Discover The Top 10 Most Popular Music Genres In Nigeria

To correctly characterize the current pop generation in the Nigerian music industry, one must recognize the diverse and popular music genres in Nigeria that have been developed to transcend creative limitations. Nigerian music is currently one of the most popular genres of music in the world. Nigeria has a culture that is rich and diverse.

The music of Nigeria is a particularly well-known facet of its culture. The music of Nigeria ranges from traditional folk music to contemporary pop. In this blog post, we will examine the history of the various genres of popular music in Nigeria.

Afrobeat is the most popular musical genre in Nigeria and beyond. This genre has spawned several stars, including Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, and Tiwa Savage, among other Nigerian artists who have rocked the world with their incredible musical taste. As much as we listen to this beat now, its origins are distant, and it has evolved into one of the most widely accepted beats. Nevertheless, as we learn more about the popular music genres in Nigeria, we need to know that great pioneers are responsible for the sounds we hear today.

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Fela Sowande and T.K.E. Philips are among the great minds responsible for the sounds we hear today; they established Afrobeats’ foundational element.

This began in the 1920s, when T.K.E. Philips and Fela Sowande began composing, followed by Fela Sowande in the 1940s. Their compositions formed the basis of contemporary Nigerian music. The music represents the dress, culture, and lifestyle of a certain community. Jazz, highlife, juju, afrobeat, as well as reggae are the most prominent musical genres in Nigeria, and they have managed to expand their audiences well beyond the country’s borders.

The origins of this music can be traced back to communal traditions, such as weddings and funerals, that were performed to mark important occasions. Since Nigeria is composed of diverse communities, the musical styles changed from community to community. To name a few, the Yorubas utilized music for sociocultural purposes, with musicians performing at social and ceremonial gatherings. 

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The Igbo were experts with zithers, also known as Obo, Slit drums, Xylophones, Flutes, and stringed instruments, to name a few. Different communities utilized music for various purposes, including festivities, recreation, and athletics. Over time, as the present generation of Nigerians travelled the world, they introduced a blend of western culture into their music, making it seem more contemporary and superior.

1. Juju Music

In the 1950s, musicians just like Tunde Nightingale, C.A. Balogun, and J.O. Araba achieved widespread acclaim for their contributions to the Juju genre. I.K. Dairo rose to fame in the same period, becoming Nigeria’s first international musical superstar. Indeed, this is one of the popular music genres in Nigeria that deserves credit.

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This accomplishment cleared the path for subsequent juju bands. Juju music is a type of dancing music that focuses on guitar and percussion. Others, including chief commander Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, and Shina Peters, acquired fame through the music they performed – juju music.

2. Fuji

Fuji is one of the popular music genres in Nigeria, a genre derived from a man named Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Nigeria’s Islamic Yoruba communities have a strong preference for this style of music. This type of music has undergone a great deal of volatility as fans have divided it into distinct sides in favor of their favorite performer.

In the late 1990s, fuji began to surpass Juju’s dominance in Nigerian music by becoming the most popular genre in the country. King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Kollington Ayinla, Pasuma, and others cannot be omitted from a discussion of fuji musicians.

3. Highlife

Although Highlife was influenced by American jazz and Ghanaian music, its style is unique and it’s one of the popular music genres in Nigeria. It was styled in a Nigerian manner, therefore its popularity is comparable to that of international pop music. When it comes to highlife, Dr Victor Olaiya, Bobby Benson, and Cardinal Rex Lawson are recognized for influencing the development of this musical genre as they all became highly sought-after performers.

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Artists such as chief Osita Osadebe, who debuted in the mid-1970s from the eastern region of Nigeria, are still regarded as one of the best music recordists of the Nigerian Highlife. Other notable musicians in this genre include Onyeka Onwenu, Sunny Neji, and others.

4. Apala

The Apala is the Nigerian approach to popular music. Although it is most popular in the western region of Nigeria, namely among the Yoruba. Apala is an Ijebu-originated dramatic and traditional type of music. In Nigeria, musicians such as the Late Ayinla Omowura, the Late Haruna Ishola, and even Muslim Ishola, the son of the Late Haruna Ishola, have achieved national prominence with this form of music.

5. Reggae

Nigerian Majek Fashek was one of a large number of people who began listening to reggae music when the globe watched the legendary singer Bob Marley. He released the Prisoner of Conscience and Spirit of Love albums in 1990 and 1991, respectively, to rave reviews at home and internationally.

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6. AfroBeat

As we all know, this is one of the most popular music genres in Nigeria. Fela Anikulapo Kuti was the most well-known and influential Nigerian afrobeat musician. This man infused numerous instruments, including dance performances, slang, jazz beat, and a variety of percussion instruments, into this musical genre in 1963 to create a unique style that he termed Afrobeat. In addition to the advent of Afro-beat rap, Afro-soul, and Afro-jazz, the Afro-beat genre has spawned numerous other beautiful styles.

7. Hip-Hop

Hip-hop emerged in Nigeria during the mid-1990s. In 1997, groups such as the Remedies made this possible. They released two songs, Judile and Sakomo, that became overnight hits in Nigeria. Compared to all other genres of music addressed, this genre stands out due to the incorporation of collective instruments in the form of instrumentals, which provide distinctive and beloved sounds that make you want to dance.

The evolution of Nigerian music has shifted from traditional instruments of varying size and complexity, such as xylophones and local drums, to more contemporary instruments, such as brass instruments, electric guitars, trumpets, keyboards (organs), etc.

What Are The Prospects Of Nigerian Music?

The future of Nigerian music is really promising. What sounds will emanate from this country next? Which musicians will become household names and achieve global superstardom? Which industrial trends are on the decline, while others are making a comeback? These questions and many others continue to be asked by numerous individuals.

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Nigeria has always been seen as a country where creativity thrives, so it should come as no surprise that its musical culture continues to develop so quickly. Every Nigerian is impacted by music, which is just as important as fashion. When you visit Lagos and other places in the country, you’ll notice that music infuses the environment. It penetrates every nook and corner of this bustling city. Nigerian music is broad, embracing both traditional and popular genres.

The several ethnic groups that make up the country each have their own diverse musical styles, instruments, and songs. Prior to the advent of Europeans, nothing is known about the country’s musical past, despite the discovery of bronze engravings depicting musicians and their instruments from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Numerous factors, such as culture and age demographics, make the Nigerian music scene immensely fascinating. Tradition and culture, however, remain the firm foundation upon which the country sells its music abroad. Today’s Nigerian music is a genuine innovation that is embraced by all, and there is a very great possibility that the music scene will develop over the next year.

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