“love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” is the 2019 track from Nigerian singer-songwriter and record producer CKay, and is the second song from his second EP “CKay The First“, released in August 2019 through Nigerian record company Chocolate City through the Warner Music Group.
The afrobeats track first made waves when it was released in 2019, charting high in Nigeria and worldwide – however it later resurfaced in 2021 thanks to social media app TikTok. A remix of the track featuring Nigerian singer Joeboy and Ghanaian singer Kuami Eugene went viral and was being used all over the app. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine in September, CKay revealed his friend had told him that the song would be perfect for the app, when he sent CKay a TikTok where someone used the remix… but CKay did not take those predictions seriously. 2 years later, “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” has been the most Shazamed song since the 11th September 2021, and with the remix of the song being used in over 3 million videos on TikTok – but not without sacrifice. CKay revealed that many people stated that the song was originally by A Moroccan artist:
“I felt robbed at first,” CKay says. “Because, for one, it was a bootleg version; two, a lot of the TikTok videos renamed the song, so many people on the internet didn’t even know whose song it was. Also, certain countries enjoyed the music a little too much and started to claim it was theirs. I appreciate the love, but, yeah, I had to go on TikTok again and set things straight…“Love Nwantiti was a freestyle. I didn’t pen a single word. I was in my living room, making beats like I usually do, and I played the chords, built on them, and did my freestyle. I recorded around midnight and I was really sleepy, so I decided I was gonna put words to the ‘ah ah ah‘ part in the morning. Long story short, woke up in the morning and realized how fire it was.”
– CKay, Rolling Stone (2021)
This lead to CKay to post a 34 second video performing an acoustic version of the song, eventually slowly leading to the reclamation of the song’s original creator.
“love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” features 2 languages: English and Igbo , a language spoken by Igbo (also called Ibo) people living mainly in the southeastern Nigeria, and is a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family. CKay was born to middle-class Igbo parents in Kaduna (northern Nigeria), explaining the use of Igbo in the song. “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” translates to small love in Igbo and sees CKay ponder and attempt to deal with his intense want for a lover in his life.
There is no official music video for the original version of “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)”, but there is an official audio video for the song on CKay’s YouTube channel, which was uploaded in August 2019. As of late October 2021, the video has 4.1 million views.
“love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” is certified Gold in France.
Read the lyrics to “love nwantiti (ah ah ah)” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.