These 5 songs describe how it feels to get stuck in Lagos traffic

These songs describe what it feels like when you leave home at 4 AM and spend the rest of your morning in traffic.

Nothing, not even years of living here can ever prepare you for a complete standstill in the middle of Ikorodu Road or an evening when you doze off and wake up 30 minutes later to see the exact same billboard staring back at you.

Lagos is also a city of sounds. And either by way of their experiences or just sheer chance, its musicians have made songs that perfectly capture the soul of the city.

We believe these 5 songs describe what it feels like to be stuck in Lagos traffic.

(1) Ajebutter 22 - 4AM feat Dremo:

Let’s get one thing clear; the chances are that, except you have a helicopter or only leave the house on Sunday mornings, you’re more likely than not to be late when going out in Lagos.

Ajebutter’s 4 AM is the perfect song to capture those times when your alarm rings at 3.30 in the morning and you want to remind God that midnight was only 15 minutes ago.

“Lagos too dey hustle, gotta wake up early”, you sing with the rapper as you sashay to the bus-stop.

(2) Majek Fashek  - Not Afraid:

It’s all fun and games until you get to the bus stop and there’s no bus in sight.

You talk to the one conductor at the park who looks sober enough to have a conversation and he tells you the buses have left for a while now, and it seems they’re held up on the road.

It only means one thing, there’s already traffic. But even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as Majek Fashek sings in “Not Afraid”, you are not afraid.

You muster resolve and move closer to where the next bus might stop and take a look at the time. 20 minutes for traffic, and you could still get to work in time.

(3) Reekado Banks  -  Easy (Jeje):

Finally, a bus arrives and after arguing for the bus fare to cost 50 naira less than the driver wants, you finally get on your way.

A few minutes down the road, you’re almost tempted to wonder if the guy at the park was lying to you when someone close to you hisses and mutters, “Jesus”.

As soon as you see the long line of tail lights in front and anger wells up in your throat, the angel on your shoulder whispers into your ear, “Easy, jeje, baby go slow”.

The last time you heard Reekado Banks’ “Easy Jeje”, you were dancing feverishly now, sandwiched in between a trailer and a danfo in the final days of its lifespan, the song seems like a collection of proverbs and words of wisdom.

(4) Fela Kuti — Suffering and Smiling:

30 minutes later, you look back and realise you can still see the bus-stop you left from. The pain in your heart, and the upper half of your thighs is real, but you can only lament so much.

It’s not the first time its happening. There’s no reason to be overdramatic. You notice the man beside you has broken into a sweat and is getting your shirt wet; he looks at you defiantly and you avert your eyes.

Your girlfriend texts you to ask if you’re up and instead of telling her that your nose is confused by all the different odours and you can’t feel your legs anymore, you reply “On my way to work. A bit of traffic.”.

(5) Erigga — Lagos feat. Duncan Mighty:

Finally, more than an hour later, you hear the conductor call out the bus-stop where you will alight and a sigh of relief escapes your lips.

You commend yourself for understanding the need to leave as early as you did. This weird feeling of accomplishment that you have is not a new feeling.

And even though you never want to spend a minute in traffic again, you want that feeling of gradually overcoming the odds against you.

It’s what Erigga sang about in Lagos, when he said "Who go better, go better, na tey e dey tey, I no dey go anywhere, na Lagos I dey" (Things will get better if they will, I'm not leaving. Lagos is where I am").

The reason why Lagos holds so much allure for us is not that we’re all mad, but that if we can make it through the struggle and seemingly insurmountable challenges, Lagos will give you what you deserve.

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