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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