Like Benjamin Button before him but yet not quite like him, Falz is a curious case of sorts…
These days the music industry is brimming with so many “commercial” artistes, the whole thing has turned into a damn huge advert. It’s becoming harder and harder to find artistes in Nigeria that are a break from the norm; artistes that are unique in style and determined not to repeat themselves in an increasingly homogeneous and repetitive Nigerian Industry. At first thought you may be forgiven for thinking Falz is another of these commercial musicians but here’s the curious part…Beneath all the satire and comic relief which he provides, is a guy that makes good concept music and it doesn’t hurt either that his flow, lyrics and production (the three most important component of rap music) is always top drawer.
So when I heard he was releasing his sophomore project, I became the curious one and I’m particularly interested in seeing if he can make a statement with this. A quick glance at the tracklist and I’m a bit surprised. In this generation, where the attention span of an average person is shorter than my goatee. I wonder why anyone will brave the danger of making a 17 track album and risk losing the attention of their audience/message in the process. But here goes…
- Kabiyesi f. Oyinkansola
If Falz feels he’s making a statement by proclaiming himself King, he’s going to meet an indifferent audience here. Everyone is king these days. At this rate, even Vico will one day lay claim to this fictitious hip-hop throne people like Yung6ix are occupying… but I’m starting to digress…Is that Kwam 1 on the sample? There’s a lot of gangan drums which sounds really really neat and it melds perfectly with this awesome sample. I’m a big fan of contemporary production when it’s gotten right and this is awesome in my opinion. Too bad though, I feel Falz could have done better with this production especially on when it’s the intro. His lyrics is half-assed at best. Don’t call yourself King and then come and be giving me a lukewarm reception
…still Sess had this one.
- Soft Work
Second track in and the tempo quickens a little. From production to hook, this one has that groovy Ghanaian feel that throws you back to 2012 and the Azonto epidemic that suffused our pop culture. I half expect Sarkodie to jump on this if it ever becomes a single but then again, I’ve been wrong before. But I’m really vibing to this sha…(i think i’m getting my dance moves back). This is much more like it from Falz though. He sounds more witty, more confident. He’s practically bragging his way through the whole song, reminding us that what you average people consider as “balling” is what they do for a living. This and reminding us that he’s a barrister at law. He even took time to shade Lazarus that Skibi dude with that “if you fake your death you still fit no blow” line (2015 has been dramatic y’all)… I wonder why haven’t you bloggers picked this up yet though.
- My People
A downshift in production takes us to a slower contemporary beat and the production continues to impress. The hook has me well…hooked. It’s so catchy, so Tufaceesque…. Now if only the man himself can jump on the track, that’ll be something (Let’s add that to my Christmas wish list will you, right behind the menage-a-trois with Alessandria Ambrosio and Scarlett Johansson). Back to the matter. It seems the story telling is really starting. Falz has had an amazing year that has seen him tour the length and breadth of the country and here he channels his inner Linda Ikeji giving us all the juicy details. From tales of highway robberies outside of Ibadan to the wonders Tokunbo the groupie was performing, Falz gives the listener a periscopic view into what goes on behind the curtains of the industry. To be honest though, I can do without all that incessant name dropping (of the cities) but this is yet another solid one and the album looks like it’s starting to right itself..
- Karishika ft. Phyno
If you haven’t heard this one already, you are probably living in Abeokuta (under a rock…get it? No? Okay). Even though I’ve had my fill of this on HipTV, it kind of feels different listening to it in the context of an album. Undoubtedly one of the standout tracks of the year. I especially like the concept the song adopts. Eminem has proven it that painting women as a “evil” is one way of attaining commercial success. Funny how only a handful of people know the track derived its concept/title from an old Nollywood “blockbuster” that go by the same name. Strangely i find myself waiting for Phyno to come on. Phyno is yet another curious case an he continues with his philosopher stone routine turning everything he touches into gold and the puzzling part is that i have absolutely no idea what he’s going on about. I’m sure he murdered this verse sha…I’m sure.
- Soldier ft. Simi
This two had such great chemistry on TV and you wonder if they can take it into the booth with them. It starts out with lots of piano in the beginning and just and when Simi’s voice finally cuts in, it takes the whole thing to an ethereal level. Her storytelling is picture perfect and she paints the scenes with just a hint of humor too. I think I’m in love?
Then Falz barges in, playing the role of a soldier which honestly may the worst idea in 2015. He“shells” enough as a civilian. He handled his verses here well though, waxing lyrical to Simi’s reluctant character and doing his utmost to march his way into her heart. When at his best, I think Falz is probably the most versatile rapper in the industry today. This has easily turned into my favorite on the album thus far.
Please, why is it the always the best of songs that are the shortest? Bet Why?
Remember what I just said about Falz’s versatility? I’m thinking he knows too and it’s like he’s going to great lengths to advocate this. This time he tries out a mix of Afrobeat so reminiscent of Fela Anikulapo. Just like the title implies, this one is a slight admonishment for those ones who work 27 hours a day. Despite another commendable piece of work from Sess and a hook I’m sure Abami himself might have signed off on, somehow somehow the track doesn’t quite come off the way it should. It’s one of those nearly tracks that takes you halfway but doesn’t deliver you to the Greek in the end. Still an alright track by any means. Who knows, it may yet grow on me.
- Soupe ft. Yemi Alade and Shaydee
Except for those times when Shaydee said “…her body be like say them carry am come from yonder” (times when I couldn’t help but consider the spectrophilia) the album continues to impress so much I’m starting to enjoy myself. This one is your typical Naija fast beat/catchy hook party jam kinda . This sounds like it was tailor made for Yemi Alade’s afropop style, so you should already have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. I’m sure most DJs cannot wait to lay their hands on this one for.
