Pulse Selection: Here are the 20 best contemporary Nigerian love songs

Pulse Selection: Here are the 20 best contemporary Nigerian love songs

<p class="">While the October 1 takes the cake in the land of performative occasions, February 14 is a close second.</p>

<h1>Officially, it’s St. Valentine’s Day. The day for the lovers to spend money on each other – well, the men. The day to receive gifts – mostly by women. The day to have wistful dinners under fake moonlights. The day for Yoruba demons to test their ability to occupy multiple locations at the same time and defy the logic of a ‘matter.’ </h1>

<p class="">The day to make mega love statements and convince that your lover/partner to forget the times you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning. More importantly, it’s the day for nostalgia while we pretend to love each other in a country torn by tribal, political and religious divides. While the October 1 takes the cake in the land of performative occasions, February 14 is a close second.</p>

<p class="">While some have been showing off on social media, some are stuck in the belly of wishful thinking, wondering why they turned that guy down or broke up with that girl. For that, some are blaming their village people while others will drown their loneliness in alcohol as the day pulls to a close. Nonetheless, <strong>Pulse </strong>got you – whatever the divide you fall into.</p>

<p class="">We will offer music to soundtrack amorous excursions and distract the loneliness of some. Mostly, the songs are nostalgic and might remind of an experience. While a lot of people will enjoy this music, others will curse <strong>Pulse </strong>for giving them music that trigger love-filled memories in their lonely states – that’s fine too. We will be your punching bag for the culture.</p>

<p class="">As this writer tries to forget the possibility of getting cursed by the people he seeks to help, let’s just get to the songs;</p>

<h2>20) Banky W – Strong Ting</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Banky W – Strong Ting</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Look, call it sentiment or whatever, but this song was both amazing and transcendent. Although it came at a time that was more friendly to sounds like it, that production hit a chord with the Nigerian mainstream. The language of delivery didn’t really matter and the song went nuclear. That recorder… Lord.</p>

<h2>19) MI Abaga – One Naira</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>One Naira by MI featuring Waje (Music & Lyrics)</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">On his 2010 <em>magnus opus</em><strong>, MI2: The Movie, </strong>MI Abaga morphed into the prime loverboy, spitting raw, amorous bars with the ‘wash’ of a Yoruba demon. And they say Lagos doesn’t influence people…</p>

<h2>18) Davido – IF</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Davido – If (Official Music Video)</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">At the 2018 <strong>Headies, </strong>this song was named the song of the year. What’s funny about it is that, despite its success, most people don’t realize it’s a love song – well, it is. It also birthed a culture moment that now typifies existential riches, ’30 Billion’ or ’30 BG.’N</p>

<h2>17) Odunsi (The Enginer) featuring Tay Iwar and Funbi – Desire</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Odunsi (The Engine) – Desire (Feat. Funbi & Tay Iwar) [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Wait first, why was this song not nominated at the 2018 Headies? Even though it was majorly popular amongst the elitist group called alté, anybody who listened felt the magic at first listen. It also interpolates a classic <strong>Baba Dee </strong>song. This was an important moment in Nigerian pop culture.</p>

<p class="">16) <strong>Wizkid – On To Your Matter </strong></p>

<p class="">Again an like ‘IF,’ a lot of people didn’t realize this song was a love song – yes, even with its wedding-themed video. Pop sounds blurs things, bro. I really don’t blame them. But then, during a slightly tough period, it carried <strong>Wizkid. </strong>Asides that, the song also became an entrance theme for Nigerian weddings.</p>

<h2>15) Olamide – Melo Melo</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Olamide – Melo Melo [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class=""><strong>Olamide </strong>is not one of the greatest Nigerian artists ever for naught – the man transcends the rap game. He is like the Nigerian version of <strong>Drake – </strong>he makes music across genres and gets acclaim across board. When he released <strong>Eyan Mayweather, </strong>nobody expected <strong>Olamide </strong>to make a rock song. However, he made it, it banged and the mother of his children was happy.</p>

<h2>14) Faze – Need Somebody</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Faze – Need somebody (Lyrics video)</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">During a time which Nigeria was going through a sonic disruption to find its ‘pop’ sound, <strong>Faze </strong>was a feature. His first two solo albums, <strong>Faze Alone </strong>and <strong>Independent </strong>were commercially successful and critically acclaimed. However <strong>Independent </strong>- his sophomore album – was that moment. One of its hits was a Reggae-based love song titled, ‘Need Somebody.'</p>

