It’s been a long and dramatic year for people all around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in months of lockdown, the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria were among incidents that happened in 2020 that the world will not forget in a hurry.
2020 was also a weird year for music makers as clubs, event centers, concerts, cinemas were not allowed to operate for a long period. With nowhere to go to, it became an abundance of time and free opportunity for artistes to think of alternative ways to earn a living as well as stay relevant in the industry.
Amid all the setbacks and chaos suffered by the entertainment industry, some Nigerian musicians were still able to come up with a wonderful blend of music, with some releasing singles, and others going as far as putting out albums.
The albums worthy of mention in 2020 have proved that wonderful music will always find its way to our ears, even in the midst of turbulent times.
Here are five albums that made 2020 enjoyable:
‘TWICE AS TALL’ By Burna Boy
After the success recorded from ‘African Giant’, his fourth album released in 2019, Burna Boy once again showcased his ability to put out a powerful and lyrically meaningful album with a perfect blend of melodies yet retaining his African touch.
‘Twice as Tall’, which is his fifth studio album, was finally released on August 14, after failing to meet its initial July release date. In the album, Burna Boy unleashes his own kind of Afro-fusion — a mix of afrobeat, reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, EDM, and more.
A week after its release, the 15 track album topped the ‘World album Category’ of BillBoard music chart and thereafter secured him his second Grammy nomination for the ‘Best Global Music Album’ category of the 2021 awards.
He enlisted the likes of Stormzy, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Youssou N’Dour, Naughty By Nature, and Sauti Sol, among others.
On ‘Monsters you made’, a track on the album, Burna Boy vented his annoyance at the government for failing the citizens and also addressed some of the ills that have become consistent in the African continent.
‘MADE IN LAGOS’ By Wizkid
After teasing the project for nearly two years Wizkid finally released ‘Made in Lagos’ on October 30, featuring the likes of Burna Boy, Tems, Tay Iwar, Skepta, British musicians; H.E.R, an American act; and Damian Marley.
In ‘Made In Lagos’, the multiple-award-winner stabilizes the mixture of stars from home and abroad while also blessing music lovers with offerings that can compete across different cultures yet maintaining his roots.
In the 14-track project, which is dedicated to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial city, Wizkid creates a robust sound that not only pushes Afrobeats into what feels like a new territory but crafts for him his own genre of music.
Since its release, the album has continued to receive global recognition including being named as one of The Guardian UK’s 50 Best Albums of 2020.
‘CELIA’ by Tiwa Savage
‘Celia’, which was named after Tiwa’s mother, was released on August 27. In the album, the 40-year-old pays homage to her mother while also celebrating beautiful women around the world.
The 13-track project featured music heavyweights like Davido, Naira Marley, Sam Smith and Stefflon Don, and had tracks like ‘Save My Life’, ‘Temptation’, ‘Pakalamisi’, ‘Koroba’, ‘Bombay’, ‘Dangerous Love‘, ‘Park Well’, ‘FWMM’, ‘Ole’, ‘Us’, ‘Attention’, ‘Glory’, and ‘Celia’s Song’.
The album was listed among Time Magazine ’10 Best Albums of 2020′ and was also nominated in the ‘Best R&B category’ of the 2020 Headies award.
On ‘Celia’, which is a beautiful blend of Afrobeats, R&B and soul songs, Tiwa displays growth and offers a vibrant, genre breaking career ahead.
‘A BETTER TIME’ By Davido
After the success recorded from ‘A Good Time’, his 2019 album, the ‘OBO’ crooner again came through with ‘A Better Time’, released on November 13. The 17-track album title implies a better time than its predecessor ‘A Good Time’.
The body of work, which was earlier scheduled for July release, failed to meet the deadline but a new date was announced by the singer.
The album featured several music heavyweights including Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Nas, Young Thug, international singers and Tiwa Savage, Mugeez, CKay, Lil Baby, Hit-Boy, Sho Madjozi, Bella Shmurda, Sauti Sol and Mayorkun.
Some of the tracks in the project include ‘Fem’, ‘Jowo’, ‘Something fishy’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Very Special’, ‘Holy Ground’, ‘The Best’, ‘Shopping Spree’ and ‘Sunlight’.
Speaking about the album, Davido said it was inspired by Africa’s ethos. “We (African people) always like to celebrate and A Better Time is that outlet to be free, be happy and hopeful for a better future,” he told Complex.
‘Fem’, a track on the album, which means ‘Shut up’ in Yoruba, became the anthem of the #EndSARS protesters, during their campaign against police brutality and bad governance held across Nigeria.
‘CARPE DIEM’ By Olamide
Olamide, an indigenous rapper who happens to be one of Afropop’s most ubiquitous voices, on October 8, came through with ‘Carpe Diem,‘ his eighth solo studio album.
Despite releasing the project in the heat of the #EndSARS protests, ‘Carpe Diem’, his first body of work under ‘Empire Distribution’ a US label and distribution company, was positively received and widely praised among music lovers.
On the 12-track album, Olamide talks about issues ranging from his personal life, fame, money, to issues of love, women, and sex.
With tracks like ‘Another Level’, ‘Green Light’, ‘Infinity’, ‘Eru’, ‘Triumphant’, ‘At Your Service’, ‘Do Better’, ‘Chimichanga’, ‘Shilalo’, ‘Loading’, ‘Unconditionally’ and ‘Plenty’, Olamide sure did justice to the album.
In an interview — shortly after releasing ‘Carpe Diem’ — the 31-year-old singer, who doubles as the CEO of YBNL Nation, also said he has to stop restricting his creativity for the sake of his own sanity and mental health.
“Honestly, the level at which I am right now is very personal. I am just taking my creativity to the extreme, for my own good, and for my own sanity,” Olamide said.
“I feel like I have been restricting myself all this while, and for my own mental health, it is high time to unbox myself and do everything I have ever dreamt of.”