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10 Nigerian Songs Inspired By Heartbreak – The Culture Custodian

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The Culture Custodian (Est. 2014.)
The Culture Custodian (Est. 2014.)
For your relationship to end, one of two things must have taken place: you broke someone’s heart or you had your heart broken. Nigerian artists are not exempted from experiencing heartbreak themselves, and for those of them who have, they’ve found a source of comfort and expression in their music. Getting your heart broken is often a difficult and challenging thing to go through, but the artists on this list leveraged those situations and turned them into hit songs we’ve enjoyed over the years and continue to enjoy.
From Asa’s Bibanke to Burna Boy’s Last Last, we’ve curated 10 Nigerian songs that owe their existence to the painful but creative force that is heartbreak. 

Darey’s Not The Girl was released in 2008. The song was an instant hit at the time of its release in the late 2000s. The song chronicles the loss of a once familiar girl and how she’s a shadow of herself. With lines like “You’re not the girl I used to know, You’re a shadow of yourself, I think I lost you a long ago, Like a book that’s left the shelf, I hear footsteps down the hall, And I know someday that will be you, Leaving me for good,” Darey paints a vivid picture of change and loss.

Burna Boy’s Last Last was released in 2022 as the lead single from his latest album Love, Damini. The song which blew up almost immediately after its release was inspired by his breakup with British rap artist Stefflon Don. The song chronicles the remains of what was once a happy relationship and lines like “Why you say I did nothing for you, When I for do anything you want me to do, Maybe another time, Maybe another life you will be my wife and we’ll get it right,” express the singer’s hurt about the termination of the relationship. 

Ric Hassani’s Thunder Fire You was released in 2021. The song which drew a lot of attention at the time of its release tells a story of betrayal and broken trust. Ric Hassani doesn’t shy away from taking shots at his previous lover with lines like “ Thunder fire you, For all the lies you told me, Thunder fire you, For when you cheated on me, Thunder fire you, You never did deserve me, E no go better for you, So thunder fire you and your friends.”

Omah Lay’s Soso was released in 2022 as part of his album Boy Alone. The song is one of the better performing tracks from the project and it explores what the singer went through when he had his heart broken. Omah Lay asks his lover to come and take his pains away and sings about the aftermath of the incident, “I poto poto my eyes, Ten shots, High rise, Touch God, I cry, Offshore, Cut my dreadlocks.”

Styl-Plus’ Imagine That was released in 2005. It was also included in their 2006 album Expressions. Imagine That is one of Styl-Plus’ most popular songs for a good reason: the song paints an emotional picture that thugs on the heartstrings of its listeners. Styl-Plus can’t believe that their lovers would leave them after what they’ve been through together and sacrifices that have been made. 

Ayra Starr’s Beggie Beggie was released in 2021 as part of her debut album 19 & Dangerous. The song which features CKay questions a former lover on where things went wrong that led to their relationship ending. Staying on theme, Ayra Starr sings “Now I’m alone, Now wey you no send me, You just dey pose, You just dey bobo me” and CKay sings “I got issues, I got issues, Girl I made you cry and I gave you tissues, After that I kissed you, Then we made sweet love like we always do.”

Fireboy DML’s Go Away was released in 2020 as part of his album APOLLO. The song is a fan favourite because of the emotive lyrics and striking melodies. In Go Away, Fireboy is looking for answers. He wants to know how to make the hurt he’s feeling go away. The song features vulnerable and revealing lyrics like “Hard guy but I’m catching feelings, That’s why I’ve been hiding it since, What have I done, What could it be, I don’t like the way you’ve been fuckin’ with me.”

Asa’s Bibanke was released in 2007 as part of her self-titled album Asa (Asha). The song discusses the loss of her lover, who was pretty much everything to her, treated her like a queen, and inspired her to never be afraid. Lines like “He used to be my everything, Treated me like I was a queen, What spell did you cast on me, Or is it make believe,” give a glimpse into the weight of the emotions the singer is feeling. 

Kizz Daniel’s Fvck You was released in 2019. It was also part of the tracklist of his 2020 album King Of Love. The song which garnered an overwhelming amount of support at the time of its release talks about a cheating lover and the pain that comes with being cheated on. Kizz Daniel doesn’t hide his frustration with lines like “Why Olosho come be your hobby, Oya wait before I kill person oo.”

Davido’s E Pain Me was released in 2023 as part of his fourth studio album Timeless. The song which is one of the newest songs on this list tells the story of heartbreak and broken promises. Davido describes the situation when he sings “She come my life come carry my heart run over, E pain me oh, E pain me oh.” “Wetin I no do for you, Wetin I no do for you, Shey you promise say you no go let me go, And last night you told me that it’s all over,” he sings as he sheds light on the effort he put in.
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