<p class="">What a moment.</p>

<h2>13) Reminisce – Ponmile</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Reminisce – Ponmile (Official Video)</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">While some might argue this song as ‘not a love song,’ it is a love song. Its mode of expression just happens to be heartbreak or the possibility of it. It was at this moment that <strong>Reminisce </strong>sealed his place as an artist that transcends genres. This is an R&amp;B record – simple.</p>

<h2>12) Sean Tizzle – Jalolo</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>SEAN TIZZLE – JALOLO (OFFICIAL VIDEO)</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Produced by <strong>Blaq Jerzee, </strong>it will forever be baffling how this song failed to relaunch <strong>Sean Tizzle</strong>’s career. It was so beautiful and resonant. More so, its hook is something that’s very popular in Yorubaland and Lagos. But that beat, which sounds like something that accompanies a human sacrifice in cold Ekiti State, is amazing.</p>

<h2>11) Wande Coal – Ololufe</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Wande Coal – ololufe</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">While this was released on <strong>Curriculum Vitae, </strong>the only collaborative album on the now defunct <strong>Mo’Hits Records, </strong>it was also added to <strong>Wande Coal</strong>’s classic debut album, <strong>Mushin To Mo’Hits. </strong></p>

<p class="">Again, it was never a hit – in the strict sense of a hit, but it outlived all the hits on both albums in relevance and spins. It also found a place with couples who wanted to be cool at their weddings.</p>

<h2>10) Flavour – Ada Ada</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Flavour – Ada Ada [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">In 2013, <strong>Flavour </strong>had gained a reputation as an electric stage performer. But you see, this song took his reps to another level entirely. He found the bridge between patriarchal admiration and attractive softness that women cherish.</p>

<p class="">If you remember, there was a video on social media around the same time where a couple made the entrance to their wedding reception to the song. It made everyone gush and feel their heartbeats pump. However, the hard guys remained hard.</p>

<h2>9) P Square – More Than A Friend</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>P.Square – More Than a Friend [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">On their 2008 album, <strong>Game Over , P Square </strong>took the game to another level. At the time, what stood out to people was the quality of its video and choreography performed in the video. But over time, one realizes that this songwriting on this song was peerless. </p>

<h2>8) Simi – Joromi </h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Phyno – Financial Woman (Official Music Video) ft. P Square</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Simi is like your girl next door with the voice of your girl next door. When she makes a catchy and resonant song from the perspective of a smitten yet shy teen, something was bound to happen. While <strong>Simi </strong>had been threatening to break down the doors for a minute, this was a moment. And boy, did she own it? </p>

<p class="">This was the first moment on a award-winning album, <strong>Simisola. </strong></p>

<h2>7) P Square – Onyinye </h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>P-Square – Beautiful Onyinye (Official Music Video) ft. Rick Ross</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">When this song was released, <strong>P Square </strong>was starting to reduced in reputation and virality. Nonetheless, a prince will always have his royalty. ‘Onyinye’ was a moment in pop culture for carrying a <strong>Rick Ross </strong>verse, but the streets know ‘Onyinye’ was a dedication to the average African woman. </p>

<p class="">Its beat was something <strong>P Square </strong>found a way to own. At a time that ‘Yoruba demon’ became a description for philandering Yoruba boys, <strong>P Square </strong>promised marriage and the game changed – well, not really. </p>

<h2>6) Lagbaja – Nothing For You</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Nigeria Lagbaja Nothing For You</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">When <strong>Ego </strong>was <strong>Lagbaja</strong>’s partner in crime, incredible things happened. The greatest moment of their collaboration was ‘Konko Below,’ but something else happened during that period. When <strong>Lagbaja </strong>released <strong>We and Me Part II </strong>in 2000, Lagbaja disrupted the love-based music market with the anthem of a ‘Sugar Daddy.'</p>

<p class="">On the one hand, it seemed like the tales of an <em>aristo</em>, but on the other hand, it seems like socio-political chatter told from the perspective of a mature, love-sprung man. He refused to take no for an answer, and at the end of the day, he got the positive result his persistent deserved. What a song. </p>

<h2>5) Styl Plus – Olufunmi </h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Styl-Plus Olufunmi</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">In 2018, <strong>Lucid Lemons </strong>hosted <strong>Lemon Curd </strong>at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos. The headlining acts were <strong>Styl Plus. </strong>While the show ran into 3:00 am in the morning and people were already tired, when <strong>Styl Plus </strong>were announced, everyone got up to their feet and rocked to their classic tunes. Chief of which was, ‘Olufunmi.'</p>

