As Nigerian music continues to grow into a larger export with each passing season, importing ears and eyes from all over the world into the country’s sound and culture, it has become even more important to examine the sounds that have served to shape the scene in different seasons with different elements.
In the spirit of summer and actualising the perpetual dream of young adults to have the time of their lives, be it by shaking our asses in a thong, on a yacht, in Dubai, being boo’ed up, popping bottles or simply having a good time with friends, we recapped some songs that over time have captured the zeitgeist of the temperate period.
This list features 10 songs from the twenty-tens that for the young Nigerian ears, depicted summer either due to its time of release– sometime between June to September which is the Nigerian summertime, massive circulation or the feeling it captured with its theme or music video. While this list is a non-exhaustive one as several songs from singular years which also bring tidings of summer vibes have been left out, it has been curated to give 10 songs that best capture the season. Here are 10 Nigerian summer jams of the twenty-tens and ergo, the decade:
2010: Lori Le- X-Project
For many 90s baby, this song was a soundtrack to many childhood parties and school showdowns where we all represented with our adept knowledge of the alanta dance move. And of course, we didn’t fail to add our own copious freestyling moves or effizzi.
This song however not only captured the party-going frenzy we all loved to be a part of as adolescent kids, but also the super fast BPMs of the hits of the noughties.
2011: Wiz Party- Wizkid
In summer 2021, Wizkid celebrates the 10 year anniversary of his Superstar album, a classic body of work that gave us several songs we jammed to. From the heavy club banger, Don’t Dull, to the romantic anthem, Love my Baby, the owambe-ready record, Pakurumo and then the summer number Wiz Party. There was a certain bubbling quality that made this the perfect song to turn any event up by a notch. And there was something about the idea of falling for a girl you were meeting for the second time at what was a Wizkid party that made it the perfect summer song in 2011.
Nigerian summer jam of the decade; 2012: Like to Party- Burna Boy
Anytime this song comes on, we are instantly transported to the end of summer 2012 when Burna Boy hit the scene with Like to Party and had us all craving fun pool parties thanks to the music video.
Like to Party made such an impact on music listeners that in no time everyone and their grandma was rocking vintage Versace shirts or knockoffs and circular-shaped shades we called ‘Burna Boy shades.’
2013: Durosoke- Olamide
Back when Durosoke was a hit, breathing life into our summer days, whenever we heard the creaking door instrumentals playing beneath another song as the DJ cued it up on the set, we prepared ourselves to shout “Take it outside, basket! Take it inside, koroba!” together with Olamide and then go ahead to sing the entire song without missing a beat.
It was an anthem everywhere be it the streets, at a party or even a classroom and it told of the fun days ahead when summer began in full swing.
2014: Shoki and Shoki rmx– Lil Kesh ft. Olamide
2014 had an impressive number of hits, so much so that settling on the summer song for the year was quite the task but with prevalent memories of how everyone, especially university students all over, did more dancing and less talking, with hands arched like a cobra’s head– whenever Shoki came on, deciding on this song was a no-brainer.
Shoki and its remix released some months later signified the revival of songs with dance moves as we went from doing the palms-out, up and down motions to more complex steps in the preceding years.
Nigerian summer jam of the decade; 2015: Duro- Tekno
Deep in the mid-twenty-tens, Tekno had made a killing on the airwaves with several hit songs and in 2015, Tekno had with his romantic smash hit, made lover boys and girls of all of us in the summer of 2015.
2016: Skin Tight- Mr Eazi
A perusal of the hit songs of most years outlined so far will reveal that the airwaves always had quite a number of jams to entertain Nigerians with. 2016 was a particularly hot year in the industry but the song that owned the airwaves during the summertime was undoubtedly Mr Eazi’s Efya-assisted debut mainstream offering Skin Tight. With Skin Tight, the Ghana-influenced singer had put Nigerians on to the soothing, blissful feel of Banku music and indeed, we’d eaten it up like the delicacy, only raising our heads to scream along with Mr Eazi when he turned the pitch up.
2017: Juice- Ycee ft. Maleek Berry
Like most storms, it started slow with a lo-fi voiceover that referenced Ycee’s former record label, before the drums and the synth came on and then Maleek Berry’s crooning, followed by Ycee fluidly stating ‘Ain’t nobody badder than.’ At this point, whatever party or event the song was deployed at, would have been turned up to the rafters as everyone present became lost in the lyric lines as they applied their vocal chords and limbs in appreciation of the summer banger that Juice was.
2018: Amaka- 2Baba ft Peruzzi
2Baba’s Peruzzi-assisted Amaka was one song that easily struck a chord with young people everywhere as they were either the promise-and-fail Amaka he sang about or had suffered a similar situation. The relatability became raised to the power of ten with the lines “I like woman, I dey straightforward” and it was eagerly picked up as the truth of many listeners.
Its power as a summer jam was however fully actualised through the soft mid-tempo percussion and the easiness of the song that was reminiscent of the fun and colourful pool party 2Baba threw for the disappointment-inducing Amaka who turned up much too late.
Nigerian summer jam of the decade; 2019: Dumebi- Rema
In 2019, Jonzing World and Mavin Record unleashed Rema on us with his self-named debut EP. On it were 4 songs but it was the Ozedikus-produced banger, Dumebi that got the upvote from Nigerians all over, to ascend the airwaves and charts as the summer jam of the year.
We all heard Rema’s call that went ‘Another banger!’ and knew it was time to move like the shekere waisted Dumebi that Rema sang of.
2020: Bad Influence- Omah Lay
If we’re not all in agreement with the songs selected on this list, we definitely will converge at the fact that 2020 was a year like no other, with the stringent measures that Covid-19 visited upon the world touching every aspect of human life. It greatly affected the music industry and as a result, there were no concerts, parties or club events as everyone was compelled to stay indoors and wait out the pandemic’s peak. Despite this, music persisted in comforting and uniting us and for Nigerians stuck on their phones and every other screen, it was Omah Lay’s Bad Influence that gave us a reminder of what it was like to be young, wild and free.
Although we itched to go out to dance to our favourite records, we stayed put and made karaoke and slow-motion videos to the song.
We’ve listed the summer jams from 2010 to 2020 and undoubtedly left out some as well. Did your favourite Nigerian summer jam of the decade make the cut or has it been left out? Put us on to a song we didn’t include in the comments section and let’s all weigh in the power of the jam.