5 Genres in Nigerian Music You Should be Familiar With

Music in Nigeria has come a long way in the 2000s with the vibrant pop scene and the force that has become of the genre, ‘Afrobeats.’
Ever since independence, there have been different genres that have reigned through several decades. Variety of sounds like Disco, Juju, Rock, Fuji, Highlife and more have at one time or the other been regarded as the prevailing sound in the musicscape.

While it is easy to dismiss the music of the 2000s as disposable and lacking in depth as what was offered in the times past, it is hard to deny that this era has defined the culture the most, producing groundbreaking musical achievements and acceptance.

The evolution of the pop scene in the late 90s/early 2000s till date has forever changed the way Nigerian music is created and received and over the years.

The decade has reshaped how music is created, with the lines separating genres dissipating faster than ever while encouraging a number of new sounds, either borrowed from a mash-up of sounds from neighbouring countries like Ghana or a reinvention of fading genres, as every artist now name what is being created.

Here are 5 genres that have shaped the music scene in recent times
Originally from Ghana, but named and owned by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti following his return to the country from the West Coast in 1967.

Afrobeat, which is an infusion of jazz, highlife and funk with live instruments a very key element of the sound remains one of the most dominant genres in Nigerian music.

Even though there has been a variation from the sound in its truest form, Fela’s legacy alongside the efforts of his sons, Femi and Seun Kuti and its acceptance by the global audience has ensured that the genre remains one that a number of upcoming artists strive to associate with.


This is one genre that has divided opinions, as a number of curators struggle to accept the ‘adulteration’ of Afrobeat in its original form, its naming by a Ghanaian- UK based disc jockey and the contrast in its sound from what that of Fela offers.

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But it is arguably the most successful genre out of the continent in the last few years, holding lasting merit, shaping the present musical era and one that has ensured that Nigerian music earns a fair recognition on the global map.

Artists like D’banj, Wizkid and Davido are the genre’s biggest beneficiaries with a number of international stars like Drake, Ciara tapping into the budding sound to enjoy mainstream penetration back in Africa at several moments in their careers.

Wobe Sound

The ‘streets’ has undergone its fair share of sounds. Fuji remains a genre that the masses associate with, ghetto sounds like ‘Galala’, ‘Konto’ have also catered at one point or another to a section of the streets, but the ‘Wobe’ sound credited to Olamide is more embracing and one that has sprung a rapid number of disciples within a short time.

The Wobe sound is a combination of Pop, Fuji with a heavy mix of street lingua and artists like Small Doctor, Lil Kesh have helped promote the sound in recent times.

Shaku Shaku

It started out as just a dance, grown into a genre on its own, complete with a pattern, kick and style.

The sound which is credited to the streets of Agege came to life late in 2017 and since then it has grown to become the most sampled and rotated genre in 2018.

Mr Real, Slimcase, Idowest have all been major benefactors of the sound that has been embraced by the general populace transcending class, gender or even tribe.

Pon Pon
Another one adopted from our Ghanaian brothers and well put to use by the Nigerian musicians. Even though not as predominant as it was in 2017, ‘Pon Pon’ was the most defining sound in the music scene for the larger part of last year and has replicated itself into the fabric of other sounds like the ‘Alte’ sound.

Artists like Black Magic, Mr Eazi are identified as leading enthusiasts of the sound in Nigeria.


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