Nigerian singer-songriter Wizkid Image via Twitter @wizkidayo

Wizkid’s ‘Essence’ is first Nigerian song to crack Billboard’s top 10 [watch]

Wizkid’s ‘Essence’ took the world by storm and it quickly became everyone’s song of the summer. The Grammy recipient’s single is the first Nigerian song to secure a spot on Billboard’s top 10.


Nigerian singer-songriter Wizkid Image via Twitter @wizkidayo

Nigerian-born singer-songwriter Wizkid is undoutedly one of Africa’s best exports. Not only has he collaborated with an array of South African artists but he has also collaborated with the likes of Drake, Beyoncé, British rapper Skepta and R&B artist Ella Mai. Wizkid’s single Essence featuring Tems has taken the United States by storm but it was the Justin Bieber remix that sealed the deal for him as the first Nigerian artist to crack Billboard’s top 10.

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The afrobeats genre stemmed from a genre called highlife that came to life in Ghana. The genre was further developed in the 1960s and was led by the legendary Fela Kuti who experimented with the genre, fusing funk and jazz with highlife.

Since then several artists have grown the afrobeat genre into what it is today. The likes of Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi and D’banj have all assisted international artists with the inclusion of afrobeats in their music. 

Drake’s One Dance featuring Wizkid released in 2016 also took the afrobeats genre to new heights.


Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid released his album Made in Lagos on 30 October 2020. The single that stood out most from the album was Essence featuring Tems before it was initially released as a single. 

The song made waves across the world and it was released just in time for a hot South African summer. The song has been used over 150 000 times on TikTok.

 Essence debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts at #82. The song also marked Tems’ first entry onto the charts.


The Grammy award-winning artist featured Justin Bieber on the Essence remix, increasing its popularity in the United States. 

With its 14th week on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, the single achieved a spot in the top 10, making Essence the first Nigerian song to achieve this. 

Billboard questioned why it took so long for Essence to secure a spot in the top 10, almost a year after its release. Carl Lamarre noted that  people being late to the Wizkid party was “beyond criminal.”

“It’s even more disrespectful that so many needed a Bieber appearance for people to appreciate the richness of Essence. Either way, I think this record propelling into the national spotlight bodes well for a rising genre looking to make waves on American soil.”