The Good, The Bad, The Headies

by on October 1, 2014


By Udochukwu Ikwuagwu

The 2014 Headies nominations were released a couple days ago in preparation for the main event. The Hip-Hop Awards aka The Headies hosted by the Hip-Hop World Magazine, is arguably the biggest music awards show in Nigeria, and has remained a reference point in tracking artiste’s growth; from the Next Rated category, to the Revelation of the Year, to Artiste of the Year. Artistes like Wizkid and Davido have gone from winning the Next Rated (New Artiste) category to achieving great success with their music and solidifying their places in the music industry in Nigeria and outside her shores. The awards, in essence, have a valuable place in our contemporary music history and relevance.

Here is a review of the nominations for each of the categories; the nominations that were deserving, hence get the nod(s), and those that were ridiculous enough to colour the awards a badly told joke and send heads of music fans thumping- a smudge on credibility.

(YEAR IN REVIEW: JULY 2013 – JUNE 2014)   


Iyawo Mi – Timi Dakolo

Let Somebody Love You – 2Face Idibia

Always On My Mind – Nosa

Ordinary People – Cobhams Asuquo

This is a category that depicts true artistry in various shades of creativity, and the ingenuity of music artistes in songwriting and production. This year’s nominations are truly worthy of consideration. Take each of the songs and listen and you will be amazed at the beauty that lies within the rhythm and words. This is indeed recognition of music at its best and how music should be done; not necessarily in terms of lyrics, but in songwriting, song arrangement, song direction and song production. One nomination that put smiles on my face was that Ordinary People by Cobhams Asuquo. I remember listening to the live performance in 2009; it is good he eventually got around releasing it as a single. This category is a tough one to call, and I would rather wait than speculate the winner.


Don Jazzy – Dorobucci

Pheelz – Eleda Mi

T-Spize – Aye

Legendury Beatz – Caro

Shizzy – Skelewu

Del B – Pull Over ft. Wizkid

This category would have been perfect sans the inclusion of the Pheelz produced Eleda mi and Del B produced Pull Over. The productions on these songs were not noteworthy, despite the fact that both songs went on to be hit singles. The absence of Wizzy Pro is rather surprising, for one who produced hit singles such as Emergency, Phyno’s O Set, and Patoranking’s Girlie O. Another omission is that of Major Bangz, who should have gotten the ‘nod’ for Phyno’s Alobam and Parcel. Also, conspicuously missing is Masterkraft, who produced Timaya’s Ukwu. D’Tunes who produced one of the best albums in the year under review- Sean Tizzle’s The Journey, with singles such as Komole, Kilogbe and Take It, is also missing. But, it’s not a bad list; in truth, it’s an almost perfect one.


Ada Ada by Flavour – Clarence Peters

Toh Bad by Niyola – Kemi Adetiba

Just Like That by Rayce – Aje

Oya Now by Joe El ft. Oritse Femi – Unlimited LA

Personally by P-Square- Jude ‘Engees’ Okoye & Clarence Peters

This too is almost faultless, save for the inclusion of the Unlimited LA directed Oya Now- I have watched better videos by him like Timaya’s Bow Down, Reminisce’s Fantasi, etc. I’m a big fan of Aje Works’ videos- he churns out art through his videos, but I think his Sean Tizzle’s Komole or that for Omawumi’s Mgbele should have taken the spot of Just Like That. A worthy inclusion would have been Patrick Elis, for Eva’s videos- though I consider most of his works mediocre but he had a winner with that video. This is still a good list and I think Clarence Peters should take this.


The Journey- Sean Tizzle

Takeover – KCee

Once Upon a Time – Tiwa Savage

Me, My Mouth & Eye – Sound Sultan

L.I.F.E – Burna Boy

This category is similar to a man who orders a plate of amala and ewedu at his favorite restaurant, but he’s told soup is finished and asked if he could ‘manage’ beans. He obliges; and eats his amala with beans. As a music awards organizer, it is assumed distinctions in genres and genre peculiarities should be known. Alas, the Headies decided to eat their amala with beans because there was no soup. Why lump two distinctive genres of music together? Do they sound alike? Someone should tell The Headies that R&B and Pop are not Dancehall and Reggae. It is a stain on their music sensibilities to do such. And, by the way, none of the albums on the list was/is an R&B album. L.I.F.E even learned more towards Dancehall than Pop. The inclusion of the dud Takeover album is also questionable. I play the Devil’s Advocate here and credit songs like Limpopo, Okoso and Takeover; and no, songs like Hakuna Matata, Emmah, Had It Being I Know (sic) and Vitamin C never happened. One wonders why Brymo’s ‘Merchants, Dealers & Slaves’ wasn’t included on this list- arguably one of the best albums released last year. Sean Tizzle’s The Journey should get this.


