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2020: Albums that gave Nigerians hope in despair

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The tales of 2020, unlike any other, would be the most memorable for our generation across the globe, from Asia to Europe, America, Africa and every other part of the world.

Just like a couple dancing on the stage of love without the knowledge of tomorrow, the world watched as the bells jingled through the one-horse open sleigh of December, Boxing day and Christmas, until the 31st of December, 2019 when the “Night King” surfaced (referring to the most dreaded villain in Game of Thrones) in the form of COVID-19.

And then came the long night with a lot of unwanted presents stuffed in Santa’s red sack. In it were lockdown, job losses, empty streets, empty stadiums, empty theatres, cancelled music concerts, the face masks, EndSARS protests and virtual everything but before we could say, Jack Robinson, we’re in December 2020.

But despite the FEM nature gave to us noisy earthlings, we were able to stand Twice As Tall above the rubble because the pandemic didn’t stop music from being Made In Lagos, because our artists stood strong like Apollo Creed.

As we slide into 2021, WuzupNigeria takes you through some music albums that helped us through the despair of the year under the lockdown and EndSARS period, in no particular order or ranking.

Apollo by Fireboy DML

Talk about one music album that Nigerians can call the full package. Fireboy DML’s Apollo album has the quality, groove and juice that will keep your heads going back and forth all through track 1 to 17.

Dropped on the 19h of August 2020, Apollo includes songs like Champion, ELI, Friday Feeling, Remember Me, amongst others and featured the likes of Wande Coal, and Olamide. 

Apollo got nominated for the 2020 City People Music Award for Album of the Year.

In the week of 18th of July and 8th of August 2020, New York City Girl peaked at #11 while Eli peaked at #7, respectively on Billboard’s Top Triller Global category.

A month after, Apollo peaked at #14 on Billboard’s World Albums’ category in the week of September 5th 2020.

We can argue that the album lived up to its name, Apollo, referring to the mythical god of music.

His song ‘Scatter’ also featured on the main football soundtrack of EA Sports FIFA 21 video game.

A Better Time

After A Good Time by David Adeleke, aka Davido, A Better Time (ABT) dropped on the 13th of November 2020 and it has been buzzing ever since.

Davido was one of the Nigerian celebrities that took part in the #EndSASRS protests and dropping the album after the protests gave Nigerians something to ease the tension and as well, gist about if you know what I mean.

The 14 track album featured the likes of Nicki Minaj, Nas, Chris Brown as well as Mayorkun, amongst others, with songs like Tanana (featuring Tiwa Savage), FEM, The Best, So Crazy as well as On My Way (featuring Sauti Sol).

Last month, the artist announced that the ABT album surpassed a cumulative 100 million streams across all digital music platforms and in the week of November 28, 2020, ABT made its debut on the Billboard 200 chart. 

The album also became the singer’s first-ever album to debut on the US Official chart.

Speaking about “A Better Time,” Davido said:

“I won’t keep you any longer. This year we’ve been through crazy times. Real crazy times. And through it all, we’ve all had to look inwards to find our unique hopes of better times ahead. I found a few. In human form and creative form. I’m so glad I can finally share them with you. I present to you ‘A Better Time’”

As at the time of release, ABT peaked at #1 On the US “worldwide” genre on Itunes and Holy Ground featuring Nicki Minaj peaked #1 On The US “Worldwide” Genre chart.

So Crazy featuring Lil Baby peaked #1 Video in the US worldwide genre chart while the album peaked #7 on the US iTunes Albums Chart. 

Made In Lagos 

Yours truly, Ayo Balogun, aka Wizkid dropped his much-awaited Made In Lagos album, his first in three years, on the 29th of October 2020.

Might have stalled his album release due to the #EndSARS protests out of respect for the course, he took an active part in the protests in the UK and when the album finally dropped, Nigerians had something to talk about.

MIL was one of the most talked-about Nigerian album of 2020, even former Senate President, Bukola Saraki admitted that it was a relief after the eventful month of #EndSARS protests.

Dubbed “superbly crafted” by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, the 14-track album featured H.E.R as well as Ella Mai, Skepta, Darmian Marley and Burna Boy, amongst others.

The album contained themes of love, focus, goodwill, gratitude and grace and within one week of release, Made in Lagos broke several African streaming records. 

It became the first African album to debut on the Spotify Global Album chart, and within the top ten at that. 

The album surpassed 100 million streams across five platforms nine days after release, a huge milestone for an Afrobeat artist.