<p class="">In December 2019, <strong>Zlatan </strong>held his first headlining show at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. <strong>Styl Plus </strong>were his final guest acts. The result was the same when they performed, ‘Olufunmi.’ People in the VIP section left their belongings and got on their seats – it was a wildness. </p>

<p class="">But that’s about the virality and resonance of ‘Olufunmi.’ Let’s get to its quality – built on a fast-paced pop beat, the song features a man leaving his ‘masculinity’ behind while he bore his heart on his sleeve to speak his heart. On the hook, the man asked the woman to never leave him – it doesn’t get wilder than that. </p>

<p class="">4) <strong>Sunny Neji – Oruka </strong></p>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Sunny Neji – Oruka [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">What makes this song special is that, it was so good, it gave <strong>Sunny Neji </strong>his second moon at a time Nigerian pop started to come into its own. It was a wedding reception entrance theme song before wedding reception entrance theme song. In its video, it also portrayed black men as faithful – So remember, black men don’t cheat. </p>

<h2>3) Paul Play – Angel of My Life</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>Paul Play Dairo – Angel Of My Life</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">When legendary producer, <strong>Paul Play</strong> who inspired <strong>Ruggedman </strong>to start using resonant and relatable language in Hip-Hop took on making R&amp;B records, nobody saw this coming. On his 2007 <strong>LP, Hitsville </strong>he created a viral moment that permeated the reaches of Nigerian music. While the beat had a bop, it wasn’t really stuff of dance floors or club nights – but it became just that. </p>

<p class="">Asides that, the song became a common feature of Alaba DJ Mixes and ‘selection’ CDs. As such, the reps of <strong>Paul Play </strong>crossed over into our time from the early days. On the song, <strong>Paul Play </strong>immortalizes a woman on sounds and in words. If this song was released today, people would have added it to their ‘sex playlists.'</p>

<h2>2) D’Banj – Fall in Love</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>D’Banj- Fall In Love Official Video</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">When legendary music producer, <strong>Don Jazzy </strong>visited <strong>Loose Talk Podcast </strong>for an interview in 2019, he told the hosts what led to this song. Apparently, <strong>P Square </strong>were friends with their <strong>Mo’Hits </strong>counterparts. In Nigeria, they were both theoretically ‘big.’ <strong>D’Banj </strong>was also very international and he had won an <strong>MTV European Music Award </strong>at the time. </p>

<p class="">However, in Africa, <strong>P Square </strong>would go on tout to African countries and sell-out stadia and make girls faint. When <strong>Don Jazzy </strong>asked how they were doing it, they confessed that they discovered the power and use of resonant love songs. For that reason, <strong>Don Jazzy </strong>made <strong>D’Banj </strong>record love songs. What became the result was resonance with African markets – everything changed. </p>

<p class="">When its video starred Nollywood star whom <strong>Piers Morgan </strong>called, ‘The <strong>Julia Roberts </strong>of Africa,’ everything wen nuclear. But the best part of the song wasn’t just its kwaito-based beat, it was the songwriting and the vocal experimentation by <strong>Wande Coal </strong>and <strong>Don Jazzy </strong>at the end of the song. </p>

<h2>1) 2Face – African Queen</h2>

<figure class="embedded_application" align="center"> <figcaption>2Face – African Queen [Official Video]</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Argue or don’t, that’s your problem. However, this is the first genuine hit of the Nigerian contemporary pop era. In 2004, Nigerian pop was coming off heavy influence and dominance by Hip-Hop-based records. But what followed was an era of disruption as Nigeria attempted to find its pop sound. </p>

<p class="">Reggae was experimented with and even R&amp;B records became hits. While Hip-Hop still made a comeback in the late 2000s, the disruption ended when the pop sound was found in 2006. In 2003, <strong>2Face </strong>was coming off he back of a broken group and began his solo career under <strong>Kennis Music. </strong>His former bandmate, <strong>Blackface – </strong>an accomplished songwriter – penned the song. </p>

<p class="">What followed was the most important R&amp;B record of Nigerian contemporary times. <strong>2Face </strong>didn’t just kill the record with lyrical dabbles by poetic deliveries, he bore his heart and used words to conjure the power of <strong>Eros. </strong>The song then transcended the shores of Nigeria into a bonafide urban moment. </p>

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