15 + 1 Memorable Catch Phrases From Contemporary Naija Music


The meaning of a catch phrase is not particularly ambiguous but for the sake of clarity, as far as this post is concerned, it simply refers to phrases used by artistes which have become popular as everyday slangs. In short, phrases which are catchy, shikena.

This post brings to your reading pleasure 15+1 of such memorable phrases in recent contemporary Nigerian. I’m sure most readers who follow Nigerian music will identify with almost every one of them.

Let’s get on with it.

1. Don’t dull

It is hard to say if Wizkid or his (former?) record label knew “don’t dull” would be a hit song talk-less of spawning a major slang in most youth and young adult circles but in retrospect, it would be safe to assume that Wizzy will always bless the day he recorded the song as it turned out to be his first major breakthrough song (“Holla at your boy” wasn’t as big). “Don’t dull” essentially means “don’t be boring/dry/uninteresting, especially when you are up in a club or someplace of similar repute.

2. No Lele

Yeah, Wizzy again, the slang “No lele” from his song of the same title is now used in place of “No problem” in many circles.

3. It’s a Jonzing World

D’Prince didn’t do many things right in the early days of his musical career but “Jonzing World” featuring Wizkid and Jesse Jagz was one of his high points in those days. “It’s a jonzing world”, a prominent line in the song is a popular slang nowadays even though the word “Jonzing” doesn’t seem to have a definite meaning.

4. Jo oh

Jahbless hasn’t particularly had an extraordinary career as a recording artiste and “Jo oh” is probably still his most popular effort till date. It has also given rise to the slang of the same phrase. It is simply the Yoruba word for “please”.

5. Maga Don Pay

This phrase was probably not invented by Kelly Handsome but he certainly popularized it with his hit song of the same title. It means “the fool has paid” and is interestingly used by ladies when guys “drop”. The lyrics of the song itself however seem to tell the story of a jubilant “Yahoo boy”.

6. Eni Duro

Olamide has come a long way since “Eni duro” but it will always be remembered alongside its memorable video as his first big break. The Yoruba slang “Eni duro’ means “You won’t wait” and insinuates “weaklings” running away when he appears.

7. Yahoo boy, No laptop

I have a conviction that when Olamide first mentioned this on “Young Erikina”, he didn’t know how big the phrase would be. However on seeing the amazing reception it got and the way people started mouthing the slang, the decided to make it the theme of a new album, which has also been well received. In referring to himself as “Yahoo boy, No laptop” he meant to convey the fact that he was extraordinary, amazingly strange and bizarre. After all, how does a yahoo boy do his thing without a computer?

8. Enu O Se

Alongside MI’s “Anoti”, this was one of my favorite songs in 2009. Sometimes I wish Durella can listen to himself on this song and other ones from that era and try to replicate the magic. None of his songs have quite matched the success of “Enu ose” (“My Life” comes close) since then and the slang it gave rise to is still very much around today. “Enu o se” literally means “You can’t do anything with your mouth”. In order words, talking won’t take you anywhere, take action.

9. Ten over Ten

Naeto C, as far as I’m concerned is one of the two or three dozen Nigerian recording artistes who really know what people want to hear and he gives it to us amazingly well. “Ten over Ten” is one of his finest efforts till date and it also spawned a popular saying. “Ten over Ten” simply refers to perfection or completeness. I think the inspiration for the song was the completion of his Master’s degree. Marriage-wise, he is “ten over ten” and I hear his wife will soon deliver their first child which will make him “ten over ten” in that aspect too.

10. Gongo Aso

One of the biggest Nigerian and in fact African hit songs of the past decade, “Gongo Aso” made waves as big as a tsunami all over the continent. “Gongo Aso” (a typical Yoruba saying) was not formed by 9ice but he popularized it. It loosely translates to something like “Big things will happen” or “Endless celebrations will start”.

11. Na Wash

The theme of “Na wash” is strikingly similar to Jahbless’ “Jo oh” but people like it and that’s all that matters. “Na wash”, the catch-phrase of the song is now a popular slang which means “It’s a deception/lie”. It may not be Eldee’s biggest song but will certainly be on the front-line for consideration among Eldee’s most influential songs.

12. I’m The Baddest Boy

It’s not uncommon to see guys spotting T-Shirts which reads “I’m the baddest boy”. Two years ago, such people may have been scorned for wearing a shirt which carried an obvious grammatical blunder but after the Wizkid, Skales and Banky W song, “Baddest Boy”, the phrase could be said to have been redefined. ‘Baddest’ obviously means “very bad” and bad in this context is obviously not derogative but more like MJ bad.

13. Kosere Ni Moscow

Another one of Olamide’s seemingly endless street sayings, the slang may have been around for a while but Olamide took it to new heights with his hook on the Kida Kudz single of the same title. “Kosere ni Moscow” is a slang which literally means “There’s no time to play in Moscow”. In essence, it means “Time waits for no man”.

14. Bad Guy P

We all know, the originator of the slang termed ‘P’ is Naeto C. Somehow, his Storm Records counterparts, LOS, managed to come up with something new based on this and to say they’ve succeeded through their song of the same title is overstating the obvious. Similar to “Baddest boy’, to be “On a bad guy P” means to be on a bad guy mode, and do things that bad guys do, and in their own words “look at things that bad guys see”.

15. Setting P

Yeah, the baddest boss made the list too. The term “Setting P” had been around for a while before Banky W released his song of the same title to capitalize on the already growing slang. “Setting P” in its barest and blunt form basically means “Setting Pu**y”, where * = s. As such it means any activity engaged in to woo a lady and these days, toasting now goes by the slang “Settting P”.

16. Ako Mi Ti Poju

Another one from Naeto C and there’s no way not to include this. T-Shirts and BBM Display pictures spot those words so frequently that’s it is not possible to ignore it. “Ako mi ti poju” literally means “My show-off is too much” and very much typifies the idea of “dressing to kill” among the present “fresh to death” youth generation and I reckon that is why the slang is so popular.

Are there other popular catch-phrases you think could have made the list? Please drop them in the comments section.

Thanks for your time.


  1. This article can never be complete without ‘BOYS ARE NOT SMILLING’ . Omo mehn u av to coret ito.BANS is d movememt,ya’ll ready know


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here