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Here are the top 17 Nigerian albums that will turn 10 this year

2011 was their first year to put down markers and they did that. Nonetheless, some of the old guard refused to simply lie down. The niche artists also laid down the gauntlet.

'Superstar' by 'Wizkid.' (Amazon)

The definition of beauty was replaced by Instagram Face, music found more aggregated conversations, stan culture became more toxic and ‘Afrobeats to the world’ gathered pace. More importantly, the importance of media as a ground for documenting Nigerian pop culture took on another dimension.

In 2010, Nigeria Hip-Hop witnessed a golden era and a change of guard which brought in the frontrunners for the last decade. 2011 was their first year to put down markers and they did that. Nonetheless, some of the old guard refused to simply lie down. The niche artists also laid down the gauntlet.

The result was another impressive year on the front of album releases. 10 years later, Pulse Nigeria celebrates some of the best albums that were released in 2011. In 2020, we also made a list.

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For 2021, check out our list of memorable albums turning 10 below;

Type: Mixtape

Date of release: November 4, 2011

Length: 13 songs

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Singles: 13

Producers: Chopstix, E Kelly, Chief Willis, Maytricks, Khali Abdu, Charli X, Kid Konnect, Chopstix, Chas Derr,

Videos: 0

Label: Independent/Hosted by Jaguda

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In the second half of 2010, Khali Abdu released two strong bodies of work; Ministry of Corruption and The Grind Theory to critical acclaim for his eloquence, clarity, socio-political views and production.

In 2011, he started a Rebel Friday series. By November, he packed it all up into this mixtape and released it. From the mixtape came classic songs like ‘Heroshima’ and ‘Kill The Pressure.’ From the tape, ‘I’m Not A Rapper’ also made his 2012 collaborative EP with Kid Konnect, The Bandits.

Date of release: January 20, 2011

Length: 22 Songs, 1 hour 13 minutes

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Singles: 1

Producers: Jamix

Videos: 1

Label: Tronix Productions, Peach & Prime Entertainment

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Writing for NigerianHipHop.Net in 2011, veteran Nigerian Journalist and Director of Marketing at OPay, Osagie Alonge wrote that, “After producing hit tracks for the likes of Styl Plus, Modenine, and OD, veteran producer Jamix finally decides to drop his album (which we’ve waited forever for!).

“The album comprises various artistes; mostly dominated by Northern based emcees (though they have made a transition to the ‘Centre of Excellence’). Jamix plays safe by placing his trust with familiar faces on this album, the album roaster features artistes he has either previously worked with or has a strong musical bond with.

“Conclusively, “The Lecture” is an essential album to listen to, for the young: an album to study, for the older: an album to cherish.”

He was right.

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Date of release: June 12, 2011

Length: 17 songs, 1 hour 3 minutes

Singles: Holla At Your Boy, Tease Me/Bad Guys, Gidi Girl, Don’t Dull, Pakurumo, Oluwa Lo Ni

Producers: Samklef, E-Kelly, Jay Sleek, Shizzi, DJ Klem, Masterkraft, Q-Beats, Banky W and Vebee.

Videos: Four

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Label: EME

In 2011, Nigeria was on the final leg of the formation of its pop sound. Work done by Timaya’s True Story, 9ice’s Gongo Aso and Wande Coal’s Mushin To Mo’Hits was perfected by Banky W’s A&R genius and Wizkid’s raw talent. The result is one of the few classics that Nigerian music has seen over the past 15 years.

Till date, it remains Wizkid’s best album. It’s replay value is high and the template it created for introducing an artist remains as valid as Ruggedman’s intro to Ruggedy Baba.

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Date of release: October 9, 2011

Length: 17 songs, 01:11:36

Singles: Oleku, Juju, Superstar, Magician

Producers: Jesse Jagz, E Kelly, Samklef, MI Abaga, Wizzboyy, E Kelly, Chopstix

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Videos: Three

Label: Chocolate City

When MI Abaga joined Chocolate City after he switched his name from Mygrep, he signed to Chocolate City under iconic duo, Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo. Proving that they are capable of learning, listening and evolving on demand, Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince joined the roster and the beginnings of the iconic Choc Boiz era became a reality.

Ice Prince had won the Hennessy Artistry a few years before this album, but critics never left him alone. When this album dropped, it again courted controversy and negative reactions from people who just failed to realize that it was a different type of rap. 10 years later, it was the launchpad for one of Africa’s most popular artists over the past 10 years.

