The year 2022 has been great for the Nigerian music industry — most especially Afrobeats. It witnessed the continued progression and acceptance of the music genre across the world.
The year saw a lot of new and heavyweight artistes churn out albums that met some of the expectations built up for them.
Without further ado, here are the best of the best albums of 2022.
Burna Boy – ‘Love, Damini‘
Released on July 8. 19 songs. 345. 2 million listeners
The album secured a nomination for the 2023 Grammy Awards while ‘Last Last’, a lead single off the project was named the biggest Afrobeats record of 2022 by Rollingstone.
In the widely accepted body of work, Burna Boy addressed a plethora of topical issues including politics, culture, and race. He also blessed his teeming fans with classic sounds that will keep them yearning for “igbo and shayo” for years to come.
Asake – ‘Mr Money With The Vibe‘
Released on September 8. 12 songs. 296. 2 million listeners.
After his well-received EP ‘Ololade’ and a series of bangers by the rave of the moment, came a whole cake with scintillating icing called ‘Mr Money With The Vibe’, his debut album.
Bumpy sound, different but not that it hasn’t been tried by his contemporaries, Asake was just too good with it and he unfailingly mastered the crafty sound.
Songs in the album have shaken dance floors, demolished pretense-built bridges, and caused dramatic legworks to jump out of the most rigid listeners.
With songs like ‘Terminator’, ‘Organise’, ‘Joha’, and ‘Nzaza’, it is safe, echoing many Nigerian voices here, to say ‘MMWTV’ is the biggest album of the year 2022.
Fireboy – ‘Playboy‘
Released on August 5. 14 songs. 209 million listeners
Eclectic with some meaningful lyrics. A facade of disparity was introduced early for someone who was morose about his changed lifestyle in ‘Change’ to suddenly switch to being an ‘Ashawo’.
But microscopically, it appeared that truly, Fireboy’s life had changed from being an insecure ‘Jealous’ lover in his previous album to admitting to his new-found penchant for a sophisticated and complicated love life.
‘Playboy’ can make you dance like the biblical King David.
Omah Lay – ‘Boy Alone‘
Released on July 15. 14 songs. 91.8 million listeners
Emphatic beats and a calm voice. Omah Lay couldn’t avoid speaking about his grass-to-grace story.
However, as a luxury-infatuated Port Harcourt boy, he found space to ‘Bend You’ and yield to ‘Temptation’.
Omah Lay, solid with spitting admirable verses on Afrobeats, admitted his confusion in ‘I’m a Mess’ — a song that accrued too many samples while TikTok was inundated with re-creations.
Wizkid – ‘More Love, Less Ego‘
Released on November 11. 13 songs. 50.6 million listeners
From the pedestal of ‘Made In Lagos’, ‘More Love, Less Ego’, came a bit low. Howbeit, Wizkid fantastically samples Ayra Starr’s voice almost the same way as he did Tems’.
Clubgoers would find fewer problems with the lyrics, however, in ‘Everyday’, the “one-man mopol” came off his high-horse to appraise the lifestyle of ordinary men by admitting: “struggle day”.
The body of work flexed the singer’s artistic wild freedom by brazenly using sexual-inclined words, while notoriously honest with flirtation.
No matter the criticism of the album, it sets an indescribable thirst for Wizkid’s next over-the-moon song or project.
Asa – ‘V’
Released on February 25. 10 songs. 13 million listeners
Starts with desire — just like a waltz dance in an exotic Paris ballroom with a reliable soulmate
Unlike ‘Lucid’, her fourth album, Asa evolved from being a woman-right activist — by dropping that war coat of advocacy. She picked up the silky nightgown to comfort her lover, and probably typical of a cosmopolitan woman, she explicitly let her emotions out.
The feature with Wizkid is justified by bringing the soothing sound that sent ‘Made In Lagos’ high-up to the Grammys. It appeared to be a long-awaited collaboration that the fans didn’t know they need.
Ckay – ‘Sad Romance‘
Released on September 23. 12 songs. 6.2 million listeners
‘Sad Romance’ is sassy, ill-mannered, and specially made for the unhindered liberal youths or the middle-aged with an affinity for orgies and fast gratification.
A cheeky voice amplified by Ayra Starr, coupled with the underlying Jazz sound, dutifully perfects the album for a bedroom playlist even amid romantic disputes.
The body of work champions a forceful reality, dark feelings, and truthful manipulation in a strategic romance.
‘You cheated, I cheated too’ sounds like a brawl between two unfaithful lovers. Howbeit, spoken through the voice of a ‘wicked man’ who met his match.
Blaqbonez – ‘Young Preacher‘
Released on October 28. 13 songs. 4.5 million listeners
Take it literally or figuratively, to be an astute preacher, you have to be committed to due diligence. In the first track of the project, Blaqbonez eagerly revealed why he is qualified to call himself a prophet.
Following the experience of being raised by a single mother, poor background, and philandering with “all kinds of chicks,” the preacher introduced himself with the assurance that he is in control of the pulpit.
For those in doubt of his core rap abilities due to his commercial pursuit, Blaqbonez rapped his heart out on discordant beats in this body of work.
That, however, didn’t stop him from being cheeky.
AQ & Brymo – ‘Ethos’
Released on August 12. 10 songs. 733 thousand listeners
Best described as the rendezvous of two self-aware creatives who recognise their worth in the world of manipulative marketing.
‘Ethos’ also involved the two artistes who have constantly described themselves as the “best rapper and singer” in Nigeria.
Other than the divergent sounds that created the perfect landscape for the themes like love, loss, and subtle criticisms, self-elation and aggrandizement are elements that can be clearly found in the idiosyncratic but forceful voice of Brymo and the ever-skeptical style of AQ in the body of work.
Runtown – ‘Signs‘
Released on December 15. 13 songs. 2.7 million listeners
The artwork sets the tone for the reggae disposition that met some of the expectations built up for the 13-track project.
Sampling Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’, Runtown was able to achieve a mixture of depth and nostalgia. It also set the pace for the serious part of the album.
Extending an invitation to a perfect romance, Runtown rested on the couch of his typical excessive use of rhymes. His collaboration with Mr Hudson in ‘Dangerous Hearts’ helped in attaining a vibrant soulful song in this divergent body of work.
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