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The 100 Best Songs of 2020: Bounce Staff Picks

The tracks that defined this bizarre year, handpicked by the Bounce staff.

2020 has been a bizarre year, to say the least. Not only are we still living in a full-blown global pandemic, but so far, we’ve had to deal with systematic oppression from the powers that be; resulting in uprisings against gender-based violence as well as police brutality. Nevertheless, as crappy as 2020 has been, the jams were immaculate. It’s been one long and tumultuous year, but even in the darkest of times, we’ve had music to turn to for comfort. Music became more than just a background sound for people this year; it served a bit of relief from the daily anxiety we all felt, giving both artists and listeners some sort of familiar grounding.

In a year largely dominated by isolation, music has been our companion. So, to appreciate the sounds that helped us, we’ve curated a list of the 100 best songs 2020 had to offer, handpicked by our Bounce staff. Together, these 100 songs represent the various ways music guided us through particularly challenging times. Whether they provided a shoulder to cry on, a match to light our fuse, a temporary substitute to the dancefloors and moshpits the pandemic stole from us or simply helped us escape reality altogether, these songs all soundtracked the past 12 months in their own ways. For the purpose of this list, we’ve only selected songs that were actually released in 2020. These are Bounce’s picks for the 100 BEST SONGS OF 2020.

Important note: This list is a compilation of our staff's favourite tracks of 2020 and not a definitive ranking of the songs of the year.

100. Mthunzi & Sun El-musician: “Insimbi”

You’d wonder what Mthunzi & Sun El were doing when creating this tune because when it hits you, you can’t stop moving. No matter how terrible you are at dancing, you’ll find your rhythm, you’ll find your moves and it’ll be your guide. That’s “Insimbi”. Yebo! -Ilooise Omohinmin

99. Laycon ft. Deshinor: “HipHop”

I love the texture of Deshinor’s voice. Laycon brought the energy and it was a perfect fit for the beat. He killed his verse; his flow and the way he switched from Yoruba to English and Pidgin English while spitting facts — effortless. -Adaora Nwangwu

98. King Perry & PsychoYP: “YFKTV (You Know The Fucking Vibe)”

A rare, yet solid, foray into the drill sound. A stellar collaboration: YP and King Perry. Banger. -Akintunde Pearce

97. DJ Kaywise ft. Mayorkun, Naira Marley & Zlatan: “What Type of Dance”

This song is a Banguuurr! It screams “club”, literally. Solid features and top-tier production. For me, the hook is the whole song — Mayorkun did what he needed to do! -Adaora Nwangwu

96. Zinoleesky: “Ma Pariwo”

Zinoleesky’s voice is so soft but it’s the last 29 seconds for meee! I don’t know why it’s the rowdiest part I like but it just makes me happy, they sound so excited. -Olegwa Nengite

95. Niniola: “Look Like Me”

Niniola is one of the few Nigerian artists allowed to make Amapiano songs. Every time I hear this song, I can’t help but get up and do that “okada” dance that Nigerians (including myself) have somehow associated with every Amapiano beat they hear. -Olegwa Nengite

94. Ajebo Hustlers: “Barawo”

This song was a movement! It was the soundtrack we Nigerians didn’t know we needed during the #EndSARS movement. Definitely a top Nigerian anthem. -Chuma Okoye

93. Cuppy ft. Rema & Rayvanny: “Jollof On The Jet”

Cuppy seems to have a knack for turning life’s mundane daily events into inspirations for hit songs. Much like the Italian ice-cream outing inspo behind “Gelato”, “Jollof on the Jet” came from a random moment of doing exactly what the title suggests. Drafting in Rema and Rayvanny, Cuppy creates a rhythmic, feel-good record. -Makua Adimora

92. Sauti Sol: “Suzanna”

This song is so beautiful. It just makes you want to be on a beach in Zanzibar (we can manage Tarkwa Bay or Ilashe if we must) with the people/person you love the most, drinking the yummiest cocktails!! Phew! -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

91. Doja Cat: “Boss Bitch”

The perfect anti-pop single. In this incredibly catchy upbeat song, Doja practically proclaims imperfection as the new perfect. -Shawn Anosike

90. Eminem ft. Juice WRLD: “Godzilla”

One of 2020’s viral sensations. Eminem broke his own record with 224 words & 330 syllables in 31 seconds. Fun fact: he featured the late Juice WRLD after hearing his one hour freestyle on Tim Westwood’s show. -Ilooise Omohinmin

