Between the fluctuating naira, epileptic power supply and increasing queues at fuel stations all against the backdrop of a searing heat, caused by global warming we still refuse to take seriously, Nigeria has dipped further from uncertainty to a place of hopeless abandon.
The mounting problems seem to be beyond the powers of a mostly ineffectual government. And the common man is forced into a cut-throat struggle for daily survival.
While music may not directly offer a solution for any of these problems, it can still serve as a relatable outlet because these are songs recorded by people who rose to success through the struggles. On this playlist, the music is aspiration and the message is hope.
Better – Oritsefemi
There are many songs that come to mind when anyone speaks about better days and Oritshefemi’s Better is one of those songs. Hinging the narrative of the song against how money changes people and the desperation to find success, Oritsefemi delivers a near spiritual anthem for the common man about a utopian society where one person’s success equals everybody’s success and no man has to feed off the palms of another. We agree the idea is pretty high-minded, but for someone who made it out of the grit and grime of the Ajegunle slums, we can’t really find any reason to fault Oristefemi’s logic.
One Day – Eldee
If anybody can better tell the story of Nigeria’s struggle through music, they would have to contest with Eldee. Juxtaposing the Nigerian reality with how far Nigeria has come against the backdrop of his personal to better-governed national economies, Eldee has a lot to say. But his faith in the green white green is not discarded because according to him, One day, one day, e go better
E Go Betta – Tony Tetuila
Tony Tetuila’s 2004 hit E Go Betta was one of the few songs critiquing the country’s administration that survived the radio censors of the Obasanjo era . The reason for that is probably not independent of fast-paced instrumentation and nuances that made a song about wishing for better days adaptable into club DJ playlists.
Shekpe – M.I
M.I’s Chairman album was a convoluted LP for many reasons. The album tried too hard at its lowest points and handled its expected high points with an unprecedented lax in content and delivery. However, one of the notable successes the album gifted us was a Shekpe featuring rapper Reminisce. The track glamourises the street life while simulteamously casting a gloomy paint on the harsh realities that exist therein.“E go better small small, e go fine/ men it’s just time” M.I raps, but in the meantime let’s keep the bottles rolling.
Motivation – Olamide
We recently ranked Olamide’s Baddest Guy Ever Liveth album as the best collective from the rapper. Thanks to songs like Motivation we don’t regret the decision. With supporting inputs from Pepenazi and Ice Prince and a sample of Mumford and Son’s Ghosts That We Knew Olamide gives the street the right kind of motivation needed to make it through these kind of hard times.
Make Am – Patoranking
Patoranking is another succes story of the Nigerian struggle. And between the twiddling electronic highlife background instrumentation and Di’Ja’s uncredited background vocals, there is really no better way to deliver an asiprational song about the equality in the opportunity that life hands us.
Change – EME All Stars
For Banky W and the former EME All Stars, for Nigeria to get better, the collective effort should be directed towards working together as a people, praying for a better nation and voting out administrations that don’t do the people’s bidding.
Owu S’ agi – Wizboy
Wizboy’s 2010 hit was a brilliant cross-cultural collaboration between the highlife singer and fellow indigenous singer 9ice. This duo are mostly grateful for how far they have come, but they hammer essentially on hard work as the only way to survive scathing hunger. For Wizboy, things actually do get better, you just need hunger enough for it.
Pass You By – Blackmagic
Blackmagic has a lot to be grateful for considering just how far he has come. And thanks to another near-spiritual chorus by Oristefemi, by the time this song ends, you’re not only hitting the replay, you’re also looking forward to getting all of your blessings in full folds as have Blackmagic and Oritsefemi.