Ever since the release of his debut single in 2011, Davido’s career has been on a vertical rise with no sign of it sloping anytime soon.
The label head despite having one official studio album and an Ep to his name has an impressive catalog of hit records.
Last year, Davido carted home major awards and has continued in the same fashion in 2018. With his sophomore effort still in the works and constant release of new music from his DMW family, the talented act seemed to have carved a master plan on not just how to take over the scene but to monopolize it.
Also read: Davido, Wizkid and Simi lead nominations at 2018 Headies
So what songs really set him on this footing, off the over 50 favorites, which ones were key in solidifying his place in the Nigerian music industry.
It was a tasking effort, but Pulse List powers through the artist many gems and present the 10 most essential Davido songs that have shaped his successful career.
1. If – 2017
“If” immediately became the soundtrack at every event after it was released in February and has amassed over 4 million streams on Spotify and 62.8 million Youtube views since then.
The single took off across social media and traditional platforms quickly achieving the kind of pop-cultural ubiquity that very few artists can boast of. It also dominated conversation not just across social media but even on the streets with instant catchphrases/prayer points like ’30 billion for the account’. The buzz following ‘If’ was so huge that R&B legend R.Kelly joined in rendering his version of the song.
Off the back of the success of the record, Davido bagged several awards like Best Worldwide Act and Best African Act (MTV EMA), Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “If” (AFRIMMA Awards, held in Dallas, Texas, not to be mistaken with AFRIMA which held in Lagos), Winner, Hottest Song of the Year (If) and Afropop Male Act of the Year (NEA Awards), Best African Act 2017, (MOBO Awards) where he also became the first African artist to perform during the event.
Earlier this year, “If” also received diamond certification from the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA)
2. Fall – 2017
Released as a follow-up to ‘If’, the expectation was rife to see if he could top his previous record and the singer handled the pressure quite well.
From the moment the synths of the beat produced by Kiddominant came up, you could immediately tell that the joint was going to be fire. Armed with a sing along hook and catchy phrases, Davido delivered a melodic tune that caught like wildfire on the streets and in the clubs.
With over 60million Youtube views, also certified platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), ‘Fall’ was the number one song across charts in Nigerian and South Africa for over 10 straight weeks.
3. Aye – 2014
If there is something Davido understands, it is the business side of the music, which covers the right time to put out songs.
Just days before February 14 or St. Valentine’s day, popularly celebrated around the world as lovers day. Davido released ‘Aye’, which tells the story of love even in the absence of wealth.
In a country where a large percentage live below the poverty line, this was their story and they immediately turned it into an anthem.
Aye peaked at number one on major charts, was received critically by industry observers as Pitchfork rated it as ‘perhaps the sweetest song on devotion yet written’.
It also won him several awards including the prestigious Headies song of the year award for 2014.
Also read: 5 factors that helped Davido conquer the industry
4. Skelewu – 2013
Nigerians love to dance and artists have taken advantage of this fact.
From dance raves like ‘Galala‘, ‘Suo‘, ‘Yahooze‘, there has been transitional phases and Davido scored another one with ‘Skelewu‘. Backed by a dance competition, he sent the whole country into a frenzy and the dance was endorsed by not just musicians but football stars like Emmanuel Adebayor and Samuel Eto.
Davido fueled the legend of the song when he controversially had two different videos shot for it. Skelewu also bagged several nominations and topped music charts across the country.
5. Fia – 2017
2017 saw Davido on a roll like a loose tyre and all the songs he put out grew into major hit records.
Released late in 2017, the song became an instant hit which Davido also used in addressing the drama he was dealing with at the time following the mysterious deaths surrounding three of his friends.
Fia has over 35million YouTube views since it release barely 6 months ago.
6. Dami Duro – 2011
Also from his debut album is the hit single, ‘Dami Duro‘, which was the second single off the album.
Produced by the label’s in-house producer, Shizzi and a catchy video directed by Capital boss, Clarence Peters, Davido restates that he could not be held back when he is in the groove.
The song which has a banging beat and introduced Davido’s unique dance style was voted as the ‘Hottest single of the year’ at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards. The video was also used to introduce members of his HKN team like Sina Rambo and B-Red and the now popular ‘Ijo Baba Sina Rambo’ in reference to the dancing senator who is his uncle.
Also read: We are loving the dancing senator who shattered the internet
7. Back When – 2011
‘Back when’ was Davido’s first single off his debut album ‘Omo Baba Olowo’, and it also happened to be the breakout song from the artist, who had just returned to the country at the point.
Featuring rapper, Naeto C, Davido announced his introduction on the scene with the party tune which earned him the attention of the industry. ‘Back When’ was the genesis and a solid footing to all he has built.
The single earned him several awards including the ‘Best Newcomer’ act at the Kora Awards 2012.
8. Owo ni Koko – 2014
Released just before his 22nd birthday in 2014, the J Fem produced single surfaced on a Friday night and immediately caught the fire across clubs on the weekend.
The song which celebrates his affluence and the beauty of his woman is critically regarded as one of his best works till date.
9. All of you – 2012
Another banging tune produced by GospelOnTheBeatz. Davido tells the story of his team and how his crew is badder than the rest.
The singer also acknowledges the gossips attached to his name and pays tribute to industry veterans like 2baba, P Square and D’Banj.
This was one of those songs that gave a different narrative to the artiste capturing a variance in his sound and the maturity he was showing in the industry.
10. Humblesmith ft Davido – Osinachi remix (2016)
Outside scoring solo hits, Davido has also been quite impressive on features, at-times stealing the headlines from the owner of the song.
Following the success of his breakout single, Osinachi by HumbleSmith, Davido reached out to him for a remix and the outcome was career defining.
Davido was at that time engulfed in controversies surrounding his baby mother, Sophia and her uncle, entertainment mogul, Dele Momodu.
Osinachi remix provided the perfect canvass for him to paint the colours of his anger, which further aided the spread of the song as it became a topic of discussion due to his verse.