In no particular other, here they are:
1. TONIGHT, BY NONSO AMADI
Tonight, you can call my phone
Tonight, you can call me all night long
Tonight, we represent the guy with the money
I discovered this song at the Tax Hang, when oluwatosin abejide did a karaoke performance. Released in 2016, it was nominated in the category for Best Vocal Performance (Male) at the Headies Award. With that mellifluous voice of his, that should be no surprise. Guess what? He’s 22 already and already has a Masters degree. See me here, LL.B is not rushing me. You can download the song here.
2. HEAT BY EMINEM
From the first time I saw you
I actually said to myself
I got to meet her like a taxi
Love affair in the backseat
Sorry if I’m being graphic
This song is one of my best tracks in Eminem’s 2017 Revival album. It chronicles his story trying to woo a girl and following her around while putting up an attitude, because he’s popular. Yeah, it has a lot of raunchy, but that’s why I love this guy – the way he’s able to take ordinary words and give them sexual connotation. That’s the height of creativity. I mean – Thoroughbred, Cheddar cheese, Set of D’s, Pedigree – this guy doesn’t use the conventional ‘vulgar’ words when.
I think you’re divine,
So, I might swing on you
You get – Divine, The vine. He’s around 45 now and there’s no sign he’s slowing down. He’s the perfect example of what to prove that creativity doesn’t ‘dry up’. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. For more on why I love this guy, check out my Day 4 post. Download it here
3. LET ME LIVE BY RUDIMENTAL & MAJOR LAZER FT. ANNE-MARIE & MR. EAZI
Cause I am the one, I rule my world
Nobody rule my destiny
Cause you are the one, you rule your world
No bad man own your destiny
Who heard Anne-Marie speak Pidgin? Or the Yoruba chorus in the background when Mr. Eazi was singing? Is there anybody out there who has beef with Major Lazer? The electropop, reggae feel of this song is the perfect club banger. I need to score this song for my next karaoke outing. Then the work of Rudimental, the English drum and bass band. Damn! It makes me feel like doing that Lagbaja dance with the talking drum playing in the background.
Absolutely African with an international appeal and the Nigerian stamp. Every patriotic Nigerian should jam this song. Enrich your playlist with the song here
4. WHERE I’M FROM BY BURNA BOY
‘From a place where nobody believes in us
So, we believe in ourselves
Nobody believes in us
We believe in ourselves
JahJah helps those who help themselves
In this cold world
Opportunity is a very scarce commodity
This track from his 2018 album Outside chronicles his struggles rising to the top and some of the challenges he’s faced lately. Some might remember that Burna Boy had trouble with the police last year based on trumped up charges. The need to be tough in ghetto communities of Rivers State, police raids.
Burna Boy is not a really mainstream artist. I saw this tweet once that said his music appealed to guys that could pitch mad business idea to investors and fight with conductors for change in the evening. This bipolar appeal is what I like. I believe the only other artiste to smoothly achieve this appeal was the late Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. It also turns out that Burna Boy’s grandfather worked with the Abami Eda himself.
Download it here
5. LIKE BY REEKADO BANKS FT. TIWA SAVAGE & FIOKEE
‘Me I get girl I go die for
I get girl I go kill for
50 girls on default.
I have done crazy things under the influence this song. Last year (or was it early this year), the night before Law of Evidence test, I plugged into this song, stuck on replay. Out of nowhere I started feeling very romantic. So loving. Chai! Guess what I did? I started calling some of my female friends, asking them for the meaning of their names in English. If I called you that night and you read this post, blame it on this song, not me. I wrote the poem, ‘I found love, Ife’, my first ever romantic poem. The closest I’ve ever come to anything emotional is erotic poems. Every stanza used the name of a girl I knew to extol the virtues of a woman.
See the poem below.
Hey, I told you in Day 1 that I like girls. Who was I supposed to call? My Daddy?
I still love the song and in case you haven’t discovered the song, here it is.
6. GOD’S PLAN BY DRAKE
‘She said do you love me
I told her only partly
I only love Mahbed and my Mummy, I’m sorry
How many of you thought he said ‘my bed’, instead ‘Mahbed’? Sorry. I was once in your shoes until someone showed me the light. Mahbed is the name of his son.