89. Mayorkun: “Geng”

Mayorkun’s first hit of the year. An absolute banger. Chilling with the most high? -Akintunde Pearce

88. Nines ft. NSG: “Airplane Mode”

When Crabs In A Bucket dropped, a lot of people didn’t get the metaphor. Quite frankly, the album artwork couldn’t be more expository. One track that stood out instantly was “Airplane Mode” Why? It reeked of the audacity to take charge and not give a fuck. -Ilooise Omohinmin

87. Drake ft. Playboi Carti: “Pain 1993”

Drake came in with his usual finesse while Carti drops a polarising verse with his — newly reinvented — Baby Voice™ on a song that would fit perfectly on Die Lit. -Akintunde Pearce

86. Bad Boy Timz: “MJ”

This song marked the beginning of Bad Boy Timz's back-to-back banger journey. I don't know if he has any songs prior to this, but just from this song, you'll know he didn't enter the music industry to play. -Rest Mogbolu

85. Olakira: “In My Maserati”

It's funny how every time this song comes on, in my head, I feel like I can dance until I actually dare to. From the beat to the flow, you really can't resist the urge to get up and move. It's also pretty easy to sing along to. A total party jam. -Rest Mogbolu

84. Skepta, Young Adz & Chip: “Golden Brown”

2020 has been really the year of fire collaborations. On “Golden Brown”, Big Smoke is more relaxed and melodic, Chip is sharp as ever, while Yung Adz is brilliant on this meeting of made men. The rich production would be right at home on a Rick Ross album. Sounds like black excellence. -Akintunde Pearce

83. Khalid & Disclosure: “Know Your Worth”

Khalid and the electronic duo made MAGIC on this track. The best way to motivate the people is with good lyrics on an extraordinary beat, right? -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

82. Johnny Drille: “Mystery Girl”

Yo! Johnny flipped on us from 0-100 real quick. He switched on his inner & outer sexy, went from a cute, clueless lover boy to a dangerous Yoruba (or in this case Edo) demon, and killed off the old Johnny for this one — literally. (Watch the video) -Ilooise Omohinmin

81. Glass Animals: “Heat Wave”

FIFA 21. That’s all I should say, but this alternative indie tune is so good it’ll give you goosebumps on the first listen. In my opinion, it’s the best song on, you guessed it, FIFA 21. -Ilooise Omohinmin

80. SZA ft. Ty Dolla $ign: “Hit Different”

R&B’s leading lady, SZA (don’t tell Jhené Aiko), and Ty Dolla $ign do justice to this Neptunes-produced slow jam. If 2020 was a word — okay, two words — it’d be this title. -Akintunde Pearce

79. Kizz Daniel: “Ada”

Kizz Daniel is one of the few Nigerian artists with no bad song and "Ada" really proves this man can do no wrong. -Chuma Okoye

78. Major League Djz, Abidoza & Mpho Sebina: “Dinaledi”

South African twin DJs, Major League Djz teamed up with Abidoza to deliver a 31-track album, Pianochella!, with each song showcasing distinct amapiano waxings. “Dinaledi” stands out as a record that spotlights more melodious attempts at the genre. The pair tap in Mpho Sebina, whose honeyed vocals give the track its sparkling essence. -Makua Adimora

77. Billie Eilish: “Therefore I Am”

Running around an empty mall, eating whatever you like, and telling your haters to shove it! Billie Eilish was a whole vibe on this jam. -Ilooise Omohinmin

76. Adekunle Gold ft. Nailah Blackman: “AG Baby”

Nailah Blackman’s feature on "AG Baby" makes it a masterpiece. As far as pop music goes, Adekunle Gold makes a statement with "AG Baby". -Abe Adéilé

75. Reminisce ft. Fireboy DML: “Ogaranya”

The intro to this song alone deserves an award. The Sarz-produced record pulsates from start to finish as Fireboy’s magic and Reminisce’s cool tempo play off each other perfectly. - Akintunde Pearce

74. Mayorkun: “Of Lagos”

Of lay lay, of Lagos baby! The gibberish he started with is a vibe already; that’s when you know it’s time to get out of your bed or chair and move! Melodies are amazing as usual. This year belonged to Mayorkun. -Adaora Nwangwu

