- “Back When” Featuring Naeto C
- “Dami Duro”
- “All Of You”
- “Carolina” With Sauce Kid
- “Divine” With Odunsi The Engine
- “Blow My Mind” With Chris Brown
- “Risky” Featuring Popcaan
- “The Best” Featuring Mayorkun
- “High” With Adekunle Gold
- “Champion Sound” Featuring Focalistic
- “Stand Strong”
- “Over Dem”
There is no doubt that Davido has remained a constant presence in the ever-evolving Afrobeats industry since his stunning debut with the Naeto C-assisted “Back When” and the spirited follow-up “Dami Duro.” The singer is one of the most celebrated figures in Afrobeats. He can make music that easily transitions into anthem status, as seen by his record-breaking songs and albums and his innate ability to make every collaboration into a “Davido song.”
Formerly of HKN and now of DMW worldwide, Davido is one of the few musical performers who concisely captured the musical zeitgeist of the 2010s (and the eras that followed). His ten-year career has been defined by songs that offer solace in the face of hard reality and have remained a fan-favorite. His distinctive music is rooted in the simple joys of navigating life as a Nigerian. There is always fun to be had with Davido, regardless of whether or not fans can relate to his exaggerated, frequently cheeky lyrics.
With the arrival of Davido’s much anticipated fourth studio album, Timeless, which brings him back into the spotlight after a brief absence, it was only fitting that we dug through his extensive catalog of blockbusters. This article aims to highlight some of the songs, out of the over 1000 songs, that have made the Superstar a powerhouse in the music scene. These songs include singles and features that have undoubtedly shaped a promising career for the DMW Boss. There’s no doubt that some of these songs may incite conversations because of their inclusion, and others may favor one track over another. However, the truth remains that Davido is a certified Music juggernaut, and all his songs resonate with fans differently.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
“Back When” Featuring Naeto C
In 2011, “Back When,” Davido’s debut track, was a global introduction to the young producer and performer. Davido came in hot with a banger about making it despite starting from nothing. This was a strange story for an artist who revealed himself to be the son of a millionaire. He was part of a new wave of musicians trying to recreate afrobeat for a new generation of internet-driven followers. Rapper Naeto C made a tough-but-funny guest appearance on the self-produced song.
Arguably one of the biggest tracks that shot OBO to stardom. Davido was able to change his original grass-to-grace tale for one that felt more in line with his public persona thanks to “Dami Duro,” which was co-produced with Shizzi. The young singer proclaimed his determination to change the game loudly in “Dami Duro,” which was brilliant, triumphant, and braggadocious. He also issued a warning to anyone who attempted to stop him.
“All Of You”
Davido had much to prove with his debut album, OBO: The Genesis, coming off a run of popular singles and facing the image that he was a nepotistic baby who attempted to box his accomplishments. Nevertheless, Davido confidently declared his status as one of the finest in the business on the album’s opening single, “All of You,” while carefully straddling the line between annoying and self-assured. This audacious declaration from a 19-year-old made his first body of work a public subject and attention-grabbing. The young Davido may have been correct, though, as we look back on “All of You” after more than ten years and see the long trail of success.
“Carolina” With Sauce Kid
Davido worked with Nigerian rapper Sauce Kid (now known as Sinzu) on the Maleek Berry-produced song “Carolina” to end 2011. This was just a few months before his debut album was released internationally. “Carolina” became one of Afrobeats’ most enduring collaborations because of Sauce Kid’s buttery-smooth flow and Davido’s distinctive vocals on a flawless hook. Sauce Kid was one of the rated top hitters in the industry at the time, and his collaboration with Davido was simply seamless. The duo ate!
Deeply rooted in his Yoruba ancestry, “Ekuro” sees Davido assuring his muse that their love will endure through rain or sunshine by comparing their relationship to a palm fruit bean. His debut album’s underappreciated gem “Ekuro” was a far cry from the party firecracker the world first heard on songs like “Back When” and “Dami Duro.” It nevertheless lays the groundwork for the singer to produce later love songs like “Aye,” “If,” and others.
Davido left his mark on the world dance scene with “Skelewu,” his viral 2013 track gave rise to an even more viral dance of the same name. All this was before TikTok became the Gen Z-oiled machine that turned relatively unknown songs into sped-up chart toppers with coordinated dance challenges. Davido gained access to a new level of Afrobeats impact, comparable to that of hitmakers like Daddy Showkey, Marvelous Benji, Olu Maintain, and Artquake, thanks to the Shizzi-produced single and its accompanying music video. At this point, even doubters knew Davido was the real deal.
