Lady Donli

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!

Ayüü Has Tay Iwar, Lady Donli, PsychoYP And More Colliding With Him On “Ayüüniverse”

Burgeoning Abuja-based act, who is also a member of the Apex Village collective, Ayüü, has released his much-teased debut album, “Ayüüniverse.” This comes about a year after his 4-track “Mango Juice & Bad Decisions” EP which featured appearances from Andre Wolff and PsychoYP.

Ayüüniverse” is a highly collaborative 15-track full length that features appearances from some of the most talented acts on the rise across the country. Across the project, he brings along a super cast of Lady Donli, Tay Iwar, Rukkay Yaiman, Wavy The Creator, EESkay, Famous Bobson, Kuddi Is Dead, GJthe Caesar, Oscariffic, Zilla Oaks, as well as frequent collaborators, Andre Wolff and PsychoYP.

The production is equally handled by an expansive young and gifted team of Jaylon, Trillxoe, Tobay, Tay Iwar, Molly1080, Le Mav, Don Ozi, Doz, Thabeatsmith, Prodlem, Fallofmicheal and The Hypractive Kid.

Enjoy the tape here.

Lady Donli Recruits Davido For ‘Cash’ Remix

One of the lead singles and fan-favourites off Lady Donli‘s debut album, “Enjoy Your Life,” ‘Cash‘ has gotten a remix, featuring one of Nigeria’s biggest music export, Davido. Produced by Sounds From The Cave, a collective of Lady Donli and The Cavemen band, while it’s engineering is handled by the multi-gifted Tay Iwar. This remix was released just a few hours after her Enjoy Your Life Experience in Lagos, a live concert that is still generating rave reviews from attendees. She also previewed the unreleased record at the time at the event.

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. And this remix takes it a step further with no better-fitting accomplice than the 30 BG boss himself, Davido. In his verse, Davido contrary to Donli downplays the role of money in his enjoy-your-life movement given that it is fleeting; he’s is just here to have a good time with his lover.

Listen to the single here

Bella Alubo Announces New Project Coming In Just Three Weeks

In the wake of the release of her Zlatan-assisted ‘Agbani‘ remix, singer and rapper, Bella Alubo has announced the release of her next EP scheduled for release on Friday, October 18. The project titled “Summer’s Over” would be the follow-up to her “re-Bella” EP which was released to good reviews in December last year.

The 7-track project housed standouts like ‘Aiya‘ and ‘Ask Bolaji‘ and featured appearances from acts all over Africa including BOJ, Efya, Victoria Kimani and Sho Madjozi.

Bella revealed this on Twitter as she posted “EP out in 3 weeks ❤️” alongside a stunning picture of herself.

This coming project is expected to contain her 2019 releases including ‘Agbani’, the Lady Donli-team-up on ‘Unavailable‘ and her duet with Fasina, ‘Your Way (Long Time)‘.

Oma Mahmud’s ‘Jalo’ With Lady Donli is a Call to Rethink the Nigerian Exodus

Oma Mahmud wants us to have tough conversations. Conversations we often shy away from especially through our escapist music about the allures and pull of luxury and excesses in a country that has become the poverty capital of the world. Over his next string of releases, the eccentric act, Oma Mahmud, seeks to undertake an enquiry into the state of the nation. And he kicks things right off with a Lady Donli assist on ‘Jalo‘, the first single from his next album aptly titled, “State of the Nation.”

Jalo‘ is also his first official release since his last album “Rockstvr,” an 11-track project released earlier this year, that guests new wave acts like DJ Yin, Prettyboy D-O, Damayo, Yung L and more.

On the self-produced record, Oma Mahmud and Lady Donli are united in crooning over the appalling socio-political state of the nation as well as the migration-centred orientation of its youths. Many have sadly given up on the deteriorating country and see migration to the West as the only viable shot at a better life. In plain street lingo, everyone simply wants to ‘japa‘.

However, the pair are sceptical of this exodus-is-a-must mindset – “Who go remain for we country o, if to say me and you we dey plan to go?” Mahmud rhetorically asks as he opens the record.

Sonically, ‘Jalo‘ is an afrobeat record highly rich in instrumentation, particularly with its heavy bassline and guitar loops. With a call-and-response chorus common in the message-laden genre, both acts come through with their reflective and pensive verses without being overbearing. The song is co-written by Ayomide Olufawo who also contributed background vocals to the beautiful record.