Let Somebody Love You – 2Face Idibia

Iyawo Mi – Timi Dakolo

Plan B – Wande Coal

Don Gorgon – Burna Boy

No surprises here. And, no, the inclusion of Burna Boy’s Don Gorgon didn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise you, too. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who heard the news: Dancehall has decided to part ways with Reggae and has been taken over by R&B in the latest acquisition. Such a genius move! Timi Dakolo’s Iyawo Mi deserves this.


Dorobucci – Mavins

Aye – Davido

Johnny – Yemi Alade

Pull Over – KCee ft. Wizkid

Double Wahala – Oritse Femi

Caro- Star Boy ft. Wizkid & L.A.X.

Surulere – Dr. Sid ft. Don Jazzy

No surprises here, too. The expected songs popped up on the list and as such, no queries. Really tough category, but I think Dorobucci by the Mavins should get it.


Girlie O (Remix) – Patoranking ft. Tiwa Savage

Lead Me on- Cynthia Morgan

Sticking Sh*t – Chopstix ft. Ice Prince, Yung L & Endia

Bad Girl – Jesse Jagz ft. Wizkid

Murda – Seyi Shay ft. Patoranking & Shaydee

This time, The Headies got it right. Spot on. This category warmed my heart due to the fact that the category has been ‘missing’ for a while; this year, we have worthy nominations. This is a hard one to crack, but I think Girlie O (Remix) by Patoranking ft. Tiwa Savage should get it.


No Guts, No Glory- Phyno

Alaga Ibile – Reminisce

Baddest Guy Ever Liveth – Olamide

Thy Nation Come – Jesse Jagz

No raised eyebrows here. This is another perfect category, in terms of the nominations. All the albums nominated were really good; they are albums I play regularly and still bask in their awesomeness (if I say so myself). As a Rap fan, this category catches my attention, year in year out. Though, over the years, the nominations and winners have been questionable, but this category still gets dibs. Thy Nation Come by Jesse Jagz was arguably the best album released last year- not only in the Rap Album category. The album was near flawless in terms of music direction, songwriting, production and song performance; the vocals and additional vocals added more colour to the project. Thy Nation Come Vol. 1 should win this.


Oya Now – Joe El ft. Oritse Femi

Emergency – Wizzy Pro ft. Skales, Patoranking and Runtown

Surulere – Dr. Sid ft. Don Jazzy

Pass You By – BlackMagic ft. Oritse Femi

Girlie O (Remix) – Patoranking ft. Tiwa Savage

Dorobucci – Mavins

This should have been perfect if ‘Oya Now’ was replaced with Lil’ Kesh’s Shoki (Remix) ft. Davido and Olamide. Still, it’s a good category. Dorobucci by the Mavins should win this. It was definitely the best collabo in the year under review.


Parcel – Phyno

Dope Money – Olamide ft. Phyno

Shots on Shots – Ice Prince ft. Sarkodie

Rap It Up – Posly TD

Deaf – Eva

WTF – iLLBliss

The Headies almost got this right, save for the inclusion of Rap It Up by Posly TD. I can name 10 rap singles better than the said song, but I won’t bore you with that. I wonder how that song got nominated. I’ll touch on this later in this review. Parcel by Phyno should win this.


Iyawo Mi – Timi Dakolo

Double Wahala – Oritse Femi

Why You Love Me – Nosa

Ordinary People – Cobhams

The Headies were sure looking for that shock value and another tale for the lips of music lovers. The inclusion of Double Wahala by Oritse Femi is ludicrous. I’ll pass on this.

Banky W and Wizkid at a performance at The Headies 2012

Banky W and Wizkid at a performance at The Headies 2012



Love To Love You- Niyola ft. Banky W

Wanted – Tiwa Savage

Window – Monica Ogah

Good Man – Ruby

This is one category Waje should be dominating but she’s yet to put out singles off her debut album- WAJE- that showed her vocal dexterity. This is an interesting category. I’m glad Monica Ogah of ProjectFame fame is on this list. The best vocal performance should go to Good Man by Ruby Gyang; such a ‘powerful’ rendition of a near flawless song- great vocals, great songwriting, good production to accompany.






