The 30 Best Wizkid Songs
Written by ABR on 19/09/2023
Wizkid is one of Afrobeats’ most important voices. Like 2Face Idibia and P-Square before him, the Lagos-born superstar has soundtracked the genre’s great moments for close to fifteen years, evolving his sound to match the changing preferences of each generation.
To properly capture the depth in Wizkid’s catalog, there’s a necessary need to return to his several phases: first, from the teenage electricity of his Superstar era when Wiz gave popular representation to the preoccupations of Nigerian youngsters in a way no one else had before him. When his third album Ayo came around, his colorful pop bangers relayed the confidence of a man who had earned continental reverence. Sounds from the Other Side was the precedent to his global excursions, although his minting of diasporan sounds was better actualized years later, on the classic Made in Lagos album.
This list of 30 Essential Wizkid Songs digs into his rich crater of music. From his most popular hits to album deep cuts and standout features, OkayAfrica undertakes the important mission of curation so that you don’t have to.
“Holla At Your Boy”
Wizkid’s introduction came with this cherry pop record. An assured recognition of his celebrity, he sang with the familiarity of the teenager next door. “If you see me drive by,” goes the easy admonition of its famous chorus, “Holla at your boy.” With its memorable visuals set in a high school, Ayodeji Balogun aligned his ascension with the trajectory of youngsters like him. Ask any Nigerian now in their 20s when they first loved Wiz, and this song would likely be their answer.
Dance floors are Wizkid’s favorite and it’s quite telling that early into his career he was making records like “Tease Me.” A sensual entry into his superstar lifestyle, this was the song that demonstrated how much of a bad boy Wizkid was. The girls and boys couldn’t get enough, reveling in the production’s instantly memorable bounce. His shoutout to celebrity friends was echoed in the star-studded video, a reminder for any doubters that Wizkid was really about that life.
Fuji remains a sonic backbone of Afropop. The genre which peaked in southwestern Nigeria during the ’70s is known for its vivid percussion and praise singing, which were tapped into by Wiz on “Pakurumo”. A party-starter created for the most festive celebrations, it’s an effervescent song that never grows old. Coaxing sweet lyrics inviting ladies to dance, Wizkid won the hearts of the older generation with this one.
WizKid “Jaiye Jaiye” ft. Femi Kuti
A song with taps from Afrobeat’s rich material, “Jaiye Jaiye” featured the legendary Femi Kuti. More than a homage to Fela’s pioneering sound, Femi blends colorful trumpet-playing with Wizkid’s ever-serenading delivery. The younger musician dazzles with his turns of phrases, his Yoruba-spiced lyrics, his pairing of religious awareness and popstar sexiness. A classic in every sense, Wizkid’s scholarship in traditional genres proves essential to his artistry.
For many Wizkid fans, “Lagos Vibes” is his quintessential deep cut but “Sweet Love” is also a good shout. Unattended by the immediate popularity most of his records enjoy, it has grown into a mellow ode for cherished intimate moments. A groovy bounce is weaned from the beat, but unlike a fully realized banger the energy is left to simmer, a slow burn emerging through Wizkid’s patient delivery.
The sprawling city of Surulere has been frequently shouted out by Wiz. More than his birthplace, it’s also where he tutored under the legendary OJB Jezreel, meeting icons like 2Face Idibia whose creative process he witnessed up close. “Ojuelegba” is a spiritual ode to his hood, recalling the early days in a way that foreshadowed his imminent global stardom. With the likes of Sarkodie, Skepta, Drake and countless others recording their own takes on the Legendury Beatz production, Wizkid’s leader role in the canon of Afrobeats was solidified.
“Come Closer” ft. Drake
Drake and Wizkid go way back. When the Canadian and veteran British MC Skepta united on the remix of “Ojuelegba,” it brought attention to how easily Afrobeats could blend into other genres. Drake would later tap Wiz for “One Dance” and returned the favor on “Come Closer,” a chill R&B cut with fine touches of Afropop’s bounce. Wizkid totally bosses the record, painting fine images verse after verse. His feature merely complements the song’s finesse, while Sarz on the beat does a madness as usual.
Popstar Wizkid is prime Wizkid. Even though he’s constantly traveled the terrain of sound throughout his career, there’s a great feeling that comes from hearing Wiz on homebound sounds. “Daddy Yo” was an instant hit: unleashed by Efya’s teasing chorus, Wizkid indeed makes the world dance, floating over the reggaeton-tinged beat with gleeful mastery. His language steeped in Afropop’s conventions, he creates a song that undeniably ranks among his most exuberant.
“Caro” ft. L.A.X
While the focus of Wizkid’s sound rested in Nigeria, few records were as penetrating as “Caro.” The production was reminiscent of Fela’s incandescent Afrobeat, an upbeat energy which inspired memorable performances from both Wizkid and his then-signee L.A.X. Their search for the titular character takes them towards different terrains, relating past intimacies with suggestive undertones while narrating the present with the required longing. Like some select records on his catalog, this was also a cross-generational song, appealing to vastly different demographics.
