Category Archives: Review

5 THINGS WE LEARNT FROM ILLEGAL MUSIC 3-THE FINALE

Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard all the buzz following MI the ‘young denzel’ who created loaded conversations on the internet via his twitter account as per the 3rd installment of his mixtape, illegal music 3- the finale.

Aside from obvious growth(no, not in height) in wisdom of the ‘rap god’ here are 5 things I learnt, and I feel MI was trying to communicate;

Use monologues if you want to sound deep;

The use of monologues as bridge has been made popular by the new hip-hop ‘wavvy’ movement. MI rummaged  youtube enough to get a hold of not so popular interviews of greats, from Mike Tyson to Jayz’s interview with Angie Martinez. Many rappers, including  his own brother Jesse Jagz(in Louis, using rants from the movie ‘Network’); Wale(with Jerry Seinfield, in album about nothing) and recently Anderson .Paak have included these kind of monologues in their works to give it a much more deep, more personal feeling to drive home their  thesis. ‘All fall down‘ the track featuring POE is both introspective and motivating- for anybody afraid to fail while reaching for greatness. In there, you can hear Mike Tyson talk about how he has experienced high level of success and great disappointment. And MI closes with an enigmatic statement “gravity is not a superstition”.

Sampling is still the heart of Illegal Music;

If you’re familiar with the previous mixtapes from this collection, you’ll recall how so many instrumentals were sampled ingenuously. This one is not different in that regard. He sampled beats from Jayz a lot, Beyonce’s ‘formation’ for his track ‘black bill gates‘ and YEezy’s ‘never let me down’. He also re visited the popular list published by Notjust ok in ‘Notjust ok/savage’ (in a corny sponsored ad fashion) which he did in a cover version of burna’s ‘Soke’.

Listen to the IM3

He want’s to be compared to HOVA;

Well he hasn’t taken a pop star wife like JayZ (Yemi Alade is single though); he hasn’t till date  up to 11 platinum albums(although this mixtape was downloaded 200k times on the first day of release) neither does he own a music streaming platform(read: TIDAL). He however made it clear in the song ‘head of the family‘ where he sampled instrumental and back-up vocals from Jay’s ‘La Familiar’,  that like Jay is to ROC nation , he is the head of the choc city family; he has made a star out of Ice Prince, Victoria Kimani and a host of others, plus he knows his business.

MI doesn’t want to be boxed in ‘indigenous rappers’; 

On a leveled playing field, MI is better lyrically compared to many acclaimed international rap stars. The limiting factor is the seeming glass ceiling that prevents him from getting Grammy nod. He wants to level the playing field, before now, its be known that he has shunned the industry standard. As he rhymed in ‘Numbers’ to not ‘compare him to these artists, they giving you cheap garbage’, plus no one even comes close if you judge him by ‘these’ garbage.

In the end good music still sells, regardless of the genre;

Contrary to many Nigerians beliefs- notable among them is the famous 2014 tweet from don jazzy that purports, if you’re a Hip-Hop act in Nigeria, your parents can’t be proud. MI has refuted that claim and has yet created a viable business for himself and his team using literally, a mic and a beat box, ‘hip-hop is as viable as pop I made them say’ he rhymes in ‘remember me‘. The key he explains in the track ‘the finale’  is very good content. In the popular Martin Luther’s speech-which he inserted in the song- set out to be the best of at what you do. And for this, people would remember him.

Illegal Music III- MI Releases Tracklist

He announced the completion of the 3rd installment of the mix-tape series, Illegal Music(IM) via his twitter account and has whet the appetite of fans with the first single Everything off the anticipated mix-tape, where he revealed the emotional state he’s been after everything he’s learnt so far. It’s very philosophical.

On Wednesday MI Abaga  shared a screen shot of what would be the final track-list IM III- and its 10 tracks long.

IM3-Tracklist
KKK? No one seems to understand the note here.

The mix-tape has garnered this much follower-ship because of the level of creativity he injects into these projects, its sort of the place where he lets loose and say everything he couldn’t in a regular commercial album.

We can only wait the actual release of this project.

Woss-Wobi! Now That Everyone Is Looking

His ad-lib goes with a hiss followed by WosS-Wobi in quick succession- calling out to a person/various people intensely. Not a courteous way, but it catches your attention- he’s not selling himself as a refined man. A Lagos Uni grad, who, I previously (from the chart topping Indomie with Olamide)  felt has a style that is very energetic and refreshing but doubt will keep people entertained for too long. One single after the other and scoring various features with Dj Xclusive, the new kid is now straight balling. 