73. BlackPink: “How You Like That”

Another power-packed anthem from what is undoubtedly currently the biggest girl group in the world. Yes, BlackPink. We do like that. -Shawn Anosike

72. Adekunle Gold: “Something Different”

Serving a different spin on Afrobeats, AG's “Something Different” lives up to its name, managing to make us dance while retaining his unique sound. -Shawn Anosike

71. Lil Uzi Vert ft. 21 Savage: “Yessirski”

First of all, it’s the 21 ad-libs for me. Never really been a huge fan of Uzi, but 21 had me bopping hard to this song. -Rest Mogbolu

70. Gunna ft. Roddy Ricch: “Cooler Than A Bitch”

Gunna has definitely found his pocket. Coming off the release of their joint project in 2018, Lil Baby and Gunna suffered many comparisons from fans, accusing them of sounding like two different versions of a watered-down Young Thug (let’s be real, who doesn’t?). With the release of 2020’s WUNNA (and it’s deluxe iteration), Gunna has proven to have found his groove. Backed by 808-heavy beats courtesy of Wheezy & Turbo, the Atlanta rapper flexes his bottomless bank of melodies and deliveries. On “Cooler Than A Bitch”, Gunna is at home; pairing up with Roddy Ricch as the duo trade verses, cruising cooly over the beat. -Makua Adimora

69. Thundercat ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B: “Fair Chance”

On “Fair Chance”, 34-year-old bassist, Thundercat tenders a bromantic ode, mourning his dear friend, Mac Miller. “So hard to get over it, I tried to get under it,” Thundercat confesses over rising guitar strums. With its weightless keyboards, gentle drums, and guest verses from Ty Dolla $ign & Lil B, “Fair Chance '' serves as a much-needed soother. -Makua Adimora

68. Bella Shmurda ft. Zlatan & Lincoln: “Cash App”

Hize on my neck, Hize on my wrist!’ According to Apple Music, this is my most played song of 2020. I’m already a huge Bella fan, so I’ll like anything he drops but Zlatan’s Ad-libs on this song? Second to NONE. -Olegwa Nengite

67. DJ Neptune ft Joeboy & Mr. Eazi: “Nobody”

This song is so good it has an entire album of remixes and they all bang — sorta. -Abe Adéilé

66. Patoranking: “Abule”

Remember the feeling you got just listening to music from Baba Fryo, Danfo Drivers, Sheyman, or Jazzmin Olofin? Yea - the feeling you get from listening to "Abule" also ranks up there. -Abe Adéilé

65. KDDO ft. Casper Nyovest: “eWallet”

The chorus on "eWallet" can exist as a stand-alone song; it’s that much of a tune. -Abe Adéilé

64. Justin Beiber ft. Quavo: “Intentions”

Justin Bieber still has the words to help you melt your woman’s heart. “Intentions” can be beautiful poetry that you read aloud to your loved one on a special occasion. -Abe Adéilé

63. Sahbabii: “Ready To Eat”

Sahbabii is a weird rapper, the weirdest you might come across. Of the many artists that Young Thug’s animated influence can be heard and felt in, SahBabii ranks near the top. With the release of his latest project, Barnacles, Sahbabii builds on his penchant for rapping about his two favorite things — sex and animals — all while lulling the listener into one very sensuous lucid dream. On “Ready To Eat”, ‘babii slips and slides on the beat, sounding (even more) like a heavily sedated Young Thug. If you’re looking to try crack but don’t have the courage, this record is a close second. -Makua Adimora

62. Tiwa Savage: “Koroba”

A JAM! End of. -Rest Mogbolu

61. Digga D: “Woi”

An exceptional cut from one of the UK’s most lauded MCs. Digga knows his strengths and uses them well. -Akintunde Pearce

60. Dua Lipa ft. Dababy: “Levitating”

I've loved Dua Lipa since “New Rules” and she doesn't miss, especially when it comes to visuals. On ‘Levitating”, her vocals are impressive. She knows her to make a pop bop, period. Dababy switched up his “monotonous” flow and delivered an equally impressive performance. -Adaora Nwangwu

59. Headie One ft. AJ Tracey & Stormzy: “Ain’t It Different”

Another great combo on this tune with 3 of the grime scene’s hottest artists. Nothing less was expected. Fire samples from Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ "Pretty Little Dirty" and "No Long Talking" by Lady Saw. -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

