Sequel to my previous article titled “Nigerian Music:My 21 Years and Its Many Generations” I present my chart as promised. My consideration for selecting videos on this list is nothing to do with hit tracks or multiplatinum status of any artiste, I consider basically the impact I saw these videos make on the Nigerian audience both locally and internationally going by their uniqueness and how revolutionary or even controversial they were in their time.
Well, you will not find a bad song on this list, but it’s also fair to note that not all the songs were big hits, so it’s more of how impactful or memorable those videos are and how well I thought they stayed ahead of competition in their time than how big the songs or artistes are. The videos are listed in no particular order.
1. Aye o le – Infinity
This video directed by Gbenga Salu came with the tag “one of the best Nigeria has ever done”. Coming fresh from the already well loved debut video “Olori Oko”, the group Infinity knew they needed a good follow-up and that’s exactly what “Aye O le” was for them. Besides dominating many awards especially for best special effects, they thrilled Nigerians so much that “the making” of the video itself became an item on Nigerian entertainment TV shows, especially the then very popular “Music Africa”.
2. No be God – Gino
I wonder where Gino is right now, but that is a guy who gave rap music a kind of video that erupted comments like “Naija don go far o”. Shot within Festac, Amuwo Odofin or Satelite town in Lagos, we saw a picture with 3D effects which were good enough to make you think it was shot by some Hollywood crew, flown into a suburb of Jamaica. We never had a Nigerian rap artistes come up with a musical video that good and we sure loved it and still remember it.
3. Never far Away – Lagbaja
Lagbaja never had a bad video since the “We, Me, Abami” album, at least not one I can remember. Well known as a very skilled and multitalented musician, but it was never so portrayed in a musical video until he showed us a full orchestra of classical music accompaniment for his R&B tune “never far away” with the masked man himself playing the role of the music conductor. Managing to give us a very sensible love storyline in an already eventful video is outstanding. Location and costuming were terrific too. It’s a classic any day and a good export for Nigerian and indeed African music.
4. Temptation – P-Square ft. Alaye
The only standard to rate a P-square video has always been against there own videos, I’m sorry if you think otherwise but that is the only Nigerian music artiste/group that has never had a bad video. Temptation was to me Nigeria’s first R&B video with a non-indigenous but real foreign traditional concept well put together and I’m sure it contributed to why some of their fans across the world couldn’t believe they were Nigerians. Kudos to Jude Okoye, this was the first one to make us feel like we were watching an R-Kelly video.
5. Love me jeje – Sheyi Shodimu
This video was a bully in my opinion. In 1998 when most “hip-hop artistes” in Nigeria couldn’t boast of ever seeing the airport came a handsome Yoruba man with “akata” chicks singing and rapping on a video shot in America. No doubt, it was an interesting song and it was a unique and exciting video for the 90s but you can trust the Nigerian media to give him all the attention deserving of an “international artiste”. I also remember rumors of him being married to then little known Shaffy Bello, who sang the chorus in the video which launched her into Nigerian entertainment industry before she later became a Nollywood big timer herself.
6. Ada Ada – Flavour
Due to many reasons, Sunny Neji’s “Oruka” still reigns as Nigeria’s number one wedding song, but I doubt if we’ve seen a wedding video this good. Flavour knew his Igbo people have a rich wedding tradition and he portrayed it like never done before by anyone in a musical video. Even Nollywood has never managed to give us a wedding scene that beautiful in any movie. Clarence Peters represents the new school and he did a good job here, for me, it is one of his best works.
7. Jagbajantis – Sound Sultan
Now, this is way back memory lane, the year 2000 if I’m right and ever since then, all my attempts to get my brother Lanre Fasasi to explain how he got such a “team” of talented, humorous and believable kid actors to cast in this video has not yielded a satisfactory result. This video for me is by far the most exciting musical video of that generation and I would celebrate a remake of it with the same cast all now grown up. It won most of the awards in the video category for that year.
