Nigerian music videos have come a long way from the bare bone productions that were common in the late 90s to the early 00s. Videos are now as important as the songs in reaching new markets. And with the rise in smartphone usage and cheaper internet data, viewing the videos online (mostly YouTube) has never been easier. Music videos tend to serve as the one-stop shop for the latest trends; phones, alcoholic beverages, cars and clothes, artists are performing more than the script for the videos.
The plethora of music video channels available on satellite television has not stopped the exponential growth in viewership of these videos on YouTube. A sizeable number of views come from the diaspora. Audiences are visibly eager to see the visuals representing their culture, showcasing the latest dance steps and good living.
So expect eyeballs to come from pretty much everywhere. Here are the ten most-viewed Nigerian music videos online. The figures are based on YouTube views, which is currently the most popular video platform on the planet.
Personally stands out as the most viewed Nigerian music video on YouTube; The video is a glowing tribute to Michael Jackson, which was acknowledged by Michael’s brother, Jermaine. The PSquare duo re-enacted dance moves made iconic by the king of Pop. The music video was shot and directed by their brother and long-time collaborator, Jude Engees Okoye and Clarence Peters.
D’banj’s 2012 summer release, Oliver Twist is arguably the biggest hit of his career. The song scored tremendous airplay within and outside Africa, most notably in the UK. At first, critics saw it as a misrepresentation of Charles Dickens’ book of the same title. The video features cameo appearances from American rappers, Kanye West and Big Sean among others. Oliver Twist’s video, which was directed by Sesan Ogunro won an award for the Most Gifted Male Video and Most Gifted Video of the Year at the 2012 Channel O Music Video Awards.
After signing a partnership deal with Akon’s Konvict Muzik, P-Square recorded Chop My Money with Akon and their then protegé, MayD. The video was released in 2013, at a time when Nigerians were skeptical about collaborations with their western counterparts. No such worries were necessary though, as both the song and video showed off the chemistry between P-Square, May D and Akon. It also featured a little signature dance, which all four stars pulled off with ease. The video was directed by Jude Engees Okoye and Ben Marc.
Timaya’s dancehall smash hit, Bum Bum got even better when he shot a video for the remix featuring international dancehall star, Sean Paul. Released in 2014, Bum Bum remix was shot by US-based Shooter Films, the video features ladies living up to the lyrics of the song by shaking their derriere. Totally NSFW.
Here’s the third time P-Square is cropping up on this list and more so, each music video has had the influence of an international act — this time, it was Rick Ross on a rap verse. Beautiful Onyinye’s release came after Chop My Money and it clearly showed that P-Square was rolling in the pro league. The video was shot in 2012 partly in Miami and South Africa by Jude Engees Okoye.
Johnny was – and still is – a smash hit across Africa. Yemi Alade is the only female act in the top ten list. The video, released in 2014, features Nigerian comedian, Bovi who was the host of an investigative TV show similar to the American show “Cheaters”. The video was directed by Clarence Peters.
Davido’s Aye was a massive success in Nigeria. Directed by Clarence Peters, the video was released in 2014 and became the most watched music YouTube video in Nigeria in the same year. Set in rural Nigeria, the video follows the story of a poor farmer played by Davido and his love interest, a princess.
One thing that sets the Okoye brothers apart is dance! They are Africa’s foremost dancers and this videos is an ode to that which they love to do most. Routines segued seamlessly from cha-cha, to street dance, dirty dancing, to MJ-inspired branch offs plus some other yet-to-be-named new moves. The song itself is a fast-paced, energetic anthem that PSquare matched beat for beat with zesty dance routines in the 2014 Clarence Peters video, which quickly outranked many others to claim the 8th spot on the most viewed Nigerian music video list on YouTube.
J Martins’ hit, Touching Body, earned its way into club mixes, as well as its way onto the 9th spot on this list with since its 2013 release. The MattMax directed video is star-studded, and features Ivorian disc jockey, DJ Arafat as well as cameo appearances from the brothers, Ikechukwu and Kalu Uche of the Super Eagles.
Davido seems to like tying his stories around getting what he couldn’t immediately have. Similar to the Aye video, Davido is seen in the video trying to impress a Kingpin’s girl. Well, events played out naturally and Romeo got a good beating for his effort. The video garnered such nominations as, “Most Gifted Afro Pop Video” at the 2013 Channel O Music Video Awards and “Best Pop Extra Video” at the 2013 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA).