‘Nigeria to the world’ and ‘Afrobeats to the world,’ are phrases that have been used numerous times in relation to records and milestones achieved by Nigerian artists that help to propel the Nigerian music industry forward.
While it is a frequent expression, it also has historical significance, highlighting the trip that sounds from Nigeria and Africa have taken before travelling around the world.
In honour of World Music Day, here are some of the biggest moments in the Nigerian music industry that highlight the ‘Nigeria to the world’ saying.
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2Baba represents Africa on the MTV Stage
With his debut at the MTV Europe Music Awards 16 years ago, when Afrobeats was still mostly admired in Nigeria, 2Baba, originally known as 2face, established the sound and business on a global scale.
The singer achieved two milestones with his romantic smash track, African Queen. The first was that the video for his song was the first to be broadcast on MTV Base Africa when it began on February 22nd. The second was that he was the first African talent to win the MTV EMAs’ Best African Act award.
D’banj conquers the UK with Oliver Twist
The lively electronic sounds of D’banj’s Oliver Twist never cease to have an obvious influence on its listeners, even to this day. The song’s magnetic pull was so strong that it made it to number nine on the UK national charts.
Oliver Twist was such a smash in the United States that it was instrumental in convincing Kanye West to not only listen to his music but also to appear in it. Big Sean, an American rapper, also made a guest appearance in the video.
Wizkid breaking records alongside Drake with “One Dance”
Drake won artist of the Decade at the 2021 Billboard Awards however this recognition began to take shape in April 2016 thanks to the release of his Wizkid and Kayla-assisted hit track One Dance for his fourth studio album, Views.
Wizkid’s vocals which were on “One Dance” cemented his influence as an Afrobeats tastemaker, as he is credited with writing the song, which has gone on to become one of the decade’s biggest hits.
In fact, One Dance set a Guinness World Record in 2018 by becoming the song with the most Spotify plays (a billion streams). The mega-hit was also platinum-certified seven times, making it Drake’s most successful song to date.
Davido Makes Shazam Record with “Fall”
Davido’s Fall, which is currently one of the most popular Afrobeats songs and the singer’s personal favourite, hit new heights in the genre by becoming the most Shazamed music in New York in October 2018, a year after its release.
Davido’s Fall beat tracks like Travis Scott’s Sicko Mode and Lil Wayne’s Uproar to be the most searched song on the Shazam charts.
Twice as Tall by Burna Boy wins a Grammy in a new category.
Prior to the 63rd Grammy Awards, which took place on March 15th, the recording industry made some significant modifications to the titles of various categories.
One of these was the Best World Music Album category, which was dominated by African artists. The name of this award was changed to “Best Global Music” by the academy to prevent “connotations of colonization.”
Burna Boy was the first African artist to receive the award for his Twice as Tall album in the 63rd edition, which was the first time the award was granted with its current label.