An avid lover of music with a flair for writing. A core hip-hop fan with a thing for boom-bap beats and bars.
The debate over who is the better artist between the “Big 3” in the Nigerian music industry is an argument that has been ongoing for the past few years and is something that has kept tongues wagging. During such arguments, several yardsticks are brought up such as the number of hits, album sales, album quality, hit-making, feature quality, international recognition, etc. However, with all of them dropping projects in the same year, the question is who had the best album in 2020 among the three superstars? Is it Burna Boy’s Grammy Nominated Twice As Tall or Wizkid’s hypnotic Made In Lagos or Davido’s hit-filled A Better Time?
Despite the year 2020 being a year that most people would want to forget in a hurry, the music projects that were released by Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido are memorable projects that Nigerians would continue to talk about for years to come. Burna Boy got the world talking when he started teasing the release of his fifth studio album Twice As Tall just a year after his critically acclaimed African giant hit the speakers and he released the album on the 14th of August, 2020.Wizkid followed suit by releasing his eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, Made In Lagos on the 30th of October after being pushed forward due to the prevalence of the #EndSars protests in Nigeria at the time. Davido then capped it all off by releasing A Better Time which serves as a sequel to his 2nd studio album, A Good Time on the 12th of November, 2020. So the main question is, how did these projects fare against one another?
First and foremost, I would like to state forefront that music is objective, what works for you might not work for me, so my assessment of the albums might not go down well with you, feel free to disagree as everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, however in my analysis i tried my best to be as objective as possible. Moving forward, the rankings of the best album would be in ascending order.
3. Davido’s "A Better Time"
A lot of people would be shocked at me placing A Better Time at the bottom of the pecking order but it does not rank above the other two projects for me as an album. Davido is well known to dish out hits for the entire populace and that’s what he was trying to achieve on A Better Time. On the first listen to A Better Time, I particularly enjoyed the whole album except for the Nas and Lil Baby feature. On subsequent listens the album grew off me a bit which seemed quite weird since it is serenaded with hit songs. I later discovered that i tend to skip a lot of tracks which screams the album’s lack of cohesiveness. I often find myself enjoying the first four songs then skipping “Heaven” and “Very Special” to enjoy the ever enjoyable “The Best” and then skipping some other tracks again to get to the next hit track because those tracks in between do not cut it for me. “Hit-wise” A Better Time ranks higher than the Made In Lagos and Twice As Tall and that is an undeniable fact, however as an album, A Better Time does not compare to those two as they are better woven and the concepts are well thought out. Essential Tracks from the album include “Jowo”, “Something Fishy”, “Holy Ground”, “The Best”, and “Fade”. You can purchase Davido's A Better Time album from Amazon here - A Better Time
"Jowo" Music Video
2. Burna Boy’s "Twice As Tall"
Burna Boy’s fourth studio album comes second on this list and while this might come as a surprise to many, it lacks that something extra to me that African Giant delivered. Right after Twice As Tall was released in early August, I had it in rotation for a while and it hit all the right spots for me. All tracks on the album were intricately woven into a masterpiece and it rightly got a nomination as the Best Worldwide Album at the Grammy awards. Burna Boy’s penchant for speaking on issues affecting the Nigerian society such as the inadequacies of the government, talking about racial equality, and others give Twice As Tall the edge over Made In Lagos and A Better Time in terms of themes being addressed on albums. His maturity and confidence ooze in his lyrics and although some critics claim he is a “Fela wannabe”, he is one of the few artists in this generation of artists that use his music to speak against the societal ills ravaging the entire country. On the flip side, Twice As Tall does not have enough replay value for me and I find myself getting bored of the album midway most times when I try to give it a listen nowadays reason why it is ranked at number 2. Essential Tracks from the album include “Way Too Big”, “Onyeka”, “Wonderful”, and “Wetin Dey Sup”. You can purchase Burna Boy's Twice As Tall album from Amazon here - Twice As Tall
"Way Too Big" Official Music Video
1. Wizkid’s "Made In Lagos"
Made In Lagos takes the cake for me among the three aforementioned albums. While this might seem off to some people, the album just ticks all the right boxes for me. On first listen, the album sounded a little bit off probably because of the hype surrounding it, I was expecting a Superstar type of album but it just got better with every listen. There is just something about Made In Lagos that I can’t quite pinpoint that just keeps me listening to the very end. It is not filled with club bangers and hits as you would expect from a Wizkid album but the listening experience is quite enthralling. Made In Lagos might just be Wizkid’s best-ever album in terms of cohesiveness, sound, and production quality. His ability to unite foreign and African sounds which can be enjoyed in every part of the world is something to be given kudos for. Made In Lagos oozes maturity and class all over, from his confident sound to the lushness of the saxophone instrument present all through the album to the graceful melodies of each track. With Made In Lagos, Wizkid shows us that he is evolving his style and setting a higher pedestal for other Nigerian artistes to follow. Meshing several genres of music such as Reggae, Dancehall, Afro Pop, Afro Beats, Made In Lagos is some sort of intertwining between the African culture and the Caribbean culture. Although the range of themes is limited as the album dwells on Love and Gratitude which is a form of escapism, Wizkid generated a culture fusion of some sorts which is successfully executed in my opinion. Essential Tracks from the album include "Reckless", "Ginger", and "No Stress". You can purchase Wizkid's here - Made In Lagos
"Ginger" Official Music Video
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Fawaz Akintunde