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The African hemiola style, based on the asymmetric rhythm pattern is an important rhythmic technique throughout the continent.

Nigerian music also uses ostinato rhythms, in which a rhythmic pattern is repeated despite changes in metre.

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Although popular styles such as highlife and jùjú were at the top of the Nigerian charts in the '60s, traditional music remained widespread. Dairo Following World War II, Tunde Nightingale's s'o wa mbe style made him one of the first jùjú stars, and he introduced more Westernised pop influences to the genre.

Traditional stars included the Hausa Dan Maraya, who was so well known that he was brought to the battlefield during the 1967 Nigerian Civil War to lift the morale of the federal troops. During the 1950s, recording technology grew more advanced, and the gangan talking drum, electric guitar and accordion were incorporated into jùjú.

Fuji was a synthesis of apala with the "ornamented, free-rhythmic" vocals of ajisari devotional musicians and was accompanied by the sakara, a tambourine-drum, and Hawaiian guitar.

Among the genre's earliest stars were Haruna Ishola and Ayinla Omowura; Ishola released numerous hits from the late '50s to the early '80s, becoming one of the country's most famous performers.

In 1963, he became the only African musician ever honoured by receiving membership of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry in the United Kingdom.[8] Among the Igbo people, Ghanaian highlife became popular in the early 1950s, and other guitar-band styles from Cameroon and Zaire soon followed. Bobby Benson & His Combo was the first Nigerian highlife band to find audiences across the country.

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