The new track ‘nowo e soke‘ (raise your hands) featuring wizkid is now an anthem in many night clubs’ dance floor.  Wizkid knew he had to do a better street jam as davido ft Olamide ‘Money’,  so he jumped at the offer to feature on the track with CDQ.

He has a preferred producer. I mean, sunny nweke/masterkraft is a ubiquitous part of his verses.  And together they’re affirming that the streets has really taken over.

 

EYANMAYWEATHER-AN ALBUM THAT TELLS TIME AND NOTHING MORE

I guess all those people that know him on a personal level weren’t just dick-ridding when they say Olamide is the hardest working man in Afro-Pop, at least the frequency of his album suggests that.  A 5th studio album, means 5 in 5 years, if you haven’t figured out the average by now, it’s once every year. Devastating!

EyanmayWeather, a person of Mayweather’s persona- the boxing champ, the unrepentant braggart. Intended or not, the title suggests a rhetoric pun-stylized on the album cover as EYAN-MAYWE-ATHER. Blocking out the letters in bold, EYANATHER presents another phrase in Yoruba Eyan-naa-da, ‘where’s that person’, begging any rapper to challenge his claim to the ‘throne’, asking such rapper to shut down a couple of arenas in different countries before coming at him. He reiterates this in Where the man, as he alternates between British accented patois ‘I shut down Island shut down mainland’ and his typical yoru-english rap.

Fans who prefer Olamide the rapper and criticize him for singing more than he raps lately, may be pacified by rap tracks like; Igara chicken, an euphemism for arrogance and the Pheelz produced Jega, peppered with the trademark Dre piano percussion as Olamide delivered laid back rap verses, inducing a calm demeanor typical of the immediate past electoral chairman.

He resumed bragging some more in Ball. Boom boom boom is a weak a** song, immature sounds with high school lyrics, my guess is, Kesh did some ghost writing. Kana final, be happy are at best  mixtape materials and OG waheedee sounded like he was doing freestyle on a hip hop radio show.

Pheelz the Mr producer had a lot influence on this album, producing all but 5 of the total 21 songs- he’s the in house producer.  He did a terrific job creating an afro-pop-fuji fusion in don’t stop, and when Olamide sings ‘shake it-baby don’t break it—it took your mama 9months to make it’ he creates a sort of, how do I put it, ‘owambe persuasion’.  Arara and I’m ok he basically preached hedonism and encourages people to see the beauty in life, in music. He admonishes in Inferiority complex to face your fears, to ‘gbe na woju oloro’, classic afrobeat.

Olamide reminisces on his humble background, and praises his mother for being strong and supportive in Mama Mi. We get that Olamide loves his child, I don’t think he needed to dedicate a whole track Toriomo to eulogize, I mean he can totally do what he wants, but selling that in an album?

He teams up with his erstwhile producer, ID Cabassa in sold out, an Igbo highlife beat that you could already imagine how cooler it’ll sound with Don Jazzy in it, too bad Olamide is in his Mayweather swag on the album, solo. Say something is another pointless song, he probably got confused halfway and decided to make a gyration for the Super Eagles.

I suppose I don’t have to like all his work, but I appreciate the hustle. However, I think maybe he would have done exponentially better if he afforded himself a bit more time, weed out some unnecessary tracks or improved on them.

I have a calendar hanging on the wall of my room, I need his albums to entertain and provoke me not signal the end of the last quarter every year.

‘WANTED’ IS MORE A TOOL, THAN AN ALBUM

After a long ‘hayetus’ hiatus as rightly stated by Falz on a skit – the follow up of the first album is what so many of his fans craved. While he had their empathy, they never cease to ask for his sophomore album, even though he constantly released singles. Wande Coal at his album release conference, said “everywhere I went to even though I dropped single ‘everyday’ people were just saying where are you? we need your album. That’s what the album is titled wanted… because the singles were not enough“. Without a doubt, his first project left that impression; for his fans, singles weren’t just enough.’Wanted‘ the track which was adopted as the album’s title was produced by major bangz, Wande is full of confidence, ‘won waa mi nii igboro, dey feel me in the ghetto and overseas‘ his lyrics is fraught with his bravado. Wande was probably not  contented with what major bangz made of this track as the album featured ‘wanted rmx‘ ft burna boy and production this time was done by beats by sarz, who took the beat and added a ragga feel to the song. The album opener is a melodious thanksgiving song, Adura.

