Burna Boy's 'Ye' is the hottest Nigerian song of 2018. And no one comes close.
2017 was one of the most turbulent years in the life and career of Damini Ogulu popularly known as Burna Boy.
The final months of the year had the singer's name in the news for all the wrong reasons, especially not related to his music.
The events led to the cancellation of his previously advertised end of the year concert to the disappointment of his fans who had been looking forward to seeing him perform at his own headline event for the very first time.
This soon led to Burna's stay away from the country for a long while, but before his departure, he left a gift in the form of his album, ''Outside'', one that has kept giving good vibes and inspiring moments all year long.
When the album was released in January 2018, the lead single, 'Heaven's Gate' was the immediate center of attraction as his collaboration with British singer, Lily Allen had worked to a wondrous effect and the brilliance of his delivery left listeners captivated to the awe of his talent.
Little did many realise that the real gem of the album lied in the track that followed it on the list, the Fela Kuti inspired 'Ye.'
I remember attending a number of events during the Easter holidays in April, but particularly, the Gidi Fest concert and the minute the opening lines of 'Ye' burst through the DJ's turntable, the immediate reaction from the crowd was one I never imagined.
It was like a crowd re-energized, like people who had finally found the solution to Nigeria's biggest problem and are all eager to chorus their findings in one voice. ''Ye, Ye, Ye, Ye, Ye...'' was the loud noise that rent the air, from the old to the young, everyone had plugged into the hymn and the atmosphere all of a sudden felt spiritual.
Months down the line, while a number of other hit records were released and faded in a short time, 'Ye' continues to grow.
Burna who was based in the United States at the point soon kicked off the ''Life On The Outside'' tour to promote the album and for every video of his performances from different cities that emerged, the crowd reaction to 'Ye' was the stuff of legends, the type that every artist dream of but only very few ever attain helping to fuel the hype of the song more and more, even without a video at the point.
Then came the time when Nigerians on Twitter got a bit carried away and demanded that 'Ye' should replace the present national anthem as the lyrics best symbolizes the state of the nation.
Then there were the Kanye West moments, first with his album release which bore the same title, leading to a spike in streaming numbers for Burna Boy and the American producer/rapper dancing to his song during his visit to Uganda.
''My Ye is Different From Your Ye'' was another viral moment on social media that helped to keep the song long in conversation.
But with only a few days to the close of the year, and having attended a number of concerts already, no song still gets the loudest of cheers like 'Ye' when it is played and this is not down to the controversies or events that have surrounded the song but simply down to the brilliance that the song is all by itself when stripped to nothing but critical examination.
'Ye' is a double-edged anthem steeped in consciousness and good life. ''Inna one night, four shows, I'm juggling.''
Burna Boy delivered magic in the details; from the auto-tuned intro that builds and then blooms like a gloriously lit firework to the fine slow groove, the lyrics and the way his voice glossed over the monstrous beat produced by Phantom.
His ability while recognized have largely gone unappreciated over the years despite his catalogue boasting of a high number of really solid records.
But while he may indeed have recorded some songs that are 'better' than 'Ye', there is none bigger and this smash single is the anthem that has propelled him to the place where the truly successful ones sit and he thoroughly deserves all the accolade for blessing us with what is undoubtedly the biggest song out of the country for 2018.