As Nigeria celebrates its 63rd year of independence, Apple Music is celebrating once again with Oshe Naija, a campaign highlighting Nigerian music’s rich history — as well as the ever-growing influence it has on culture today.
Over the past few years, time and again Nigerian artists have set new, bigger milestones on Apple Music, helping bring the music to an ever-growing global audience. Just look at the feats of the five biggest Nigerian artists of all time.
Burna Boy, the (No. 1) most-streamed Nigerian artist of all time on Apple Music, has smashed record after record with his blockbuster albums, and his latest was no exception: I Told Them… not only broke the African record for first-week streams but also topped the albums chart in 69 countries simultaneously worldwide, a new record for the genre. Hitmaker Wizkid (No. 2) still holds the record for the most-streamed African song of all time with “Essence (feat. Tems),” which has reached the Daily Top 100 in more than 100 countries worldwide and continues to reach the charts three years after its release. Davido (No. 3) had a record-breaking release with his 2022 album Timeless, and singer and rapper Rema (No.4) has had one of the biggest songs of the summer on Apple Music worldwide with the Afrobeats hit “Calm Down,” which now holds the record for the African single with the longest run in the top 15 of the Global Daily Top 100. Rounding out the top five is Asake, who’s seen an impressive 11 songs reach the Global Daily Top 100.
And with a whole new class of Nigerian artists on the rise, big moments like these will keep coming. Read on for five of the biggest breakthrough Nigerian artists on Apple Music right now.
1. Seyi Vibez
Seyi Vibez has started to get listeners worldwide hooked on his modernist take on Apala, a traditional Yoruba-rooted genre, that draws on elements of Fuji, Amapiano, Hip-Hop, Afro-soul music. Since the release of 2021“s “God Sent,” which became his first song to reach Apple Music’s Daily Top 100, the 23-year-old has seen more than 50 songs reach the chart in 20 countries. Seyi Vibez reached new heights last November with the release of his album Billion Dollar Baby and more successes have followed, including his first No. 1 on Nigeria’s Daily Top 100 and a feature on Burna Boy’s star-studded I Told Them… All told, Seyi Vibez’ streams have grown more than five-fold (+435%) in the past year.
With a sound that hops between Drill, Grime Afrobeats, and more, Odumodublvck is one of the hottest rappers coming out of Nigeria. After a co-sign by Skepta and signing to NATIVE Records, his November single “Picanto” became his first song to reach the Daily Top 100 in Nigeria. But it was with the release of his March single “Declan Rice” that his streams really started to soar. The song became his first song to top the chart in Nigeria and also reached the chart in 11 other countries. In the past year, Odumodublvck’s streams have soared over 3,500% on Apple Music worldwide.
Shallipopi has had a whirlwind year thanks to his viral Afrobeats hit “Elon Musk.” The song first heated up in March, when it became Shallipopi’s first song to reach Nigeria’s Daily Top 100, and paved the way for Shallipopi’s big breakthrough. This summer, he scored his first No. 1 in Nigeria with “Ex Convict,” sent seven other songs to the charts in 12 countries worldwide and was named an Apple Music Up Next artist in Nigeria, joining the likes of Khaid, Pawzzz and Novemba. In late June, Afrobeats star Fireboy DML hopped on a remix of “Elon Musk,” which helped Shallipopi’s streams soar 508% in Nigeria and 467% worldwide in one week.
4. Victor Thompson
Year after year, Nigeria and other African nations far outpace other nations in Christian and Gospel listening — with the genre accounting for a larger percentage of listening, and more songs reaching the Daily Top 100. It’s fostered the rise of artists like Gospel singer-songwriter Victor Thompson, who had a breakthrough in January with “This Year (Blessings).” The song has been Thompson’s biggest chart hit to date, reaching the Daily Top 100 in 58 countries, including 10 where it’s reached the top 10. All told, Thompson’s music has seen a 244% lift in streams worldwide year on year.
Team-ups between Nigerian and American artists are becoming more and more common each year, and each year, they climb higher and higher up the charts. Case in point: “Ta Ta Ta,” a teamup between Nigerian singer Bayanni and American pop star Jason Derulo. After the song was originally released on Bayanni’s 2022 self-titled EP, and started gaining steam late last year, Derulo hopped onto a remix in spring, helping it become an even bigger global hit. “Ta Ta Ta” has reached the Daily Top 100 in 54 countries, including 20 where it’s reached the top 10.
Celebrate Nigerian Independence at Apple Music’s Oshe Naija dedicated space.