We must recognize the efforts put in by musicians to create alluring music for the entire year 2022, solely for our listening pleasure. We cannot let the year pass without appreciating the painstaking work that goes into producing anything as impactful as a single, or even a packaged album that has 10 or more songs.
We have had the privilege of sharing a space with these artists as they use their vocals and catchy melodies to recount some of their experiences, allowing us to properly ingest music and infuse it into our systems in just this one year. In the year 2022, we have experienced smash hits that will last through the ages, smash hits that have evolved from being simple melodies into universal anthems.
From anthems such as Buga by Kizz Daniel featuring Tekno to songs such as Odogwu by Eltee Skhillz to crushing anthems such as Last Last by Burna Boy himself and an amazing music run from Asake, the year 2022 is completely defined as a year of ‘eating good’ from the Nigerian music arena. We’re not left out of the many dramas that have erupted since January; the one-month-one-trouble artist himself, Portable, Carter Efe’s inclusion of comedy into the music scene, to the legal saga surrounding Tempoe and Asa, leaving Wizkid and Joeboy dangling somewhere in the middle. What ecstasy!
We’ll be examining extraordinary produced albums by our Nigerian artists as the year comes to a close sooner than we all expect. These albums rate higher than the others for their buildup, sequential arrangement, massive replay value, and production quality—while every album released this year is a fantastic endeavor, these highlighted handful are just better than the rest. In reality, some of the albums or projects produced this year fell short of our expectations and hung in between defined and confused.
In no particular order, these are District234’s top 5 albums of 2022!
Boy Alone – Omah Lay
While we did mention “in no particular sequence”, the rules may need to be adjusted slightly for this. Omah Lay’s debut album is patently the number one album in Nigeria this year; who knows? It could last till the next year, 2023?
The grandeur of Omah Lay’s debut resides in the intentionality of the album’s plot; the repeat value; and how relatable the record is to an average young person listening to it. He stays close to home throughout the album, focusing on love, loneliness, gratitude, and the ambition to be great. He pounds on loneliness so hard that we’re having so much fun with his album that we forget we’re having fun at the expense of an artist’s misery; the pain that comes with being in the spotlight.
Soso is the album’s uncontested best track; any other can only come close, and while everyone is entitled to their opinion, no one can deny the ecstatic feeling of listening to the melody and being blown away into an altogether different dimension due to its perfection. You’ll agree with this writer that, while Boy Alone may not be your favorite album, it’s a solid ten.
Palmwine Music Vol 3 – Show Dem Camp
In terms of the word “perfection,” Show Dem Camp’s music is an ardent expression of it. They have never failed to deliver music that brings people to their feet and hooks them on their lyrical flows over the years. Palmwine Music Vol3 is again another excellently executed album, the third hook in the Palmwine Music trilogy.
As with Ghost and Tec, they feature artists who not only identify with what they want to convey through their music, but also artists who augment the album. The album flows smoothly from start to finish, and you’ll most likely find yourself replaying a tune twice before going on to the next.
Show Dem Camp lets the album concentrate around love and heartbreak; they use radio call-in sessions to make the listen thorough and impassioned. Artists such as Oxlade and Victony masterfully render a love themed track, serenading through the beats and demonstrating their proficiency in love songs. Wurld appears on this album as well, and he does what he does best—caress through the tune and send out a message about toxic love, since he clearly has a link with toxicity.
Wyw, Feel Something, or OldFlame are the tracks that carry the medal as number one tracks on the album—it is their repeat value and the performers’ engaging vocals that draw you onto them.
Mr Money With The Vibe – Asake
Argue all you want, but Asake’s debut album this year is, to put it simply, on fire. One would have anticipated the artist to falter given his ‘rinse-and-repeat’ technique, but after listening to this album, you’re completely free of that thinking.
The beauty of his album is the brevity and conciseness with which he moves from one tune to the next, the compelling start to the album, his iteration with diverse sounds, and even his exploration into Western culture with Russ.
His album’s brevity is what makes you replay it a thousand times or more—you require clarity on what you’re listening to and, as a result, you’re hooked on three tracks or more, admiring his creativity on the album.
Joha is the best track on the album, not simply because of its popularity, but also because of its distinct sound; a sound drawn from the evergreen Fuji and combined with the log drums of South African amapiano. What Asake did with his debut album was to unleash twelve big smashes all at once.
More Love, Less Ego – Wizkid
Wizkid begins this album with “Nobody like me,” in Money & Love, which is true—for how can an artist deliver two outstanding albums in less than three years that blow up the internet immediately after their releases? Wizkid keeps thriving by sipping his tea, making music, and ghosting his fans whenever he wants.
There is a sense of serenity in how Wizkid’s album is constructed and how it goes into the next. The musician delivers the album with little effort, filling it with Caribbean grooves, sensual tracks, and love songs. At this point, it is clear that the artist has little to prove; he will compose good music and make gold out of concrete stones.
It’s now en vogue for the artist to create music that suggests carnality, ease of mind, and a stress-free mood—songs like Flower Pads and Slip N Slide are prime examples. The artist has attained a god-like level with this album, making music that catches you at first listen, gives you ease in progression, and a clear plot even with the song titles.
The best track on this album is determined by your current mood—it is constant and ever changing.
Love, Damini – Burna Boy
Love, Damini is a glimpse into Burna Boy’s vulnerability; you’re lucky if you can digest this album thoroughly and finally understand this artist’s state of mind whenever the blast of his voice tunes up. Unlike his previous albums, which pictured him as a strong-willed artist with the resilience of a giant, this album is a stark contrast; it reveals a side of Burna that yearns for love, yearns for understanding despite his mistakes as a man, and, in general, the empathetic side of Burna.
Following the success of his hit song of the year, Last Last, the artist’s range is unrivaled, both in terms of sound and in terms of who he features on his songs. This writer ranks his love-themed tracks higher than any other in Love, Damini. While For My Hand featuring Ed Sheeran is the album’s most well-known love song, Toni-Ann Singh and Solid are better suited.
With remarkable albums like V, Young Preacher, Horoscopes, The Guy, amongst others, Nigeria’s music quality is phenomenal, and as we prepare for what the music scene has in store for us come 2023, we regard once again, our talented musicians who have carried us through the year with their music.
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