58. Vigro Deep & Focalistic: “Ke Star”

The percussions are sick! Love the progression of the beat; how it started off subtly and slowly built up. What stood out for me are the rolls, asides from the vibey repetitions of certain words that make the song interesting and catchy. Tsiki Tsiki yo yo yo yo yo! Yebooo! -Adaora Nwangwu

57. Odunsi the Engine ft. Amaarae, Gigi Atlantis & DETO BLACK: “Body Count”

BIG yes to African women making this type of music. With Amaarae’s soft vocals, Gigi’s extremely catchy hook, and Deto Black’s bad bitchery, we have the perfect feminine combo. Besides all that the beat/production of this song is absolutely top-notch. Odunsi The Killer! -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

56. Forevatired: “Devil Fruit”

The most delightfully intriguing thing about Nigerian boy band, Forevatired, is their ability to marry their influences with their individualities; sounding like everyone and no one all at once. On “Devil Fruit”, the lead single from their 2020 tape, THOSE KIDS NEXT DOOR, Rockimonsta goes solo, penning an ode to the struggling artist. His gritty vocals dish out melodic raps that glide perfectly over the pipey synths. You definitely can’t get this sound anywhere else. -Makua Adimora

55. Basketmouth ft. Flash & BOJ: “World People”

For three minutes, seven seconds, Flash & Boj converse with us over the theme of ”Ameboism” (gossip): “Na which kain world wey we dey, wey world people no go complain?” So seriously, live your life because you can’t please everyone. Also, stream Yabasi for clear skin. -Ilooise Omohinmin

54. Nicki Minaj: “Yikes”

Nicki is the queen of talking her shit! I mean who else can start a song with “Woke up, the price of coke up”? She embraced herself as the true queen on “Yikes” and that’s goals. -Chuma Okoye

53. PartyNextDoor ft. Rihanna: “Believe it”

Rihannaaaa! Whewww! Her voice is everything! This song is calm, soft, and soothing. Of course, PND pulled through with those melodies and his sexy voice. A song I can chill to, on an exotic beach or island with a glass of wine in my hand. -Adaora Nwangwu

52. NSG: “Lupita”

This song makes me so shy because I’ve let myself believe they were singing to/about me. “Dark-skinned with a lil’ fupa”, yeahhh that part. As for that breaking waist, see you next year please. -Olegwa Nengite

51. Pi’erre Bourne: “Sossgirl”

Though known more for his catchy producer tag (Yo Pi’erre, you wanna come out here?) than for his vocal attempts, Pi’erre Bourne’s music is anything but uninteresting. For one, his penchant for weaving elementary video game sounds into his beats seems to come even more alive — Bourne definitely saves the best beats for himself. His lyrics — though lackluster — are catchy and do exactly what they’re meant to: get stuck in your head, resulting in an incessant amount of replays. A timely update to his 2019 tape, The Life of Pierre 4 (Deluxe) is even better than the original, seamless transitions and all. Loverboy Pi’erre (re)appears on “Sossgirl”: “I’m probably gon’ forget you, think it’s best that I do,” he sighs, his vocals heavily shroud in auto-tune. “Sossgirl” is a song you can listen to in any mood, whether you’re crying over your ex or on your way to the function, drunk on Ciroc. Bonus points for the most iconic transition of the year from “Sossgirl” to “Sossboy”. -Makua Adimora

50. Tiwa Savage: “Dangerous Love”

A lush, layered love song with obscene levels of replay value and refrains. Excellent production and vocal performance. -Akintunde Pearce

49. Kabza De Small ft. Wizkid, Burna Boy, Cassper Nyovest & Madumane: “Sponono”

One of the biggest amapiano records all year. Burna Boy’s assertive vocals are the secret ingredient to this show-stopping track. -Rest Mogbolu

48. Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A: “Franchise”

There’s something absolutely riveting about this song. From the gritty beat to the powerful combo of Travis, Thug & M.I.A, this track is an absolute banger. -Abe Adéilé

47. Niniola: “Addicted”

Niniola’s vocals are truly an underrated gem. On “Addicted”, although she barely showcases bits of its full range, it’s no question that the girl can sing. Easily one of the best Amapiano iterations from this part of the continent. -Makua Adimora

46. 24kgoldn & iann dior: “Mood”

Radio friendly, feel-good trap pop at its finest. -Akintunde Pearce

45. Jack Harlow: “What's Poppin”

Jack Harlow might just be one of the favorite newbies because every song has been a hit back to back. The remix to this song is equally as dope! -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

