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The PGM Club’s Best 20 Songs In 2019

2019 in retrospect was quite a good year as far as the Nigerian music industry is concerned. Over the past 364 days, Afrobeats, Nigeria’s major music export, got more visibility on the world stage, we experienced so many exciting releases and bespoke rollouts. But most of all, we witnessed an influx of a range of young, vibrant and talented artists that dominated the airwaves such that people started to speak of a change of guard in the industry that up until recently was dominated by a duopoly. Amidst a tidal wave of releases this year, we at the PGM Club have come to put out a list of our top 20 records that believe dominated the year. 

Tems – Try Me

A follow up to her year-opening stunner, ‘Looku Looku‘, ‘Try Me’ is a breakout anthem for the oppressed, underrated and understated who have been suppressed from use and abuse. Over a simple and laidback beat, a spirited Tems is on a mission to set herself free as she continuously asks why her subjugator keeps pushing her to the wall.

With a powerful sing-along-hook, this song is so infectious that’d get you in the zone right from your first listen. If there was ever any doubt about Tems skill as a dazzling vocalist and songwriter, ‘Try Me‘ puts that to rest. The record has gained much traction on the airwaves and its video has racked up over a million views on YouTube.

Lady Donli x The Cavemen – Cash

Cash’ is the lead single off Lady Donli’s well-received debut album, “Enjoy Your Life” that got blessed with a Davido-assisted remix. The original single which Lady Donli revealed was recorded at a time when she was broke and frustrated soundtracks our unending hustle and bustle for money. The song has one simple message; this life is one so enjoy it as much as you can. 

Teni- Billionaire

The lead single Teni’s her 6-track EP of the same title, ‘Billionaire’ is that anthem that reaffirmed Teni’s position as a hitmaker after near-misses released earlier in the year.  Produced by Pheelz, ‘Billionaire’ is an up-tempo record, rich in instrumentation and overflows with ambition, providing a perfect blend of a stunning dance record with declarative and prayerful lyrics. Proudly weaving together Yoruba and English over ‘alujo‘-laced percussion, Teni sings of her lofty dreams of being a billionaire as well as the luxury and excess that comes with being one. She also backed this record with a brilliant TG Omori-directed video.

Mojo ft Prettyboy DO – Chop Life Crew

A highly enjoyable record, ‘Chop Life Crew’ as its title suggests is a not-so-subtle reminder that life is short and it is to be enjoyed to the fullest. Both D-O and MOJO deliver energetic verses that drive the message home over a slick production with rolling hi-hats and hard-hitting kicks. The Ronchi-produced record also houses a catchy-hook that gets you bobbing your head and whistling along upon every listen.

Rema – Dumebi

A standout cut off his 4-track self-titled debut EP “Rema“, ‘Dumebi’ is that monster hit that speedily propelled the freshly unveiled Mavins act to stardom.  A very catchy and danceable Afropop record, ‘Dumebi‘ alongside its accompanying video undoubtedly dominated the airwaves throughout 2019 making Rema a household name in no time.  

Reekado Banks – Rora

After a brief self-imposed hiatus, Reekado Banks came back with a King Tuzi-produced bang titled ‘Rora’. Undoubtedly, Reekado Bank took the doubts out of our minds and hushed naysayers with this sleeper hit. Over the mid-tempo Afropop record, Reekado Banks is in full woman-worship mode as he adulates his love interest begging her to ‘calm down’.

Joeboy – Baby

Very early into the year, Joeboy eased himself into the hearts of many with his Afropop love record, ‘Baby’. Over the soft but sparkling instrumental, the young singer openly declares love for his sweetheart, gifting us one of the best sing-along hooks of 2019. And ever since the release of this chart-topping smash, the Empawa has been on a joy ride to stardom and mainstream success. Proving he was no fad, the young singer also followed up with equally beautiful songs, ‘Beginning‘ and ‘Don’t Call Me Back‘ and an impressive 5-track EP, “Love & Light.”

Sarz & WurlD – Mad

Sarz and WurlD finally treated us to their much-teased “I Love Girls With Trobul” EP this year, and one of the standouts off the tape is ‘Mad’. Across the infectious record, WurlD’s artistic strengths are on full display as the song is well written and delivered with a solid vocal performance. He gives us a peek into his “trobul’d” relationship with Sade, one that isn’t exactly going through the best of times. Sarz’s production on the record is so thrilling that the song immediately ensnares you upon its first listen.