Now back to the song – the video. Call it whatever you want, stage-managed, that’s the stuff of dreams on the streets – to come from a background of pinching pennies then having so much you hardly know what to spend money. Bastard money. Ninalowo Mode. Anifowose Lifestyle. So, what do you with the money? Give it to others. Give it to a woman whose daughter needs to pay her tuition of $50,000 for a Master’s in Public Health soon. Give it to a family with no source of income, on the verge of being kicked out of their home. Give a one in a lifetime opportunity to shoppers trying to stay within their budget to buy whatever they want without breaking the bank. Donate the sum of $20,000 to the Fire Rescue Department
All of this happened in Miami, Florida
But it’s easy to get distracted by the video and not take note of the relevance of the title of the song, ‘God’s Plan’. Basically, Drake is telling his success wasn’t by his power. The people he met that gave him his first break. His desire to be remembered for something while alive. He gets depressed too. Despite all the bad belle on his success, none of that can stand in the way of God’s plan for his life. Download it here
7. WAY BY FALZ FT. WANDE COAL
‘Mo ti mope mi o smart lati Class One
Iwo nso Oyinbo
Emi n tabon
And I got a F9 in Maths gan-an
But I’m calculating $100,000…
5. GP from the onset
So you mean you still dey find employment
The message of this song is simple – we are not equal. All because someone is in the same place with you, same classroom, same workplace, and you seem to be doing better than him, doesn’t make you any better. The real MVPs are those who know their ‘way’ early enough. This is vital. Once a person knows exactly what he wants, or at least, what he doesn’t want, it just makes it easier to manage and direct his life towards the achievement of that goal. Using Falz’ academic analogy, you might have better grades, and someone with poorer grades, will still outshine you. And you can have the grades, but if you don’t know what you want from life, it’s all a waste.
The message of this song is a real pick me up every time. You can enjoy it here.
8. EVIL TWIN BY EMINEM
‘I believe people can change
But only for the worse
I could have changed the world
If it wasn’t for this verse
He’s not my role model if he doesn’t get to feature on this list at least twice. This song presents us to alter ego of Eminem, Slim Shady. This song shows us the other side of Eminem, always ready to pick a fight, throwing subtle shades on every side, while shifting the blame to his alter ego, like its one big game. He’s undisputedly at the top of his game. The ‘hogger of beats, hoarder of rhymes, borderline genius who’s bored of his lines’ always striving to beat his previous records. I think I should stop at this point, before I start fawning over him.
9. STREETS OF AFRICA BY BURNA BOY
How can I not be happy all day?
I’m from the streets of Africa
If you put speakers in my mind
I bet it would sound like ‘WOW, WOW, WOW’
That’s why I smoke smoke smoke
Shirt off like I ain’t got no clothes
Coz where I’m from there ain’t no snow
So, I refrigerate my flows
That’s how a nigga keep it cool
A tribute to the African vibe from the man like ‘Fela Kuti with the hoes’. A feel good from the song perfect for those moments when I just finished a very dreary task. Like when I’m done with all my exams, this song will be on repeat. You can join me here.
10. ALL NIGHT BY BEYONCE
Take one pint of water
Add a half pound of sugar
The juice of eight lemons
The zest of half lemon
Pour the water from one jug into the other several times
Strain through a clean napkin
Grandmother, the alchemist
You spun gold out of this hard life
Conjured beauty from the things left behind
Found healing where it did not live
Discovered the antidote in your own kitchen
Broke the curse with your own two hands
You passed these instructions down to your daughter
Who then passed it down to her daughter
My Grandma said, nothing real can be threatened
True love brought salvation back into me
With every tear came redemption
And my torturer became my remedy
So, we’re gonna heal
We’re gonna start again
You’ve brought the orchestra
You’re the magician
Pull me back together again the way you cut me in half
Make the woman in doubt disappear
Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk
Knot after knot after knot
The audience applauds
But we can’t hear them
Pardon the extended excerpt. This intro in the video is the killer for me.
This song is a love song. Everybody’s love song. Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Gays. Lesbians. And every other person who was saved in one way or the other by the power of love.
It’s a story of struggle to give a better life to those coming after you, while preserving the lessons for those coming after you so they can maintain your legacy, like Grandma Hattie (the Grandma referred to here).
It’s a story of taking lemons and making lemonade out of them. It’s the reason I’ve pulled an overnight to write this list. It’s a story of accepting pain as part of the growth process, letting it guide you to salvation.
If it’s real, it cannot be threatened. It’s a love story, and what better way to end this list than with the hope of a happily ever after?