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At some point, Ice Prince was the most popular Nigerian artist who won a BET Award for Best African Act. This album is also a classic with high replay value.

Date of release: January, 2011

Length: 15 songs, 01:04:32

Singles: Port Harcourt Son, Ahamefuna (Legacy), Obianuju,

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Producers: All tracks produced by Duncan Mighty

Videos: Three

Label: AireMighty Records

Duncan Mighty was a Port Harcourt singer-songwriter, Producer who launched onto the Lagos scene in 2008 with Koli Water. By 2011, he released his sophomore album - which is also his best album. Some will also argue that the album is a classic and it will be hard to rail against that point because this album is amazing.

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It was the moment that helped Duncan Mighty seal his cult status.

Date of release: June 2011

Length: 13 songs, 41:35

Singles: Nonilizing, Molowo Noni, Mi O Le Beru,

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Producer: Samklef

Videos: Three

Label: TBD

In late 2010, Samklef made grand steps to become Nigeria’s hottest producer of 2011 with several singles and hits of his own. Nonilizing was his debut album and it contained hits, ‘Nonilizing’ and ‘Molowo Noni.’

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While the album had a lot of repeated formulas in sound, topics, subtext and form, it did pioneer a new wave of Afro-pop that infused snare drums into EDM formats. It also produced a hit off a Trap record in 2011. How that happen, nobody knows. He also incorporated Lil Wayne-styled warped sung-rap vocals into a beautiful Afro-pop template.

Date of release: August 4, 2011

Length: 11 Tracks

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Singles: Wombolombo Something

Producer: Leriq, Tron

Videos: One

Label: Aristokrat Records

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The project was announced by Peedi Picasso also known as Piriye Isokrari on Twitter in August 2011. It was the first thing Burna Boy made after he switched from being a rapper on the advice of his grandfather. It was a breath of fresh air that made everybody ask the same question, ‘Who is this guy?’

One place to download the project at the time was on Burna Boy’s blog .

Date of release: November 2011

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Length: 15 Tracks

Singles: Trumpet

Producer: Leriq

Videos: 0

Label: Aristokrat Records

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The project was a follow-up to the impressive Burn Notice. It produced impressive records like ‘Trumpet’ featuring Davido, the sexually charged ‘Firewood’ and the impressive damcehall record, ‘Every Girl.’

It featured Sinzu, Davido, Shank, LOS and Korkormikor.

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Date of release: December 7, 2011

Length: 15 songs, 01:02:3

Singles: Stop Pretending, Zuciya Daya, Super Sun, Super Sun [Remix], That Stupid Song

Producer: Cobhams Asuquo

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Videos: 0

Label: Cobhams Asuquo Music Production/Universal Music Publishing South Africa

Wikipedia reports that, “The album's title was chosen as a reflection of Bez's words as he stated "..everybody wants to be a super star, but they've never known what kind they want to be. I want to be The Super Sun, it’s the most unique star that gives warmth, life, energy and light.

In a way, the album continues to be a cult classic. The Boston Globe placed it at number 3 on its list of World music’s top albums of 2011.

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Date of release: 2011

Length: 17 songs, 01:10:54

Singles: Eni Duro, Omo To Shan, Kelegbe

Producer: ID Cabasa

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Videos: 2

Label: Coded Tunes

In 2009, Kayefi, Olamide and Seriki became the first set of artists officially signed to a revamped Coded Tunes. In November 2010, Olamide released the smash hit Trap record, ‘Eni Duro.’ It came just after the Hip-Hop community had lost DaGrin.

The video for ‘Eni Duro’ had an impressive marketing campaign that read, ‘Olamide changes clothes 15 times in new video.’ It brought shock value and power to Olamide. This album further introduced him, but it proved to be his only major album release under Coded Tunes.

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Date of release: February 7, 2011

Length: 17 songs, 01:06:58

Singles: Ten Over Ten, 5 and 6

Producer: Ty Mix, Dokta Frabz, Ikon, Terry G, Sarz

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Videos: 2

Label: Storm 360, Curious Music, World Famous Academy

In 2005, Naeto C returned from the US for his mandatory one year as a Corps member. He served in Abuja and met the likes of TY Mix, MI Abaga and GospelOnDeBeatz. Later, he joined Nigeria’s biggest record label at the time, Storm. There he released the award-winning album, U Know My P.