Santi – Sparky

A single off his debut album “Mandy and the Jungle,” ‘Sparky’ finds Santi crooning over a soft and minimalist production which leaves enough room for the dominance of the vocals and polished delivery of the dreadlocked singer. Just like the visuals for ‘Freaky’, the accompanying visuals for ‘Sparky’ appears to be highly inspired by the 90s Nollywood culture which others have subjected to ridicule. 

Johnny Drille – Papa

Released in celebration of Father’s Day, ‘Papa’ finds the Mavin Records alternative-folk singer appreciating his dad and crooning about his spirituality spurred and serviced by his father. Backed mainly by stifling strings and solemn keys, Johnny Drille opens the record by recounting the fatherly advice he was given when he was much younger to have his life guided and guarded by faith and prayers. He then describes how his father keeps in touch with him regularly and reminds him not to let go of his spirituality in the strange land he currently finds himself.

 Boj x Kwesi Arthur, Darko Vibes – Awolowo

Over the record produced by the acclaimed ‘alte playmaker’, GMK, BOJ recruits a team of Ghana’s finest; Kwesi Arthur, Darko Vibes and Joey B. The song also features additional vocals by Zamir and guitar by friend-of-the-family, Tomi Thomas.

Across the record, BOJ delivers a chilling hook with his gruff voice over the simplistic but dazzling GMK-production. Kwesi Arthur, Joey B and Darko Vibes also didn’t disappoint, coming through with impressive 16s woven in English, pidgin and their native tongues. This record also has a Naija remix that features Ycee, Fresh L and Falz.

Odunsi – Tipsy

A striking step-forward from last year’s debut album ‘rare.’, ‘Tipsy’ finds Odunsi (The Engine) pushing his music into darker territory, with elements of R&B, soul and pop part of his global-facing, Afro-fusion sound. His vocal interplay with RAYE is the perfect fit, with both artists possessing the character and star quality to naturally complement each other’s talent. This striking record helped to introduce the alte frontman to a wider international audience. 

Buju X Zlatan – Spiritual

One of the amazing talents that 2019 introduced to us is Buju. The young singer is no doubt one of the most talented singers on the rise and is looking to an even more promising 2020. One of the songs that thrust him into the public eye is his August release, ‘Spiritual’ featuring Zlatan. Over the ad-lib laced zanku anthem, Buju’s vocals shine through, dazzling the uninitiated as he croons about his lover over the chilledSteph production. Zlatan also came through on the record with one of his most thrilling verses of the year. 

Davido x Popcaan – Risky

On this Popcaan-assisted record, Davido crafted a beautiful hook from the disjointed, grating and hilarious Hot 97 freestyle. Just a few hours before its release, Davido gave us a fair warning on Twitter “What you all laughed at!! You will dance to!!” and he couldn’t have been more accurate.

Produced by Speroach Beatz, ‘Risky‘ helped reignite the anticipation for his long-awaited sophomore album “A Good Time.”

AYLØ – Paris

AYLØ gave us the first taste of the material he had been working on in silence “Dnt’ Dlt” with the record titled ‘Paris’. On the song centred around fiding beauty, AYLØ delievers a soothing and melodious record over a simplistic and minimalist production. With his emotive vocals on full display, he croons about how he is helplessly in love with his sweetheart. “We are all damaged …” he resigns. This song is co-produced by Le Mav and Odunsi The Engine.

Naira Marley – Opotoyi

Naira Marley isn’t exactly a PGM-type artist, but his influence and dominance this year cannot be understated. Throughout the year, he was surrounded with self-inflicted controversy that kept his name circling in the media and also had a string of hits to his name that made it very difficult for him to be ignored. On ‘Opotoyi’, Naira Marley hops on a catchy and fast-paced Rexxie-produced Zanku beat, ravelling in woman worship and street banter. 

