Archive for July, 2008

FRANK EDOHO EYES MUSIC

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 30, 2008 by ayenithegreat

 

 

Over the past few years, he’s grown from just an anonymous voice on radio, to one of the most recognizable faces in the country.

 

As anchor of popular TV game show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, Edoho has shown he’s a thoroughbred broadcaster and his success on the show has conferred on him a cherished celebrity status.

 

Now, Edoho, who’ married to NTA’s Catherine Edoho, is about opening a new chapter in his career. He told close friends last week he’s ‘considering doing a music album’.

 

The five-tracked album, according to the source, will feature 2face Idibia, Ikechukwu, D’banj and Mode 9.

 

‘It’s going to be a hip hop album’, and I’m sure people will be surprised to see he also has musical talents’, a close friends told us during the week.

 

It might interest you to know that Edoho started off as a reporter with Encomium magazine in Lagos, before switching to DBN Television (and later Metro FM) where he built his career and established a profile before bagging the ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ job.

LESSONS FROM D’BANJ

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 30, 2008 by ayenithegreat

 

Last week, the Oba of Lagos took time off a very busy schedule to play host to a very unusual set of guests.

 

 

Fresh from a trip to the UK and the US, D’Banj and the entire Mo Hits crew decided to pay a courtesy visit to the Lagos monarch. The visit, according to his spokesperson, was to officially present his new album to the Oba, and ask for his blessings.  What’s a pop star doing in the palace of a traditional ruler?

 

 

Well, in case you don’t know, D’Banj is not your regular pop star. The 28 year-old entertainer may appear exuberant and urbane, but deep down his soul lies a man who understands how to court power; how to use his star status to his advantage; how to identify with people, issues  and causes that could sell his brand and soar his rating.

 

 

 

So if you’re one of those surprised by the meeting between D’banj and Oba Rilwan Akiolu, maybe it’ll be good if I also told you that the charming musician has also been hosted by the senate President David Mark. He’s had lunch with captains of industries; and state executives. And he not only finds time to see the high and mighty. Just like 2face and Julius Agwu and few others, he’s known in different orphanages and less privileged kids’ homes across the country. In fact, through his Koko Foundation for Peace and Youth Development, he’s sponsoring over 50 helpless youths for ICT education – yet he’s only 28 years old and his recording career less than five years.

 

 

 

But that’s not what fascinates me about D’banj. If you remove your glasses and look closely, you’ll quickly see that the young man is teaching his contemporaries a lot of lessons no showbiz journal can teach them. OK, so he’s not the first artiste to return from nowhere and move straight up the charts. He’s not the first homeboy to be decorated with Channel O and MTV awards. He’s not even the first to rake in N10 million in a week. After all, there’s been Femi Kuti and 2face Idibia before him. And if you look further, into the catalogue of outgoing performers, you’ll see that that likes of KSA, KWAM 1 and Ayinde Barrister have achieved impressive feats in personal capacities.

 

 

 

What D’Banj brings to the table, is unusual business acumen, an understanding of modern showbizness like no other. The young man is like a teacher, in front of a crowded classroom. Chalk in his left hand and a cain in the other, he’s teaching his colleagues, and plenty upcomers, the rudiments of showbiz, the dos and don’ts. If it was a university class in real life, the course would be called ‘Koko 101’. And if he were to compile the lessons into a book, then the title would be: ‘how to make money like it’s going out of fashion – a guide for today’s artistes’.

 

 

 

In a country where most artistes quickly go from rich to broke -no thanks to soaring piracy, unpaid royalties, dwindling record sales and extravagant lifestyles- D’Banj and his partner Don Jazzy are developing an art that will prove useful to a generation of Nigerian musicians. And just at a time when we were getting tired of the sexual connotations of the koko philosophy, they’re holding us by the collars, whispering in our ears that ‘the Koko is entrepreneurship!’

 

 

 

During a visit to Nigeria recently, respected lyricist Talib Kweli told a group of industry leaders, ‘record sales are dropping seriously. What most acts are doing now is to sell chips of their personalities. The main revenue for acts now and in the future will come from endorsements, business ventures and performances’. That’s what Jay Z and 50 Cent and Akon have since realised. Global showbiz stars are toeing the same line, ensuring the stay in business long after the fans have tired of their art.