Before Davido boasted about being able to provide his muse the best life possible and all money can buy on songs like “Fall,” “If,” and “1Milli,” he released 2014’s “Aye.” The song, a folksy pop number written by “Mad Over You” vocalist Runtown, features Davido singing about love without needing material things. T-Spize’s production of “Aye” has made it a distinctive Davido song that can be heard playing at wedding receptions and clubs worldwide.
The Tekno-written and -produced single “If” catalyzed Davido’s comeback, breaking the singer’s musical rut following the underwhelming reception to his Son of Mercy EP. “If” was one of Davido’s songs frequently cited as one of his best-ever compositions, and it ended up serving as a sort of unofficial national anthem for Nigerians. In addition, the song helped establish the moniker of Davido’s fan group, The 30 Billion Gang or 30BG, helped him win the Best African Act of the Year award at the MTV Europe Music Awards, spawned a clothing line with internationally renowned Nigerian designer Orange Culture, and won him the title for Best African Act of the Year.
“Fall” is regarded as Davido’s crowning achievement and a critical factor in his rise from Nigerian musical hero to international stardom. Kiddominant’s production helped elevate Davido’s lyrics about wanting to leave the streets behind for love by drawing inspiration from the famous 2016 synth-based mid-tempo sound made popular by Runtown’s “Mad Over You” and Tekno’s “Pana.” Before Nigerians regularly appeared on Billboard charts, as seen in the present day, “Fall” was the longest-charting Nigerian (afrobeats) pop song in Billboard history.
Only a handful of Davido’s tracks are as delicate as his 2017 single “FIA.” Davido is in fine form here as he delves into the feelings of a guy upset by his lover’s lack of contentment and struggles with the thought of what might have been while choosing to leave a relationship that asks too much of him. With “Fall” and “If,” Davido solidified his reputation as a master of romance last year. However, the singer’s examination of love in “FIA” felt more emotionally based.
Davido is not new to giving his all in an epic effort to use music to demonstrate his love. Since his debut, the singer’s love life has occasionally served as a news feed, but with the release of “Assurance” in 2018, he finally gained creative control of the story. Davido finally gave his muse -and now wife, a face in the Meji Alabi-directed music video, thereby making their relationship public and promising to be there for her forever.
“Divine” With Odunsi The Engine
Davido also contributed to the alté scenes as “Rare” was a turning point for Nigeria’s alternative alté movement. 2019 saw Odunsi The Engine’s debut album release, which deviated from the usual frequency for Nigerian listeners. Risk-taking endeavors from Tay Iwar, Lady Donli, and Cruel Santino swiftly followed it. Davido contributed his enthusiastic vocals and trademark “Shekpe!” adlib to Odunsi’s “Divine,” a song that won over genre skeptics and reminded listeners of the possibilities when the familiar and the incredible find a sonic middle ground. This was done to capitalize on the independent Y2K-inspired scene before it spread into the mainstream.
“Blow My Mind” With Chris Brown
In 2020, following a succession of singles promoting his sophomore album, Davido enlisted Chris Brown for his second collaboration, “Blow My Mind,” following their previous appearance together on the latter’s “Lower Body” from his “Indigo (deluxe)” album. Wurld, the vocalist, wrote this smooth R&B love ballad, and Shizzi, a regular collaborator, produced it. The song served as a prelude to the album’s last singles, “Risky” with Popcaan and “Sweet in the Middle” with Naira Marley, Wurld, and Zlatan.
“Risky” Featuring Popcaan
Many people didn’t envision the emergence of “Risky” when Davido made the freestyle blunder at Shade 45 with DJ Whookid, and certainly not with the Jamaican Superstar Popcaan. “Risky,” an upbeat and seductive dancehall song featuring Davido, sees Popcaan finally receiving retribution for his inadequate performance on Drake’s “Controlla.” The song’s production by Speroach Beatz conjures images of hot vibing bodies in fluorescent-lit clubs of languid seductiveness.
For Davido, love is not just committing emotionally and physically but also financially. His muse enthralls Davido as he wonders if one million dollars would be a fair reward for her attention on this Teekay Witty-produced song. Unofficially, “Assurance” ‘s 2018 follow-up, “1Milli,” off his 2019 album A Good Time, likewise fulfills that role and again brings his lover to the limelight.
‘FEM’ was released just as another heavyweight was putting himself to the test and about to drop his third album. The song was a sharp rebuke and a powerful prelude to his album. Of course, it would be ignorant of anyone to discuss the 2020 #EndSARS movement without mentioning the music’s contribution to the soundtracking and energizing of demonstrations around the nation. But if there were a single song that effectively expressed the tense atmosphere and overarching emotions of tiredness throughout those two weeks, it would have to be Davido’s “Fem.” The musician used the word “fem,” which may be translated as “shut up,” to address his detractors. Frustrated Nigerians, however, turned the song into a loud middle finger addressed at the government as protests began that year.