- Clap ft. Reminisce
Lmaoo…To say these guys are getting their samples right will be an understatement. This time it’s popular social media boxing icon and champion of the world, Kayode Lateef. If you don’t know who this is, kindly google him or check his videos on YouTube. You’re free to thank me later even though what you find will probably leave you in laughing fits and stitches. The genre changes again, this time to Trap music and surprisingly, it plays to Falz’s strength. He sounds assured with his rhymes and I’m starting to feel Falz is at his best when he’s in Brag Town.
“Just returned from Euro, just returned with some Euros”
On picking up the album and checking the guest list, this was one of my most looked forward to collaboration mainly because of Baba Hafusa, another one who has had a massive year. Reminisce’s has this way of delivering his profanities with a calm poise that makes you want to use Yoruba in ways you never should d…and that O.T Genasis ending was just the K.O that killed the track. I really like Reminisce, I do but we all know that the guy needs to be stopped right?
- Time Differences ft. Sess
Falz once again delves into another relatable topic in the form of long distance relationships. This one feels like a view into his personal life and a glimpse into his more serious emotional side. Here he highlights those issues that comes with dating someone in another time zone. This is the slowest of the songs on the album so far and the it sounds like something Drake might cook up when he’s going through his time of the month. Sess shows he can sing also as he belts out vocals for the hook. This can easily turn into a snoozefest for me though and even though this is not the best we’ve seen so far on the album, it’s still a commendable effort especially if you like really slow and dullsville music.
This marks the halfway point on the album and I must say that save for one or two songs, the album has been impressive so far.
Let’s just say if Falz ever decides to start an airline company, there will be a lot of suing. Falz is at his rib-cracking best which is a good thing given that I was already drifting into auto-pilot there for a bit.
- Celebrity girlfriend ft. Reekado Banks
Another of the singles that made it off the album but one I haven’t listened to this yet due to its perceived commercialness. Falz enters christening mode as he goes on a serial name dropping spree, mentioning probably all of the divas in the Nigerian entertainment scene (both married and not) while Reekado Banks did what Reekado Banks could on the chorus. Another one you’ll enjoy listening to but probably won’t make it into my playlist. too many name calling again.
- Chardonnay Music ft. Poe and Chyn
I always say that you can’t go wrong with a little bit of jazz and a tempered tempo and once again I’ve been proven right. Trumpets are such wonderful things if you ask me and Falz agrees with me
Trumpets, wondervul sturvz, blow eet, blow eeet…
Production is uncluttered, well layered and the mix of percussion and brass instruments blends soulfully into something quite sophisticated. This right here is the definition of grown ass music. So caught up was I in my head-bobbing trance that I’ve missed the beginning of the verse. Falz has toned down his jocular approach a little bit as he goes on to deliver a set of 16 bars that shows he can also make good music even when he’s not clowning. This just goes to affirms that he actually understands the rudiments of making good music. And when you think things couldn’t get better, Poe and Chyn come in hard with the former delivering what is one of the best rap verses of the year. I’ve been an admirer of Poe for a while and he proves again why he is on my top 5 list for the best rappers in Nigeria. Hands down the best track on the album so far.
You put 12 tracks like this together and you might just have a platinum-selling Grammy nominated album on your hands.
Before you start with the arguments, remember that ”Might” being the operative word.
Oh wow…now its conc Fuji we are singing. Right after delivering the best track on the album, Falz goes around and gives us me his worst effort. At this point, I think na overversatility dey worry Falz. Personally, this is one track the album could have done without.
- Love You Pass ft. Bez
In another turn, as if to right the last track, Falz enlists the help of Bez to deliver what is yet another standout song from the album. You know when Bez that handles your hook, it’s bound to be something special. This sounds like a fully certified Bella Naija wedding theme song. It’s one of those songs that makes the shallow ones among you start dropping clues for marriage so that you can eventually have this played at your wedding…and isn’t December the unofficial month for weddings. If Falz wasn’t fully booked before, he’s sure to be now. Another track that ends a little bit too abruptly for my liking though (let’s try the fadeout next time guys).
Great record and we are thankfully on the home stretch.
- Karishika Remix
I wasn’t actually expecting a remix to make it onto the album. Maybe as a bonus track but not on the regular track list. Most of M.I’s features lately portray a shadow of the rapper we all knew him to be and you get the feeling that he has maybe carved his oars into an armrest chair or sumn. However his flow and drive here is much better than what his features have been this year and he goes on to recants the tale of how he made acquaintance with what turned out to be a levitating Karishika (probably an Edo girl). I’m also an avid admirer of the SDC boys and the whole interchange thing here reminds me of Jadakiss and Styles P back in their prime. Another good track and I smell the end coming.
- Thank You
So far on the album, I’ve heard Trap music, Ghanaian Azonto style, Fela’s Afrobeat, Jazz and now it’s something reggae. Falz signs off here thanking everyone that has held him down since day one and all that sort of thing. I’m just going to wait for this to run down. I feel draaained.
- Ello Bae
Let’s not talk about this or maybe we should. I feel bonus tracks should be what you call it, a bonus. Don’t give me a track I’ve heard a billion times since 2014 and call then call it a bonus because it’s not.
Okay…I’m still reeling a bit.
The album is solid no doubt. Falz gets it right in most places especially the production (which was stellar all through the album) and the feature guest list. The album also confirms that Falz is as versatile as they come switching style no less than 6 times on the entire album. The lyricism on some tracks does fall short of the standards I was expecting and the album could have done without a couple of the tracks on there but take nothing away from Falz though as this remains by far one of the better Nigerian albums I’ve heard in the year. It certainly caps what has been a tremendous 2015 for Falz.
Now we just need to see what comes next for the bad guy.