Enjoy the record and let us know if you agree with Oma Mahmud and Lady Donli.

One Year After: Revisiting M.I Abaga’s “Yxng Dxnzl”

M.I was on a mission. Alongside Loose Kaynon, A-Q and Blaqbonez, the self-ascribed rap messiah decided to take on a noble quest to force a re-awakening for Nigerian hip-hop; a once-celebrated genre now relegated to the background.

Probably taking a cue from the Kanye-led 5-album Wyoming releases, these rappers came together under the acronym L.A.M.B -coined out from the first letters from their names- to stage a series of album releases in August 2018. Tagged the LAMB August releases, albums “Crown“, “Yung Denzl” and “Bad Boy Blaq” were the projects with which these rappers sought to restore and ensure the survival of the culture. 

All three projects were executive produced by M.I himself.

Exactly a year ago today, we got our hands on the long-teased and highly anticipated fourth studio album by Mr Incredible, “Yung Denzl,” the second offering in the string of the LAMB August rollout. But that was not his only release last year. 

A few months earlier, the revered rapper had released a highly collaborative surprise ‘playlist’ titled “Rendezvous,” which boasted appearances from an all-star cast including  AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Wande Coal, Ghost(SDC), and also introduced us to talents like Chillz. This dual 2018 release was perhaps in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his 2008 classic, “Talk About It,” his debut and introductory release which many claim to have ‘democratized’ Nigerian hip-hop.

A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl” would be the first of a said three-album series that would include yet-to-be-released LPs, “A Study of Love” and “A Study of Society”. However, despite the anticipation for the project, the exhilaration surrounding it faded rather quickly for a project of such quality. This could have been as a result of the fact that unlike his last two albums, “Yung Denzl” did not rely on pop or radio-friendly formulas as he explored and experimented new sonic complexities on the album. Also, regardless of the laudable acclaim it got from critics, a huge number of listeners found it a bit too sombre, with some dismissing it as “TED Talk music“.  The promotion for the album was also rather deficient – perhaps in an effort not to eclipse “Crown” and “Bad Boy Blaq” given his huge star power- such that even a year later, we still haven’t gotten any visuals off the project despite rumours of its existence. 

This, however, takes nothing from the brilliance of the project. Well-timed, M.I lent his voice to the growing awareness about mental health and self-worth in the country. Over ten songs, he explored in several layers issues like self-doubt, low self-esteem and even more extremely, depression that many youths are battling in silence. A year later, this album is relevant as ever, spurring conversations in small corners. It might not seem like much, but the album is doing its bit.

He passed his messages not only through verses and hooks but also with fiery monologues and therapy sessions alongside the music to get his message across. Soundbites from his therapy sessions were prevalent throughout the album often coming at the end of a track, serving as a prelude to another. By putting his vulnerability out there, he shows fans and listeners that it’s okay to seek help when you need it.

For the most part, M.I works with a wealth of young talents on the album, shedding the spotlight on these acts and in turn tapping into their talents, sound and raw energy. A number of them like Odunsi, Lady Donli and Tay Iwar have gone on to drop their debut albums.

The album opens with a gruff whisper questioning our sense of identity, “do you know who you are?” it asks. Sticking to a simple rhyme scheme, M.I charges the black man to begin his journey to self-awareness and discovery.

On songs like ‘Last Night I Had A Dream’, ‘Stop Never Second Guess Yourself’ and ‘I Believe In You‘, M.I is concerned about our self-confidence, repeatedly nudging us to let go of our insecurities and self-doubt and find comfort in our skin.

Love Never Fails‘ reflects on missteps taken to check mental health in this part of the world largely as a result of culture and religion-induced ignorance.

Perhaps the most pop-leaning record on the album, ‘+/-‘ finds M.I alongside Odunsi and Lady Donli -new-gen frontliners- ridding themselves of all negativity vibes, focusing solely on the positives. 

In full elder statesman mode, M.I attempts to force a change with ‘You Rappers Should Fix Up’, fuming at the sorry state of the art. And say what you will about this record, it’s inarguable that it defibrillated a pulse back into the Nigerian hip-hop scene howbeit temporal.  

