When you think of afrobeats (or Nigerian music in general), you don’t think romance straight away, but the truth is afrobeats is a romantic genre – unfortunately, the message usually gets lost in the catchy beats. Take, Patoranking’s vocal profession of love as he exclaims ‘My Woman, My Everything’ or what’s more romantic to a Nigerian than ‘oya take all my money and put am for your head oh’? The answer is nothing.
As such, I teamed up with Feyikemi Akin Bankole to look at some of the best Nigerian love songs since Tu Face’s ‘African Queen.’
Let’s preface by saying, this list was impossible to put together because there are just so many greats. So, before we start, a few honorable mentions to ‘Oloo Mi’ by Tosin Martins, ‘Oruka’ by Sunny Nneji, ‘Angel Of My Life’ by Paul Play Dairo and any Wizkid song where he threatens to finish your life with money.
Ololufe – Wande Coal
Mide: I asked my Twitter followers what the greatest Nigerian love song was and this was definitely a reoccurring answer. I don’t even want to get married but I need a wedding just so Wande Coal can perform this song.
Feyikemi: This brings back bare memories. Back then, I sang this to my crush (in my head), cos it was easily one of the best love songs of its time.
Olufunmi – Styl Plus
Mide: It’s hard not to immediately belt out Olufunmi o, when you see this song. Styl Plus had the whole of Nigeria yearning after Olufunmi, also the music video is super fun to watch now.
Feyikemi: Literally the whole of Nigeria. Olufunmi is one of the first songs I remember loving as a child, and over 10 years later I still sing it word for word at the top of my lungs. Trust me, you don’t want to see me do it.
Never Far Away – Lagbaja featuring Ego
Mide: This song made eleven year old me sing passionately in front of my mirror to my hypothetical boyfriend, I still know every single word to it. In fact, I blame this song for all my subsequent heartbreaks because it distorted my perception of love.
Feyikemi: Lmao! This song brings back too many memories with my own imaginary ex boyfriend. I used to sing the life out of the chorus.
Ife Wa Gbono – Tiwa Savage featuring Leo Wonder
Feyikemi: I won’t lie, I never rated this song till a couple years down the line. Now I think it’s real cute – Tiwa Savage definitely did something here. Also, check out the video cause that was partly why I fell in love with the song.
Mide: The first time I heard this song was when I watched the video and I remember being in love with it. It takes you back to the good old days when romance was simple – long walks through the village et al.
Fall In Love- D’Banj.
Mide: For me, the most convincing argument to include this song was that video had Genevieve. That aside, it’s a catchy song.
Feyikemi: LOL, I don’t know what is wrong with Mide. Anyway, the song isn’t that cute thinking about it now. But it seems like back then if you didn’t like Fall In Love, especially with the rumor that D’Banj and Genevieve were a thing, then you didn’t like/know anything good. I guess that’s how the song grew on me?
Yes/No – BankyW
Mide: To be honest, this song just about made the cut for me. I’m not the biggest Banky W fan but I’ll allow it.
Feyikemi: Ha, my song! Listening to Yes/No on a nice, calm evening will honestly have you thinking about the ex you never had (I can’t relate obviously… lol).
One Naira – MI ft. Waje
Mide: This is the love song Nigerians deserve because we all know how much we obsess over love stories that glorify struggle, so it makes sense that it was such a hit.
Feyikemi: I didn’t actually listen to the lyrics of this song when it came out. Like at all. I just liked how it sounded. Then one day I actually listened and it’s so cute. Although Mide didn’t lie about us loving to glorify struggle, I still think it’s a really underrated song.
Farabale – Odunsi ft. Dami Oniru
Mide: So I couldn’t decide between this song and Desire so I decided to add both. This was the first time I heard Dami Oniru sing and I was in awe. The chemistry between both of them keeps you captivated throughout the song. It’s so beautifully written too.
Feyikemi: I’m not saying this just because I love these two musicians, but this song is truly beautiful. It really doesn’t get better than a love song by Odunsi and Dami Oniru.
Desire – Odunsi ft Funbi & Tay
Mide: Three of my favorite vocalists on one song? Before I listened I already knew it couldn’t fail. It’s the song that made me contemplate if I could be in love with people I hadn’t even met.
Feyikemi: I fall in love with this song every time I listen to it. It’s almost like I hear it for the first time every time I play it. I’m sorry but you can’t go wrong with an Odunsi song with a dash of Funbi and a sprinkle of Tay Iwar.
Me and You – Praiz
Mide: Honestly, I’m ready to fight for anyone that disagrees with this choice, everything about it just makes me warm and fuzzy! I’m definitely adding it to my wedding playlist OR my proposal video (yes, I’m going to have a soundtrack for my proposal).
Feyikemi: As in, I can draw blood for this song. Oh my gosh, as I’m typing this I can feel the butterflies in my tummy. I’m not sure if it’s Praiz’s voice or the song itself but this is it, y’all.
Mad Over You – Runtown
Mide: I love Mad Over You because you can be singing it at the top of your lungs in the club and it’d still sound super romantic. It’s also a good song for a little bump and grind.
Feyikemi: Yessss, throwback to December 2016 (till summer 2017)! Nice one from Runtown. This is definitely his best song, and I’m his biggest fan so I will not take any Mad Over You criticism lightly.