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