 

 

 

But back home the norm is for artistes to rely on record sales, performance fees and, in some cases, spraying. Of course we all know they end up fighting with the label over revenue arising from sales, and the earnings from performing are consumed by an extravagant lifestyle.

 

 

 

So what’s D’Banj doing differently? He’s bagging endorsement deals like he’s using talisman to convince the brand managers. He’s showing the entrepreneur in him: partnering with Bank PHB for an upcoming reality show and Globacom for the Koko range of mobile phones. D’Banj is embarking on a series of projects that, when completed, may turn him into the richest artiste in Nigeria . While some of his contemporaries are busy making babies, he’s discussing with his partners about floating a Koko condom line; while some are setting up a harem of wives, D’Banj, in spite of the sex theme of his lyrics, is staying out of trouble. These days, the only thing he’s doing, apart from making more money, is giving back, through his Koko foundation. From helping the motherless babies, to giving out scholarships and fighting against the increasing violence in the Niger Delta, the lanky entertainer knows it’s important to give back to a society that accepted him with open arms when he returned home from the UK in 2005.

 

 

 

Oh, and he’s still finding time to make music too! The singer’s new body of work ‘The Entertainer’, will be released next week, after a talk-of-the-town Launch in Lagos today and tomorrow. The album is D’banj’s first solo body of work in over 18 months, and anticipation has already reached feverish proportions, following the acceptance of ‘mo gbona feli feli’, ‘igwe’, ‘olorun maje’ and other early singles off the album.

 

 

 

The new work will mark the beginning of a new phase for his career; as he takes more executive functions at Mo Hits (where he’s vice president). The label is seeking to push forward Wande Coal, Dr SID, The Prince and other talents. Then of course, D’Banj will aim for more attention internationally. He’s already gotten a Canada-based publicist. And I hear talks are on for major international collaborations.

 

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s meet in class for Koko 101…

 

ON 9ICE’S WEDDING DAY!

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 21, 2008 by ayenithegreat

 

The early morning drizzle was totally unexpected. The night was warm, and as dawn approached, there was no sign rainfall was approaching. Well, it didn’t rain, after all. It was just the drizzle, rushing and consistent, that created a community of droplets on windscreens, and left many commuters half-wet.

 

It was Thursday July 17.

 

To many, this was just another day. But to close friends and family members of 9ice, the intermittent drizzles on a morning the weather man predicted as ‘warm and sunny’ were a sign that this was no ordinary day.

 

The 28 year old singer finally took the bold step, last Thursday, as he walked down the aisle with his fiancée Anthonia Oluwaseun Payne. While most of his female fans and admirers were still asleep, curling up in bed and listening to the radio, 9ice took close friends and family members to a registry in Surulere Local government where he exchanged wedding vows with ‘Toni. 9ice announced his engagement to Toni early this year, promising they would tie the knots before year-end.

 

His bride, a US-based entrepreneur returned to the country last Monday to prepare for the wedding. The couple arrived the local government secretariat, at a few minutes before 9 am, in the company of family members and bodyguards. 9ice looked smart in a black suit while his bride wore a white V-neck gown.

 

Quiet and devoid of all fanfare, the wedding lasted for half an hour, as the registrar Mrs Tola Awoliyi counselled them, made them sign the wedding register and exchange rings. At about 9:30am, she pronounced them husband and wife: ‘may I introduce to you, Mr and Mrs Abolore Akande’, she told the excited audience, as the hall was overtaken with wild jubilation. 9ice and Toni shared a kiss, clinging to one another for more than a few minutes.

 

The formal wedding at the registry was later followed by a traditional wedding at Abiona close, off Falolu Street, Surulere, Lagos.

 

Sources close to the couple revealed to Glitz Beats that they may not be going on honeymoon immediately, as 9ice has a multitude of engagements to honour. ‘They’re planning to spend sometime in the UK and the US from August. I guess that’s the only time they’ll have to honeymoon’, the source said.

D’BANJ: ENTERTAINER OR BIZMAN?

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 21, 2008 by ayenithegreat

 

 

Not everyone is a fan of D’banj’s music. And many more are those conservatives, who would frown at the regular theme of his lyrics – sex. D’banj is sexy. He radiates sexiness. He knows it. And he preaches it.