Over the coming years, he became the master influencer of elite Nigerian pop culture. With that his stock rose and by his sophomore album, he decided to fully immerse himself into the Nigerian mainstream and he did just that. This was an amazing album.

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Date of release:7 December 2011

Length: 18 songs, 01:10:07

Singles: Everyday, Attitude, 3310

Producer: Cheepho, TY Mix, Puffy T

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Videos: 2

Label: Alapomeji/TJoe

In 2009, 9ice’s third album was mired in controversy around him, his ex-wife, Toni Payne, Ruggedman and his exit from Coded Tunes. Its quality was also overlooked. But by 2011, that perception got even worse, despite how 9ice still made hits in Nigerian music.

Basorun Gaa was one-half of a double album and this was 9ice’s most confident phase of music. Both albums banged like a new bass drum. The album definitely deserved better.

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Date of release: 7 December 2011

Length: 18 songs, 01:17:04

Singles: Life Is Beautiful,

Producer: Cheepho

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Videos: 2

Label: Alapomeji/TJoe

Released alongside ‘Basorun Gaa’ as a double album, it was an experimental album that see 9ice face-off alongside different artists across Africa. It has the spirit of a mixtape and the cohesion of an album. Like ‘Basorun Gaa,’ it doesn’t get the praise it deserves.

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Date of release: February 28, 2011.

Length: 9 songs, 37:58, 11 songs, 43:33

Singles: Sisi Eko, Bani Ki Di

Producer: Cobhams

Videos: 2

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Label: Storm 360

In 2011, Darey shared the staple of the Nigerian King of R&B with Banky W, but this double act swung a lot of things in his favour, as W was busy being a label executive. Its sound was elite; part one had the more methodical, lyrical and slower brands of music, filled with Alternative Sounds, Soulful songs and the best of Blues. The second volume had some pop records.

It was a beautiful concept that represented Darey’s understand of who he was and what the market required.

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Date of release: July 29, 2011

Length: 18 songs, 01:16:24

Singles: Beautiful Onyinye, Chop My Money, Bunienya Enu

Producer: J Martins, Rudeboy

Videos: 3

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Label: Square Records

Guys, there are no words to quantify both the impact and the quality of this album. At the 2012 Headies, it was named Album of the Year. However, that was the least it deserved. At the time, P Square was undisputed as the biggest act in Africa. They made strategic music with different markets in mind and matched the music with incredible performances.

On Invasion sat hits like ‘Onyinye,’ ‘Bunieya Enu,’Chop My Money’ and ‘Do As I Do.’ More importantly, ‘Beautiful Onyinye’ got a remix with the hottest rapper of that year, Rick Ross. But for Game Over, Invasion might be P Square’s best album. Sadly, it was from there that rumours of rift between the legendary duo started swirling.

Nonetheless, their legend is sealed. In some circles are arguments that ‘Onyinye’ started the culture of ‘wedding music’ in Nigeria.

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Culled from Pulse Nigeria

Date of release: July 29, 2011

Length: 18 songs, 01:16:24

Singles: Beautiful Onyinye, Chop My Money, Bunienya Enu

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Producer: J Martins, Rudeboy

Videos: 3

Label: Independent

At the time, Show Dem Camp were the shiny jewels of Nigerian Hip-Hop. At the 2010 MTV African Music Awards, they caught the attention of D’Banj who helped to enter the main venue without prior invitation. At the time, they mostly worked with IKON and other members or collaborators of their collective, The Collectiv3.

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They also caught the attention of Nigerian-American rapper, Wale. This project was the first submission for recognition; it was their amazing diary and it remains a cult classic. A year later, they released the Juls-produced ‘Feel Alright’ and they have not looked back since.

Show Dem Camp - The Dreamer Project

Date of release: November 18, 2011

Length: 20 tracks, 1 hour,18 minutes

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Singles: 0

Producer: IKON

Videos: 0

Label: DM Records

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This was Timaya’s experimental offering for the three acts on his label, then-named Dem Mama Records. It was made alongside his Dem Mama Soljas; T.J 2 Solo, Allenian, and Recoba.

Word on the street is that TJoe splashed a fortune to acquire rights to this album. Soon after the album dropped, Dem Mama Soljas stopped being a thing. One day, Timaya will tell the story of what happened there.

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