It debuted at no. 15 on the UK Albums Chart with over 4,100 album-equivalent units and no. 80 on the US Billboard 200 with over 10,000 album-equivalent units. 

Ginger featuring Burna Boy became the only charting single off the album in the first week of release, peaking at no. 67 on the UK Singles Chart. 

The Joro singer became the first Nigerian artist with two UK Singles’ entries from two albums.

Twice As Tall

After his African Giant album almost got him close to winning his first-ever Grammy award, Burna Boy came back with a bang with Twice As Tall which actually got him to the Grammy heights for the second time, and could get him the most coveted award.

Real name, Damini Ogulu, Burna took an active part in the online wing of the protests as well and one could say that his album pretty much addressed social issues such as brutality.

The 15-track album featured guest appearances from Youssou N’Dour, Naughty by Nature, Sauti Sol, Chris Martin and Stormzy. 

“The Monsters You Made” from the album which features Coldplay’s Chris Martin is an indictment of miseducation, historical injustice and systemic racism.

The album which dropped on August 14, 2020, was made in Lagos, Nigeria over few months of the COVID-19 pandemic and was forced to work with his co-executive producer, Diddy through virtual file transfers and Zoom calls. 

In a press release, the Love To Party singer said that Twice As Tall is “about the struggle for freedom. It’s the album about life in general, real life, good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, great times.”

Since it’s release, Twice As Tall ranked #11 on UK Albums (OCC) and #54 on US Billboard 200, #19 on Canadian Albums (Billboard) charts amongst others, including Austrian, Belgian, French Albums charts.

On November 30th, Twice As Tall clinched the number 1 spot on the most-streamed African album on Spotify in 2020 with over 64 million streams.

“Burna Boy debuts at #1 on this week’s Billboard World Albums Chart. — It becomes the highest-peaking Nigerian Album on the chart,” according to Album Talks -a verified international music data firm, on August 25, 2020.

 Yellow by Brymo

From one Afrobeat star to another, the artists in this genre kept it real and got Nigerians’ groove on, regardless of the tough year.

The 15-track solo album dropped on the 1st of April 2020 and has songs like Blackmail, Brain Game, Rara Rira, Woman and so on.

Brymo’s Yellow album dropped during the lockdown period that lasted for months, giving his fans something to focus on while being confined to their respective homes.

The album peaked #1 on Apple Music Chart and #17 on iTunes Chart as of April 05 2020 (Nigeria).

Celia by Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage’s Celia album dropped on Friday, August 28, 2020, by Motown, Island Records, and Universal Music Group, and it immediately hit 5 million streams on Audiomack hours after release.

Celia featured artists such as Stefflondon, Naira Marley and Davido.

However, her song with American singer, Sam Smith titled “ Temptation ” became an instant gist topic for fans.

A couple of weeks after the release, Celia made its debut on the Billboard Charts at No 14, a week after Burna Boy debuted at the number one spot on the chart.

The album’s highest position on Apple Music Chart was #1 and it has also charted in France, Nigeria, and United Kingdom.

In the week of August 1, 2020, Dangerous Love peaked #2 on Billboard’s Top Triller Global chart, spending 3 weeks on the chart and in the week of Aug 22, 2020, Koroba peaked at #9 on the same chart.

Tiwa’s Celia album made the news in November when it was listed on TIME MAGAZINE’s top 10 albums released in 2020.

It would be recalled that Tiwa whose album dropped post-lockdown as Nigerians slid into the protest called out to big stars like Beyonce to join the #EndSARS campaign and it yielded results as the Brown Skin Girl singer joined the campaign against police brutality alongside other stars abroad.

Carpe Diem by Olamide

YBNL boss, Olamide released his eleventh studio album Carpe Diem – his first body of work under American label and distribution company, Empire Distribution on 8 October 2020.

Carpe Diem peaked at #11 on Billboard’s World Music Chart in the week of 10.24.2020. 

This album became Olamide’s fourth to make Billboard’s World Music Chart after The Glory (#6 on 1.14.2017), Lagos Nawa! (Wobey Sound) (#6 on 12.9.2017) and Street OT! (#4 on 11.29.2014) all ranked between #4-6.

On the Top Triller Global Chart on Billboard, Olamide’s Infinity featuring Omah Lay and Loading featuring Bad Boy Timz, both from the Carpe Diem album peaked at #14 on 11.21.2020 and #16 on 11.21.2020, respectively.

The album featured the likes of Fireboy DML, Phyno, as well as Bella Shmurdan and his fans are still getting along with songs like Greenlight and Eru.

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