 

But he has not come this far simply by throwing sex in our faces.

 

Since October 2004 when he first hit headlines, after stealing the show at R70’s Nigerian independence gig (held in London), D’Banj has shown that he may not be the best singer in the world; he may not be the best songwriter; and he may not be the finest guy around the corner; but he’s told us repeatedly, until we had it engraved in our brains, that he’s got such an incredibly charming persona; he’s got an amazing fashion sense. And when he hits the stage, don’t we all get up from our seats, mouths wide open, palms held together as we clap, scream and marvel at his mastery of the stage?

 

Everyone’s agreed on that: D’Banj is an entertainer many entertainers should be taking lessons from. Like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, the 28 year old is a delight n the stage, as he struts around, swirling, dancing, flirting and most times making overtly sexual moves that throws the ladies into a frenzy.

 

Such is the man’s art that he continues to dazzle us, hypnotizing us all, and making us forget that –until now- the last time we had fresh solo materials from him was 2006. Okay, so you’ve heard him on Pere and Booty Call and other Mo’ Hits cuts. But think about it, when was the last time D’Banj gave us a body of work entirely his? 2006!

 

Yet, he’s on top of his game, even strutting father up the ladder than some of his contemporaries who have dropped two albums in the past 18 months.

 

What has kept the young man going, truth be told, is not just his sex appeal and his lingo pattern and his stage wonders. The joker that has worked for him is a successful brand identity made possible by the acumen of Dapo Oyebanjo and Don Jazzy. And it is the more easier because the man Dapo Oyebanjo is very comfortable with the persona of the entertainer D’Banj.

 

But is he just anther passing phase; a changing mood in the life of a fast-paced industry? Or will he stand the test of time Like Fela and KSA? With just one LP and one EP to his name, it might yet be difficult to tell.

 

That’s why we’re all excited he’s taken time of performances; time off signing endorsement deals and harbouring a community of ‘kokolets’, to put together another body off work. D’banj’s third CD ‘The Entertainer’ is the material that should vindicate his supporters; convince doubting Thomases, and shame his critics. Most importantly, with near-excellent music coming from the likes of Nayo, 9ice, Asa, Etcetera and many more, this may be the one album that’ll determine where fans and critics will place him on the catalogue of music-makers.

 

Time will tell. And that time is not too far off – The Entertainer will hit the streets in a matter of days, after a high-power launch on July 26.

 

But whatever happens, either he goes on to conquer the world, or fades away like many before him, D’banj would have taught us more about music business, about giving back, about enlisting fans, and about building a showbiz brands than any book anyone may have written. Armed with past and present endorsement deals with Power fist, Virgin Colours, Virgin Nigeria and Globacom he boasts the highest number of corporate endorsement for any act in his category.

With his upcoming reality show (The entertainer), the koko mobile range, koko wears collection and his investments in Mo’ Hits, D’Banj is putting his money where his mouth is. And there’s the koko foundation, an initiative that enables him give back to the society that has helped him achieve his dreams – nurturing him from a wanna be to a bonafide star

SPECIAL MID-YEAR ALBUM REVIEWS

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 7, 2008 by ayenithegreat

 

GONGO ASO – 9ICE

 

We were getting used to seeing him as the bonafide hooks man – the kinda singer whose cameo appearance on a song automatically catapults it into ‘hit-dom’. And many were scared on his behalf: will he end up like Pasto Goody Goody (who comes correct, featuring on other artistes’ songs, but never pulls it off with his own solo projects)? Or will he become like Akon (who comes correct all times – either on his own offering, or on others’)?

 

Now, with his second solo album, 9ice has put all worries to rest. Not only does he come absolutely correct on ‘gongo aso’, the bestselling album that has thrown him into international consciousness; he has even established his feet more firmly than all the acts he has featured for.

 

His first album ‘Certificate’ had a couple of bangers (like pass me the ganja and little money) and many fillers. But on Gongo Aso, 9ice had no room for fillers. From street credibility to photocopy, pamurogo and gongo aso, to ade ori, party rider, Kasa final and wedding day, 9ice and his producer ID Cabasa leave no stones unturned in letting us know they mean business.

