Tay Iwar

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.

Tay Iwar And Le Mav Takes Us A Step Closer To “Gold” With ‘Heat’

A couple of weeks ago, Tay Iwar and Le Mav gave us ‘Golden‘, which is a taste of what they have been cooking for some time now. After successful team-ups on ‘Stranger‘ and ‘Fools‘ off Tay Iwar’s debut album, the pair have taken their undeniable chemistry further by recording a joint EP titled “Gold.” And now, they are taking things a step further with the release of ‘Heat’, the second single of the coming project which is scheduled for release on Friday, December 13.

The EP which is just four days away contains eight tracks with no features and it’s already available for pre-order. This would be Tay Iwar’s second body of work this year after releasing his 16-track debut album, “Gemini,” released in March.

Listen to the new single here.

Tay Iwar’s New Project Is Just Ten Days Away

Two weeks ago, Tay Iwar and Le Mav gave us a taste of what they have been cooking for some time now. After teaming up on ‘Stranger‘ and ‘Fools‘ off Tay Iwar’s debut “Gemini” album, the pair have taken their undeniable chemistry further by recording a joint project “Gold.” This is upcoming EP of which the recently released ‘Golden‘ is the lead single. And now, it appears the EP already has a release date.

Yesterday, a fan on Twitter appealed to Tay Iwar for an album before the end of the year and Tay Iwar replied “🤞🏾 13/12/2019” which is perceived to be the release date for his imminent joint project with Le Mav.

Earlier this year, Tay Iwar released his stellar debut album “Gemini.” This is a 16-track R&B and Soul project that featured appearances from Santi, Preye Itams, Odunsi (The Engine) and brother, Sute Iwar.

Tay Iwar and Le Mav Showcase Undeniable Chemistry on ‘Golden’

After collaborating on two records ‘Stranger‘ and ‘Fools‘ off his debut album “Gemini,” Abuja-based act, Tay Iwar has joined forces with producer, Le Mav to take their undeniable chemistry to another level. The pair have teamed up to create a full body of work, titled the “Gold” EP, set for release soon. Today, however, they are giving the public the first taste of what they’ve been cooking up for a while now, which is the lead single off the coming project, titled ‘Golden‘.

Describing the new record, Tay Iwar revealed that “… the theme is about being golden and standing out beyond all odds…despite all the darkness in the world we all still have to remain fierce, fiery and precious like gold.”

‘Golden’ opens with a strutting guitar riff that shines all through the record. With his beautiful voice, Tay Iwar breaks into R&B mode as he croons to his sweetheart, describing himself as a star whose rays shine golden.

Listen here

Preyé Finally Unveils Visuals For ‘Cookies’

Just a day before unveiling the visuals to her latest single, ‘Love Fumes‘, Preyé has finally released the long-awaited video for her Benny Que-produced poignant record, ‘Cookies‘, almost a year after its initial release. This beautiful video is produced and directed by Joshua Ahazie while edited by a duo of Uche Ezeoke & Onome Egba.

Spanning less than two minutes, the video follows a couple who seem to be going through a rough patch. The video ends right where it begins: Preye in her car in front of their home, presumably leaving and moving on as she sings “Don’t look at me like I owe you something.”

Enjoy the video above and let us know what you think.

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

In 2018, M.I was on a self-imposed rescue mission. Alongside his labelmates Loose Kaynon, A-Q and Blaqbonez, the famed rap messiah set on a noble quest to force a re-awakening for Nigerian hip-hop; a once-celebrated genre now relegated to the backgrounds.

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

Exactly a year ago today, we got our hands on the long-teased fourth studio album by Mr Incredible, “A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl,” the second offering in the string of the LAMB August rollout. But that was not his only release last year. 

Just a few months earlier, M.I had released a highly collaborative surprise ‘playlist’ titled “Rendezvous,” featuring an all-star cast of AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Wande Coal, Ghost (SDC). It also introduced us to talents like Chillz, Santi, Odunsi, Moelogo and others. This dual release in 2018 was perhaps in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his 2008 classic, “Talk About It,” his highly successful debut album which many claims 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. A well-timed release, M.I used the tape to lend his voice to the growing awareness about mental health and self-awareness. Across ten songs, the rapper explored several layers of self-doubt, low self-esteem and even more extremely, depression that many youths are battling in silence. And even a year later, this album is still as relevant as ever, still sparking conversations in several 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 most of “Yung Denzl,” M.I works with a wealth of young talents, 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 over the past year.