Prettyboy D-O – Dey Go Hear Wehh

For his first post-“Everything Pretty” release, Prettyboy D-O came through with the high energy dancehall-influenced record, ‘Dey Go Hear Wehh’ and its Seyi Akinlade-directed cinematic video.  On the record, D-O delivers frisky verses over the hard-hitting instrumental before coming through with the highly infectious hook cut from a popular Nigerian pidgin dictum. He comes for non-believers and detractors, assuring us that they will soon be shocked beyond measure.

Tiwa Savage – 49-99

For her UMG debut, Tiwa Savage links up with YBNL producer, Pheelz to release ‘49-99‘, a mid-tempo afro-pop record with Afrobeat elements, particularly rich in instrumentation with scintillating underlying strings.

On the record, Tiwa Savage expresses her desire for the good things of life amidst the rife and turmoil in a country some are quick to refer to as a failed state. She is focused on securing the bag to afford herself the luxury designers and fast cars, “Mo fe ra Versace, Mo fe ra Bugatti” she croons.

Burna Boy – Anybody

In the future, when Burna Boy looks back at how much he achieved in 2019, he’d find much to be grateful for. Despite opening the year with a brief fall from grace following his infamous “African Giant” Instagram rant, the Atlantic act managed to turn things around swiftly, weaving it into his best yet – musically. One of the standout cuts and fan-favourite off his “African Giant” album is the percussive gbese anthem, ‘Anybody’. Burna basks in his full feel-good mode,  advocating the cutting off of any bad energy that seeks to kill the vibe. This record was one of the records he performed the most on his amazing post-“African Giant” press run.

Davido x Chris Brown – Blow My Mind 

One of the recurrent pitfalls of international collaborations in these parts is that it sometimes feels forced as most local acts sacrifice chemistry for star power but Davido’s ‘Blow My Mind’ is an exception. A lead single off his highly anticipated sophomore album “A Good Time,” Davido and Chris Brown’s chemistry radiated across the Shizzy-produced number. The sweet-singing Chris Brown seamlessly razzled across the track with a casual air that blessed the soothing and melodious love number with a scene-stealing feature. It was smooth and seamless that they also teamed up again on Chris Brown’s ‘Lower Body’ off his “Indigo” extension.

 

Notable Mentions

Alpha Ojini ft Ycee – One Knee (Chvmeleon)

SDC ft Buju – Do Me Nice (Palmwine Express)

SDC ft Tomi Thomas – Vibration (Palmwine Express)

Amaarae – Like It 

Crayon – Gock Am (Cray Cray)

Gigi Atlantis ft Fasina – Wahala On The Rocks

Ckay – Way (CKay The First) 

Dice Ailes ft Falz -Alakori 

Bris B ft Santi – Supa sigh 

Dami Oniru – Alive (Bri’s Lounge)

Blaqbonez – Shut Up (Mr Boombastic)

 

Remember to check out all these records and keep supporting good music. Cheers!

Alpha Counts Down To Christmas With ’12 Days’

One of the most gifted rap acts on the rise, Alpha Ojini has released his first post-“Chvmeleon” record, a Christmas themed number titled ‘12 Days‘. Just over a month ago, Alpha released his stellar 14-track sophomore album “Chvmeleon” to good reviews, and it featured appearances from M.I Abaga, Ghost (SDC), Paybac, Blaqbonez, Psycho YP, Ycee, Bella Alubo, Oxlade, Goodgirl LA and Kemi Smallz.

Across this self-produced cut described as a “Christmas tale,” Alpha underscores the spirit of the celebration which is centred around giving and showing love to family, friends and others around us. Aptly released twelve days before Christmas,  the multi-gifted rapper urges share love, give out and enjoy the holiday season as well as we can even we don’t have much.

This is no doubt a Christmas song that most of us can relate to, one told from the perspective of a Nigerian hustler in a tongue common to all. Merry Christmas in advance and remember to spread love always. Enjoy the record here.

The 5 Best Nigerian Diss-Tracks of 2019

Over the past few months, Nigerian hip-hop has been at war with itself. What started as a playful but audacious ‘Best Rapper In Africa’ brag spiralled the entire scene into a Royal Rumble-type frenzy that found rappers aiming for each other’s heads. From Blaqbonez to Payper Corleone to Davolee, everyone was churning out tracks laced with not-so-subliminal shots and outright name-drops. Even the OGs were not spared: a video surfaced online of A-Q and Ghost (of SDC) engaging in a presumably heated debate about who the superior wordsmith was.