 

If you thought traditional music was dying, long overwhelmed by urbane music, Gongo Aso is the album that’ll make you remove your jacket, do three summersaults in the air, as you rejoice and merry. 9ice finds a brilliant way to fuse elements of juju, Fuji into his otherwise urbane sound. And he packs so much proverbs, philosophy and lore into every verse he’ll make even some professors of Yoruba pause the CD and ask: ‘what was that he just said?’

 

VERDICT: A sure contender for album of the year!

 

 

 

U KNOW MY P – NAETO C

It is unfortunate that Obi Asika is closing down Storm Record at a time when Naeto C is dropping his debut album. Because, really, this appears to be one of the few Storm album that might guarantee return on investment.

 

‘U know my P’ has been long in coming, but the wait has been worth it.

Forget the fact that the rapper and his crew successfully used new media (facebook, myspace and blogs) to generate a pre-launch hype like never before; forget the fact his official album launch was described by many as ‘off the hook’.

 

Let’s face the music: the 16 track LP Naeto C has been cooking for years. The Abuja-based rapper does not pretend to be a thug, he doesn’t pretend like he’s got some indecipherable poetry under his belt; and he definitely does not attempt to incorporate all those ‘naija elements’ in order to appeal to the ghettoes. Naeto tells us he is his own man on U know my P, dropping his lines with precision, flowing smoothly like Jay Z and portraying the lifestyle of the urbane Nigerian kid.

 

Of course he’s got a lot of help from Wande Coal, Ikechukwu, Don Jazzy and TY Mix – folks who understand the mind-set of today’s music buyer. But all through the album, Naeto retains his persona, stamping his signature all over.

 

U know my p is not the kind of album tat blow the roof and send the entire nation into a frenzy, but lovers of real hip hop will embrace this one with open arms. Already, the first singles U know my P and kini big deal are catching on – if you like these two, you’ll like the remainder of the album; especially Ashewo, One for me ( both ft. Wande Coal) and Superman

 

Unfortunately, the album could have done without the experiment with Saro Wiwa on E mara mma… great concept for a highlife-hip hop mesh, but something about it just didn’t work out!

 

VERDICT: Great production, great delivery. Great debut!

 

AFRICAN GIRL – NAYO

 

First time you hear her sing, you think you’ve heard her before. Nayo has this exotic, familiar sound that gets you nodding and humming, thinking you’re singing along to her soft, calming lyrics, even though you may never have heard her song before.

 

That feeling is unmistaken on her debut Album African girl. The UK-based singer sings from the depth of her soul. And in an era where almost all the ladies are taking their clothes off, tempting us to feast on flesh, rather than notes, Nayo, just like Asa and TY Bello, is a refreshing act to look out for.

 

From ‘desert storm’ to ‘African girl’, and other cuts off her debut, Nayo reminds you of what a singer should be; while the music dares you put take your finger close to the stop button.

 

VERDICT : Brilliant; if you like Asa, and Sade and Dido – you’ll like this one!

 

 

 

ETCETERA – ETCETERA

 

Is it possible for one man to have it all? Well, if you’ve met etcetera, it’s likely you’ll scream yes…!

 

The debutante sings effortlessly, he strums like a wizard, croons like a veteran and performs like the gods of music have consumed his soul.

 

And guess what? What comes out of his debut CD is the kind of music many have sworn will never thrive in Nigeria. Etcetera is  15-tracked collection of soft rock, deep blues that at times wanders into reggae territories, and even a bit of calypso! Etcetera’s sound may make you think of Aerosmiths this minute, Jim reeves the next, and even Robin Thicke (or Bryan Adams!) a while later, but the singer retains a style uniquely his – a guitar-driven sound, mostly solo vocals, and a fusion of African elements alien to his contemporaries world over.

 

VERDICT: Near-excellent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2ND TURNING BY THE RIGHT– LORD OF AJASA

Lord of Ajasa is one of Nigeria’s most gifted lyricists. And it’s surprising that it’s taking him so long to attract mainstream acceptance. One of the first rappers to construct verses in a local language, Ajasa has won fans from Lagos to Los Angeles while rapping in his native Yoruba.

