The article will contain a year in review of the Nigerian music industry in 2021 and I will be listing the top 10 Nigerian albums in 2021.
The year 2021 started with a big bang, with artists dropping beautiful music from the beginning of the year till the end. While the year 2020 saw Nigerian musicians go the extra mile in creating awesome music projects, 2021 saw the continuation of this trend.
A couple of amazing projects were released from veterans in the industry and a couple of newcomers aiming to make their mark on the industry. From newcomers like Ayra Starr who released her debut album and veterans like Olamide who dropped his 9th studio album. The article will be reviewing the top Nigerian albums of 2021 based on charts and personal reviews.
Below are the top 10 Nigerian albums in 2021:
10. Rum & Boogie
Rum & Boogie by Perruzi comes in at number 10 of the top 10 Nigerian albums in 2021. The 20 track album is the singer-songwriter’s sophomore album and is loaded with a lot of hits. In this project, Perruzi shows off his songwriting ability and versatility, combining different genres of music from pop to dancehall and Afrobeats. The project has several hit songs like “Somebody baby featuring Davido, God forbid, Available featuring Wande Coal and Southy love featuring Fireboy Dml“.
Though the album was considered lengthy by some listeners, its diversity takes the attention away from how long the project is. The album peaked at No. 1 on the iTunes Nigeria top albums chart and peaked at No. 80 on the iTunes chart. It gathered over 2 million streams on Boomplay and over 40 million streams on Audiomack.
At number 9 on our list is Afrobeats singer Teni’s debut album, the singer who has been thrilling fans with hit singles since 2018 finally puts out her first album. Wondaland shows Teni’s ability to not only put out hit singles but also produce a decent full-length album. Most of the album was produced by multiple award-winning producer, Pheelz. Listeners can feel how perfect the combination between Pheelz and Teni is. The album contains hit songs like “Injure me, Jo and Moslado”. It peaked at No. 1 on the apple music album charts and reached No.49 on the iTunes chart. It also has over 12 million streams on Boomplay and over 100 million streams on Audiomack.
8. Back In Office
Mayorkun popularly called “The Mayor Of Lagos” marks his return to the game with the release of his sophomore album “Back In Office”. The album was preceded by the hit collaboration “Holy Father” featuring industry newcomer Victony.
In my opinion, the very experimental project did not live up to the standard Mayorkun set with his debut album, this album’s saving grace is the song “Holy Father” which successfully overshadows every other song on the album. Though the album is not a memorable project save for songs like “Holy Father” and “Back in office”, Mayorkun has proven that he is still capable of dropping club bangers. Back in Office peaked at No. 15 on the Itunes album chart. Mayorkun’s Back in office has over 17 million streams on Boomplay.
7. Before We Fall Asleep
Despite putting out a ton of amazing songs over the years, it would come as a surprise to some people that Before We Fall Asleep is Johnny Drille’s first album. The singer-songwriter and producer came into the limelight in 2016 and since then recorded and released a lot of songs but did not put out an album till 2021.
The album serves as a culmination of Johnny Drille’s Songwriting and production abilities over the years. It was solely written, produced and mixed by the artist combines R&B, alternative rock, folk music and country music. Songs like “Odo” featuring Styleplus, “loving is harder” and “Ova” featuring Don Jazzy proved that Johnny Drille is willing to experiment with the Afrobeats genre. The album is a beautiful combination of sounds and an amazing sonic experience. It peaked at No.1 on the Apple music charts and reached its highest position at No.6 on iTunes top albums chart. It has been streamed over 2 million times on Boomplay.
6. UY Scuti
UY Scuti is rapper and record label executive Olamide’s 7th studio album and the 6th album on our countdown. The album sees the rapper going a step further from his 2020 hit album “Carpe Diem”, the project solely features upcoming musicians except for Phyno who is the only big name on the album. The album was preceded by the hit single “Rock” which created massive anticipation for the project.
