Notable Nigerian albums of 2016

So much is made about the ascendancy of the single, but the album remains alive. 

Kiss Daniel had one of the year's best albums in Nigeria
Kiss Daniel had one of the year's best albums in Nigeria

Rap artists like Phyno, Reminisce, and Olamide, in particular, have built a career out of consistently releasing albums. And fans await the next Banky W and Timi Dakolo albums.

Even as Wizkid swept through the award season with only a handful of singles and no album, the 'Ojuelegba' singer has promised a third album. Tekno, whose song ‘Pana’ was one of the year’s biggest and is something of a hit-making machine, has promised an album as well. These artists understand that even with album sales diminishing, there still isn’t a music package with the prestige and capaciousness of the album in its ability to sum up an artist's mindset.

Perhaps the EP comes close, but it still is taken as a prefatory package. The question is not, when is the EP out? It is: When is the album release date? Still, the year in Nigerian music had remarkable EPs. To that end, we have also considered EPs in the years's notable albums listed below. 

The list is dominated by first albums, leaving one with the impression that hunger (for fame, fulfilment or funds) remains a force in driving artistry.


Burna Boy—Redemption

Burna Boy's main work in 2016 was a brooding EP named Redemption, which redeemed the man after the sophomore slump of On A Spaceship.

What we said: “The Redemption EP leaves the listener with a minor fact of the Nigerian pop scene: Bad Burna Boy is merely bad; Good Burna Boy is almost always great.”

Read full review here.


Simi & Falz—Chemistry

Nigeria's fantasy couple, Falz and Simi, got together to offer their fans the next best thing to a confirmation of a relationship. The EP Chemistry demonstrates that its title is alive between these two—musically that is.

"It is this symbiosis of Falz’s bad-English-speaking Baba Taju act and his laid-back rap, together with the teenage naiveté of Simi’s voice that they both play to, with sweet results on Chemistry."

Read full review here.


Patoranking—God Over Everything

Patoranking has made hit songs. On God Over Everything, he makes an album of mostly wholesome, family-friendly fare.

What we said: “Patoranking’s emergence as a mainstream artist in the present climate of Nigerian pop is so unlikely, his debut album can be seen as nothing less than a win for his management. He is perhaps the only artist since General Pype's brief prominence to cling to reggae, more than pop, and succeed in appealing to a large percentage of the population.”

Read full review here.


Brymo—Klitoris

Klitoris may not be Brymo's best work—that would be Tabula Rasa—but it delivers the good still

What we said: “Klitoris, stripped and personal, is not quite as excellent as Tabula Rasa, Brymo’s broad masterwork, but it is a much happier album than its predecessors—already a video has been made for one of its happy tunes, 'Something Good is Happening'. Even so Brymo understands that in the Afrobeat genre, a happy beat is an ambiguous device.”

Read full review here.


Lindsey Abudei—And the Bass is Queen

After a lengthy spell in the industry, Lindsey Abudei put out an album of delicate beauty. 

What we said: “Lindsey Abudei can sing. Lindsey Abudei can write a song. In the Nigerian music scene, those two qualities are too radical for a single artist. The album that confirms both statements is named …And the Bass is Queen. It is Ms Abudei’s debut album, and is possibly the very best album released by a Nigerian in 2016.”

Read full review here.


Kiss Daniel—New Era

Every award comes with controversy. There is always someone else who deserves a trophy. No such complaints this year when the Headies handed its Album of the Year award to Kiss Daniel. That should be enough of an acheivement, but it is secondary to what newcomer Kiss Daniel manages to achieve on the album itself.

What we said: “'Lord, I have a feeling I’ll be here for long,' goes the hook from New Era’s penultimate song. Somewhat presumptuous? Yes. But then New Era proves Kiss Daniel can back it up. Any of the younger acts thinking to release a better album this year may have to invent a genre.”

Read full review here.

 

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