Celebrating A Decade of Mavin Records With 10 Standout Songs

a decade-long victory lap

Mavin Records is a towering dynasty in the making. Birthed in 2012 by Don Jazzy, the label’s formation followed the closure of Mo’hits records in the aftermath of the split between Don Jazzy and D’banj. Recently hitting the 10-year mark, Mavin has nurtured dozens artists, producers, songwriters and music creators, elevating more than a handful into global superstardom. It’s quite the fulfilment, considering the word Mavin refers to someone who is an expertise in whatever field they find themselves. 

In a glitzy introduction, Mavin Records opened shop with its ‘Solar Plexus’, a compilation album featuring its first set of artists—Dr Sid, Tiwa Savage, D’Prince and Wande Coal—under the guidance of executive producer and label boss, Don Jazzy. Largely created and produced within the space of three days, the 13-track project was moderately received, setting the ball rolling for an abundant run that continues till date. Over the years, Mavin has been the home to more superstars and acclaimed producers beyond its inaugural class, with an enviable list that includes Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Di’Ja, Iyanya, BabyFresh, Altims, Ladipoe, Rema, Crayon, Ayra Starr, Johnny Drille, and more. 

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Mavin recently shared the all-star single “Overdose,” which was first previewed at their celebration party last weekend and was released earlier today. The single is the precursor to an upcoming compilation album, which doesn’t have a specified release date just yet. While looking forward to that project, it also feels pertinent and apt to take a trip down memory lane. Below, we look at each calendar year in the Mavin canon, highlighting a standout song from each year.

2012: D’Prince – “Take Banana”

Now label boss of Jonzing world Records, D’Prince delivered the record “Take Banana” in 2012 as part of Solar Plexus. The raunchy songs, with thinly-veiled quips about unbridled horniness, had the lyrics “take banana till you go yo” on the lips of listeners and fans for a long time. The song emphasised D’Prince’s pop bonafides, and it quckly became the standout single off the compilation project ‘Solar Plexus.’

Honourable Mentions: “Oma Ga” – Tiwa Savage and “Forever” – Wande Coal 

2013: Tiwa Savage – “Eminado” (feat. Don Jazzy)

Everything about this record “Eminado” is special. From the meaning of the title “Eminado” which means “good luck charm” to the delivery on the track, Tiwa Savage and Don Jazzy created a special record and the synergy on the record is what draws listeners to this particular tune. On the pre-hook of the track, Tiwa chants “Oh my baby, carry me like your baby/I don’t know what you did to me but I’ll never leave, I’ll be your Eminado”, stating her importance and relevance if she’s welcomed in the life of her lover. Don Jazzy also holds down the song with his stellar verse and his bass voice, fusing a different energy and life into the record.

Honourable Mentions: “Rotate” – Wande Coal

2014: Mavin All Stars – “Dorobucci”

In terms of impact, “Dorobucci” has to be the most impactful song out of the Mavins’ catalogue. The record was used to break out three different stars at the same time and undoubtedly did just that. The record featured verses from Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Di’ja & D’Prince and the word “Doro” became the go to word for any music and non music lover. The heavy impact of the record cannot be overstated. On the Don Jazzy-produced record, each artist delivered a stellar verse that tied their respective personalities to their verses. On the track Tiwa Savage chants lyrics such as “Doro na diva, doro na Tiwa, doro na leader”, stating she’s a female boss and won’t be stopped by anyone. Korede Bello on his verse also shared lyrics such as “Doro mega, doro super, doro star, doro mega superstar”, introducing listeners to himself, his music as well as his persona.

Honourable Mentions: “Adaobi” ft. Don Jazzy, Reekado Banks, D’ija

2015: Korede Bello – “Godwin”

Korede Bello had listeners and fans at his feet with a stellar verse on “Dorobucci”. In a bid to show more star power, the artist released the single “Godwin” in January 2017, a record that rose to the top of the charts as soon as it was released. The record which was also produced by Don Jazzy sees the artist speaking on his recent achievements and thanking God for his success story. On the track he chants lyrics such as “I don get alert, Godwin and I don buy motor Godwin/Everything I do na Godwin”, expressing his most sincere appreciation.