“Ginger” ft. Burna Boy
Longtime collaborators, Wizkid and Burna Boy united for the first time as global superstars on “Ginger.” The Made in Lagos cut taps from Afropop’s sonic conventions, a vivid percussive pattern and shiny embellishments to go with it. Voices in perfect harmony, the svelte ease of Wizkid meets Burna’s gruff tone, creating a cathartic pleasure released throughout the song’s run time.
“Blessed” ft. Damian Marley
Years after sampling Elder Marley, Wizkid features his mercurial son Damian on a record. “Blessed” sounds like two kindred spirits meeting: honing on its spirituality doesn’t do justice to its earthy quality, a song which recognizes the bustle of life as part of one’s journey. Taking the role of conductor, Wiz delivers the unforgettable assurance of the chorus while Jr. Gong rides the production with signature wisdom. “Go for the big leagues, no relegation,” he sings, reiterating the inspirational ethos of the song.
“Smile” ft. H.E.R.
Made in Lagos set very high expectations for Wizkid, partly because he’d teased the album for over two years before it finally arrived in 2020. Before then Wizkid delivered stellar records like Soundman Vol.1 working from Afropop’s sonic tradition, but “Smile” was a sharp turn away from that direction. Set by bass-y rock-reggae production, Wiz approached a gentler sound, lulling as much as he sang. It was an ode to one’s beloveds, and the choice of H.E.R also proved beautiful, as the American sensation polished its appeal with her intimate energy.
“Essence” ft. Tems
Snagging the keenly contested Song of the Summer a year after its release, “Essence” was an important record for Wizkid. Finally, after years attempting to capture the zeitgeist of America’s pop culture, he had done so and with so much ease. It was also a breakout moment for Tems, whose strong vocals provided the song’s memorable sections, including the now-classic line, “You don’t need no other body.”
“True Love” ft. Tay Iwar, Projexx
In the early years of his career, Wizkid preferred to handle things by himself. He featured artists but only sparingly, claiming the song’s most tantalizing moments for himself. Wizkid has now evolved in his approach, comfortable with letting guests impress their distinct styles. “True Love” benefits from that choice: Nigeria’s alt-soul prince Tay Iwar is the heart of the record, the first voice you hear. Wizkid delivers good with his verse and Projexx closes out with a risque verse, the Jamaican’s spritzy energy achieving stellar pacing.
“Bad To Me”
Wizkid isn’t one to follow trends. His catalog manages a pristine originality, an indication of the artist’s spiritual connection with the sonic base of Afropop. “Bad To Me” was a fitting way to incorporate the earth-shaking log drums of amapiano. As the first piece in the More Love, Less Ego puzzle, it’s an hypnotic track where Wiz showcases his expanding vocal range, sketching with refreshing candor the lust-dripping narratives he’s painted for the better part of two decades.
“Roma” ft. Terri
This is perhaps the most underappreciated record in Wizkid’s catalog. Uniting with protege Terri, the song’s urgent, Highlife-tinged groove results in a spellbinding high. The blend of a narrative base with boisterous inflections is expertly mixed by Wizkid and Terri, the similarity of their vocal tones working to the song’s advantage. Listen to “Roma” in a room filled with friends and alcohol, and you wouldn’t want to listen to anything else.
When he gets into his groove, Wizkid is a very ingenious storyteller. The images he conjures startle with their originality, from the choice of metaphors to the details he incorporates. “Balance” is such a song, carried on by an effervescent percussive bounce from producer Kel P. Set to such masterful control of sound and pace, Wizkid creates an unforgettable tease about a lady. Lyrics such as “And I no fit pass you like my Mary Jane” and the suggestive “Shey na for Ghana wey you carry this waist?” are weighted depictions only an insider can decipher, lending the song an intimacy which it benefits from.
“Soco” ft. Terri x Spotless x Ceeza Milli
Given the glittering resume he’s acquired as an artist, one of the few criticisms of Wizkid is his inability to successfully form youngsters in a similar mold of celebrity. His Starboy Entertainment label has signed quite a few of them, and on “Soco” all the critics were momentarily silenced. A posse cut isn’t new to Afropop, but the chemistry on display marks this record for greatness. With its instantly memorable chorus which repeated the word “soco,” the space to shine opens itself in refreshing ways to the three artists on his label Wizkid shared space with.
“Frames (Who’s Gonna Know)”
What’s Wizkid without some soul? Piercing sensitive parts of the inner being, Wiz has sometimes achieved the zen wisdom of a philosopher, turning the well-trodden subject of love on its head. Written alongside Tay Iwar, “Frames” evokes the assurance of a lover playing it cool even in the face of tension. Anyone who’s experienced the calming highs of intimacy knows the extent one goes through to keep it, and up until the last seconds of this song Wizkid does that, lulling lovingly into the ears of his desired.
Another record inspired by a giant of world music, “Joy” flipped the famous progressions of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” to heartwarming effect. Wizkid goes autobiographical on the song, recalling the circumstances of his birth and why he was named Ayo, which translates from Yoruba as joy. It’s one of those rare Wizkid moments of passionate sensitivity, carried by his sunny, inimitable vocals.
