For all the time we’ll spend remembering 2020 as a turbulent year, we’ll also remember the hope music gave us. Music was the soundtrack to our protests and created an escape from the realities of 2020. Quite a number of artistes released spectacular projects this year. As usual, we’ve put them in one place and ranked them. Here are the top 20 best albums of 2020.
20. Original Copy— Cuppy
Cuppy stays winning. Original Copy is a cocktail of sorts, a celebration of Afrobeats and everyone is welcome. There is a song for everyone at Cuppy’s party. The project is properly produced and expertly curated. For all the heat this project got on social media, it typifies the future of the Afrobeats wave.
19. Alagbe— Qdot
Largely in Yoruba, Qdot holds on to his authentic sound and pays homage to his origin and the streets that made him. His witty lines makes it a fun experience. If you don’t like the album, it’s simply not for you and that’s okay.
18. 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.
17. Grace— DJ Spinall
DJ Spinall has great taste and it’s clear for all to hear on this album. He surprisingly handled a good part of the production which turned out really impressive. Who knew Dj Spinall could make fire beats? But the real catch is his choice of songs and collaborators. Having spent over a decade in the industry, you cannot expect any less from him.
16. THE ANGEL YOU DON’T KNOW— Amaarae
Whether she’s talking sex, drugs you shouldn’t try or the fast life, her celestial voice shines through and gives every record a heavenly feel. Amaarae’s debut LP is one for the books.
15. Colours and Sounds— Niniola
Who knew Nigerians would love the Dance genre this much? Niniola continues to make the genre truly appealing on Colours and Sounds. With producers like Timbaland and Sarz on the beats, this project comes through on its promise to deliver a genre defining serving.
14. Yabasi— Basketmouth
One of only 2 highlife projects on this list and the only original soundtrack composition on the list. Basketmouth literally came from a different industry and took the music industry by storm. From its interesting features to its sonic progression. Yabasi is a refreshing take on highlife and it leaves us wanting more. It’s also a strong industry indicator that consumers have an appetite for properly curated OST projects.
13. Three — Patoranking
There’s a certain allure to this project— you need to be open to the entire experience. It features expansive production. No two successive songs sound alike as most of the songs are cut from different sub-genres of Afro-pop. However, with Patoranking’s deft splash of dancehall, the project heeds to sonic cohesion.
12. Celia— Tiwa Savage
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.
11. Cult— PayBac Iboro
Paybac Iboro’s creative prowess shines through on this project. It sees Paybac tap in talented producers to create a unique sound with a subtle mix of various genres. It’s a neatly executed and well-balanced project. If anything, his Headies nod proves that people are listening and looking out for authentic hip-hop voices.
10. A Better Time— Davido
Davido knows how to make hits. That’s a fact! And this project is packed full of it. He explores themes like love, friendship and faith on the album. On A Better Time, one thing is certain, you would need your dancing shoes once you press play.
9. 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.
8. 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. With an open mind and the right headphones, Apollo qualifies as an out of body an experience.
7. 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.
6. Carpe Diem— Olamide
There is a significant change of pace on Baddo’s latest offering. The smooth hooks and effortless bars make Carpe Diem an easy listen. Olamide selected the right team needed to craft a truly different and special record.
5. Made in Lagos— Wizkid
Wizkid has nothing more to prove to anyone. This consciousness made it easy for him to deviate from the traditional “hits” lane and focus on pushing his artistic brilliance and the genre forward; a target he achieved effortlessly. The project makes you feel relaxed as you reach for your desires. Made in Lagos is one of those you have to listen to without skips to truly appreciate its genius.
4. Yellow— Brymo
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, one of 2020’s masterpieces.
3. 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.
2. Roots— The Cavemen.
The Cavemen. is literally the bridge between mainstream sounds and Igbo culture. Roots is the complete introductory package to Highlife music. It’s easy on the ears and explores very relatable topics. It carefully prioritises chants above overwhelming listeners with Igbo language.
1. Twice As Tall— Burna Boy
Pretty sure you’ve been waiting for this one.
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 with near perfect execution.