Honourable Mentions: “Kabiyesi” – DR SID

2016: Reekado Banks – “Problem”

Reekado Banks released his first body of work ‘Spotlight’ in 2016 and the album featured records such as “Ladies and Gentlemen”, “Move” and more. On standout record “Problem”, Reekado Banks opens the track as he chants “This gbedu is a problem”, assuring listeners that they’re in for a ride on the track. Produced by Baby Fresh, the record sees the artist praising his love interest based on her physique. He sings on the track, “Your problem dey for your back/your problem is our problem, this problem is a problem”, over the heavy kicks of the production of the track.

Honourable Mentions: “Standing Ovation” and “BAD” – Tiwa Savage

2017: Tiwa Savage – “Ma Lo” ft Wizkid

Shortly after its release, “Ma Lo” instantly became a hit song and only became bigger as the days went by. Off her ‘Sugarcane’ EP, Tiwa Savage teamed up with Wizkid for the romantic number. The mid tempo tune sees both artists delivering romantic verses to their love interests. On the chorus, Tiwa Savage quips “Ma lo, jo o, you give me love I never see oh”, pleading with her love interest in the most romantic way possible to remain by her side. Wizkid taps into the message of the record and delivers a stellar verse.

Honourable Mentions:“All Over”– Tiwa Savage

2019: Rema – “Dumebi”

After a fallow 2018, Mavin, in collaboration with D’Prince’s then-new imprint Jonzing World, introduced the world to wunderkind Rema, unfolding a new era early in 2019. Rema arrived with the release of his debut self-titled EP, which had introduced listeners to a world of different sounds and themes all merged into 4 tracks. The standout track “Dumebi” instantly piqued the attention of listeners and in no time became a fans favourite, topping charts in and out of Africa. On the track, his search for love directs him to an Afropop dance party bop with piano-led beats Ozedikus produces as he showcases melodies and delivers a stellar performance.

Honourable Mentions: “All I Do Is In Order” ft. Don Jazzy, Rema, Korede Bello, DNA Twins

2020: Ladipoe – “Know You” (feat. Simi)

At the peak of the pandemic, Ladipoe released the Simi-assistsed “Know You” as his first official single of the year, blending his heavy bars with Simi’s magical voice and sensual melodies. On the track, they both sing to their respective love interests on how they’d want to be more than just friends and they’d like to know them deeply. On his verse, Ladipoe quips standout lyrics such as  “You got something in your teeth but would you try to stop me if I want to take it out/Girl I think you love me, but you turn this bad boy into a busy boy.”

Honourable Mentions: “Woman”- Rema

2021: Ladipoe – “Feeling” (feat. BNXN Fka Buju)

Ladipoe teamed up with BNXN to deliver the longest number 1 Hip-Hop/Rap song on the Turntable charts in 2021. The record “Feeling” is an uptempo rhythmic number which captures the beauty of focusing on the good things of life and taking life one at a time. Produced by Andre Vibez, BNXN sings on the chorus “I like the way I’m feeling now, no come use your reggae spoil my blues and rhythm now”, Ladipoe on the track delivers two rap verses which sees him contributing to the message of the track with his rap bars. He quips lyrics such as “All I wanna do is jaiye, 220 on the highway/I’m about the energy, baby if it’s good bring it my way, if it’s bad keep it private”, making it clear to listeners that he’s focusing on the positive and good vibes.

Honourable Mentions: “Bloody Samaritan” – Ayra Starr

2022 (so far): Rema – “Calm Down”

Off the highly anticipated debut album ‘Rave & Roses’, Rema arrived at the start of the year with the lead single off the tape “Calm Down”, an infectious Afropop romantic number which finds the artist singing about his love interest inviting her to give him a chance. On the track he sings “Baby calm down, this your body dey put my heart for lockdown” over the rhythmic and melodious production of the Andre Vibez-produced track. He delivers a special romantic number as he fuses a bit of pidgin into the lyrics of the record, giving listeners an enjoyable listening experience through his inviting melodies.

Honourable Mentions: 

“Are You There” off Rema’s debut album ‘Rave & Roses’ is a fierce, bold and honest statement by a young Nigerian artist who has a lot to say and uses music as a weapon of expression. This record which arrived less than two months ago has become one of the songs which have resonated with fans and listeners as it addresses the matters we as young Nigerians have faced and are still currently facing.

Featured Image Credits/NATIVE