 

And now, he’s back with another body of work. The queerly titled album is Ajasa as well all know him, except that he soaks his lyrics in more humour, more metaphors, and – obviously to spread his fan base- he goes multi-lingual on this one…

 

With support from 9ice, Jahbless, Konga, Tinny and 2Phat, Ajasa tries to make us nod our heads on ‘See Drama’, ‘Ara Awe’ and ‘Otimba’; he gets us thinking on ‘New era’ and ‘kekere’ and on ‘e sa lo bade’, you’ll know all he expects us to do is dump our sits and head for the dance floor.

 

Sadly, like the characteristic Ajasa album, the lyrics are impressive, the rapper true to himself, and his wit in no doubt; but there are not enough cuts to ensure the album leaps off the shelves. But if you do buy the album, be sure that you’ll enjoy ‘esa  lo bade’, ara awe, ‘oti ya’ and ‘wetin’.

 

VERDICT: Average

 

 

 

ENTER THE PLACE – 2FACE

 

Yes, 2face is out with a new EP, in preparation for his third solo LP.

 

And, truth be told, the first set of songs on ‘Enter The Place’ fall short of expectations

 

Don’t fret. 2face still has a way with his lyrics. He still has that eclectic style, and he delivers a song like he was born to do so (well, wasn’t he?). But, if you’ve heard the singer on Plantashun Boiz’ debut ‘Body & Soul; if you’ve heard him on ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Grass to Grace’, then you’ll be forgiven for expecting too much from the pop star’s third solo effort.

 

Funky Noise and Pako are below average cuts that could easily have been performed by 2face protégées Da Natives, Black Tribe or W4. And ‘anything’, although a notch better that the latter, follows the same pattern (not unsurprisingly, the song has a couple of 2face followers on it).

 

It is the title track ‘enter the place’ that saves this collection. Sound Sultan joins 2face to kill it on the song, providing another radio-club banger that fans will come to love in the coming weeks.

 

In case you’re wondering what the song is about, you can have this for a try: ‘…enter the place/ you don’t know what you might find…/ enter the place hook up with the girl with the biggest behind…/ when you see me, you think you know me, but you don’t know half of my story…/you enter the place with me/ na there you go start to give God the glory/… then we’ll see if your frown will turn to smile…/ I see you , I gbadun you/ girl I want make you let me/ enter the place, make we see whether you no go carry belle comot…’

 

It is uncertain if ladies will find that funny, or whether his ‘If you want to chuck/make you use condom submission (on pako) will not be deemed an affront (2face has four kids from two different women, and is believed not to favour condoms); but it is guaranteed that many will love the melody, humour and groove on ‘enter the place’. What more? This is just a tip off the iceberg: the singer has collabos with R.kelly, Sway, Beenie Man coming on the full album. Let’s believe Mr Idibia is saving the best for last. For, if the rest of the songs on the album are like what this EP presents, I’m afraid, trouble may be on the way…

 

VERDICT: AVERAGE

 

ACROSS THE BRIDGE – MR KOOL

 

Producers OJB, ID Cabasa, Rymzo, SoSo and Albert Kalu join Mr Kool to cook soothing R&B cuts on this well-put-together 12-tracker.

 

Mr Kool has been around longer than anyone can imagine, he’s been consistent, yet he’s yet to hit it big. His last album ‘Still Kool’ earned critical acclaim, but failed to move impressive units. Now, Kool is back with another collection of songs he hopes will make fans across the world notice him.

 

And he doesn’t just prove his songwriting and singing prowess on ‘Across the bridge’; he tells us he’s matured over the years, and he finds a way separate romance from love, and love from sex.

 

Unfortunately, the appearance of Daddy Showkey (on Boogie woogie fever) did little to elevate the song; while Albert Kalu (on Ku Yak mi) simply dragged an otherwise cool cut back to the 80s… in fact, except for the Ruggedman collabo, the weakest tracks on the album is where there are guest appearances

 

VERDICT: Average

 

 

 

 

ME, MUSIQ N I – BLACKFACE

 

Blackface’s talent is never in doubt. But how come the ex-Plantashun Boy is yet

to find a formula that’ll work in favour of his career?

