In a year of albums filled with personal stories, experimentation and international forays, it is important to highlight projects that stand out. Please note that the year is far from over in terms of music releases. As we anticipate certain releases, there’ll definitely be a longer list at the turn of the new year.
This is also an unranked list. So, if you’re looking for extra points to throw out on your GOAT debates, this might not be the place for you. That said, here’s our top 20 of 2020 (so far) as handpicked by our editors (we’ve attached links to ratings for each too).
This project was released so early on in the year that one might forget it’s a 2020 project. Oxygene is simply high-end passion fueled music. If nobody put you on to songs from this project, you might need new friends.
Roots— The Cavemen.
The Cavemen. is literally the bridge between mainstream sounds and Igbo culture. Rootsis the complete introductory package to Highlife music. It’s easy on the ears and explores very relatable topics without overwhelming listeners with Igbo language.
Apollo— Fireboy DML
Asides lyricism, Fireboy DML’s Apollo has immense replay value. The songs that made the album’s final cut have an almost spiritual coherence. Apollo is an experience, listen with your eyes closed.
Brymo’s antics may distract you from the sheer impressiveness of Yellow, prevent you from listening or get you biased about his sound. However, that doesn’t make Yellow any less than it is, a masterpiece.
Everything You Heard Is True— Odunsi (the Engine)
First off, EYHIT isn’t rare. Once you get that, listening is bliss. EYHIT is a project to unwind to. Odunsi makes political statements on the project and in a year when there isn’t a lot of this in good music, he gets top marks.
Celia— Tiwa Savage
Forget the dust on Twitter, Tiwa’s Celia is a great serve. It sees Tiwa play to her strengths without taking too much on. It’s a neatly executed and well balanced project. In terms of production, Celia’s is doubly impressive.
Afro Pop, Vol. 1— Adekunle Gold
There’s a certain allure in the project— you just need to be open to the entire experience. This project is Adekunle Gold doing something different and excelling at it. There are several playlist worthy songs on the album.
Pioneers— DRB Lasgidi
This project took its sweet time and was definitely worth the wait. On Pioneers we find the Alté movement coming full cycle. There are so many plus points on this project— from production, mixes to art direction. It’s such an important body of work and in a few years, samples from Pioneers will line many other productions.
Live Report— MI Abaga & AQ
This is undiluted hip-hop. It’s the offering you get when two great lyricists and leaders of the Nigerian hip-hop culture fuse minds. The fact that the beat, recording and mixing was done in just a week even makes it more incredible.
Cheque’s chill flow makes his sound very easy to listen to on Razor, he wins you over in the first listen. Five songs and Zero misses. Short, yet enough to show you he’s here to stay. This is how to make a debut, you gotta cut them.
Boo of the Booless— Chike
Chike made a playlist for lovers, beautifully written to unlock your emotions. His pen was obviously blessed by Cupid and the production adds weight to the force of his piercing lyrics. Listen with wine.
If music was a compass, Moelogo’s sound on ME would be north. There’s a seamless flow in language and sonic progressions on this project. It’s one project that’s definitely worth the listen.
Table for Two— Korede Bello
No one saw this coming, this is Korede Bello finally coming of age. The sonic growth is very obvious, plus points for production too. Table for Two is good music, nothing short.
The Cost of Our Lives— Ignis Brothers
The duo attempt to explore various concepts like life itself, death, nostalgia, love and heartbreak. It presents the perfect companion for introspection. As they share their truth, they give permission for listeners to feel a little deeper.
Get Layd— Omah Lay
This project is the perfect blend of Afrobeats and R&B. Omah Lay deservedly won the heart of the whole country and rose to fame with this project. It has an insane replay value.
Full Moon Weekends— WhoisAkin
This EP is neatly produced. It carries a single theme throughout its 12 minute playtime— heartbreak. If you listen with clarity, Whoisakin’s lyricism will help you feel everything.
There’s a refreshing feel to this project. Nissi gives a different spin to the popular African vibes in addition to her enchanting melodies. Listen to this project and thank us later.
Wildfire— Prettyboy D-O
Be warned, this is dangerous music! Wildfire is as clinical as it is complete. It’s commercial music yet Prettyboy stays true to self. It’s tenor is artistically different from his debut tape— Pretty World. But, it’s definitely worth listening to.
Twice As Tall— Burna Boy
Pretty sure you’ve been waiting for this one.
A strong contender for album of the year. This project documents Burna Boy’s personal journey since the Grammy loss with African Giant. It carries with it all the elements that endeared Burna Boy to his day 1 fans. TAT is a statement of intent.
The arrangement of AFROSOUL shows intent. Proper work was put in to highlight WurlD’s versatility. As the sounds progress, you’re reeled in. If you like soul music, WurlD definitely pushed the genre to its very limits.
And there you have it, a rundown of 20 of our favourite projects from the year so far.
At TXT, it’s a democracy. So, if you disagree in some regard, click the link on any of the projects and tell us how you feel by voting or writing your own review.