“Do you know who you are?” a gruff voice asks, questioning our sense of identity to open the project. Sticking to a simple rhyme scheme, M.I further 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 perhaps the standout cut 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.

Suté Iwar Releases Debut Album “Paradise”

Abuja-based act, Suté Iwar has finally released his long-awaited debut album “Paradise.” This is Suté’s first project since his “Leopards” EP, released to good reviews.

A few weeks ago, he came on the PGM Radio Show with Douglas Jekan and Folu Storms to introduce the album and its second single ‘Heartless’ as they also discussed his artistic journey.

This 11-track album finds Suté teaming up with acts outside his Bantu Collective as it features appearances from BarleyAnyHook, Fareeda, Isah and Dorian Starr. All the songs on the album are self-produced, save for ‘Heartless/Space‘ which was produced by Le Mav. The mixing of the project is single-handedly wielded by brother and longtime collaborator, Tay Iwar.

Tracklist For Paradise

Tracklist For Paradise (Twitter/@SuteIwar)

Announcing the album on Twitter a couple of weeks back, Suté wrote, “My debut album ‘Paradise’ is out on the 16th of August. This is for the loved and the unloved. This is for the depressed and the ‘happy’. This is for the underdogs and the champions. This is for ???? & the ??. This one is for you. Stay in the light?

Enjoy the album above.

Santi Releases Debut Album “Mandy & The Jungle”

The wait is finally over! Santi has released his highly-anticipated debut album titled “Mandy & The Jungle“. This comes three years after his acclaimed EP “Suzie’s Funeral“, which placed Santi in the radar of many as one of those to hold the helm of the industry in a few years.

Mandy & The Jungle” is a 16-track full-length project that includes pre-released singles like ‘Sparky‘, ‘Freaky‘ and the monster-hit ‘Rapid Fire‘.

This highly collaborative project features Tay Iwar, Nonso Amadi, Shane Eagle, Dram, Kris Irie, Bridge, Amaarae, Seki, Tomi Agape, Kida Kudz and Godlink. Also, its production is mainly handled by fellow Monster Boys – GMK and Genio Bambino with assists from Odunsi (The Engine), Le Mav, Higo, Doz, James Isibor, 1Takennandos and Barst.

Just like his previous projects, this album is a themed one.  In fact, this is centred around Mandy (a fictional character), who Santi describes as “a girl who has no idea the power that lies inside her

Further speaking about the album, he reveals that “Over the past two years, I learnt more about expressing myself and translating that feeling into sound and visuals. Music has always been about the feeling for me, what it does to you, what it makes you remember, and most importantly where it takes you to. I decided to create a universe, combining everything that has ever influenced or inspired me.”

The songs are a soundtrack to this universe, and I hope when you listen to ‘Mandy & The Jungle’, you will make the best memories with them so that each time you feel like escaping, reminiscing or feeling, these songs are here to take you to your own universe.” He continued.

So cop this album, and follow Mandy on her journey in the jungle.

Santi Unveils Album Art And Tracklist For “Mandy & The Jungle”

Just a few weeks after announcing the release of his debut album, Santi has unveiled the cover art and the tracklist for the highly-anticipated project, “Mandy & The Jungle” which is expected to drop any time soon.

The singer took to his Twitter to share the grotesque album art and its accompanying tracklist with the caption “soundtrack to my universe
my debut album Mandy & The Jungle
cover and tracklist
art by ahmad tarek, tireless nights but thank you for bringing out the world in my head.
love to everyone who helped put this universe together.
nothing was planned but it surely was written”

According to the released tracklist, the album is set to contain a total of 16 tracks, including pre-released singles like ‘Freaky‘, ‘Sparky‘ and the monster hit, ‘Rapid Fire‘.

Santi also works with a wide range of artists on this project as it features guest appearances from Tay Iwar, Nonso Amadi, Shane Eagle, Dram, Kris Irie, Bridge, Amaarae, Seki, Tomi Agape, Kida Kudz and Godlink. Tay Iwar and Amaarae appear twice on the album as both also assist Santi on the album closer titled ‘Settle Down‘.

The dread-locked singer also closely works with his Monster Boys Crew as its members and affiliates are mainly in charge of the production on the album. GMK, Genio Bambino, Odunsi (The Engine), Le Mav, Higo, Doz, James Isibor, 1Takennandos and Barst all receive production credits.

The album is executive produced by Monster Boy and Odunsi (The Engine), with the engineering solely handled by the acclaimed alte playmaker, GMK.

Update: The album is scheduled for release on Friday, May 17. You can pre-order the album here

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