8. Ijo ya – Weird MC
We’ve been having animations in musical videos which were equally very fantastic, considering the level of technology and skill available those days, but with due respect to the likes of Obiwon, “Ijo ya” gave us something totally different. Firstly, it was a daring move making an animation for a dance song/club banger like “Ijo ya” but it was so well done, we all loved it, we even took away a dance routine from the cartoon characters and everyone, young or old wanted to shake their bum to the sound of the talking drum. It’s so far Nigeria’s favorite animation video.
9. Cry – Mode-9 ft. Nneka
Where is the Ghecko team? I wonder. But these guys shot one of the most memorable musical videos for a rap artiste in Nigerian entertainment history. It was one of the best seasons of Modenine’s career as he won multiple awards and became a household name. Besides being a fantastic rapper and legendary artistes himself, that video, similar to Infinity’s “Aye o le” in terms of special effects did justice to his already wonderful music and they together took the industry by storm. Interestingly, the video was a low budget project.
10. Beng Beng Beng – Femi Kuti
The 1998 album titled “shoki shoki” was a typical example of a prophet having no value in its own home. While the song was already banned on all Nigerian radio/TV stations, Femi Kuti was riding on its global popularity to cement his place as an international artiste and the real heir to the Fela Afrobeat dynasty. The news of Femi’s sojourn abroad got Nigerians curious in an era when internet penetration was so poor we couldn’t even watch it online, but Alaba market came to our rescue as the video was dubbed off South-Africa’s Channel-O and made available in bootleg compilations, subsequently becoming one of the most popular videos in our streets and homes.
11. Senorita – P-Square
Very few artistes will come up twice on a list like this and I think P-Square is one of the few who deserve it. Hip-hop choreographies were never as beautiful in Nigerian musical videos until this one from the twins. Of course P-square has gone on to later produce better dance videos with better choreographies than this, but I chose this one because it was shot before their millions came and they still did it well with little resources, in fact, I think starting off with the quality of senorita video raised the bar for subsequent P-square videos.
12. Be my man – Asa
Did you even notice that Asa is the only female in that video shot on one single set? Well, that’s not the reason I find it on my list of most memorable Nigerian videos in the last 21 years. The beauty of the video is in the performance of the cast and the colorful concept. Not a vintage philosophical music Asa is known for but surely a unique video from a Nigerian female pop/soul artiste. “Fire on the mountain” is another outstanding video from Asa, but I chose this one as my favorite, after all the chart is based on my personal opinion, right? Thanks.
13. Dyna – Daddy Showkey
The Ghetto soldier ruled the 90s alongside his peers like former band mates Daddy Fresh, Cashman Davies and Sexy Pretty, with others like Baba Fryo, Felix Duke, Alariwo, and so on. The 1999 video was phenomenal in the sense that the song was released in the “Ghetto Soldier” album almost a year before the video for Dyna was shot and released, then suddenly an album which looked ordinary became a bestseller. Those days, it wasn’t about special effects or pictures, it was basically about the storyline, its delivery and how well the audience could connect with it.
14. Mother Mi – Twinax (now Twin-X)
Before you say ojoro, there is nothing partisan here. When we set out to shoot a video for our debut in 2000, we wanted something unique and never seen before and that was exactly what we did. Besides being the first documentary music video, it also was the first musical video to bring Nigerian movie stars together in a non-acting role. With Eniola Badmus (Yeah, same “gbogbo bigz girlz”) and Big-Bamo behind the camera crew, we had Vivian Metchie, Steph Nora, Uche Jombo, Eyiyemi Prat and so on whom were all big stars of the pre-Nollywood era alongside other entertainment stars like Kwame, Keke Ogungbe, Tony Tetuila, Fada U-turn (OBM), Maintain etc. Mathematics by Sound Sultan however beat us to all the awards we were nominated together. Lol.
