Best New Music: Asake taps Olamide for celebratory jam, “Omo Ope”
Best New Music: Asake taps Olamide for celebratory jam, “Omo Ope”

Best New Music: Asake taps Olamide for celebratory jam, “Omo Ope”

One of the best songs in Nigerian pop music this early year.

Nigerian pop music is largely defined by whatever trends are embraced and championed by the streets of mainland Lagos. It’s a fact that’s impossible to overstate, especially at a time of rampant inventiveness that involves meshing external influences with the innate, percussive bombast of street-hop. In 2020, Asake became known for his breakout single, “Mr Money,” a hype track that paired the airy, propulsive vibe of South African House music with local drums from folksy Nigerian genres, Fuji and Juju.

It would be indefinite to claim that “Mr Money” set the trend, but it surely played an integral role in the uniquely captivating style of DJ mixes running Lagos’ streets at the moment, where popular songs are re-upped with the addition of Fuji and Juju-inspired percussion. On his part, Asake has followed up with a slew of guest features and a handful of follow-up singles, mostly playing into his sensibilities as a caption-ready writer, energetic vocal performance and production leaning into the gimmick of his biggest song yet. Listening to these singles and features, however, it felt like there was more to Asake’s craft than these specific type of cruddy bangers.

Starting out the year on a phenomenal note, Asake taps Nigerian pop mainstay Olamide for “Omo Ope,” a euphoric new single that successfully expands the singer’s musical purview without sacrificing one bit of his boisterous persona. In fact, it amplifies his powers as a potentially prolific pop hit-maker.

On the song, Asake leans into a common advocacy in street pop: living the good life and indulging in whatever material and hedonistic excesses you deem fit. While many songs with this theme try to be substantive by adding an inspirational undertone to the festive mood, “Omo Ope” is solely focused on the enjoyment that’s happening in the moment. “Mo s’are f’owo mi s’aye/gbomo mefa l’ole/emi omo ope o,” Asake sings in self-congratulation on the hook. The first two parts of that lyric line roughly translates to: “I used up my money on flexing/bringing home six women.”

Singing in a tone that exudes utmost satisfaction, Asake is lively without being loud, pulling off an instantly memorable melodic performance rooted in glaring conviction. Asake’s verse runs for about six bars, a proclamation of his party-starting prowess, keeping it rather simple before running into the bridge, and eventually the song’s hook. His showing on the hook is complimented by choral embellishments, a creative touch that pays off mightily.

Produced by Magicsticks, “Omo Ope” is a masterclass in song arrangement, combining a light two-chord piano riff and a full-bodied percussion groove as its foundational elements, a perfect backdrop for Asake to flaunt his singing. As the song progresses, guitar plucks and log drums—‘Omopiano’ for the win!—are infused, especially on Olamide’s verse. Even though he’s mellowed out his sound significantly over his last two albums, Olamide has ensured his connection with street pop and its younger generation has remained intact. Unlike song-defining contributions to recent collaborations, Portable and Poco Lee’s “ZaZoo Zehh” and TI Blaze’s “Sometimes (Remix),” his appearance on “Omo Ope” is mostly additive as a function of his ever-effective star power.


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It’s not every day we get an Olamide verse as the cherry on top, rather than as the attention-holding show-stopper. It’s a testament to Asake and his improvements as a pop artist in the two years since gaining his first hit. With over two million streams on Audiomack already, in just over a week of release, “Omo Ope” looks like Asake’s next big hit. Besides that, it’s one of the best songs in Nigerian pop music this early into the new year.

Listen to “Omo Ope” here.