Best and Biggest Breakout Nigerian Songs of the 2010s
In this list, we examine 10 breakout songs from Nigerian musicians that have amounted to some of the best and biggest records in the 2010s which was their decade of release.
Nigerian music has had different eras with different markers and milestones. But the 2010s was especially explosive, ushering in fresh new acts with seismic talents that have made an immeasurable impact on the scene.
In this list, we go over the beginning of the explosion for these hits-streaking artistes by examining their breakout songs which have amounted to some of the best and biggest records in their decade of release. Here are the biggest breakout Nigerian songs from the 2010s:
But first, what is a breakout song and what makes any qualify as the biggest breakout songs of 2010?
Time-bound research on Nigerian music will show that we've had our fair share of huge hits that have shaken the many corners of the nation. However, breakout songs are records that introduce a musician to the mainstream by virtue of their success. They prove important to an artiste's career because with a breakout song, artistes are opened up to a larger fanbase and this grants them access to work with bigger acts that can further boost their artistry from the pivot point granted them by their breakout hit.
What then are the biggest breakout songs of the 2010s?
1. Wizkid- Holla At Your Boy, 2010
Back in early 2010, when we'd all danced and sang along to Wizkid's breakout hit, Holla at Your Boy, we had absolutely no idea we were witnessing the start of a career that would span decades, bridge borders and cross charts.
Before Holla at Your Boy, Wizkid's voice had captivated music lovers when he'd supplied the chorus to M.I Abaga’s Fast Money, Fast Cars.
Interestingly, Wizkid had been formerly named Lil Prinz and Holla at Your Boy had not only given us a record to do the jerk to but had also marked the official birth of multiple a record-breaking megastar.
2. Davido- Dami Duro, 2011
In May, 2011, Davido released his first single, Back When. It had featured It rapper, Naeto C, and had gotten decent airplay on radio and TV stations as he sang about his days of struggle. It however wasn't till October that year when he'd shirked his cloak of humility and released Dami Duro, an obnoxious, all in your face record where he'd introduced himself as the son of a wealthy man.
That introduction had been very well received and had grown to be a hit song with enough power to call party goers to the dance floor till date. And the moniker, Omo Baba Olowo shortened as O.B.O, had stuck as he continued to create new records and take Afrobeats to greater heights.
3. Sean Tizzle- Sho Lee, 2013
Today, if you call out the words, ‘Sho lee?’ to a crowd of 90s babies, you're sure to hear ‘Ko le’ in response. Sean Tizzle’s Sho Lee breakout hit released in February 2013 is the inspiration behind the response. The singer who had been signed to Sound Sultan's Naija Ninjas, had literally blitzed onto the scene from nowhere to drop a tune for the clubs, parties and every fun-loving gathering.
After Sho Lee, Sean Tizzle had ensured that he maintained top of mind by dropping other records like Mama Ehh, Kilogbe and more.
What was Burna Boy's first song?
4. Burna Boy- Like to Party, 2010
On 31st of October 2010, a certain Jay B from Ijaw Boys Entertainment introduced the founder of Aristokrat Music, Peedi Picasso to an aspiring musician named Shorty Gunt. He would later become the Grammy award-winning Burna Boy.
But before that came the first step of a million, geared at greatness and this was his breakout song, Like to Party.
Laidback and categorically different in tempo and feel from records available on the market at that moment, Burna Boy’s Like to Party was released in 2012 as the precursor to his debut album; L.I.F.E, and he'd risen to prominence from that moment on.
5. Ice Prince- Oleku, 2010
Ice Prince had won the Hennessy Club Artistry contest as far back as 2009 but it's highly unlikely anyone foresaw his next achievement. This came in form of Oleku which became such a huge hit, it is one of the most remixed Nigerian songs and even has a Gabonese version.
Oleku was released in 2010 and afterwards, the rapper had put out his well-received debut album, Everybody Loves Ice Prince, fully marking the start of his career and the rise of one of the most iconic Nigerian rappers.
6. Tiwa Savage- Kele Kele, 2010
“I think Nigerians were waiting for a female artist to bring about the desired change,” said Tiwa Savage when asked about her thoughts on why her first single, Kele Kele, had been met with immediate success.
Until the release of her debut, Kele Kele, Tiwa Savage had been a songwriter in the United States and the Nigerian music industry had been terribly lacking the strong female essence she'd hit it with.
7. Olamide- Eni Duro, 2010
2010 was indeed a fresh page in the chronicles of Nigeria’s music revolution. So while Afropop was being revolutionised, street-hop was also infused with new life with the emergence of Olamide off his official debut single, Eni Duro.
Eni Duro had instantly loved, surmounting language and class barriers to become a huge hit. And the very next year, he cemented his breakout status with his debut album, Rapsodi which showed Olamide was the rapper with the voice of the streets and beyond.
8. Yemi Alade- Johnny, 2013
Back in the day, the video of Yemi Alade’s Johnny was one of the first to hit a 100 million views. Interestingly, it had been her breakout track, that had come after her debut single, Ghen Ghen Love.
Yemi Alade had won the Peak Talent Show in 2009 and had later on gotten signed to Efizzie Music under which she released her Johnny single which had not only been a hit in Nigeria but in other African countries, giving rise to her status as Mama Africa.
9. Patoranking- Alubarika, 2013
Nobody does Afro-dancehall in the way that Patoranking does; fluid, polyrhythmic with every potential to become a hit. This unique power had been unleashed from his very first single released in 2013, Alubarika, which had featured Timaya and had introduced the mainstream music scene to his style.
He soon revisited the scene with Girlie O and the remix with Tiwa Savage had become an explosive one.
10. Runtown- Gallardo ft Davido, 2014
In November 2015, Runtown’s Gallardo featuring Davido had won him the award for Best Collaboration of the Year. It had featured Davido and had been the singer's debut single which had reached the many corners of the chounty.
Soon after, he'd released his first album, Ghetto University and it had become a hugely successful project, proving Runtown's emergence unto the music scene.