Opinion: MTV Base Africa’s Top 20 Nigeria List is an Insult to Nigeria’s Music Legends

by Michael Tubes

Top 20 greatest songs in Nigeria? You’ve got to kidding


On Independence day, MTV base Africa released a list of top 20 Greatest Nigerian songs of all time to celebrate Nigeria at 54. That the list has been met with serious disapproval would be an understatement and it’s really not hard to see why, particularly if you were born and grew up in Nigeria before the last decade.

In my honest opinion, there are a few questions the fellows who compiled the list of top 20 Nigerian songs released on Thursday need to answer:

1. What was the criteria for choosing these songs? Is it hit factor, popularity, how recognisable they were? 
2. Did they factor the importance or effect each artist’s song chosen had on Nigeria?
If so what happened to songs like Fela Kuti – Wonder Wonder, King Sunny Ade – The way Forward, Bright Chimezie – African Style, Dr. Victor Olaiya – Omo Pupa, Evi Enda Ogholi – Happy Birthday, Oliver De Coque – Identity, Funmi Adams – Nigeria My Beloved country and All we need is Love, Daddy Showkey- Diana, Femi Kuti – Bang Bang Bang, who had been nominated 4 times for Grammy Awards, IK Dairo – Mo Sorire, Sonny Okosun – Which way Nigeria, Majek Fashek – Send Down The Rain or Holy Spirit, Onyeka Onwenu – Ekwe, Bobby Benson – Taxi Driver, Mike Okri – Time Na Money, Felix Lebarty – Ifeoma,  Shina Peters – Afro Juju, Sir Victor Uwaifo – Joromi, Christie Easien Igbokwe – Seun Rere, Prince Nico Mbarga – Sweet Mother.
3. Are these songs chosen because of their lyrical content and substance?
The majority of the songs chosen lyrically can not stand side by side with the list of legends I listed above.
4. Are the songs chosen based on commercial success and how many YouTube views they have? 
5. Are these songs chosen based on rhyme complexity, narrative abilities or originality?
 6. Are the songs chosen based on their longevity?
If so the songs MTV Africa have chosen were probably not more than 10 years old but the legends list I compiled above, some are more than 20 years and we still hear these songs on the radio.
7. Are these songs chosen because they are danceable, high tempo songs?
Or are these songs chosen because of how many views they had on YouTube?
8. Are the songs chosen based on Afrobeats / Afropop criteria?

It’s an insult to our legends and Nigeria for MTV base to come up with that list. I am not trying to insult any artists on the list, but let the truth be told I can categorically say only two songs will make my list judging by my criteria questions above.

Music is used as a method of expression, to generate hope, inspire and forms the soundtrack through the journey of life. The concept of music is deeper than what MTV Africa is trying to portray.

What do you think?

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