11 Young Nigerian Pop Stars You Must Listen To While Driving – Onyeka Nwelue

Over two weeks ago, Brymo went on a self-proclaiming rampage on Twitter during which he alluded to the fact that his album, Yellow, is the best album of 2020.

He seemed to have been ticked off by the massive response Davido had gotten from promoting his album, like a famous person, would.

I have bought every single album by Brymo and he tops the list as one of my favourite artistes. Yet, the comparison was not necessary. 

I found traits and symptoms of schizophrenia in what Brymo did; as someone who visits the psychiatrist quite often, I can tell that such action can only stem from a delusional point of view. But, he got us talking.

So, here is what I want to do: I have spent time listening to young pop stars – even though some of them are foolishly called Afrobeat artistes – which they are not, I am going to create you a playlist, that you must try listening to, as you drive through life. 

1. Fireboy

There are artistes I don’t listen to, based on principles, because I listen to lyrics. And many Nigerians artistes do not write songs. They go into the studio and do what they know how to do best – voice and get it auto-tuned. But here is a young man, whose delivery and slow-paced kind of music, reverberates and brings joy to your heart. You don’t need to force yourself to dance: you will dance. It’s even smoother when you look at the way he moves on stage. I watched a few of his music videos and I became a fan and bought his music. He has also started painting his nails like I did. It’s curiosity. This is not why I love his music. I think he is an incredibly talented artiste, whose music will remain timeless. His album, Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps is really good. You must buy it and also get APOLLO. He is so good. That is why he made it to the top of my list. 

2. TerryTheVoice

Here is a huge talent that is about to take over the world. It is important to just pay attention, as he navigates through the tough terrain of the music industry. He has an EP, titled, The Voice, which is coming out on January 1st, as I know. It contains some of the best songs you would have ever heard, even collaborations with Runtown and Jamaica’s music legend, Sizzla. What is more charming about him, is his voice. Soulful. Deep. Banging. The thing is that this particular artiste, has a song, International, which is currently receiving good airplay and you will hear it yourself and attest to what I am saying. Find his music and enjoy it. You will agree with me that he is one of the best. 

3. Barzini

The most charming of all! His single, Mirror, is a powerful rendition, which amuses and entertains you all at once. He has a new album out, The King’s Opening and he writes some of the best lyrics. I have followed him since he was 16 and  he has grown so well. You can’t be disappointed if you listen to him. There are new things to discover. Just find his music and take a listen.

4. TK-Swag

I could call TK-Swag the “Prince of Naija Pop.” He has ways of getting you to dance. His album, Crème de la crème is a fine collection of art. His work is as important as he is. You have to get grooving with him. There is also a way that his voice is textured. Listen to Fairly Used Boyfriend and understand where I am coming from. 

5. TKinzy

For TKinzy, yes, I directed the video of Me & You, which was his last public outing. I did the video, because this is a song that when it plays, you wouldn’t know when you start dancing. I loved it so much to get personal with it. I am also aware of his other songs, but you must listen to everything he releases. Such talent is rare.

6. Sir Dauda 

Woman is Sir Dauda’s song I love the most. There is a certain way the young man also carries himself with elegance and dignity. Sometimes, I go back to listen to his music and then, realize there is something new. 

7. Rex Papi 

This one here has a unique voice: brassy, bashy, heavy and baritone. A mixture of everything – Louis Armstrong style, but he is a tiny fellow, almost cruising through the waves of pop music, gradually and slow. There is a song he has done with TerryTheVoice, called Chances. It is a beautiful song and I want you to listen to it. 

8. Savage Xtra 

Quite charismatic and simplistic, Savage Xtra is that artiste that you want to meet and want to know more on why he did the song, Don’t Worry. His energy is infectious and it is important to note that this kind of artiste, is rare. He is someone who knows exactly what he wants to do. His performances are filled with life. 

9. JoeBoy 

Here is another voice that I confuse for FireBoy. I am not sure this happens to anyone, but he is really good and it is important to know that his song, Baby is a show-stopper. Listen to him and you will agree that this one has come to stay. 

10. Oxlade 

Oxlade’s Away is that beautiful song that you listen to, again and again. There is something sensual about his music. For those who don’t know, it is important to pay attention to this guy, completely exonerating yourself from the music writing. Shockingly, I found myself enjoying the music of Oxlade. It is that beautiful and sultry. 

11. Omah Lay

His youthful and innocent look will endear you. His sonorous voice, too. I found myself trying to understand what the song, Damn is all about. But, I listened to the end. You must hear his music. He is so talented and I know he will last for a long time. 

Onyeka Nwelue is author of Hip-Hop Is Only for Children (Hattus Books, 2015), which has sold over a million copies. 

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