In this article, we explore the top 10 music collaborations between Nigerian and UK artists in recent years.
The strong and enduring connection between the music scenes of the United Kingdom and Nigeria appears to be a seamless and natural fusion. Many prominent music artists in the United Kingdom can trace their musical heritage back to Africa, the homeland of Afrobeats. Moreover, when delving into the origins of Afrobeats, a substantial portion of its evolution and global impact can be credited to its migration to the vibrant city of London. Over the years, this mutually beneficial relationship has given rise to a plethora of timeless classics.
Now, without any specific ranking, we present our top 10 favorite collaborations between Nigerian and British artists.
1. Location – Dave ft. Burna Boy
Released in 2019, ‘Location’ is a standout track from British rapper Dave’s debut album ‘Psychodrama,’ featuring Nigerian singer Burna Boy. This collaboration seamlessly blends Burna Boy’s Afro-fusion with Dave’s rap style, culminating in a remarkable fusion. Notably, it stands as one of the most successful British-Naija collaborations, boasting 2x platinum certification in the United Kingdom and recognition in several other countries. Interestingly, Dave hails from Nigeria, while Burna Boy spent part of his early years in London.
2. Energy (Stay Far Away) – Skepta & WizKid
Released in 2018, ‘Energy (Stay Far Away)’ is a vibrant and infectious single. An instant hit captivated audiences with its euphoric and summery vibes. What truly distinguishes this Brit-Naija collaboration is its flawless execution. Both Skepta and Wizkid delivered their best, making this track one of the most memorable in this musical crossover. Notably, the song’s production was skillfully helmed by the renowned Nigerian producer Sarz, elevating the collaboration to even greater heights.
3. Peru – Fireboy DML & Ed Sheeran
Originally a standalone single, ‘Peru’ by Fireboy DML later featured in his third album, ‘Playboy,’ and gained significant recognition. The remix with Ed Sheeran elevated it to become Fireboy’s biggest hit, gaining international acclaim and confirming its status as a cross-cultural sensation. This marked another successful collaboration for Ed Sheeran in the Naija music scene, as the song’s fusion of talents and genres resonated powerfully with global audiences, leaving a lasting impact on the music landscape.
4. Dimension – Jae5 ft. Skepta & Rema
This collaboration is a standout moment in the British-Naija music scene, uniting acclaimed Ghanaian-British producer Jae5, the lyrical skill of the British rapper of Nigerian heritage Skepta, and the emerging talent of then rising Afrobeats star, Rema. Their rich and conscious song deeply resonated with fans, creating a strong bond between artists and the audience. It not only highlighted the musical prowess of these talents but also underscored the significance of cultural exchange and unity in music.
5. Who’s True – Tion Wayne ft. Davido
Released in 2021, ‘Who’s True’ served as a pre-release single for Tion Wayne’s highly anticipated fourth album, ‘Green With Envy.’ This collaboration with Nigerian superstar Davido not only highlighted their chemistry but also showcased their remarkable versatility in music. The song thrived thanks to the seamless blend of Tion Wayne’s and Davido’s trademark styles. This success emphasized the global appeal of Naija-Brit music collaborations and firmly established both artists in the international music scene.
6. Real Life – Burna Boy ft. Stormzy
The African Giant, teamed up with British rapper Stormzy for the track ‘Real Life’ on Burna Boy’s fifth studio album, ‘Twice as Tall’. This wasn’t their first collaboration, as they previously joined forces, along with Ed Sheeran, for Stormzy’s 2019 single, ‘Own It’. The song’s impactful music video portrays the challenges faced by disadvantaged black youth in Britain, shedding light on the lasting impact of media-reported knife crime statistics on communities.
7. Propeller – Jae5 ft. BNXN & Dave
Much like “Dimension,” this track is a brilliant work produced by Jae5, but with Dave and BNXN as featured artists. It beautifully represents the Brit-Naija musical connection. In this song, Dave pays tribute to his Naija roots with lyrics like “Coming from Gbagada…” This lyrical homage emphasizes the importance of cultural bonds and shared heritage, showcasing the deep connection between the British and Nigeria in the music world. It’s proof of how artists from different backgrounds can collaborate to craft something truly extraordinary.
8. I Like – Kojo Funds ft. WizKid
In 2019, Kojo Funds, a British songwriter and rapper with Ghanaian and Caribbean roots, joined forces with Grammy-winning artist WizKid to release the track “I Like.” This song, produced by Rymez and G.A., revolves around the two artists singing about the things they admire in their love interests. The mid-tempo vibe is perfectly accompanied by a sunny, feel-good music video. If you’re a fan of 90s R&B, you’ll quickly recognize that “I Like” samples the R&B classic “This Luv” by Donell Jones.
9. Temptation – Tiwa Savage ft. Sam Smith
In 2020, Tiwa Savage partnered with London-born artist Sam Smith to unveil the track “Temptation,” which featured on her fourth studio album, “Celia.” The song’s creation involved the collaborative efforts of Tiwa Savage, Sam Smith, and Fireboy DML as co-writers. Sam Smith’s collaboration with Tiwa Savage wasn’t their only joint project with Nigerian artists; they also joined forces with Burna Boy for the song “My Oasis” in the same year.
10. For My Hand – Burna Boy ft. Ed Sheeran
From Burna Boy’s sixth studio album “Love, Damini,” “For My Hand” delves into the complexities of love. The music video perfectly complements this theme, with both artists riding an elevator, urging their lovers to accept them as they are. Co-written by Burna Boy and Ed Sheeran with producer P2J, it’s their second collaboration after appearing on British rapper Stormzy’s “Own It.” This successful crossover hit has earned multiple Gold and Platinum certifications in Europe and North America.