44. Jhené Aiko ft. H.E.R.: “B.S.”

Although a lot of people seemed to have fallen in love this year (err?), there are still some of us who really came back on our B.S. Big shout to Jhené Aiko for a tune to back us up. -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

43. Don Toliver ft. Travis Scott & Kaash Paige: “Euphoria”

One of the more memorable standouts on Don Toliver’s Heaven or Hell, “Euphoria” is a song that makes me very happy. Toliver, Travis & Kaash were born to make music together. -Olegwa Nengite

42. Miley Cyrus: “Angels Like You”

With “Angels Like You”, Miley’s transformation is complete. This song is the birth of a new era for Ms. Cyrus; an era where angels aren’t welcome. -Ilooise Omohinmin

41. BTS: “Dynamite”

It's the range for me. Apart from the perfect English, the Bangtan boys brought back disco, reminding us that it's their world and we're just living in it. -Shawn Anosike

40. Oxlade: “DKT”

This song can probably make you fall in love, no matter how hard you think your heart is. Oxlade never ever fails to deliver the best hooks, every song he touches turns to pure gold! -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

39. Olamide ft. Omah Lay: “Infinity”

Undoubtedly one of the most important collaborations of the year. The entire song gels together flawlessly. Easily an earworm. -Shawn Anosike

38. Davido ft. CKay: “ La La”

This fast-paced energy burst of a track is bound to keep you on your feet the entire time. That bass. That's it. That's the entire tweet. -Shawn Anosike

37. ChloexHalle: “Do It”

An absolute bop. The repetitive chorus was created with the right formula to have you singing and playing the song, over and over again. -Rest Mogbolu

36. Pop Smoke ft. 50 Cent & Roddy Ricch: "The Woo"

I'd never really listened to Pop Smoke until I heard “The Woo”. A super chill record with amazing features. -Olegwa Nengite

35. Amaarae: “Trust Fund Baby”

Amaarae is one of the more pleasantly eccentric artists the continent has seen in a while. On “Trust Fund Baby”, she reinvents her familiar pop sound, whispering silky melodies over the heavily stripped-down instrumental as she taunts a pathetic lover who begs the privilege of the pink between her thighs. -Makua Adimora

34. Master KG ft. Burna Boy & Nomcebo Zikode - “Jerusalema (Remix)”

Easily one of the biggest songs out of Africa this year. From Cristiano Ronaldo posting the original iteration on his Instagram story to global brands picking up the recent Jerusalema Challenge, it's clear Master KG’s sounds have traveled from South Africa to the world. -Chuma Okoye

33. Davido ft. Mayorkun: “The Best”

The standout track from the latest Davido project; a standout track on any project. The 30BG heavyweights bless us with a party jam for the ages. -Akintunde Pearce

32. Theophilus London ft. Kristian Hamilton: “Leon”

The opening record of Theophilus London’s comeback album, Bebey, “Leon” sets the mood for the project. An almost hypnotic, synth-heavy calypso bop featuring Kristian Hamilton, “Leon” is some version of strip-tease music. “You took so long”, London croons (a befitting intro chorus), his layered vocals cloaked in ear-snagging synths that’d give electronic producer, Tobacco, a run for his money. -Makua Adimora

31. Kehlani: “Can I”

2020 belonged to the R&B girls. From Jhene Aiko to Teyana Taylor, we were blessed with phenomenal R&B albums all year, and we have the female vocalists to thank for that. Kehlani’s It Was Good Until It Wasn’t offers a succession of 21st-century reboots of the old-fashioned R&B slow jam. On “Can I” — an ambitious flip of Aaliyah’s “Come Over” — she pens a sultry number to a lover that may not be hers alone. “Tell your girlfriend that you’re single,” she coyly demands, expressing naked lust. -Makua Adimora

30. Burna Boy: “Way Too Big”

Is there a better way to brag about yourself and your greatness? Nah! Whoever hears this song without getting up to dance and sing with passion, hmmm. -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

29. Olamide ft. Bad Boy Timz: “Loading”

Olamide couldn’t have picked a better person to feature on this song. Coupled with the fact that he dropped the coolest video ever for this jam, this is definitely one of the best songs that dropped this year. -Olegwa Nengite

28. Fireboy DML: “Tattoo”

Easily the best song off Fireboy’s sophomore album, APOLLO, “Tattoo” is a downright feel-good R&B record. Fireboy’s sultry inflections meet with Type A’s spacey production, making for the perfect background track for that time. -Makua Adimora.

