In terms of music, the year 2021 has been one of the most eventful in recent memory.
As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at which Nigerian artists have dominated and produced materials that have moved the world.
A couple of years ago, a few specific names dominated nearly all of the top positions, but 2021 has been a different year—as different as anyone could be.
There has been a renaissance; a positioning of young artists who have appeared out of nowhere to take their places among established artists who have spent their entire careers here. All of this has combined to make 2021 one of Nigerian music’s most exciting years.
Here’s a quick rundown of our top ten artists of the year, in descending order.
With the release of his third studio album, “King of Love,” in 2020, Kizz Daniel was in good shape. But it wasn’t enough to earn him a spot among the year’s best.
However, 2021 has been a very different year for him. He began the year with singles and collaborations like “Flex” and “Currently,” and then followed up with a resurgence of his 2021 song, “Necesari.” That wasn’t all, though. He went on to release “Barnabas,” one of the best projects of 2021, and has been on the rise ever since. King!
Olamide was thought to be finished up until now. Last year, however, the release of “Carpe Diem” changed everything for the rap star.
With the hit single “Rock,” he kicked off the year 2021 on a high note, followed by the 10-track album “UY Scuti,” which has been hailed as one of the year’s biggest highlights.
3. Burna Boy
Burna Boy managed to steal the show once again despite the lack of an album with a string of singles that began with “Kilometre” a few months ago and ended with his long-awaited collaboration with WizKid, “B’Dor.”
This year, he won a Grammy, collaborated with Don Jazzy and WizKid on a song, and was featured on one of the year’s most popular international singles (“Yaba Buluku”); it’s been a remarkable year for the “Ye” singer, whose last album was almost a year and a half ago.
6. Kizz Daniel
Wizkid has reclaimed the top spot, riding the Made in Lagos wave into 2021 with the release of the deluxe version, which spawned three new singles and a Justin Bieber-assisted remix of his smash “Essence.”
No single artist has been able to match Wiz this year, despite Grammy nominations, Billboard entries, and sold-out shows. As a result, he is the country’s number one artist for the second year in a row. Beautiful!
Now, I have a question for you.
Which artists did you hope to see on the list but wasn’t there?
Tems was a Headies Next Rated nominee earlier this year, which Omah Lay deservedly won. She went on to do great things with WizKid after that, including being a part of the hit song “Essence.”
She has not only been on Billboard and appeared on Drake’s album, but she has also performed back-to-back at the O2 Arena, culminating in his long-awaited collaboration with WizKid, “B’Dor.”
No one would have predicted Ckay would compile a list like this at the end of the year six months ago. He had a good project in “Boyfriend” and a hit in “Felony,” after all. But that’s not all there is to it.
But when a guy starts charting on the Billboard Hot 100 and has over 100 million views on YouTube, you have to pay attention. Ckay has been eating since his 2019 hit “Love Nwantiti” was revived with a remix.
Buju ate exceptionally well this year. The majority of the features are turned off. He scored hits for Ladipoe, Blaqbonez, Timaya, and Basketmouth, among others, and continued to produce some of the year’s best singles.
His debut album came out a few months ago, and it’s unsurprisingly one of the best we’ve heard in a long time. Buju capped that performance with a raucous show in Lagos a few days ago, where Burna Boy and WizKid joined him. It isn’t true.
8. Tiwa Savage
Tiwa Savage was embroiled in one of the most high-profile scandals in the entertainment industry this year, which may have harmed her achievements.
Tiwa Savage, on the other hand, released an experimental project called “Water and Garri” in 2021, and it was a huge success. We’re grateful for her contribution to one of the year’s most popular songs, “Somebody’s Son.”
What a year for the Mavin Records rapper, who began the year with the hit single “Feeling” featuring Buju and ended it with the Fireboy-assisted “Running.”
For the first time in a long time, he was able to release a project that people were interested in, and for the first time in a long time, it appeared that people were interested in rap again. That was done by Ladipoe!.
10. Reekado Banks
Reekado Banks has defied all odds to become one of 2021’s most popular artists, which is something we admire.
When he released “Ozumba Mbadiwe” a few months ago, the former Mavin artist found his stride. He quickly followed up with “OTR 2,” a smooth EP that was well received. He’s even had another minor hit with “Lupita Nyongo.” Who knows what the coming year will bring for this guy?