 

The singer-rapper’s new work dangles between dancehall, pop/R&B, reggae and afrobeat – a sure sign that he is yet to find his comfort zone, still experimenting after over a decade in the game.( former colleagues 2face and Faze have since settled for reggae-pop)

 

But while he may not have found his feet musically, Black packs so much message, activism and consciousness into his verses. So ignore the fact that he could go off-key from time to time, he may fall flat delivering his lines, and the beat may be annoyingly monotonous. Just listen to the lyrics, ignore the melody and the instrumental – that’s the only way you’ll enjoy ‘Me Musiq N I’.

 

If you’re looking for a few outstanding tracks, check out: ghetto girls, erema

 

VERDICT: POOR

 

 

 

MR CAPABLE – BANKY W

 

Since he returned home last year, he’s been touted by pundits as the ‘next big thing’. Now, it’s time to know whether Banky Wellington has got substance, or he’s just all about hype.

 

Mr Capable solves the puzzle. The singer’s debut leaves no one on doubt that he can sing. Banky imports his calm, rich-kid demeanour into his music, delivering slow tempo ballads, occasionally upbeat Rhythm and blues, and a lot of melody.

 

With near-excellent songwriting, brilliant production and sequencing, Mr Capable will soft you up, lure you to cuddle up in bed as you fantasize about a romance that never-will-be – well, until your mood is interrupted by the weak collabo with fuji star Adewale Ayuba.

 

Ayuba tries but fails to repeat the Jazzman Olofin magic on Mr Capable, dragging the album’s performance to an abysmal low…

 

That aside, everyone that has a heart to love; everyone that likes a good song will like most of the cuts on Mr Capable…

 

VERDICT: Good Start!

 

MAKING HITZ – KAHA

 

For a while now, we’ve been looking for someone to follow in 2face’s footsteps. We almost thought no one was up to the task until Kaha dropped ‘Heart robber’ and we realised we may have been looking in the wrong direction.

 

The single, which-aptly- features 2face, is one of the best cuts to hit radio this year, and if you can’t stop falling in love with the melody, you may need to listen to Kaha’s full album.

 

Underground for so many years, the cat has spent so much time honing his skills, working on his craft that right now, it’s so certain he’s ready to glide straight into mainstream acceptance.

 

Pick the excellent Igbo intro ballad (chukwu), the pseudo reggae ‘Heart robber’ (Ft 2face Idibia) or Ghetto, and Kaha’s talent will jump at you; making you ask the question we’ve all been asking; where has he been all this while!

 

Truth be told, ‘Making Hitz’ is one of the finest debuts this year. But coming from an act that’s been around for close to a decade; is anyone surprised? Of course no!

 

VERDICT: GREAT DEBUT

 

MUSIC BUSINESS – 2SHOTZ

Rapper 2shotz has worked for all he’s earned in the industry. But he hasn’t yet got all he’s worked for. As one-half of Foremen ( a nineties rap due made up of himself and 2ply), 2shotz was already making hits and winning laurels while most rappers today were still unsure whether to plunge into the rap game or not.

 

And when he took the solo route, he became one of the few rappers to make rapping in vernacular fashionable. 2shotz either likes to keep it real, or he knows no other way to ply his trade.

 

Two failed albums (‘pirated copy’ and ‘original copy’), a failed deal with Storm records, and inevitable career low saw the rapper take the exit doors –with a promise to be back.

 

Now, 2shotz is back- armed with the album that’ll determine the present and the future of his career. He retains the characteristic ‘Umunamu’ formula on ‘Music Business’, gets vocal and production help from Timaya, Terry G, 9ice and Big Lo; and succeeds in delivering an album that should make up for lost time.

 

VERDICT: ABOVE AVERAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

JIGGA’S WORLD – OJB

 

OJB Jezreel has built a thriving career for himself as Nigeria’s most-respected producer. But has his singing career earned him as much acclaim? Nah!

 

The 41 year old singer-producer is still battling to win fans over, despite having previously dropped two brilliant R&B albums.

 

It appears there’s something about OJB’s singing that fans have yet to come to terms with. Perhaps we’re all just used to having him behind the consoles, rather than on stage.