27. Rema: “Ginger Me”

One of my favourite songs this year and by Rema in general. From the production to the melodies, to the hums, to his vocals — Rema absolutely killed it! This song will make you want to fall in love. -Adaora Nwangwu

26. Burna Boy: “23”

There's something soothing about the way the African Giant tells stories with his voice and the beautiful use of the piano in this track. Definitely a replay. -Shawn Anosike

25. DJ Khaled ft. Drake: “Greece”

Come with me/Leave all of your things, yeah/We can stop at Gucci, stop at Louis V, yeah.” Makes me think about the lines I'd use on her when I have money. Greece is the background music to that type of daydream. -Rest Mogbolu

24. Rema - “Woman”

Okay, but he snapped. When Rema said, “I too like woman,” I felt that. My roommate felt that. The whole world felt that. -Shawn Anosike

23. Bombay Bicycle Club: “I Can Hardly Speak”

When Bombay Bicycle Club released their fifth studio album, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong in January this year, many things were still right with the world. Not only were we not living through a global pandemic, but it also marked the end of their six-year hiatus. Everything Else is an album that permeates the band’s trademark sound with fresh ideas. On the mid-tempo “I Can Hardly Speak”, the group incites warm shots of nostalgia through the squiggly synths and guitar licks cradling the echoing lyrics: “And I can’t even talk/I’m floating in a dream”. -Makua Adimora

22. Wizkid: “Reckless”

This is what an intro song should sound like. Wizkid kicked off the long-awaited Made In Lagos album with an underrated banger! To top it off, Starboy gave us some sweet and meaningful lyrics. 10/10. -Feyikemi Akin-Bankole

21. Future & Drake: “Life Is Good”

Future & Drake need to drop a follow up to What A Time to Be Alive. Trap Drake is my favourite Drake, I can’t lie, and Future is the GOAT. This song kickstarted the year. -Akintunde Pearce

20. Taylor Swift: “Cardigan”

Folklore was a record-breaking album, and “Cardigan”, the warm, tender song that foreshadowed the album’s release, led this record-breaking giant to victory. -Ilooise Omohinmin

19. Megan Thee stallion ft. Beyonce: “Savage (Remix)”

Love the hook, absolutely catchy! Beyoncé? She ate! I mean, anything she does is phenomenal. Her verse was stellar; her flow, the range from one melody to another, singing to rapping, the adlibs, the harmonies, and vocal texture — all flawless. -Adaora Nwangwu

18. Omah Lay: “Bad Influence”

It’s the way the song starts: the downtempo, cushioned drums you hear in the background, and how the song's storyline takes you to a climax with the chorus’s lyrics. It’d leave you thinking: “This music is about pain… sweet pain”. Although succinct — 2 minutes, 18 seconds to be exact — it’s a worthy journey. -Abe Adéilé

17. Dababy ft. Roddy Ricch: “Rockstar”

I had heard this song so many times but never in full, until I watched the pair perform at the BETs and fell in love. I learned the lyrics the next day and haven’t stopped listening since then! -Olegwa Nengite

16. Popcaan ft. Drake & Partynextdoor: “Twist And Turn”

I only really got into Dancehall this year and I’m so glad I did. I like this trio, I hope they make more music together next year. -Olegwa Nengite

15. Lil Baby ft 42 Dugg: “We Paid”

The minimalism of “We Paid” works for it. 42 Dugg and Lil Baby are complementary rappers — two deceptively gifted technical stylists whose flows are both catchy and intricate. They both talk a whole lot of shit on the record, and their voices weave in and out of each other, finding a hypnotic call-and-response groove. A summer anthem that could have been, if we were ‘rona-free. -Makua Adimora

14. The Cavemen.: “Anita”

The Cavemen have had a fantastic year. Between releasing arguably the best album from these parts and bagging two Headies nominations, the brother duo embarked on a tour of some sort, spreading their gospel of neo-highlife like wildfire. On album standout, “Anita”, the pair create magic — like they always do. “Anita eh, you go kill somebody!” Benjamin shrieks on the electrifying number, as the “shekeres” punctuate every note, leading up to a cascade of percussions certain to send the crowd into a frenzy of gyrations. Long live highlife. -Makua Adimora

