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11 Nigerian artistes who once ruled the airwaves

With videos of some of their biggest songs

Styl Plus

Yesterday, after a very tiring and boring day of lectures, I entered a cab, and the driver was playing a mixture of Nigerian hits, from Lagbaja to Olu Maintain and it made me remember a time when those songs were all over the airwaves in Nigeria.

I decided to compile in no particular order, a list of those Nigerian musicians that blessed us with music we all knew the lyrics, and danced to.

  1. Styl Plus

Imagine that!!! I remember biting my tongue trying to sing the Yoruba lyrics in this song. I don’t think I have a favourite Styl Plus song; I mean they had back to back to hits, from Olufunmi to Call my name, Ima, Iya Basira, the song that romanticised mama put joints to Runaway, Stay Alive, Four Years … need I go on? They were the best, the kings of R&B, and Afro Pop. If they ever did a comeback concert, I’ll be first in line to get tickets to that, screaming at the top of my voice the lyrics to every single one of their songs.

  1. Eedris Abdulkareem

All hail the King!! When you see this name the song that definitely comes to mind is none other than ‘’Nigeria Jaga Jaga’’, with its poignant lyrics that duly captured the Nigerian situation then, and is still very much the same situation right now. The fact that the song was banned by then President Obasanjo glorified Eedris even more. Then that fight he had with 50 cent … Kai. With other huge songs like Mr Lecturer, Marry me, and so on, Eedris definitely ruled the airwaves, till he was called out for being a wack rapper, by Ruggedman.

  1. Lagbaja

Who doesn’t know the masked music maestro called Lagbaja? It’s either you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re still a crying crawling baby. Lagbaja’s diversity could be seen as he could create hit songs like Gra Gra, Nothing for You and still go on to sing a timeless love song in Never Far Away with the beautiful and talented Ego. Lagbaja I tell you is truly among the legends of Nigerian Music.

  1. 9ice

If Imagine That by Styl Plus made me bite my tongue trying to sing lyrics, you can only imagine what 9ice did to me with Gongo Aso!!!! That song was lit for days. It was everywhere you go like MTN – from radio to TV to clubs, Gongo Aso could be heard. He had other hit songs from the Gongo Aso album, including the beautiful love song – Wedding Day (my favourite) to Photocopy, party rider, and his collabo with 2baba in Street Credibility which clearly put the Alapomeji crooner at the top of his game in 2008, 2009. He even took home the MAMA in 2008 for best Hip Hop artist. And he was a singer. Dope!

  1. Faze

Before Willow Smith showed us how to whip our hair, Faze had already showed us to how to crase properly with his hit tune Kolomental!!  Following the success of Faze Alone, this song confirmed Faze’s position as a Solo artist after the breakup of the hit group Plantashun Boyz. His other hits like Originality, Need Somebody, Tattoo girls, Kpo Kpo di Kpo also ruled the airwaves back in the day. Faze was definitely lit. I know you’re looking for these songs now, it’s absolutely allowed.

  1. Olu Maintain

’Yahooze,Yahooze!!!’’ I don’t think Mr Maintain himself needs any introduction, because, who did not dance to this song? With both hands forming the peace sign and rolling beside your head, Yahooze was a mad jam that year. Mr Nawti came back with another smash hit Nawti in 2012 but none of his songs can be compared to that his 2008 jam. None.

  1. African China

‘’Mr President Lead us well, if you be Governor, govern us well’’ No one can definitely forget this song by African China. With songs like this and No Condition is Permanent that reflected the social issues prevalent in the country that are still happening today in Nigeria, African China created Music that sent a message even whilst we were grooving to it. We need his kind of music back!

  1. Tony Tetuila

I’m just going to let you remember for yourself how big a jam this was. “Youu don hit my car, oyibo repete’’ is definitely among the most popular songs ever done by a Nigerian. Who will not be happy when a ‘’Tinubu’’ hits their car … your own don better na.

  1. Sasha

Sasha P – born Anthonia Yetunde Alabi is inarguably the First Lady of Nigerian Hip Hop. From her days with Da Trybe to her signing with Storm 360, she was queen of Hiphop, dropping gems like ‘Ewa ba mi jo’, ‘Adara,’ and so on. We wonder where she is these days.

  1. Daddy Showkey

‘’Somebody call my name, showkey!!’’ See I don`t think there’s anything I’ll say that will do justice to this man and his music and the influence he had on entertainment scene in the late 90’s. The galala master. Oga I salute you. With hits like Diana, Fire, etc, we can say that Daddy showkey is truly a living legend.

  1. ModeNine

With 7 Lyricist on the Roll awards at the Headies, Mode 9 is inarguably one of the greatest rappers to ever come out of Nigeria. He kept it real, spitting fire bars on every joint he was on. His music gave us joy back in the day, and we wish he would bless us with some real hiphop soon.


I’m sure you remember other major throwback hits and artists. You can add yours in the comments section, and join the conversation on Twitter – @ListsNG and my personal handle, @janiebanks.

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