“Slow Down” w/ R2bees
Ghana has always been special to Wizkid. It’s the African country in which he spends the most time, and he’s also proven eager to collaborate with its talented acts. Inspired through sound and atmosphere by Ghana, his finest song with its musicians was more R&B than Hiplife, but that is what makes “Slow Down” classic. Going back and forth with the duo of Mugees and Omar Sterling, the breezy calm of the song owes a lot to Wizkid’s opening verse and backing adlibs.
“The Matter” w/ Maleek Berry
This song is a singular achievement of Wizkid’s catalog. Nothing else he’s made sounds like this, from the hip-hop patterns of the Maleek Berry production to the steely proclamations of Wizkid. The chorus is made simple, almost assuming the ease of a children’s rhyme. But it’s the verses; charged by desires of hitting back at detractors, he manages to rein in lovable entries to his women without sounding contradictory.
“Soweto Baby” w/ DJ Maphorisa & Dj Buckz
For a long time, South Africa and Nigeria have borrowed sonic clues from each other. Prior to the amapiano wave, there was a period in the mid 2010s when artists from both countries increasingly collaborated, with SA figures like DJ Maphorisa and Mafikizolo becoming household names in Nigeria. “Soweto Baby” is a glorious child of that marriage, bridging Wizkid’s then-preferred upbeat direction with the rootsy textures of kwaito. A hit song in both countries, it was the beginning of a creative alliance for Wizkid.
“One Dance” w/ Drake & Kyla
Drake’s musical relationship with Wizkid peaked on “One Dance.” Unarguably the biggest song in the world in the aftermath of its release, the record showcased the Canadian rapper’s tendency to pick on evolving world sounds as crucial. Helmed by Sarz production, it was however Wizkid who carried the song’s boppy appeal. His sunny vocals were behind the refrain, “oh my baby girl, back up and whine,” which was the most popular section of the record. Further proof of his ability can be heard in the unreleased version in which he delivered an entire verse in his signature spritzy style.
“Bend Down Pause” w/ Runtown & Walshy Fire
Stretching back to “Lagos To Kampala,” the duo of Runtown and Wizkid has always been great collaborators. With distinct styles of songwriting, their similarly melodious voices make perfect sense when merged together. “Bend Down Pause” is perhaps Wiz’s most immersive entry into the Caribbean soundscape, carried on an upbeat tempo which allowed both musicians wax lucid about sensual relations. Its chorus is as playful and evocative as anything Wizkid has ever done, with the lyric “plenty money, but I no fat” being one of its many humor-tinged quotables.
“Energy (Stay Far Away)” w/ Skepta
Over the years Wizkid’s friendship with Skepta has produced very little music, but on the times they’ve come together, the results tend to be stellar. “Energy” evokes a quintessential summer vibe: over chill production, Skepta’s verses shine with intimacy and remarkable technique, while Wizkid holds the words together with his simple but evocative hook. Proving himself a remarkable minimalist, the simple premise of the words “Bad energy stay far away” was caught on by many across the world, indeed positioning the record among his higher echelon of collaborations. Simply put, “Energy” was a moment in time.
“Kana” w/ Olamide
Stretching back to the beginning of their careers, Olamide and Wizkid have always been great collaborators. A lot of Nigerian listeners would no doubt remember “Omo To Shan,” the cheeky ode to a woman’s beauty. “Kana” presents the artists in all their iconic grace; layering their distinct and complementary vocals over a mellow beat, the artists create a song that’s impossible to escape one’s head.
“Brown Skin Girl” w/ Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN
When Beyonce made a metaphorical return to Africa in collaboration with its best stars, Wizkid was always going to feature. “Brown Skin Girl” unarguably became the most popular song on the album, no doubt due to the immense chemistry on display. Right from Wizkid’s well-written first verse to Beyonce’s vocalizations, everything about the self love-affirming song is realized to perfection. And if you’ve ever doubted the strength of Wiz’s vocals, then hear him almost outmuscling the world-famous tones of Bey as their voices rise in a duet close to the song’s closing.
“Pull Over” w/ Kcee
From the vaults, this is perhaps Wizkid’s most potent appearance as a feature. At the time, Nigeria’s Kcee had an inimitable grasp on popular culture, creating records with bright sonics and irrefutable lamba. “Pull Over” joins their strengths together, with Wizkid delivering the memorable chorus. Writing from the perspective of a local police officer known for asking drivers to pull over, his demand for her to “show me your particulars” carries the humorous heft only a Nigerian could fully understand.
“Feeling the Beat” w/ DJ Jimmy Jatt
One of the most revered entertainment personalities in Africa, when Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt calls, you answer. Wizkid surely does in stellar style on “Feeling The Beat,” a colorful bop which thrills with the improvisation of live music. Set to bubbly drums and triumphant synths, Wizkid charts his grass-to-grace story, holding up the success of his music as the only validation he’s ever needed. Playful as he tends to be, the efficiency of his vocals is nonetheless audible, especially in the chorus where he joyfully screams, “Dem dey feel am for East o, dem dey dance o!”