15. Voice of God – Alabai
Great talent Alabai, my memory of people like him makes me smile when new school artiste and their publicists claim kingship of Nigerian rap music. Due respect to the new guys but I think some were just unlucky to have come earlier when the industry wasn’t paying big bucks. Thanks to Alabai for giving us this great concept in his video for his 2007 single, you’re free to strike it off my list if you can show me five (5) better video concepts depicting God without being gospel or religious.
16. Eni duro – Olamide
Both “e ni duro” and “durosoke” have similar concepts. I could have chosen “durosoke” for few reasons. One, it was shot indoor which meant more technicalities, then casting wise, Olamide was more focused on, except for the few models, yet he gave us a one-man show which kept it exciting till the end. But “E ni duro” stood out in its time for a budding artiste, the confidence he showed and the characters he presented in that “street” video gave him the attention he enjoys till today. More so, kudos to DJ-Tee, it was a product of little resources, compared to Eni duro.
17. Nfana Ibaga remix (No problem) Tu-face ft. Bennie Man & Reggie Rockstone
Unlike now when artistes can afford to get on a track with any foreign star, it took the coming of Jamaican star Bennie Man for a concert co-organized by Z-Mirage and La-face Entertainment in 2004 for Kennis Music to arrange this collabo with Tu-face, made easy by the star man’s personal interest in Tu Baba’s hit track “Nfana Ibaga” which he requested a remix from the original producer OJB Jezreel (OBM). But trust doubtful Nigerians to see this as a mere ”media hype” until when the video of the song which also features Reggie Rockstone was shot in Ghana and released later that year. I don’t know if the work had much commercial impact on Tu-baba’s career, but it was our first time seeing one of us in such high profile collaboration.
18. Nibo lawa gbe lo – Maintain
Remember Big-Bamo? The then artiste manager and XL-House label CEO earned a lot of respect for the video concept; A Volkswagen story, a very funny and dramatic video which expresses the many economic challenges of an average Nigerian. After its release, most Nigerians perceived the group Maintain as comic artistes and their stage performance was incomplete without reproducing some of the acts they put up in the video. I still remember their performance at The Movie Awards (THEMA) 2000 (now rested) where a giant caricature Volkswagen car made of cardboards was brought on stage to wow the guests.
19. Strong thing – Banky W
Now, this is my typical example of thinking outside the box, I read some comments about this video online and I saw how emotional Nigerians could be in supporting their own. In an industry where a Love music or R&B video is commonly complete with bum-shaking vixens, white girls, clubs, fast cars etc., I doff my heart to Banky for this outstanding work which takes us through the 1930s of American gangsterism. Apart from using a black girl as a lead character, the concept is not in any way African but I agree that it is the kind of video we need to shoot more often in order to aim for the Grammys.
20. My Car – Tony Tetuilla
This one is about “Tinubu u don hit my car”. Sincerely some people thought the then governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Tinubu could do Tony Tetuilla the unlikely honour of featuring in the video of a song in which he mentioned his name repeatedly, but no one saw the idea of having a little boy play Tinubu’s role coming and it really worked. It was meant to be a diss song to then rival Eedris Abdulkareem but the little boy concept took all the shine, great and exciting video.
21. Onye – Waje ft. Tiwa Savage
Besides being one of my favorite female voices in Nigeria, Waje nailed it here with her choice of whom to feature on this nice song (“I Wish” is my favorite of her music though). We don’t often see Nigerian female singers of leading talents come together on collaborations this good and it was good to see two beautiful women you’d expect to be rivals showing so much synergy in this “comedy show”. Can you beat that point when Waje “macho-walked” across the road ready to have a fight with whoever “camped” her lover-boy? Most hilarious! It is an entertaining video with fantastic acting.
Now this is my opinion, you may or may not agree with me on some of the videos mentioned; especially some readers who may be too young to remember or even value some of these videos. I’ll like to get your feedbacks. You may reach out to me: