16 min read

By Adeniyi Onaara

Imagine the most dramatic, horrifying, unpredictable horror film you’ve ever watched, where you believed the world as we know it was about to an end, then magnify it by one million, and you’ll have the year 2020.

Despite World War III teasers, nationwide protests, a global pandemic, and months of lockdown, some uber-talented Nigerian artistes were able to rise above the various obstacles in their way and create amazing music that allowed listeners to zone out for a while and almost forget about the chaos going on around them.

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Stanley Omah Didiya, also known as Omah Lay, is definitely the breakthrough star of 2020, having captured the attention of Nigerians everywhere with his outstanding five-track EP titled “Get Layd.”

After his debut single, “You,” went viral in 2020, the 23-year-old performer rose to popularity. Omah Lay began his career as a producer and songwriter in Port Harcourt, working behind the scenes on other people’s songs. It wasn’t until he discovered he wasn’t getting enough credit for the music he helped make for others that he decided to pursue singing.

Omah Lay had dabbled with music as a teenager, rapping on the streets of Marine Base in Port Harcourt under the moniker Lil King, but he became bored and learned how to make music instead.

Following the success of his debut EP, which racked up hundreds of millions of listens, Omah Lay released “What Have We Done,” a five-track collection that proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder.

Omah Lay shot to fame in 2020, and it’s clear that he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.


Akinbiyi Abiola Ahmed alias Bella Shmurda was undeniably responsible for some of the biggest songs in the country this year in terms of chart-toppers and singles.

The artiste has continued to advance in his ranks and build his listenership dramatically after making his debut in 2019 with his very hit track “Vision 2020,” which later got a remix featuring Olamide.

Along with major collaborations with A-listers like Davido, his 7-track EP named “High Tension” was equally warmly welcomed and helped to feed the flames of his career.

Fine boy Bella, as he is affectionately known, was also recognized for his song “Dangbana orisa,” which was featured as one of the “Most streamed new songs” in the world on audiomack in the second week of September, ahead of international peers Lil Durk and 6ix9ine.

Now with the release of his second albumHigh Tension 2.0’ we can say that Bella Shmurda is one of the fast rising stars making waves in Nigeria music industry


Whenever you heard the words “Gbese Lekan kan” you already knew it was none other than Olorunyomi Oloruntimilehin better known as Bad Boy Timz. Before 2020, Timz had made several attempts to break into the Nigerian music industry with his Zlatan assisted track “Hustle” and his viral Twitter freestyle which would eventually earn him the support of his family but it wasn’t until he released his hit song “Micheal Jackson” that his career officially took off.

He would later go on to release multiple remixes of the song, one with Mayorkun and another with Teni and ultimately land an appearance on Olamide’s album where he shone on the 10th track titled “Loading”.

Bad Boy Timz has shown a lot of promise and it seems he’s just getting started.


Chike-Ezekpeazu Osebuka professionally known as Chike is a singer, songwriter and actor commonly known for his participation in talent competitions like MTN project fame and The Voice Nigeria.

His talent, creativity and captivating vocals made him a fan favourite throughout his completions and moved Patoranking to call him a star and promise to make him a superstar while he was on The Voice.

However, it wasn’t until Chike released his 14 track album titled “Boo of the Booless” that he achieved huge mainstream success as the album became the most listened to and number 1 album on 19 February 2020.

Chike’s talent is unquestionable and he has a unique way of making listeners feel different emotions through his music so one can only imagine what he has planned for the new year.


Ajebo Hustlers is a music group made up of two artistes, George Dandeson aka Knowledge, and singer Isaiah Precious aka Piego.

They are true Port Harcourt boys and their musical style consists of a mix of Afrobeat and highlife music genres.

In 2015, the duo released a remix to “Bole And Fish” which was their first official song together but their big break didn’t come until 2020 when their song “Barawo” became one of the prominent anthems of the #EndSARS movement. The popularity of their song earned them a feature with Davido. The artistes have been on the scene for a while but it looks like their time has finally come.

And with the release of their EP ‘Kpos LifestyleVol1 we can say that they are truly on their way to fame


Adekanbi Adedamola Olorunsogo is a singer, songwriter and producer popularly known as Dillz. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer.

He released his first song at the age of thirteen. Dillz has since grown as an artiste and positioned himself as a unique voice in the midst of his colleagues. His debut EP “Euphoria” was critically acclaimed and showed off Dillz’s range as an artiste as well as his immense potential.

In 2020, in anticipation of his sophomore E.P., Dillz released the single “Heart Robber” which features Peruzi. The success of the single attracted the attention of music management company.

Dillz is a solo artist who is not signed to any music management company, he is a Georgian based Nigerian artist

He describes himself as “a very special musician” and he has proven himself to be special indeed.


Chukwuka Ekeani aka Ckay is a producer and recording artiste currently signed to Warner Music South Africa. He’s been actively involved in the music-making process for a better part of his life as he started producing and writing music at age 13.

Ckay made his production debut with “Third Mainland Bridge” which featured MI & Moti Cakes on the TICBN vol. 1 album.

Over the years he’s been a recurring character in the Nigerian music scene, collaborating with top artistes across the board but 2020 has been a year of personal wins for him with his song “Love Nwantiti” getting over 70 million streams and his deal with Warner Music among other things.

He has evidently evolved over the years and it’s safe to assume he’ll keep the same energy in 2021 as the year is fast running.


DMW Princess Abdulsalam Suliyat Modasola better known as Liya is a singer and songwriter with proficiency in Afropop.

She rose to prominence after Davido signed her to his label making her the first female artiste on the team but it was her talent and delivery on her debut song ‘Melo’ that really got people hooked.

Before signing with her current label, she had put out a number of singles on which she showed her range as an artiste. Liya has just shown the world the tip of the iceberg and it’s clear that there is still a lot more to come from her.


Nicholas ‘Psycho YP’ Ihua- Maduenyi is the Abuja born and bred new school rapper with the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria behind him.

His ever-growing underground hip-hop fan base of new age music lovers has made him a prominent player in the Nigerian music scene because they love and support his music aggressively.

Starting out making music as a means of self-expression in high school, Psycho YP has grown as an artiste since then and repeatedly proven himself to be a vital part of Nigeria’s growing trap music scene.

He surrounds himself with like minds and understands the strength of a collective unit with a similar goal and that is exactly what his crew “Apex Village” is.

Psycho YP is definitely special and with the way music is beginning to cross borders and defy boundaries, he just might be on his way to global acclaim.


Laime Bennibor aka Laime is a new generation artiste with a unique and compelling sound. Currently signed under his own co-founded label, Buzz Gang Entertainment, he has been able to build a substantial fanbase of hardcore fans who adore him and his music.

His 5 track EP “From Laime With Love” which was released in 2019 was a testament to the talent and versatility that Laime had as an artiste. In 2020 he got the internet buzzing after he released his Buju and Bad Boy Timz assisted track “Oga Boss”.

Laime isn’t confined to a box and his creativity is crystal clear in his music so it’s safe to say 2021 is about to be one for the books.

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