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Celebrating the iconic album ‘Buga’ by Nigerian musician Jesse King |

On this week’s Afrobeats throwback, we will be traveling back 18 years to revisit Jesse King’s masterpiece ‘Buga’.

In 2006, this writer was a junior secondary school student at Federal Government College in Kano state and Jesse King’s vibrant exploration of Yoruba music will travel up North as it swept the country.

The most popular track ‘Buga’ was a recurring video on television and social events where it had both old and young shuffling their feet to the groovy gan-gan drum, perfectly placed shakers, and Jesse King’s call-and-response Yoruba folk-gyration melodies.


15 years later, Kizz Daniel will score a continental hit single of the same name which also carries the celebratory melodies inspired by the showmanship of Yoruba culture where graciousness in victory is momentarily abandoned for the triumphant and majestic strides in the presence of powerless detractors.

Jesse King, the Akure native delved into Yoruba indigenous music and offered infectious melodies across folk and Highlife. Like the quintessential band leader eager to offer his audience a good time, Jesse King weaves folk melodies as the bata and gan-gan drums keep pace with him on ‘Yubgba Yungba’.

Across the 10 tracks, Jesse King crafted jolly records that offer listeners a good time through a rich use of Yoruba language brilliantly interspersed with English, pidgin, and street slang. The writing perfectly compliments the festive nature of the music as the lyrics flatter, delight, compliment, and inspire listeners to not only move their bodies but reach into their pockets and produce currency notes.


On ‘Jennifer’, Jesse King crafts a melodious Highlife rhythm to charm the beautiful women drawn to his music while deploying. Jesse King’s music is cut from the same rich exploration of Yoruba music as that of the mask-wearing legend Lagbaja. This similarity shines in ‘Bolanle’ where Jesse King plays the loverboy and lavishes superlatives on his love interest.

He deployed sweetened R&B melodies to offer prayers for long life, good health, and prosperity on the gospel record ‘Adehun’ elevated by the ever-present delightful backup vocals of The Queens In The Palace.

With jolly band leaders, there’s always something for everyone, and the mothers were delightfully treated to the classic Tungba joint ‘Mummy’ where Jesse King celebrates and adulates mothers.


Highlife strings and infectious melodies combine to craft the smash YOLO hit that’s ‘Loniskolobo’ where Jesse King pays homage to the great city of Lagos.

The influence of American hip hop and Pop of the 2000s shines on ‘Bebe’ where Jesse King switched it up and delivered rap lines complemented by “Yorubanised” R&B melodies.

Jesse King’s rich cultural exploration is brought to a glorious end with poignant folk music that’s ‘Aje’ before listeners are ushered forward in a celebratory curtain dropper with ‘Thanks’.

Jesse King’s ‘Buga’ is one of the richest Nigerian albums to have been released this century and it will forever be remembered and celebrated.

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