine lists Wizkid’s Ojuelegba, Davido’s The Sound, Seyi Shay’s Jangilova, Lil Kesh’s Gbese and Kiss Daniel’s Woju.

While talking about Seyi Shay’s ‘Jangilova’ Complex states:

Relative to the U.S., where it often seems like women frequently run the pop charts, female artists in Nigeria don’t appear quite as frequently. There are definitely several major female stars, however. Last year, Yemi Alade’s “Johnny”was a major crossover hit, and this year her single “Kissing” has traction. Tiwa Savage is one of the genre’s biggest names, and her 2013 record “Eminado” is a flawless gem. This year, Seyi Shay has one of Nigeria’s biggest records with “Jangilova.” What does the title mean? A discussion at suggests it’s the pidgen pronunciation of “Dangle over”—a reference to childhood swing-sets. The song is in a high-life style, a Ghanaian genre with particular rhythmic and harmonic characteristics.

Read up the full article here.


  1. Ebony

    May 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    It’s only Wizkid’s Ojuelegba and (most definitely) Kiss Danuel’s Woju I see

    • Blossom

      May 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Even those are so so new and haven’t stood the test of time. Who TF is this person with this shallow list of songs that have been in existence for just 2 minutes? *hisssssssss

  2. Proudly SA

    May 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Please leave South Africa alone on yours artilcle stop comparing yourself with us cause we do not compare ourselves with yours, we happy and content of who we are!!! You always try to make yourself feel better by comparing our country with your country… Nigerians are always trying to be American or very close to what americans are!!! That is good if that makes you feel good but leave SA alone, we do not flock to you, you flock to us!!

    • Rolly

      May 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Yet here you are commenting on a NIGERIAN blog. We both know nobody is checking for your country. Nigerians could care less about your country. Girl buh bye

    • Nife

      May 13, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I wonder ooo!! Kilo fa comparison

    • Adaobi

      May 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Chill. The writer is an American so he doesn’t know any better. Get over yourself.

    • Brown

      May 13, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Who put sand in this one’s hoohoo?

    • Ibinabo

      May 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      It wasn’t a Nigerian that wrote the article o… It’s really obvious, you don’t flock to us because you can’t, so you flock to our blog to check us out. Inferiority Complex go kill you.

    • Stoner

      May 14, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Daddy e’ better get your xenophobic hating ass out of this comment section. We love you though.

    • Ebony

      May 14, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Lol, but the article being quoted wasn’t written by a Nigerian though.
      What exactly are you so mad about?

    • lmao

      May 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Lmao the kind of inferiority complex some of these other african countrys have when it comes to Nigeria is hilarious. My friend pack your load and get out what are you doing on bellaNAIJA. Twat

  3. mrs chidukane

    May 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Ah Ah, I for say nah. For BN to write this lengthy article instead of just referring us to the website after 2 paragraphs as usual. Congrats, I saw they referenced BN 🙂

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      So did I. Nice mention, BN. 🙂

  4. bimpe

    May 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Lol seyI shay you know, I doubt if the writer actually knows what they r talking about… Silly! singers like timi dakolo, simi, that sade song as well

  5. tunmi

    May 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Yeah the writers need some more exposure. At least they got Woju right

  6. Miss Hazel

    May 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    OMG…….Jangilova actually means Dangle Over,WOW!!!!!
    Life just took on a whole new meaning for me.
    Btw the article isn’t so bad, I guess the writer was writing from his perspective. Still it feels good that our artists are getting recognized.

  7. prec

    May 13, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    The song Jangilova is not no Ghanaian genre, ummmmm…..

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