All these eventually snowballed into an M.I Abaga vs Vector The Viper showdown. This beef which had been brewing for quite some time finally found the perfect climate for a face-off. In what will go down in history as one of the spiciest Nigerian hip-hop beefs, their back-and-forth resulted in a total of four diss tracks in just three weeks. Climaxing with M.I’s ‘The Viper‘ and Vector’s ‘Judas The Rat‘ and its bordering antics, hip-hop which had been playing second fiddle to Afrobeats in recent years was – howbeit briefly – restored to mainstream consciousness.

But now that the dust seems to have settled, Let’s look back to highlight some of the hottest diss tracks off this 2019 Nigerian rap civil-war.

5. Davolee – Give Away

This might not be as polished or popular as some of the other songs on this list, but it’s one of the hottest on the streets. Disgusted by Blaqbonez’s audacity to crown himself the best rapper in Africa without the credentials to back such claim, indigenous rapper Davolee attempted to devour the 100 Crowns rapper. The abrasive rapper aims with a submachine gun flow, with enough rounds for whoever is lurking as he also had choice words for M.I Abaga, Loose Kaynon, A-Q, Dremo, Falz, and Ycee. In fact, ‘Give Away‘ also led to a quick back-and-forth with the DMW rapper, Dremo.

4. Blaqbonez – Best Rapper In Africa

After declaring himself the Best Rapper In Africa in a scorching freestyle, many came out to counter his claim as to many he just wasn’t worthy to crown himself with such title. Several rappers released diss tracks to that effect, including Tentik and Payper Corleone. In his combined reply, ‘Best Rapper in Africa‘, Blaq reaffirms his claim as he tears apart his adversaries. He also came through with his ‘Control‘-moment, teasing and calling out his peers for a face-off.

3. Vector – Judas The Rat

When M.I Abaga dropped ‘The Viper‘, everyone thought it was over. The question on everyone’s lips was “how is Vector going to come back from this?” But Vector did the impossible and pulled a comeback reminiscent of 2005’s magic of Istanbul. With ‘Judas The Rat‘, Vector digs up more personal dirt on M.I, particularly pointing at his strained relationship with his brother, Jesse Jagz. He also highlighted some of M.I’s antics, painting him as a rat who favours only himself. The ripple effect from this diss was so strong that it provoked M.I’s fall from grace, reopening sores inspiring many to share some of their bummers with the former Chocolate City boss.

2.  M.I Abaga – The Viper

After quick successive jabs from Vector with ‘The Purge‘ and ‘Tetracycline‘, M.I just had to respond. And when he finally did, the self-acclaimed rap messiah did not disappoint as he delivered perhaps the best song off the entire pack. Over a gloomy and ominous self-produced beat, an assertive and gruff-voiced M.I comes through with witty rebuttals for Vector’s previous jabs. He further paints the Lafiaji rapper as a snake who has been envious of his success from the jump.

M.I turned things up a notch just a few days later at the 2019 Big Brother Naija finale.  Sporting a black shirt with a bold “No Snakes” imprint, M.I performed his brief set metaphorically stomping over a viper image projected on the stage.

1. A-Q – Distractions 2

A-Q has been having quite a good year. After years of churning out critically acclaimed personal projects including “Rose” and ”Blessed Forever”, A-Q came to many’s radars this year off the strength of his stellar verses on the Martell Cyphers. Also this year, he finally picked up the coveted Lyricist on the roll award at the 13th Headies which eluded him for years despite picking up nominations. 

Of all the diss tracks released this year, A-Q’s heinous Vector-aimed ‘Distractions 2‘ takes the cake. The belligerent rapper who had built a name for himself as a war-ready gladiator fit himself right into the Vector-M.I beef and came through with the most brutish diss track in the pack. On ‘Distractions 2’ the 100 Crowns boss brought a grenade to a knife fight, coming for Vector for with a swift jab-cross-left uppercut-cross combo that gave him the knockout in less than five minutes.  It’s a joy to know that his recent status as a label president hasn’t robbed him of his viciousness on the mic.

