14 min read

We are delighted to showcase some of the hottest Nigerian musicians who have kept it at a 100 in spite of the outlook of things in 2020. Through hard work, the musicians here have had an immense impact on the Nigerian pop culture through their music, collaboration and other intangible factors.

The thrill about this particular list is that we have some upcoming taking up as much space, sitting pretty high on the rankings with senior colleagues. They have been able to wield a much bigger influence on the music culture in Nigeria in 2020 than the usual big names.

Now let’s see who these artistes are.

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 10 – REMA

People might think Jonzing world flagship artist; Divine Ikubor professionally known as ‘Rema’ had a quiet year but that’s not really the case. Rema has maintained his star power right from 2019 into 2020. One index to know how much in-demand an artist is, is how often people look them up on the search engines. In year 2020, the Dumebi hit maker made the list of the most searched persons on Google Nigeria, his songs ginger me and woman were some of the top 10 most searched songs in Nigeria. He performed on American television network show ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’. He won an Afrimma award for Best Male – West Africa, got nominated at the MOBO awards and made the EA Sports FIFA 21 official soundtrack. Some of these achievements may fly under the radar without notice.


 Born and raised in Port Harcourt, Stanley Omah Didia, rose from a relatively unknown background to become one of the most sought-after Nigerian musicians in the year. Omah Lay braved the pandemic and lockdown that followed to become one of Nigeria’s most streamed artistes. His debut extended playlist ‘Get Layd’ was not only well received but rated as one of the best projects released by a Nigerian music star in the past 12 months. His fame was not limited to the borders of Nigeria, so far was the debut Apple Music Africa Rising Artiste, Audiomack Up Now Artiste, etc. He also bagged the 14th Headies Award ‘Next-Rated’ nomination, ‘Best Breakthrough’ at the forthcoming MTV MAMA 2021. This and many more made Omah Lay one of the hottest Nigerian musicians in 2020.              

08 – SIMI

 The mother of one is the only female artiste on our list and that is very easy to explain. Simi has the biggest song “Duduke” by a female Nigerian music star for the year. Rightfully, Simi could easily excuse herself and take a hiatus as an expectant mother and subsequently a nursing mum but she kept it going regardless. She gave us one of the biggest records in year 2020 while unveiling her pregnancy to fans. She was delivered of a beautiful baby girl and several months later dropped an EP effortlessly. And oh, let’s not forget how she helped Ladipoe to get the biggest song of his career yet “know you”. For maternal reasons, Simi would have been rocking stages and killing shows back-to-back. We can’t exactly wait to see her back on stage again.


Bella Shmurda’s hit song Vision 2020 did far well a lot better than all those promises in the government MDGs. The year turned out massive for the LASU student who checked a lot of milestones in his career. At the moment, fineboy Bella has one of the hottest street anthems ‘Cash App’, some crazy collaborations etc. we may have wrongly assumed Bella Shmurda would take a chill pill after dropping his High Tension EP in the first quarter of the year but goes hotter and hotter. During this season of festivity, Bella Shmurda is killing shows back-to-back in Naija and beyond.


 It was a great year for Ayodeji Balogun especially for the successful release of his fourth studio album ‘Made in Lagos’. Without wasting time, the body of work topped charts across Nigeria and beyond. The collaborations were quite strategic, especially targeted at breaking further into the European and US markets and let’s say that worked out reasonably well. Only recently, former US President, Barrack Obama named a track from the Made In Lagos album ‘Essence’ as his favourite song of 2020. Obama also listed ‘Smile’ in his annual summer playlist which once again gives visibility to the artiste and his work. He won the Best International act for the MOBO awards and won 2 awards at the 14th edition of the Headies.


 For the past few years, Olamide has maintained the tradition of putting out an album. But 2019, Baddo skipped a beat and didn’t put out an album. Fast forward to 2020, the rapper and singer put out two projects, the ‘999’ EP and ‘Carpe Diem’ album. The extended playlist wasn’t memorable hence he founds his way back to the top with Carpe Diem. The album bangs hard with hits like infinity, triumphant, loading etc. Olamide’s number haS gone up on music streaming platforms because his latest album has a great replay value. He has also groomed Fireboy DML into one of the hottest acts in the past 16 months.


Adedamola Adefolahan known as Fireboy DML is shaping up to be one of the best proteges under Olamide. He is still holding us spellbound with his musical talent leading us into new depths of his multilayered artistry. Fireboy dropped an album ‘LTG’ towards the end of 2019 and he had hit songs on the album spilling into 2020 while we were still feasting on LTG, he dropped his sophomore Apollo to rave reviews. This year Fireboy DML took his dominance beyond Nigeria as he bagged deals with EA Sports FIFA 21, Empire, MOBO Awards nomination, 5 awards at the 14th edition of the Headies etc. He is easily number 5 most streamed Nigerian artist in the past months across several platforms.


The promise to remain dominant in the Nigerian music industry by Davido continued in 2020. The singer had a lot going on with him this year that he in fact decided to take a break from social media for several months. He came back stronger with a hit lead single Fem. Adjudged the number 1 song during the October End Sars protest across Nigeria. He later dished out a 17 track track album A Better Time with a stellar line up international collaborators. The album has some bangers like The Best, Holy Ground, Jowo, La La etc. The ABT became the fastest album to gross 100 million streams on the platform


            This would be the first time Mayorkun would be featured in the list of the hottest Nigerian musicians and also becoming a worthy contender for artist of the year. The DMW singer has been nothing but fantastic this year. He has dropped back to back hits with no miss, Geng, Of Lagos, Betty Butter and the most recent Your Body. His effort as a guest artist on every song he was featured was exceptionally good. In about four years he is now a formidable contender for the artist of the year alongside his boss Davido. The sweet thing is it was solely between both of them, Mayorkun won it. With this form we can say Mayorkun has moved into the league of A-List artists.


 Our No 1 artiste is no other than the Spaceship Entertainment boss and Atlantic Records artist. Burna Boy has maintained his hot form consistently for three years now. He has dropped Grammy worthy albums three years in a row bagging two nominations in the process. While music and entertainment were generally impacted by the pandemic, Burna Boy maintained his work ethic at a high level. He dropped hits, bagged a Grammy nomination for ‘Twice as Tall’ and made some outstanding collaborations with international brands during the year. Twice as Tall is the highest charting Nigerian album on the Billboard Hot 2020 Albums Chart, UK Album Chart etc

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