The absence of Don Jazzy and the super mavin crew- although not missed, is immediately apparent, and when quizzed about this, he says “8 producers on this album, unfortunately don jazzy is not one of them, I had to start all over again to get new songs with new producers.” Maleek berry is the most prominent producer on the album on basis of number of songs he produced, including ‘we ball‘ of course about how much of a baller he is, ’jelly’ for the belly dancers, ‘weekend‘,  ‘African lady’ lowkey‘ a galala/ragga fusion, ‘my way‘,  ‘kpono‘ ft wizkid which wasn’t as much a worthwhile collab as legendury beatz produced ‘make you mine‘ ft 2face- who by a mile put up the stiffest challenge as the best guest performer.

As much as he enjoys love from his fans, Wande is aware there are still haters; in ‘monster’ he demonstrated how the ‘hate’ don’t bother him. His staunch fans and haters alike will not deny his vocal dexterity in ‘Super woman’, the best RnB track on the album, absolutely! “Casually, super woman I’ll love you casually” while sugar coating super woman in his sweet hummingbird voice, he managed to make ‘casual love’ romantic, ironically.

Still not able to understand why artists feel the compulsion to populate an album with exorbitant amount of songs, excluding 4 skits and 2bounses the album is a 17 tracker; I’ve always felt that the propensity to release junks is directly proportional to the number of tracks released. Though we have songs that  pre-dates the album release; ‘baby hello’ ‘amorawa’ ft burna boy and ‘my way’ both of which featured as bonuses and of course the lead single for the album ‘ashimakpeyin’,  but don’t see why ‘same shit’ ft AKA should be included, it’s not only stale, it ‘lacks’ luster.

Now that the jinx is broken after so much back and forth that made his career seem somewhat bleak, I think with the release he will feel a lot at ease, cos honestly this seems to me as a kinda ‘let me be’  effort that almost comes off edgy.  Maybe now, we can look forward to the growth of BLACK DIAMOND.

NO NEW CLASSICS IN NIGERIAN MUSIC

Only real music is gonna last, all these other bullsh*t is here today and gone tomorrow– Drake

I was tuned-in to a show on rhythm 93.7, when the OAP Rezy narrated how he  encountered an album, on his way to work and buying it off the hawker instinctively-without prior plans. The album was Wande Cole’s Mushin2Mo’Hits. Previously that week, I had bought the same album in a similar narrative.

There and then, I had this rather sad epiphany; the industry has grown lean on classic albums. I mean the kind of record you pull-out the shelves  ~10yrs after, dust the cd, bump it and re-live moments when the album  was hot way back when.

So what exactly is a classic?
A classic is an outstanding example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. A work of art that’ll persevere generation-after-generation, such that generations (unborn) can draw creative inspiration from.

Thinking of it, I find that there are only a handful of albums I can buy more than once, like Face2Face; Talk About It by MI (mentioning M2M again is redundant I guess); all Fela’s albums (maybe I’m a little biased here); CEO by Dagrin; everything in the afro-pop/afro-beat genre.

Wait a minute, isn’t classic defined by time?

By definition it might be too soon to tell if there really are no new classic albums out there anymore. However, there have been instances when albums were instantly certified as classic. Aside time however, there are indicators that hints at sustainability. Aside from time, there are indicators that hints at sustainability. Unique stories behind some works, like the untimely death of Da’Grin propelled the popularity of a well written, previously-unheard delivery of a street-hop album.

Most of the aforementioned albums were critically acclaimed and certified classics when they were released because of the level of creativity reached by their respective authors.
I don’t think Nigeria is short of talented young people, rather it seems to me that laziness has been more rewarding of late. An artist needs only to drop 2 hot singles, and by hot I mean club banger,  and boom! the millions starts raining in via endorsement deals. Who needs an album when just 2 singles can fetch you 11 million naira worth endorsement, right?

Another factor critically limiting album creation, I believe, is the dismal revenue record companies generate from record sales. This coupled with the fact that there are only a handful record companies out there, so most artists are just winging it.

Eva Double Double Video- Almost A Duplicate

Eva Alordiah is really putting work in this year, 2015. The cosmetic entrepreneur and rapper released the video for her extended play(Eva EP) inclusive track ‘Double Double‘. The video of the song which samples beat and vocals from Rihanna’s ‘Pour it up‘ was shot by Patrick Elis, who in turn went to extensive length in duplicating the ‘parent song’ in visuals-lightning and color spectra employed was quite similar, except of course the absence of erotic dance moves. Take a look what do you think?

Watch here- Double Double