“Jowo” will be one of Davido’s most powerful performances as far as his love songs are concerned. In the song, Davido wears his emotions clearly on his sleeve as he begs his girlfriend to concentrate just on them and shut off the outside world. His argument may not persuade the song’s subject, but his audience is moved by it, making “Jowo” the song with the highest streaming volume from the artist’s A Better Time album.
“The Best” Featuring Mayorkun
Although this album didn’t perform as well as many would have liked, there is no denying that several of the songs were unquestionable hits. From Davido’s third album, A Better Time, “The Best” is a standout duet between Davido and Mayorkun, a former signee of Davido Music Worldwide. Contrary to the majority of Davido’s earlier attempts at establishing his dominance as a leader in the industry, “The Best” relies on witty one-liners and humor, revealing an artist who doesn’t need to prove that he’s the best to anyone, not even himself. Ultimately, with this song, Davido succumbs to his hype.
“High” With Adekunle Gold
Adekunle Gold, a Nigerian musician, believed it was time to broaden his sonic horizons five years after receiving considerable critical and commercial recognition as the face of contemporary Juju and Yoruba folk music. However, although 2020’s Afro Pop, Vol.1 helped Adekunle Gold change his image, it wasn’t until “High,” his electrifying house-meets-amapiano collaboration with Davido, that he genuinely transitioned from the folk-boy next door to a leading pop man. The two duel on a song about seeking the euphoric high of having a good time, riding on a beat produced by Pheelz.
“Champion Sound” Featuring Focalistic
After collaborating with Focalistic and Virgo Deep on the incredibly catchy remix of their 2020 hit, “Ke Star,” Davido reteamed with the South African rapper for another earworm, “Champion Sound,” only a year later. Before it was officially released, the song was already a smash, its leaked version illuminating dancefloors from Lagos to Cape Town. Davido uses lyrics like “Tell them make dem calm down, ten years I’ve never gone down” to emphasize his ongoing impact over a decade after his debut.
When Davido teased the release of “Stand Strong” in 2022, few people were sure what to make of his “new” sound. Davido performs his most vulnerable song with The Samples, the band best known for working with Kanye West for his Sunday Service Choir. He faces his most significant worries about a celebrity by forgoing theatrics in favor of frank honesty, all the while making room to reflect on his path thus far and his perseverance throughout it all. “Stand Strong” is a magnificent example of Davido’s range.
The first single from Davido’s much anticipated fourth studio album, Timeless, is titled “Over Dem” and is built around a biblical allusion to the “David-and-Goliath” story and a fantastic killer sax arrangement. After a lengthy sabbatical during which many questioned his ability to continue producing quality music, Davido returned, ready to reaffirm his unchallenged status as the industry’s king. However, the vocalist chooses to deliver his song in a tidy and tightly controlled manner rather than respond with an enthused beat or cadence. The mid-tempo song is the ideal starting point for an album that wants to win the fiercely contested “King of Afrobeats” title.
“Unavailable” Featuring Musa Keys
This is yet another Davido song from his brand-new album, which has attracted the world and drawn more attention to the afrobeat and Nigerian music scenes. Davido has had enough of putting up with everyone’s BS and wants to spend some time by himself. Musa Keys, a South African singer and producer, is brought in to adapt this PSA into another cross-continental amapiano song for “Unavailable.” The song “Unavailable,” which Asake and Magicsticks frequently work on together, recently gained traction on TikTok thanks to a dance competition the musician started. With “Timeless,” It is incredible to see OBO stand on the podium with other Afrobeat greats as the afrobeats movement spreads worldwide.
“Kante” Featuring FAVE
Davido’s belief in talent regardless of gender earns “Kante” a spot on this list. With songs like “D&G” with Summer Walker and the surprisingly underappreciated “Tanana” with Tiwa Savage, Davido has repeatedly shown himself to be a fantastic duet partner and supporter of female collaborations. It is, therefore, no surprise that he works wonders with singer Fave on “Kante.” Giving the “Baby Riddim” singer the controls, Davido deftly manages the backseat as the two coo and float on the Damie-produced slow banger.
“Na Money” Featuring The Cavemen And Angelique Kidjo
Only a select few musicians in the Afrobeat industry can claim to have the iconic Kidjo in their music, and OBO is undoubtedly one of them. As “Na Money” includes high-life combo The Cavemen and already-mentioned Grammy favorite Angelique Kidjo, it is one song that eloquently demonstrates Davido’s profound function as a musical curator. The odd collaboration, which 1da Banton produced, uses the sound and style of each featured act to create a recognizable and excitingly new symmetry that offers unique rhythm and gyrations.