13. Omah Lay: “Damn”

I remember hearing this song for the first time, it was like discovering a gem. "Damn" really showcases the dexterity of Omah Lay's songwriting. It's an absolute feel-good banger. -Chuma Okoye

12. Ariana Grande: “Positions”

In this vocally flawless, sex spell of a song, Ariana Grande reminds us why she's got a point, she's an icon, she's a legend and she is the moment. -Shawn Anosike

11. Wande Coal: “Again”

The most beautiful song. Gosh! "Ololufe" Wande came out for this one and I couldn’t be happier. A perfect way to start the month of Valentine, but this really is a song for all seasons. -Olegwa Nengite

10. Wizkid ft. Tay Iwar & Projexx: “True Love”

Wizkid made something truly sensual with this, bringing on board unarguably one of the grandfathers of the burgeoning alté sound — Tay Iwar. On “True Love”, Tay proves he’s a gem to Nigerian music and, quite frankly, music as a whole. Imagine two new school lovebirds grinding on each other; this would be the soundtrack. -Ilooise Omohinmin

9. Yves Tumor: “Hasdallen Lights”

Tumor’s deeply intoxicating sounds evoke imaginations of an erotic utopia; a world earmarked by warped time and carnal pleasure, conjuring an atmosphere of total, decadent vice. On “Hasdallen Lights”, Tumor inflects a one-person dialogue with themselves. “What are you running from? Running from my shadow,” they call and reply over rippling basslines and rising synths. A standout record from MY album of the year. -Makua Adimora

8. Davido: “Fem”

A powerful record and easily the biggest song in the country this year, from one of the biggest artists the continent has ever seen. -Rest Mogbolu

7. Chris Brown & Young Thug: “Go Crazy”

Good luck to anyone trying to count Chris Brown out. If there’s anything “Go Crazy” tells you, it’s that Chris Brown is pop’s golden child & he will never forget how to make hits! And most importantly, he’ll always get you moving your body. Young Thug’s perfectly placed verse ties the entire song together. What a banger. -Abe Adéilé

6. Fiona Apple: “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”

The title track from Apple’s fifth studio album (and first in nearly eight years), “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” is a record that depicts the very essence of Apple’s eccentric sound. From the discordant drum pattern to the prancy lyrics, it accurately illustrates Apple’s penchant for the unconventional. The song runs like an entry in a teenage girl’s diary, as Apple recounts tales of failed friendships and obnoxious girls at school. “Fetch the bolt cutters, I’ve been in here too long,” she drily declares. Same, Fiona, same. -Makua Adimora

5. Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “WAP”

Megan and Cardi absolutely ATE this song! Their flows were seamless; it was the way it rhymed for me! This song is sexplicit; empowering and breaking the rules and norms of purity culture. I’m so in love with this song, hopefully, I don't drown in it. -Adaora Nwangwu

4. Drake: “Laugh Now, Cry Later”

Drake is a genius and his penchant for making summer anthems becomes more apparent, hit after hit. If 2020 went well without COVID-19 being a thing, best believe that “Laugh Now, Cry Later” would’ve been the summer anthem — no cap. -Abe Adéilé

3. Internet Money ft. Don Toliver, NAV & Gunna: “Lemonade”

Don Toliver croons beautifully over a feel-good guitar riff-driven beat, while Nav and Gunna add a bit of ice and a bit of gloss to one of the top songs of the year. -Akintunde Pearce

2. The Weeknd: “Escape From LA”

This song is CRACK — literally! A stunning standout on his 2020 project, After Hours, “Escape From LA” is exactly the old Weeknd we’ve all been asking to resurface. The Grammys don’t deserve him. -Chuma Okoye

1. Tame Impala: “One More Hour”

Kevin Parker is a perfectionist, and a lonely one too. The brain behind the one-man band, Tame Impala, Parker often copes with his self-isolation (long before Covid-19) and doubts through stonerisms and chanting positive mantras. On his fourth studio album, The Slow Rush, Parker battles with every perfectionist’s greatest enemy: time. Like the title suggests, The Slow Rush is an exhilaratingly eerie address to the transit of time. While the project is filled with memorable numbers, it’s the album’s 7-minute closer, however, that steals the show. On “One More Hour”, Parker casts us into a plane of deep introspection, as his falsetto croons crash into a cascade of synths, guitar riffs, and apocalyptic drum patterns. It’s a perfect closer to the work of a true perfectionist. -Makua Adimora



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