Nigerian artists are often likened to prophets and philosophers because of how some of what they speak about with their lyrics often come to pass, end up being super relevant, or have so much wisdom in them. In some songs, artists address specific issues—whether intentionally or accidentally—that the average person might also be going through. A good example is Davido’s Fem, and how it seemed like it was intentionally made to be used as the END SARS protests anthem.
When Nigerian artists create music, there are usually a couple of lines in their lyrics that hit so close to home you think the artist was thinking about you when recording in the studio—at that point, all that’d be left is for them to call your name. Even though your name wasn’t called, you can still call on these lines as they’ll come in handy when you’re going through a situation and you just can’t find the words; or maybe you can find the words but you know that you can never say it as eloquently as these artistes have done.
Below are some evergreen lines from popular Nigerian songs, that you can call on when you need to address a situation with authority by quoting renowned prophets and philosophers like Rema, Asake, and Fireboy DML.
Woman — Rema
Lyrics: “Enter the room give me your phone. Make them no go see me for blog.”
This is the perfect line to use before you engage in any sexual activities with people you know who always have their hands on the record button. Rema has made it known on multiple occasions that he likes women. However, he’s no stranger to the fact that sometimes a private interaction that you have with a woman can get publicized if you are not careful. This line has a lot of foreshadowing, as we’ve seen sex tapes of people like Tiwa Savage, Oxlade, and BNXN fka Buju get leaked and trend on Twitter. If only someone had told you exactly what to say, oh wait, Rema did.
If You Ask Me — Omawumi
Lyrics: “If you ask me the matter for ground eh. Na who I go ask.”
Omawumi released this song in 2015 and apart from being a gracious record that made waves, it also featured quality writing. Some of that writing was done on your behalf. The next time someone asks you a question you don’t have the answers to–or a question you don’t want to answer–Omawumi has got you covered. Just sing the popular lines from her 2015 hit and you’d have said enough for whoever is asking you the question to leave you alone and ask someone else.
Bloody Samaritan — Ayra Starr
Lyrics: “Na my pastor say I be my healer. Everything I desire I go receive.”
If what you desire is some justification for the chronic self-medication you’re known for, then Ayra Starr is your girl. Bloody Samaritan wasn’t just a banger that totally flew in 2021, it also had a line that self-medication enthusiasts will find useful. The next time you embark on one of your self-medication escapades and someone has the audacity to question you, let them know that you have your pastor’s blessings. Further cement the authority and qualification you possess to self-medicate by quoting the self-dubbed Celestial Being herself.
Location — Dave & Burna Boy
Lyrics: “If you send me the location. Then I’ll be right there.”
Dave sent Burna Boy the location and he pulled up to collaborate with the UK rapper on the smash hit from 2019. On the track, Burna Boy gave you the perfect line to let people know how ready you are to link up. No one ever thinks you’re in the mood to hang out, and because of that, they aren’t letting you know where and when the next group events are. If that’s your case and you’ve had enough, then it’s high time you let the African Giant do the talking for you. All you need to do is quote Burna Boy and you’ll get sent all the locations from here on out. Try it out for yourself.
Bimpé — Asa
Lyrics: “Emi ire ko l’egbe.”
Asa isn’t just a versatile artist, she’s a confident queen too. In her 2011 hit single Bimpè, Asa is fearless as she echoes how she really feels about Bimpè. Whilst getting things off her chest, she serves us a line that screams “I’m not your mate,” literally. The next time someone younger than you forgets their places and starts giving off disrespectful vibes, the “emi ire ko l’egbe” line from Asa’s Bimpè is not only a subtle flex that you listen to good quality musicians like Asa, but that you are not to be disrespected and the person should know their place.
Mafo — Naira Marley & Young John
Lyrics: “Eko dun mawole. Toba ti lowo lapo.”
On 2019’s Mafo, Naira Marley teamed up with Young John to deliver a track that took over the country at the time. The line I’ve chosen is the line Naira Marley uses to start off the song. He says “Eko dun mawole / Toba ti lowo lapo” which translates to “Lagos is fun come in / Only when you have money in your pocket.” The best time to recruit this line is when your friends abroad are getting ready to come to Lagos for detty December. Use the line to remind them that Lagos is always a chill place to visit, depending on how much money you have and are willing to spend.
Frozen — Madonna, Sickick, & Fireboy DML
Lyrics: “After all you have taken it all. Everything that I got, you have taken it all.”
This track is iconic for two reasons: Madonna and Fireboy. Madonna is a legend on her own and when she recruits a young legend like Fireboy, you know it can only be magical. However, his collab is on this list because of Fireboy’s verse on the record. The crypto market has been down for months now and it’s definitely lost a lot of people money. This Fireboy line is one every cryptocurrency adopter should use when addressing the recent market.
Sing — Oxlade & Fireboy DML
Lyrics: “My followers no be one million. But my fan base o strong gidi gan.”
Musicians are also influencers and that show in this song because Fireboy seems to be letting brands that want to work with him know his value. This line can be copped by any influencers that have under a million followers but whose followers are an active community. If a brand you want to work with tries to downplay your worth, remind them—using Fireboy’s words—that your followers no be one million, but your fanbase strong gidi gan.
Bad Gang — Ajebutter22 & Falz
Lyrics: “I want to help you but it’s more difficult. I try to put effort, but I did not see result.”
Ajebutter22 and Falz’s 2016 hit makes it on this list thanks to this line from Falz. With this line, Falz is lamenting his failed efforts. There are people that you genuinely want to help but it seems like they don’t want the help and you’re just wasting your time; that is when you scream this line at the top of your voice. Whoever you’re talking to should instantly recognize the authority of this line and flee from you.
Organise — Asake
Lyrics: “ I no go let anyone control me. Anything wey I wan do, I go do.”
Asake’s new album has lyrics for days, but this line from Organise will have to suffice. With this line you can do a lot of things. It’s a line that gives you freedom from control. The next time someone tells you what to do and you aren’t having it, let Mr Money do some of the talking for you. Be careful not to use this line with African parents as you might end up regretting ever encountering this list.