The penultimate track, ‘Self Evaluation Over Yxng Dxzl’ is the standout record off this project. Over a gloomy instrumental,  M.I drowns in darkness, picking up escapist vices to numb the pain. He does a good job taking a first-person narrative on the song putting himself in the shoes of a depressed creative, despite revealing that he actually hasn’t had a personal experience.

Picking up where he left off on ‘Everything’ off “Illegal Music 3“, M.I in ‘Do Not Be a Groupie‘ emphasises the importance of loyalty while decrying the deterioration of the virtue in today’s world, an issue he still touched on in his verse on SDC‘s ‘Respect, Loyalty and Honour‘.

It’s been one year since the “Yung Denzl” dropped and it’s still as relevant as ever. The LAMB August releases might not have saved Nigerian hip-hop but with this album, the legacy-focused veteran did something much more remarkable. In his mature and most refined self, he contributed to the growing awareness about our psychological well-being, a theme that rappers have come to be more open about this past year.  It is therefore needless to say that while Yung Denzl might not be his best or most popular album, it is by far the most important.

Lady Donli discusses her debut album “Enjoy Your Life” on the PGM Radio Show

In this episode, Lady Donli stopped by at the PGM Club with her A&R Chubbz (Seni Saraki) also (Editor-in-Chief, Native Magazine) to discuss her debut album Enjoy Your Life and how the project is so personal to her and her current state of mind.

Listen To Bella’s New Celebratory Zanku Anthem ‘Agbani’

In celebration of her birthday today, Bella Alubo has released a new single ‘Agbani‘. The celebratory record is titled after Agbani Darego who won the Miss World pageant in 2001, making her the first native African to do so.

This is Bella’s third single in about a month, after releasing ‘Your Way‘ with Fasina and teaming up with Lady Donli on ‘Unavailable‘ which dropped just a week ago.

Produced by TUC, ‘Agbani‘ finds a jolly Bella hopping on the Zanku wave. Happy birthday Bella!

Lady Donli Releases Debut Album “Enjoy Your Life”

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to enjoy your life! About five years after dropping her first project, “Love or War,” Lady Donli has finally released her highly anticipated debut album, “Enjoy Your Life.”

In the last few weeks, President Donli has been appointing enjoyment ministers and reporters for the Federal Republic of Enjoyment and now its time for time to fully deliver.

This album which has been in the works for two years is a 15 track album, in which Lady Donli brings along a team of supremely gifted new-gen acts including Tems, Benjiflow, Somadina, Amaarae, Vanjess, Tomi Thomas, Solis and of course the Cavemen who executive produced the album alongside Donli. The engineering of the album is mainly handled by the grandmaster GMK, save for ‘Around‘ which was mixed by Tay Iwar.

Lady Donli

Tracklist for “Enjoy Your Life” (Twitter/LadyDonli)

Enjoy Your Life, is about spreading the message of happiness and love in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better,” she says in an interview with Indie Mag.

The album, however, comes with a caveat. “Please do not shuffle. Listen from start to bottom or don’t listen at all” she wrote in all caps in her final declaration before the release of the album.

Lady Donli Has One Last Message For Us As She Unveils Savoury Tracklist For “Enjoy Your Life”

With just a few hours remaining to “Enjoy Your Life,” Lady Donli has unveiled the tracklist for her highly anticipated debut album. This comes with an accompanying declaration that sets the mental tone for the album scheduled for release tomorrow.

For the 15-track project, Lady Donli brings along a super team of Tems, Benjiflow, Somadina, Amaarae, Vanjess, Tomi Thomas, Solis and the Cavemen.

Forget all you knew about me” she warns in the accompanying declaration. She further revealed that the Donli we are going to be hearing on this tape is a reformed one that has been shaped by her experiences, feelings and a genuine desire to understand and perfect her craft.

“Enjoy Your Life” is, therefore, presenting a new Donli, one that is fueled by her desire to create a timeless piece that reflects herself and her culture.

Executive produced by herself and The Cavemen, the album is singlehandedly engineered by the grandmaster GMK, save for ‘Around‘ which was mixed by Tay Iwar.

One last thing. If you must listen to the album, enjoy it from start to bottom. In Lady Donli’s exact words, “DO NOT SHUFFLE!

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