That Nigerian musicians have gained massive international recognition, over the years, is no longer news. From topping global music charts with their proiects, to scooping major international awards, to selling out famous venues, to featuring on the soundtracks for blockbuster Hollywood movies, these acts have done it all.
In this piece, we take a look at the several times Nigerian musicians had their songs enlisted on major Hollywood movies.
JJC’s Big Brovaz in Scooby Doo 2
Before rapper and music producer, JJC Skillz took the Nigerian music industry by storm with his hit single, ‘We Are Africans’, he used to be part of a London-Based R&B and hip hop music group called Big Brovaz. The Kano-born JJC, who was one of the group’s producer, also managed his own 419 Squad at the time.
- Advertisement -
In 2004, Big Brovaz made a cameo in the computer-animated film, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed released the same year. They performed a cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’ and was featured on the soundtrack. The group later released ‘We Wanna Thank You (The Things You Do)’ as the theme song from the sequel.
2Baba’s ‘African Queen’ in Phat Girlz
Dubbed one of the greatest African songs ever, ‘African Queen’, a classic love tune from the stable of legendary musician, 2Baba (then Tuface) was enlisted as a major soundtrack for the 2006 American romantic comedy, Phat Girlz, starring Mo’Nique.
The recognition, at the time, marked a defining moment for Nigerian music and generated so much buzz — including a star-studded premiere held in Lagos.
Davido & MC Galaxy in Queen of Katwe
The 2016 Disney film, Queen of Katwe — which tells the story of a girl from the slums whose life got transformed through chess — featured original songs by Nigerian singers, Davido and MC Galaxy on its soundtrack. Davido’s ‘Skelewu’ and MC Galaxy’s ‘Sekem’, two Afropop hits, were used in the movie. Both songs were also enlisted in the soundtrack album.
Wizkid, Burna Boy, others in ‘The Lion King: The Gift’
Music superstar, Beyonce recruited leading Nigerian musicians for the project, ‘The Lion King: The Gift’, the soundtrack album for the 2019 photorealistic animated remake of The Lion King and for Black Is King, 2020 musical film.
The 16-track album which Beyoncé described as “a love letter to Africa” featured Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Tekno and Mr Eazi. The songs include ‘Don’t Jealous Me’ (a collaboration between Tekno, Yemi Alade and Mr. Eazi), ‘Brown Skin Girl’ (Wizkid with Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé, and Saint Jhn), ‘My Power’ (Busiswa, Yemi Alade, Moonchild Sanelly, Tierra Whack with Beyoncé), ‘Ja Ara E’ (Burna Boy and Beyonce) and ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ (Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi).
Burna Boy’s ‘My Money, My Baby’ in Queen & Slim
Unarguably one of the most politically charged musicians of today, Burna Boy was recruited to deliver the main soundtrack of ‘Queen & Slim’, a 2019 film that tells the story of two black people and their lone fight against a racist society.
The self-styled African Giant sang ‘My Money, My Baby’, a Fela-inspired tune that captures a familiar sentiment for black people all over the world to stand up against oppression.
Davido’s ‘Assurance’ in Coming to America 2
Nigerian music superstar, Davido made his international debut appearance into the movie industry, with a cameo in the blockbuster sequel to Hollywood comedy classic, Coming to America.
In Coming to America 2 released in 2021, Davido performed 2018 smash hit, ‘Assurance’ at a wedding scene. The singer had claimed that he was paid $15,000 per day during the production of the Eddie Murphy movie.
Tiwa Savage, others in Coming to America 2
While Davido made an unforgettable cameo in the sequel, his counterparts in the industry got featured on the movie’s original soundtrack, ‘Rhythms of Zamunda’.
The 16-track collection released by Def Jam Recordings featured original songs from Nigerian acts such as Tiwa Savage, Tekno, and Larry Gaga, Umuobiligbo and Oxlade.
Fela’s ‘Let’s Start’ in The Harder They Fall
Afrobeat legend, the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti remains a major inspiration for black people across the world. It was no surprise that his 1971 classic, ‘Let’s Start’ was featured in the official trailer of the 2021 Netflix movie, The Harder They Fall featuring Regina King and Idris Elba.
American rap mogul, Jay Z who co-produced the movie, a known Fela fan, said his songs represented black people, so he included one of them in the trailer. Even the movie director, Jeymes Samuel who is of Nigerian descent shared similar admiration for the Afrobeat icon.
Tems in Black Panther sequel
Since she gained prominence in the international music scene, Nigerian singer Tems has continued to break bounds. She was recently featured on the soundtrack of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a sequel to the 2018 blockbuster, Black Panther.
In the two-minute official teaser released by Marvel Studios, Tems delivers a beautiful cover of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ before the soundtrack transitions to Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 song, ‘Alright’.