Listen To Maka’s New LP, “It’s Not You; It’s Me”

Super gifted Soul and R&B singer, Maka has released a new full-length project titled “It’s Not You; It’s Me.” This is a 10-track album that features only two guest appearances from Blaqbonez and Pepenazi.

The entire album is produced by Jay Blakez who also solely engineered the project, while Maka retains co-production credits.

Listen to the album above.

PsychoYP’s New Tape “YPSZN 2” Features Ladipoe, BOJ, Dami Oniru, Skales, Terri & More

Just a year after his debut and introductory release “YPSZN“, PsychoYP is back with a stunning sequel, “YPSZN 2” which was released yesterday, November 4. This mixtape contains 16 tracks, including ‘City Of Kings‘, ‘Elevate‘ and ‘No Chaser‘ released about a week ago.

For this highly collaborative tape, burgeoning rapper, YP recruits a capable team of some of the most gifted youngsters on the rise. It features appearances from Dami Oniru, Blaqbonez, Terri, Ladipoe, BOJ, Zilla Oaks, Na7halie Sade and Skales who appears on the celebratory 14th track, ‘T.G.I. F‘.

Released just over 24 hours, the mixtape has generated rave reviews on Twitter and currently sits at the top of the Apple Music album charts in Nigeria.

thank you to everyone who worked on this project and helped me finally give it to the world. it’s been a long wait but I promise the music will compensate. ⠀
I love you all for bringing me this far. ⠀
szn2 link in my bio. ⠀
love x light 🌍🤝☔️💕” he wrote on Instagram.

Listen to the mixtape above.

Blaqbonez Releases Second 2019 EP, “Mr. Boombastic”

100 Crowns‘ flagship artist, Blaqbonez has released his long-promised EP, “Mr. Boombastic.” Just yesterday, the belligerent rapper dropped a comical 4-minute freestyle directed at Kanye West and Davolee who had taken shots at him a while back. This new project comes about eight months after “Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up” which was released to good reviews in February.

With this EP, Blaqbonez fully unveils his Mr Boombastic persona, a more pop-leaning, patios-speaking, and ragga-loving alter-ego. However, there are still flashes of lyrically-shrewd Blaqbonez throughout this tape. The EP contains just 7 tracks, including its pre-released lead single, ‘Shut Up‘ in which he had a few choice words for his detractors and naysayers. The project also features stellar appearances from Falz and the much-missed Blackmagic.

Listen to the tape above and tell us what you think.

Vector Bounces Back With New Diss Track, ‘Judas The Rat’

Diss Track Backstory

One of the most exciting things in these Buhari times is the belligerent energy hovering across the Nigerian hip-hop scene. What started with a daring declaration by Blaqbonez ascribing himself as the best rapper in Africa has now degenerated into a warzone where anyone could catch a bullet. “For the culture” has now slowly morphed into something way more bitter and grubby with inflated egos and (re)opened sores.

However, the most exciting of these battles has been the M.I vs Vector main-event which has resulted in now a total of four diss tracks in just about three weeks. And it doesn’t seem to be over. Not just not yet.

New Diss Track

In response to M.I Abaga’s petty and brutal missile,’The Viper‘, Vector has also decided to step his boots in the mud in his new ‘Judas The Rat‘. With his gloves off, Vector doesn’t mince words as he comes for M.I’s legacy. He brings up personal dirt surrounding the former Chocolate City boss, especially his strained relationship with his brother, Jesse Jagz.

Vector "Judas The Rat" New Diss Track

What We Expect

For all it’s worth, we hope these rappers can put their beef aside for a minute and make good of their promise by releasing their much-anticipated EPs, “Judas” and “Vibes Before Teslim.” But till then, listen to this new diss track above and tell us who you think is winning this battle.

Alpha Ojini Is Bringing Along M.I Abaga, Ghost, GoodGirl LA, Ycee, Oxlade And More On “Chvmeleon”

Even if you do not know Alpha Ojini by name, you must have come across his work one way or another. Remember that sweet-toned “Focus” voice tag you hear at the end of most of your favourite 2019 rap songs? Yeah, that’s Alpha’s tagline for his sound engineering outfit.

