Sometimes, he elevates records with his sheer superstar status and it overshadows the records that he truly elevated with the purity of his talent and musical understanding. From this standpoint, we celebrate the records that Davido truly elevated with the purity of his talent, his superstar status and his performance [most importantly].
KCee featuring Davido – Okpekete
Phyno featuring Davido – Ride For You
Kizz Daniel featuring Davido and Tiwa Savage – Woju (Remix)
Kizz Daniel needed another sure banker hit as his sophomore album got close to a release date. Interestingly, he needed another Davido touch for a hit and boy, did Davido deliver tales of a troublesome transactional relationship? From quotables to the vocalized adlibs, this one stands the test of time.
14. Chris Brown featuring Davido – Lower Body
If we’ll be totally honest, ‘Lower Body’ is the record that Davido should have put on A Good Time, not ‘Blow My Mind.’
It’s not that ‘Blow My Mind’ isn’t spectacular, ‘Lower Body’ is just otherworldly in its Kiddominant essence. Davido marked the tentantice opening of the beat. As it lacked drums, Davido filled that void and never looked like he suffered or needed the drums till they arrived. And then, that hook… He delivered ‘Lower Body’ in a low tone.
13. Lil Kesh featuring Davido and Olamide – Shoki (Remix)
At the time, Davido still flew the HKN flag and he brought a unique presence to a record that truly lacked the sound engineering that it deserved. From the vocalized adlibs that has since become a core part of that song’s hook to the line that starts from, “I wanna see you drop it now,” Davido owned this record. Can someone sing, “Ahn… Eeeeeeeh…”
12. Falz featuring Davido and Olamide – Bhad Badoo Baddest
This was an era that favoured this Afro-Trap sound. Falz got his lines, concept and features on point.
“I get like two million dollars for my account no be asset” was “30 billion for the account” before Davido’s baldness commenced. That was Davido in his Hip-Hop essence, dropping bars and quotables while switching his flows and finding pockets like, “Some people say dem bad like me…”
If there was ever anytime to liken Nigerian pop stars to what rappers actually used to represent, this track should be examined. The record also saw Davido address his Dele Momodu controversy for the first time.
11. Diamond Platnumz featuring Davido – Number One (Remix)
Lowkey, Diamond Platnumz is a walking cliche of an African pop star, but his formula has been working for over 10 years as an artist and even the boss of Wasafi. But in 2014, he needed Davido on his East African smash, ‘Number One.’
What did Davido do? He dropped quotables lines and gave the track an identity outside East Africa with lines that linked Tanzania and Lagos and Ololo with Skelewu. This was a working formula that also blew Pan-African Trap smash, ‘Rands and Nairas.’
At the 2014 MTV African Music Awards where Davido was duly named artist of the year, he and Diamond stole the show with their performance of ‘Number One (Remix).’
Interestingly, this was in the middle of Davido’s second monstrous run as a superstar. People had finally accepted that here to stay and he was eager to rub it in and cement his place. At 21, Davido went on to win BET Awards and MTV Awards. This record was also the first of Davido’s trifecta of Pan-African features. The others came with Uhuru and Mafikizolo.
10. KCee featuring Davido – Ogaranya
Davido needed the South-Eastern market. After ‘Nek Unek’ by MC Galaxy, it wasn’t exactly coming. ‘Gallardo’ was too Lagos to be wholly owned by the South East. After the success of ‘Okpekete,’ Davido sealed his Eastern appeal with ‘Ogaranya.’
He aided KCee’s cause with a beautiful post-Chorus and a very Nigerianized verse. This was just before KCee’s memorable vote of thanks commenced. What a record!
9. Larry Gaaga featuring Davido – Doe
There was nothing flashy about Davido’s performance on this record, it was methodical. Thus, most people attribute the song’s success to the memorable drum effects and the beat, but Davido’s superstar confidence was what made him confident on this record. He flexed it, aced it and won.
8. Mayorkun featuring Davido – Bobo
Before Mayorkun became Mayor of Lagos and then Mayor of Lay Lay whom Davido needed for his third album, Mayorkun needed Davido’s cosign for a smash hit. The theme of the song was similar to that of ‘Doe’ and ‘One Ticket.’
Where Davido truly stood out was, “But I must catch this fish o, I must chop this fish o…”
Then came the harmonizing and vocalizing… What a performance. Davido found three or four pockets on that verse – mad!
7. Sinzu featuring Davido – Carolina
Who could forget 19-year-old Davido’s restlessness in this video. Sinzu was slowly becoming an elder statesman and he needed Davido for his foray into the increasingly ‘pop’ mainstream. It worked wonders and Davido won big.
6. Reminisce featuring Davido – Daddy Mi
Davido had become a superstar who had owned his affluent background. Yet, some people would never let him breathe over a background that he couldn’t change. In November 2013, he jumped on ‘Daddy Mi,’ a record with Reminisce to do what he does best – make music, and drop memorable quotables.
Like his bashful braggadocio wasn’t annoying enough to his haters, he declared his ambition to be richer than his dad. But importantly, the beat brought Davido to another realm of Nigerian Juju music, it also opened him to a more mainstream audience with an owambe-worthy record.
5. MC Galaxy featuring Davido – Nek Unek
Davido gave Liyel Imoke a shout-out on ‘Ogaranya,’ but this was where his public political flirtations started. He gave Godswill Akpabio, then governor of Akwa Ibom State a shout-out. The record might have been more memorable for the dance routine in its video as well as those guitar chords, but it was Davido who truly elevated the record with his hook, storytelling and quotables.
Humblesmith was a fresh-faced Igbo artist with bags of talent in 2015. He made ‘Osinachi’ with Phyno, but he needed a Lagos audience. Entert Davido, who furthered his reps with our South-Eastern brethren. He later sealed it with a certain Igbo Baby Mama, but ‘Osinachi’ exploded in Lagos as a love anthem and a street-worthy jam.
More importantly, he also put his pain and drama in the music. Boy, did it work? This was so important for an era where Nigerian superstars gave little memorable interviews to the press.
3. Runtown featuring Davido – Gallardo
Runtown and Skales wrote ‘Aye’ for Davido. The rumour was that ‘Gallardo’ was Davido’s way to pay Runtown back for the success of ‘Aye.’ On MTVBase’s countdown, this record spent a then unprecedented 10 weeks at No. 1.
Again, Davido was in the form of his life in 2013/2014. With lamba and efficacy, Davido went in on the beat and murdered it to bits. The wildest part; he didn’t say anything worthwhile but e enter die!
2. Focalistic featuring Davido – Ke Star (Remix)
But then, the record isn’t just about Davido’s status, it was also about his impeccable performance that merged harmonized incursions with rapped verses.
For some reason, this record didn’t make it to Wilmer. But by far, this is Davido’s best performance as a featured artist. It might not have the impact of other Davido features but it definitely showcased Davido’s oft-underrated ability as an artist. He found three pockets on the beat and coasted like a shark in the Atlantic.
Again, Davido got to a point where he stopped singing and it felt like he was rapping. Whatever Davido took on this record, we need to get it again.