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Naija Musical Slangs And Their Meaning

The Nigerian entertainment industry is one sector that has kept the country’s flag flying in the world scene. Music is a universal language; the ones produced by Nigerians has traveled around the globe more than a circumnavigator could. The musical vibes have drawn the attention of foreigners to our songs. Artistes such as Wizkid, Davido, Dbanj, 2baba, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, etc. have enjoyed massive airplay worldwide with their sounds. It’s noteworthy to dissect the lyrics used by these artistes to keep us sweating on the dance floor. Most of the songs are written in Pidgin, Igbo, Yoruba, and other main languages. Songwriters in this part of the world have been creative, fusing diverse languages together to make up the lyrical contents. Here are some compilations of terms frequently used by Nigerian artistes:

BLOW: This is an English word used by Nigerians in another context. It is very certain you will hear phrases in pidgin such as ‘I don blow, I must to blow’ etc., Yet, no one has picked up a grenade to blow. The word ‘blow’ here is just an expression meaning ‘to be rich/famous/successful’. Artistes such as Kelly Handsome, Timaya, etc. have used this line in their songs.


HAMMER: If you think ‘hammer’ is the carpentry tool used for hitting a nail into wood, then you are wrong. In the Nigerian musical context, hammer has the same meaning as ‘blow’ explained above. Pidgin word such as ‘I done hammer’ means ‘I have hit a jackpot/made a lot of money’

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LAMBA: Many artistes strive to drop the ‘lamba’. Lamba is a word coined and used frequently by Nigerian native speakers. It may be either in pidgin or the indigenous languages. In fact, the musical expressions which are coded can be referred to as lamba. An example of a lamba phrase is ‘Shake it, baby don’t fake it. It took your mama nine months to make it’. These rhyming words are said to be created by Afro-pop act, Dbanj and used by YBNL boss Olamide in a hit track.


GBEDU: One of the trending songs in Nigeria today is Burna Boy’s ‘Gbona’. The hit track has the line ‘when the body dey enter body’. A rendition of this line makes the listeners sing along with the vibes. ‘Gbedu’ is a Yoruba word meaning sound. Many artistes like to use this word in their song lyrics. Wizkid and Reekado Banks are not left out in the gbedu fever.


WIRE: This has a different meaning from the definitions given in the dictionary. Wire is a controversial word in the Nigerian music scene. Frequently mentioned as ‘wire-wire’, this is a slang that relates to cyber fraud activities. This was made popular by Nigerian artistes such as 9ice in their songs. Wire can also mean to transfer/send money. A sample is stated in ‘One Ticket’ by Kizz Daniel featuring DMW boss Davido.


GBESE: This is the rave of the moment. ‘Gbese’ has gained massive followers after being coined by rapper Zlatan Ibile. This word is a Yoruba word meaning ‘to lift your leg’. Many artists have followed suit by using the trendy word in their songs along with the legwork created by the indigenous rapper.


SHAKE UKWU: This is the Nigerian version of the word ‘to twerk’. American hip-hop stars may have used ‘twerk’ in their lyrical contents; ‘shake ukwu’ is that you will hear from this part of the world, especially from the eastern part. Ukwu is an Igbo word meaning ‘backside’. Flavor and Timaya are custodians of this word that you will always hear in the blazing speakers or your headphones.


There are other terms used by Nigerians in their contents. You must have heard a lot of these expressions, so kindly drop in the comment section.

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