We take a look at songs created by “secular” artistes but with themes that align with praise, worship, and other religious components.
Overtime, the music genre has been strictly defined, with “secular” acts separated from “Gospel” acts. In the spirit of Easter, this article takes a look at Nigerian secular songs that place the consciousness of God into your mind.
As it is well known, art has no boundaries. Even if a creator is labeled in a specific category, that does not prevent them from creating art outside of that category. As a result, “secular” artists can create songs that can be classified as “religious,” even though that responsibility is largely borne by “gospel” artists (as society expects).
It is to be noted that the mentioned acts in this article are not to be tagged as “unreligious”. However, they fall under the category of being accorded as secular acts as they do not constantly make songs that are rooted in the communal life regarding Christian life and faith.
So, if you are looking for songs by your Nigerian favs that can “take you to church,” below are fifteen of them.
ASA – IBA
“Iba” is a Yoruba word that translated to “Respect” or “Pay Homage”. The mid-tempo afro-fusion tune themes around the importance of giving praise to one’s creator in whatever situation one might be in. The soothing guitar and drums of the song’s instrumentation make it very relaxing and reflective. Also, Asa‘s calm voice and delivery further make it an introspective song. Although it is mostly delivered in Yoruba, the song should be the first thing you listen to when you wake up.
YUNG6IX ft ORITSE FEMI – BLESSINGS
Nigerian South-South rapper Yung6ix released this song in 2016 and it quickly became a hit. The Afrobeats tune featured street-hop singer Oritse Femi, who is known for his reflective hooks. The song’s themes revolve around the essence of praise, thanksgiving, and prayers.
ILLBLISS ft. STORM REX – NAALU EKENE
“Naalu Ekene” is an Igbo word that translates to “Thank God”. This song gives the vibe of a traditional Igbo Catholic church where the mothers give their all in praising God. Although a lot of people might not know the song, it perfectly falls under the category of secular songs that “take you to church”. Delivered in English and Igbo, the song by ace rapper Illbliss, revolves around acknowledging God’s blessings and being appreciative.
TIMI DAKOLO – EVERYTHING (AMEN)
It is easy to accord Timi Dakolo as a gospel artist, hence the question of what he is doing on this list, but the man has stated in a couple of interviews that he is NOT a gospel artiste, which is why he is on this list. This song, from the title, screams positivity, good vibes, hope, and everything good. The song’s themes revolve around “EVERYTHING good”. The high-tempo instrumentation complements the tune further, and you have no choice but to rejoice in God’s blessings.
BLACKMAGIC ft ORITSE FEMI – PASS YOU BY
Oritse Femi makes another appearance on this list, this time teaming up with ace rapper/singer Blackmagic on the song ‘Pass you by”. Although the song majorly highlights the rapper’s journey in the music industry, the hook eventually ties the success to the supreme being’s blessings-“Baba God blessings no go pass you by.”
SEYI VIBEZ – GOD SENT
It is important to note that a lot of people do not have the opportunity to go to church in the real sense. Thus, this particular song is perfect for taking the “trenches” to church. People who are not in any way close to accessing the gospel get their consciousness from songs like this. A street-hop act like Seyi Vibez uses his talent to put his listeners in the “church” zone.
PHYNO ft OLAMIDE – FADA FADA
This song has been a hit since it was released, and it is even played in some churches. A groovy high-tempo tune by rappers Phyno and Olamide, it themes around God’s blessings and his appraisal. You definitely know this one!
M.I ABAGA ft ORITSE FEMI, FRANK EDWARDS & NANYA – THE END / THE CHAIRMAN
Another relatively unpopular song, this song is perfect for reflection. Off M.I. Abaga‘s ‘The Chairman’ album, it’s easily overlooked, possibly because it’s the last song on the project, but it’s a quality jam that gives praise to God. For the third time, Oritse Femi‘s hook came to play, and it synced brilliantly with the theme of the song. Interestingly, an actual gospel atriste, Frank Edwards, was also featured in the song.
9ICE – ADE ORI
“Ade Ori” is a Yoruba word that translates to “Crown”. The Gen Z generation might not be familiar with this one, but the millennials will surely acknowledge the spirituality in this song. The song themes revolve around God’s blessings, God’s provision, and all-around supremacy. 9ice did not hold back in praising the supreme being in this song. This is actually one of our favourites on this list.
HUMBLESMITH ft PHYNO – OSINACHI
“Osinachi” is an Igbo word that translates to “from God”. Hence, as the title connotes, Humblesmith emphasizes the fact that all the blessings in his life and beyond come from God. Another song that acknowledges the supremacy of the creator.
DAVOLEE – WAY
Another “take you to church” song by a street-hop act, Davolee, seeks God’s blessings on his life just like everyone else. The mid-tempo tune, delivered mostly in Yoruba language, is also one of our favourites on this list. It’s an everyday song, asking for everything good from one’s creator, that blessings should come our WAY.
MOELOGO – SHINE YOUR LIGHT
Also relatively unpopular, this is another introspective song that puts you in that zone. Nigerian-British singer Moelogo, speaks on the essence of shining one’s light, which can only be propelled by God.
KCEE – CULTURAL PRAISE
There is no way this song wasn’t going to make the list. As a matter of fact, it’s a gospel song that was just performed by a secular act. KCee rendered a medley performance of popular traditional gospel songs and gave it life with a groovy yet mid-tempo approach. The song’s themes are mostly praise, and it’s definitely a vibe!
MASTERKRAFT ft BELLA SHMURDA & ZLATAN – HALLELU
The title “Hallelu” is coined from “Hallelujah”, and its yet another street-hop song that emphasis the relevance of the God factor. Owned by ace producer Masterkraft, the song features singer Bella Shmurda and rapper Zlatan, who didn’t shy away from riding on their ‘Godfidence’, passing a message that they can conquer any tribulation so long as they have God by their side.
BARRY JHAY – ASHE ASE
This list would obviously be incomplete without a song by Barry Jhay, who is one of the leading voices of consciousness for the typical music listener from the streets.
“Ashe She” is a Yoruba word that translates to “It shall be done”. This song, off his ‘Barry Back’ EP, themes around holding strongly to God as a factor in navigating through life and its different thorns. For us, this song is a masterpiece tune that will definitely ‘take you to church’.
Other worthy mentions include Flavour’s ‘Most High’, Peruzzi’s ‘Juba’, Wizkid’s ‘Blessed’, Adekunle Gold’s ‘Ire’, Sean Tizzle’s ‘Loke Loke’, Chillz ft Mayorkun’s ‘Grateful’, Oritse Femi’s ‘Mercies of the Lord’, amidst other songs.