Fans were not disappointed when the project was released as songs like “Julie” and “Wave” featuring Fave instantly became fan favourites. Olamide ruled the iTunes chart with this album release, peaking at No.1 on both Apple music charts and iTunes charts. It has been streamed over 29 million times on Boomplay and 94 million streams on Audiomack.
5. Somewhere between beauty and magic
Joeboy’s debut album titled Somewhere between beauty and magic comes in at number 5 on our countdown. The project proved that Joeboy is a master at making amazing love songs on a catchy beat. The album takes listeners through a wave of beautiful and magical songs like “Police”, “Count me out”, “Consent” and “Celebration”.
There is never a dull moment on this album and it is without a doubt one of the most memorable music projects of 2021. Joeboy’s debut album reached No.1 on the Apple music chart and peaked at No.4 on the iTunes chart. The project also has amazing streaming numbers, with over 65 million streams on Boomplay and over 120 million streams on Audiomack.
4. 19 & Dangerous
19 & Dangerous is young, fresh and daring just like its maker, Ayra Starr. Ayra with the release of her massively successful debut album has shown that though she is just 19, she has what it takes to go toe to toe with the big dogs in the industry. The album is a beautiful piece of work that shows the depth of her songwriting which is far beyond her age.
The Gen Z icon shows her mastery of songwriting with songs like “Cast”, “Toxic” and “Beggie Beggie”. Other notable songs on the album include “Bloody Samaritan, Fashion Killer and Bridgerton”. 19 & Dangerous peaked at No.1 on the Apple music chart and reached No.57 on the itunes chart. Ayra’s Debut album has over 24 million streams on Boomplay and over 54 million streams on Audiomack.
3. Sex Over Love
Sex Over Love is rapper Blaqbonez 3rd studio album under a major record label, the former underground battle rapper had previously dropped a couple of mixtapes before his rise to fame. The Chocolate city signed rapper put out his heavily promoted album to commercial success and high praise from music critics. Blaqbonez who is very popular for his music promotion ability put out one of the best hip hop projects in 2021, with features from rap heavyweights like South African rapper Nasty C and Nigerian rapper AQ.
The album is a perfect combination of hardcore rap and Afrobeats with one sole purpose, to preach the gospel of strictly sexual relationships over-committed romantic relationships. It reached No.6 on the iTunes chart and peaked at No.1 on the Apple music chart. It has been streamed over 28 million times on Audiomack and over 3 million times on Boomplay.
2. Esan (Brymo) & Love and Highlife (The Cavemen)
The second spot on this countdown is shared by two of the most sonically unique Nigerian albums in 2021. Brymo’s Esan is the 9th studio album of the super talented singer-songwriter Brymo, Esan represents the Yoruba side of the two-part album. The album is a work of songwriting genius and shows how underrated Brymo remains in the industry.
The second album in the second position “Love & Highlife” is the sophomore album of music duo The Cavemen. It is a beautiful blend of Igbo Highlife music and other genres like Afro-beat and pop. The album alongside Brymo’s Esan is one of the few 10/10 albums of 2021. The project has been streamed over 3 million times on Audiomack and over 800 thousand times on Boomplay.
Esan reached No.1 on the Apple music chart and peaked at No.3 on the iTunes chart. The Cavemen’s Love & Highlife peaked at No.3 on the Apple music charts and managed to reach No.67 on the iTunes chart. The project has over 2.5 million streams on Audiomack and more than 900 thousand streams on Boomplay.
1. No. 1 on the list of the 10 Nigerian albums in 2021 is ‘Made In Lagos (Deluxe)’
The deluxe version of Wizkid’s barrier-breaking and internationally successful album Made In Lagos. It comes with four new songs including a remix of the hit song Essense with an extra verse from international pop superstar Justin Bieber. The project maintained the same quality as the original release with amazing features from Buju and Bella Shmurda.
The Deluxe Edition of the album is nominated for the 2022 Grammy awards in the Best international album category. It peaked at No.1 on both the iTunes chart and Apple music chart. It has over 130 million streams on Audiomack and over 12 million streams on Boomplay.
See also the top new generation Nigerian artists of 2021 and top 10 Nigerian artists with international fame.