Yemi Alade

This is one category I have a problem with. The criterion reads: “…for the most promising upcoming officially unreleased (or signed) act in the year under review (sic)”

This is vague and sketchy. If The Headies are gunning for artistes who released official singles in the year under review, then most of the artistes nominated are ineligible. Orezi has been in the music industry for about half a decade and has released official singles- including a couple that became ‘hits’. It is interesting that The Headies would consider an artiste who released a hit single, Booty Bounce in 2011; an artiste who released ‘What is the Need’ in 2012, and received radio play; an artiste who received nomination for Best Reggae/Dancehall Single- for Rihanna- at last year’s Headies, for the Next Rated category. Also, consider Skales, an artiste whose first official singles were in Must Shine and Headed for a Grammy in 2008/2009; an artistes who prior to July 2013 had released a myriad of singles, some receiving radio play others thrashed, including Mukulu, Komole, My Baby, Take Care of Me, etc; an artiste who has a collaboration album with EME, for the Next Rated Category. And consider Yemi Alade, an artiste whose official debut was in 2010 and released Ghen Ghen, Bamboo, etc which received radio plays, for the Next Rated category. Also, consider Patoranking, an artiste who released Park Well prior to the year under review, for the Next Rated category. And, Runtown, an artiste whose first known single was in 2007 and released others after that? If The Headies’ definition of Next Rated is one without an official mainstream album, then they all qualify. So, I guess none should cringe if/when Dede Mabiaku, Blaise, Ghetto P or IceBerg Slim gets nominated in the Next Rated category, next year. Regardless, Yemi Alade should take this.


Tiwa Savage – Once Upon A Time

Sean Tizzle – The Journey

Burna Boy – L.I.F.E

KCee – Takeover

No surprises here considering that they were the most notable mainstream debut albums. Tiwa Savage’s Once Upon A Time should get this. This is based solely on the fact that she’s the most popular artiste on the list and this is a voting category.


Shots on Shots- Ice Prince

Rap It Up- Posly TD

God On The Mic – Jesse Jagz

Kpansh – Yung6ix

This category is laughable. For an awards show hosted by the Hip Hop Awards Magazine, one would have thought careful consideration would be given with respect to this category; but, alas, wonders do happen. These nominations should have been replaced by Phyno’s Alobam, Olamide’s Sitting On The Throne, Reminisce’s 3rd World Thug, Seriki’s Baba O, and iLLBliss’ WTF. On, Posly TD, an artiste who has sampled Dagrin more than he has released original songs; but I guess that’s not the point here. I’d rather ignore the rest than review. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” So, God On The Mic by Jesse Jagz should win it. Pardon his near-gibberish-canibus-esque flow.


Double Wahala – Oritse Femi

Shoki- Lil’ Kesh ft. Olamide & Davido

Dorobucci – Mavins

Alobam – Phyno

The inclusion of Dorobucci irks me, considering the criteria given for eligibility, which is: “…for the artiste whose songs are inspired by the streets. Such song should captain lingua, which may also be originated by the artiste and popular on the street.” ‘Mavins’ is NOT an artiste and shouldn’t be included; it’s a record label turned group, but that should slide. I’m unaware of Don Jazzy getting “inspired by the streets” to coin the word Dorobucci. But, in this world of limitless possibilities, anything is possible under the sun. Perhaps Don Jazzy had been appointed spokesperson for the streets while we slept. Also, I have no idea what “captain lingua” means so that’s that. Double Wahala by Oritse Femi should win this. My only prayer is that the streets vote.


BOJ On The Microphone- BOJ (Ignore the fact that The Headies called it “Bolaji”)

Body – BlackMagic ft. Banky W

Good Man- Ruby

Why You Love Me – Nosa (Ignore that The Headies had Me as You)

I’ve always known the genre Alternative to mean a different thing from what The Headies term it- “…whose songs reflect any form or style which falls outside the mainstream”, I guess we learn everyday. When I think of “Alternative” in Nigeria, I think of Etcetera, Bez, Aduke, Aramide, Clay, CONtradiction, Threadstone, IBK (the Spaceship boi), etc. But, should we follow The Headies’ requirement(s), then these nominations are CORRECT, save for the fact that BOTM by BOJ was released prior to the year under review. Good Man by Ruby should get this.


The Journey- Sean Tizzle

L.I.F.E- Burna Boy

Baddest Guy Ever Liveth- Olamide

No Guts, No Glory- Phyno

This category is easy to predict; Phyno’s No Guts, No Glory should win.





Tiwa Savage




It seems The Headies made this easy by arranging the nominees from the most likely to win to the least likely (just joking). Davido wins this. If memory serves me well; Iyanya won this category last year without winning in a single category; same did D’Banj, previously. Davido truly had the best year under review.


Aye- Davido

Pull Over- KCee ft. Wizkid

Double Wahala- Oritse Femi

Surulere- Dr. Sid ft. Don Jazzy

Dorobucci- Mavins

Johnny- Yemi Alade

No surprises. A tough call on this; I’d rather pass.






This one gets a pass. I could care less.


Sir (Dr.) Victor Uwaifo

He needs no introduction. Recognition well deserved.


Udochukwu writes from Ibadan. You can catch him listening to different genres of music on his iPod or buying CDs at your popular music store when he’s not working. Do you agree with this review? Tell us what you think and engage through comments. You can follow the writer on twitter: @McBethThePoet

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