Songs and dances are like peanut butter and jelly; they go hand in hand. Although, not every song that is released comes with its own signature dance move. And for the ones that do, not all the dances are catchy, fun, or go viral.
With the advent of TikTok and social media dance challenges, a lot of artists are leveraging signature dance moves to promote their new music. Some artists even go as far as creating a song specifically for its danceability, to increase the chances of virality.
In this article, we explore some Nigerian songs, both classics and recent releases, that came with a signature dance or had one given to them, and which of these dance steps were hits or misses.
First on this list is Lil Kesh’s 2014 hit song, Shoki. The song was accompanied by the dance step Shoki. Shoki originated a year prior to the song’s release in 2013. Although there’s some uncertainty around the origin of the dance step, it was clearly made popular thanks to Lil Kesh. Shoki was a hit in our opinion.
Alingo is a 2013 hit song by music duo P-square. P-square is made up of brothers Peter and Paul Okoye who have had major falling-outs over the years but are now back together. Alingo was accompanied by the infamous dance step with the same name; Alingo. It is interesting to note that Alingo wasn’t mixed and mastered. Alingo was a hit but the dance was a little difficult to execute.
Olamide’s 2018 hit Science Student was accompanied by the already popular dance step Shaku Shaku. Although Shaku Shaku was popularized by many songs, Olamide’s Science Student definitely takes the crown. Shaku Shaku was a phenomenon at its peak and had social media going crazy.
Zanku (Leg work)
Zlatan’s 2018 hit song Zanku, ushered in a new wave of excitement with its accompanying dance step of the same name. Zanku, also known as Leg Work, took the music industry by storm and Zlatan leveraged it for maximum growth at the time. Burna Boy lent a helping hand to further popularize the dance step by featuring on Zlatan’s Gbeku. The video was a smash hit. Zanku is still a trendy dance step today and has been morphed into various dance steps since its inception.
A song that has to be on this list is Naira Marley’s Tesumole. Released in 2019 Tesumole came with a dance step that became a social media sensation for a very long time. Naira Marley’s Tesumole dance routine was very trendy and it took social media by storm. Both the song and dance are certified hits.
The 2018 hit song by Mr Real has earned a spot on this list thanks to its accompanying dance step, Legbegbe. Legbegbe was a certified party sensation and it helped thrust Mr Real into the limelight.
MC Galaxy’s 2016 banger Sekem came with a signature dance step. The singer after winning Davido’s dance challenge for Skelewu released the single and its accompanying dance step. The song and dance had Nigerians in a chokehold for a long time and is still popular today.
Olamide’s Motigbana has to be on this list thanks to the Kpakujemu dance. The unique dance step was introduced in the 2018 hit single Motigbana which received massive airplay throughout the country at the time of its release. It goes without saying that Olamide is a lover of dance. If he’s not coming up with the moves, then he’s promoting them.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Davido’s Skelewu. A lot of people are quick to forget that the Stand Strong crooner was quite the dancer. The 2016 hit introduced a dance that not only cut across Nigeria, but across Africa. The dance is still very popular today and its introduction was a crucial point in OBO’s career. It’s safe to say it was a banger.
YBNL boss Olamide is back on the list again thanks to his 2016 song, Bobo. Bobo was an anthem when it dropped and some of its success can be attributed to the dance step that came with it: Shakitibobo. It’s almost impossible to forget the dance step thanks to the memorable video that Olamide dropped alongside the song. You just couldn’t resist doing the unique dance step whenever the song came on.
A lot of people will question Gentility’s presence on this list but it’s here because it should be. Originally released in 2019 by Melvitto and Wande Coal, Gentility made a comeback to the charts this year thanks to a TikTok challenge. And as most TikTok challenges are known for, the Gentility challenge had a dance which quickly became known to many as the ‘Gentility dance.’ Gentility might not have been released with an accompanying dance step, but it definitely had one given to it.
Arguably the biggest song out of Africa in 2022 so far, Kizz Daniel’s Buga needs to be on this list. The smash hit which debuted in May 2022 was accompanied by a signature dance move and a TikTok challenge. Thanks to its catchiness Buga totally took over TikTok as well as topped charts. With a simple but exquisite dance step, Kizz Daniel’s Buga is a smash hit.
Ijo (Laba Laba)
Ever since the release of Overloading (Overdose), things have totally changed for Mavin signee and superstar Crayon. Crayon released Ijo (Laba Laba) a couple weeks later and it had a signature dance attached to it. Ijo (Laba Laba) is an energetic song that’ll leave you wanting to shake your body and its video which highlights the new dance step is proof.