A bundle of talents, Alpha is also a producer and a rapper – and he’s absolutely great at both. In fact, he was recently nominated in the Best Rap Single category of the 2019 Headies for his joint with Payper Corleone, ‘Sacrifices‘, one of the highlights off Payper’s stellar tape, “Fly Gangstar From The 90s.”

And now, it’s even more good news from Alpha as he announces the release of his sophomore album, “Chvmeleon,” which has been in the works since December last year. This is would be a follow-up to his well-received debut, “Half Price” that housed standouts like ‘Ocean Boy‘, ‘Ludo‘ and the cheeky ‘Yahooboy Muzik‘.

According to his recent tweet, this new album is scheduled for release on Friday, November 1st and it boasts a mouth-watering round of features, with appearances from some of the best wordsmiths in the game at the moment. On this self-produced project, Alpha is bringing along an a-team of M.I Abaga, Ghost (SDC), Paybac, Blaqbonez, Psycho YP, Ycee, Bella Alubo, Oxlade, Goodgirl LA and Kemi Smallz.

Now, tell me you’re not excited?

Prettyboy D-O Calls Out Blaqbonez For Jacking His Style

Just over an hour ago, Prettyboy D-O took to his Twitter page to call out Blaqbonez for jacking his style in his latest release ‘Shut Up‘. Although it was a subtle shot, the message was very clear: stop jacking my style!

A plain-speaking D-O wrote on Twitter, “Tell a man shut up ?
If you want to sound like PRETTYBOY, make you feature PRETTYBOY
@BlaqBonez
🎯

And this accusation is not unfounded. In fact, it serves as a confirmation to many as they have also been drawing similarities between the new single and D-O’s ‘Pull Up‘ and ‘Dem Go Hear Wehh‘. And after a careful examination of the songs in question, their inference would be justified.

Shut Up‘ produced by Tempoe finds Blaqbonez in new terrain, ragga, which is well different from the hip-hop and trap he is well known for. To even make this transition smoother, Blaq ushered the single under the moniker, Mr Boombastic, which appears to be his more Afropop-leaning alter-ego.

However, sonically, thematically and in terms of delivery, the new number bears a striking semblance to D-O’s ‘Pull Up‘. These songs find the acts in an impudent air as they both come at their detractors while flashing their vigour and successes. “Tell a man cool off tell a man cool off/ Tell a man pull up if he wanna pull up” D-O sings in the Santi-assisted ‘Pull Up‘ Off his 2018 well-received project, “Everything Pretty“. Blaq, on the other hand, also appears to open his record with “Tell a man shut up!

This actually wouldn’t be the first time Blaqbonez is spurring this kind of conversation as people have also drawn sonic similarities between his ‘Best Rapper In Africa (BRIA)‘ cut and Stormzy‘s smash hit single, ‘Vossi Bop‘. So can we say Blaqbonez is bereft of originality and going around just jacking people’s styles without giving due credit?

Listen and let us know what you think below.

 

Vader The Wildcard, Vector and Payper Corleone Come For Blood On ‘The Purge’

Vector tha Viper, Vader the Wildcard and Payper Corleone have come together for what they tag a ‘Masterclass Cypher’ to deliver a sizzling response to the week-old Martell Cypher 2 titled ‘The Purge‘.

With the opening verse, Vader the Wildcard recounts what down at the PGM Radio Show when Blaqbonez was challenged to defend his ‘BRIA‘ claim and he bailed, led by his label boss, A-Q. The rapper also addressed some of Blaq’s shots and also had enough rounds for his label execs.

A war-ready Payper Corleone, on the other hand, makes a good statement as to why his one of the most lyrical rappers in the game at the moment. Relaxed and assertive, he had enough shots for all the rappers with targets on their backs.

Coming through with a brutal closer, Vector tha Viper minces no words as he is in full battle mode, launching missiles at the former Chocolate City boss. Vector raps “But how do you go from Lebron to becoming a chairman this is insane” as he comes for M.I’s legacy with pristine bars for over two minutes.  This cypher, no doubt, delievers on an unsaid promise: it provides the rock-hard reply for the Martell Cyphers we have all been waiting for, giving the LAMB rappers a run for their money and could even be leaving them in body bags. LAMB-Martell, your move.

Listen yourself and let us know which cypher you think is better.

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