In 2017; more than many other years, we have witnessed an overwhelming influx of music projects. Stars like Falz the Bahd Guy released follow up tapes while heavyweights like Mr Eazi meted out their debut. Of course far more than 10 solid projects were released but these are the 10 that tops our list.
10. Niniola – This Is Me
Released: October 31
Niniola has held sway over the afro-house genre so much that almost every afro-house record is assumed to be a Niniola song. On ‘This is me’, the singer defined her sense of everything, provided us with a full package and experimented with more alternative sounds. Even though the project was released to mixed reactions, This Is Me is an impressive debut that is well enough to sustain her stronghold in the afro-house niche.
9. D’Banj – King Don Come
Released: August 25
This is D’Banj’s first album in nine years and the almost a decade-long space spurred the expectations of Nigerian music lovers to high proportions. On a second look, one has to applaud his ability maintain a certain level of harmonious delivery – something many didn’t expect considering the split from his longtime producer – Don Jazzy.
King Don Come sees D’Banj in his expected entertainer spirit and the songs are solid enough to earn him a spot on this list.
8. Wizkid – Sounds From The Other Side
Released: July 14
This is undisputedly the biggest African pop album of 2017. Wizkid combines African and North American influences and made a perfect playlist for his seemingly biggest markets. From the discotheques point of view, SFTOS comes off as a solid project.
7. Flavour – Ijele (The Traveler)
Released: June 27
The Ijele album sees Flavour taking on a more poetic route. From the opening to the closing track, the design deduces a very conscious Flavour finding the right words to describe what matters to him the most – God, Love and Happiness. The album holds a right amount of substance that proves that the singer has journeyed from being just an ultimate party starter to something more.
6. Falz – 27
Released: October 27
On 27, Falz uses a minimal approach to document his thoughts, fantasies and experiences whilst ensuring there is a piece for every feast. For an artiste like Falz who has amassed so much success, it is very possible, convenient even, to make an album without necessarily touching vital social issues like sexual abuse but no; the storyteller and consciousness in him wouldn’t let him go without addressing a few sensitive subjects. What more could we ask for?
5. Show Dem Camp – Palm Wine Music (Vol. 1)
Released: June 19
While the subject of their consistency is still up for conversation, one cannot deny the quality of their artistry. Show Dem Camp makes music by their (own) terms as they merely concern themselves with the stereotypes or rules set by hip-hop purists. On this project, the duo strictly adhere to the theme of the project – Palm wine, a feel-good alcoholic beverage. As the title dictates, Show Dem Camp provides an ultimate soundtrack for feel-good moments whilst putting their storytelling, songwriting and intelligent adaptiveness on display.
4. Ajebutter 22- What Happens In Lagos
Released: November 24
On What Happens In Lagos, Ajebutter 22 makes a laudable attempt at chronicling the sumptuous activities of the contemporary Lagos culture – honest storytelling was not traded for hits. What Happens In Lagos properly mirrors life in modern-day Lagos and it is indeed one of the best projects on the ever buzzing city.
3. Ric Hassani – The African Gentleman
Released: August 31
On the African Gentleman album, Ric Hassani serves a handbook that accurately defines what gentlemanliness should be. Top notch storytelling, respectable delivery, par production and a somewhat surprising flexibility. After the release the lead single ‘Gentleman’ in 2015 and a few preceding singles, one had quickly put Ric Hassani in the box of a geeky lover boy. But the album puts another side of the coin on display as the singer experimented safely with up-tempo tunes. Who says a gentleman can’t have a little fun?
2. Mr Eazi – Accra To Lagos
Released: February 10
Mr Eazi’s winning formula – the intelligent blend of ancient Ghanian highlife with local Nigerian progressions as offered in the Accra To Lagos tape was a breath of fresh air and a break to speedy grooves armed with an infectious laid-back vibe and catchy-easy hooks that makes (almost) every song on the project a sing-along. This is indeed the project that shaped the pop sphere of Nigerian music in 2017 – Accra To Lagos served up the blueprint for the infamous ‘pon-pop’ sound.
1. Simi – Simisola
Released: September 8
‘A soulful punch of Afropop, shot through with sweetness’ is how Apple music describes this project and that is in no way far from the truth. From her impeccable songwriting skill to her splendid vocals and introspective magic, the Simisola album captures the height of the singers artistry.
This album sets the standard for alternative sounds and gallantly cuts through the pop market.