In honour of his 10-year anniversary on the stage, we're celebrating Davido all week, here at B.Side and documenting his decade-long career of incredible achievements. Today, we've ranked his most iconic bellows of our ever-so-loved ad-lib of his: "SHEKPE!"
The ad-lib is one of the most essential and sometimes bizarre elements of music. Associated initially with hip-hop acts (see Rick Ross’s famous “Huhn!” and “bawse”, or Travis Scott’s “It’s Lit!”), ad-libs have become a staple of afrobeats music, adding an extra layer of fun and engagement to songs. When Mayorkun asks, “what type of dance is this?” on the song of the same title, Zlatan’s emphatic “Werey Dance!” is both a response to Mayorkun and a call to dance for the eager listeners. While Zlatan spontaneously shuffles through his wealthy bank of ad-libs based on each song, some artistes prefer to have a trademark sound that distinguishes them easily across all tracks. Although several catchy phrases exist, Davido’s “SHEKPE!” is arguably the most popular of all of them.
Making its debut in 2017, “Shekpe!” has become a staple of the current afrobeats sound and is usually a signal that OBO, the Baddest and chief hitmaker of DMW, is about to rage on a song. Although the ad-lib has made countless appearances on various songs, there are some that just clearly stand out, often becoming points of reference to the track itself. As we celebrate #DavidoAt10, here is a ranking of Davido’s ten most iconic SHEKPES!
10. Mandeman (Remix) - Small Doctor ft Davido
On this hard-hitting street-hop song, Davido’s ad-lib sits perfectly between one of 2021’s best opening lines.:
“No be say dem no get money (SHEKPE!)/But e no choke!”
True to his OBO moniker, Davido bounces from an opener that talks about his wealth to deliver a smooth verse that compliments Small Doctor’s energetic style.
9. "Aza" - Davido ft Duncan Mighty
At number nine is DMW’s collaboration with Port Harcourt legend Duncan Mighty. After a vibe-heavy chorus, Davido’s strong “Shekpe!” sets Duncan Mighty on his way to a solid verse and one of the most remarkable bridges in Nigerian history:
“Ofe nsala, umu sala/Billion dollar, million dollar/Ofe nsala, omo kuwa/Billion dollar, Your back saram bada,/Billion dollar!”
8. “Kpa” - Dremo ft Davido
Here, Davido’s soft “Shekpe!” sets the mood for one of Dremo’s more delicate offerings. As opposed to his more bar-heavy songs, the love song is a groovy tune, and the excellent ad-lib is littered around the chorus.
“Oya, whine for the kpa; Shekpe!”
7. “One Ticket” - Kizz daniel ft Davido
Ah, the anthem for stingy men and men tired of being “billed.” Davido has a knack for being on songs with phrases important to pop culture. Although the entire verse is filled with so many Twitter and Instagram-worthy captions, it’s the opening lines that strike the hottest chord, and the “Shekpe!” fits right in:
"Every time wire me money (Shekpe!)/Hello baby, have you sent it?"
6. “Mind” - DMW ft Peruzzi, Davido, Mayorkun & Dremo
The best DMW song contains an iconic “shekpe!”, of course. Sampling Usher’s classic “Caught Up”, the 30 Billion Gang croon about their love interests. The song is historic for containing two great catchphrases; Peruzzi’s “I’m loooouuu” and “Shekpe!” of course. The song was responsible for social media lingo when it was released in 2018 and with the immense vibes it provides, it is not hard to see why.
5. “Divine” - Odunsi ft Davido
One of the singles released from Odunsi (The Engine)’s debut album, “Divine” was a brilliant blend of mainstream afrobeats and alternative (see: alte) music at the time. Besides handling the chorus expertly with Sola King, Davido’s verse was smooth as well, ending with a triumphant “SHEKPE!”, a self-acknowledgment of a job well done.
4. Ke Star (Remix) - Focalistic ft Vigro Deep & Davido
First of all, this is one of Davido’s better features in a while. Alongside amapiano powerhouse Focalistic, he was comfortable on the beat and rode it expertly with the catchy lyrics he is known for. To cap off his amapiano masterclass, he drops his trademark ad-lib, letting everyone know who’s around.
"It goes down when my G's connect (Connect)/No disconnect/I dey catch cruise forget/If you talk you collect (Shekpe!)"
3. ” La La” - Davido feat. Ckay
On his latest album, Davido is more relaxed, having a better time like the title suggests. “La La” with Ckay is an example of this attitude change with its happy and upbeat sounding hook. As the song starts, Davido says “Yo this song feels so good man, that bass, that bass, that bass”, obviously enjoying the production as much as we do. As the beat mellows to cue his verse in, he gingers himself in with a sweet “Shekpe!”
2. “The Best” - Davido ft Mayorkun
Another song from the A Better Time album and the project’s instant banger, “The Best” is another fire collaboration from Davido and his protege, Mayorkun. The song’s title adds to Davido’s status as the best, both as a teacher and industry heavyweights. As the Mayor of Lagos starts the song with a reference to his own hit, “Betty Butter”, Davido slips in a “Shekpe!” to let everyone know the heat coming their way: "Betty no fit leave a nigga (Shekpe!)"
1. “FIA” - Davido
The song that started it all. A significant moment for Davido in his 2017 run, and the beginning of a movement. Crowd after crowd in venue after venue screamed, “Shekpe!” at the top of their lungs in response to Davido’s: “Shawty want a million dollars!” The “shekpe” that started it all is obviously the most iconic of all time. Anybody who disagrees? “Fia fia burn them.”