 

 

But he’s convinced that he’s on the right path. And now, he’s polished his art finer, spent more time in the studios lacing beats and dropping vocals, putting together materials that’ll reveal the new colour of his sound.

 

The result is a new set of songs he titles ‘Jigga’s World’.

 

For the most part of the album, Jigga comes correct, singing his heart out on cuts that swing between R&B, dancehall and pop. But the overall production quality falls short of a man that has helped hundreds of acts (including 2face and Ruggedman) make hits…

 

VERDICT: Above Average

 

RETURN OF THE KING – EEDRIS ABDULKAREEM

His last album ‘Mr president’ was an absolute failure. Four years after hi December 4, 2008 airport altercation with the G-Unit crew, Eedris is still paying the price of his mis-deed. Now, he’s back with another album where, like he has become known for, he says one thing this minute, and contradicts it the next.

 

Okay, so the music is not fantastic, the message blurry, and the lyrics pathetic. But, didn’t we all agree to ‘forgive him for past sins’, pretend like nothing ever happened, and buy his album like it was the best thing since Thriller?

 

So, forget the rating; forget the reviews, forget what the next man next to you thinks. Just buy a copy. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to play it; and if you do, you may consider reducing the volume so neighbours don’t sue you for noise pollution)

 

VERDICT: JUST BUY!

 

 

BACK AND BETTER – STYL PLUS

 

Yes, STYL Plus is back. But, unlike the title suggests, not any better than their first and second albums.

 

The once-upon-a-time R&B saviours are stuck in the middle of their career, and the new body of work makes it look like they haven’t found the way up on the map.

 

A very touching tale, a conscious attempt to capture a wider fan base, a few good-could-have-been-better cuts, and the all-familiar trio harmony; yet the album itself tells you it lacks the infectious melody of Olufunmi, runaway, or Imagine That –all cuts that established the group as a trio to die for.

 

This album may be getting scathing reviews, the boys getting unanimous bashing for failing to promote the ‘Expressions’ album, and for following it up with a less-excellent album, but if you listen to track one on ‘Back&Better’, you’ll realise that, whatever happens STYL Plus has one thing going for her: isn’t she the only group whose members have not fallen apart?

 

VERDICT: POOR

 

 

EVERYTHING REMAINS RAW – DAT NIGGA RAW

 

 

 

Since he stepped into the Nigerian music scene, there has been no looking back for the energetic indigene of Abia state. When his hit single ‘Obodo’ which featured comedian, klint da drunk debuted, it was as if that was the best he could offer, but Nigga raw proved all speculations wrong.

 

And now, with his sophomore album, ‘Everything Remains Raw’, Dat Nigga Raw has proved sceptics wrong again. From ‘My Name’ to ‘Ko Gbadun’ to ‘Ara ga agba ndi ara’ to ‘strong and mighty’ all the way to run things, the 12-track album leaves you nodding your head and slamming your feet even when you do not understand the languge.

 

After listening to this album, you would agree that he is to the Igbos what Lord of Ajasa is to the Yorubas.

 

VERDICT: BRILLIANT

THE PRODIGAL SON

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 1, 2008 by ayenithegreat

way back in 2002...

 

Eedris Abdulkareem is confrontational, very confrontational. He is argumentative, very argumentative. And he’s controversial – absolutely!

 

I first discovered these attributes when I had an opportunity to sit face-to-face with him, during a magazine interview around 2002. Hauling very bold and provocating questions at him, myself and Efe Omorogbe were stunned to realise that Mr Abdulkareem was not one to be intimidated by a bunch of journalists who knew too much for their own good.

 

For every missile we fired, he fired two. He raised his voice, cursed beneath his breath, muttered a few words in Hausa, and almost physically wrestled Omorogbe. Instead of getting upset and intimidated too, we were impressed by the ‘rapper’s’ energy. His passion won me over and, even though I was convinced he was telling a lot of untruths and so many half-truths, it was difficult not to fall in love with the guy.

 

So I discovered that, apart from being confrontational and argumentative, Eedris was a brilliant entertainer who knew what to do at what time; he knew when to rip your skin and get on your nerves; he knew when to bark and make you flee without thinking that he may have no teeth; he knew when act calm, even stupid, in order to make his point. He knew when to be an asshole. He knew when to be a sophist. He knew when to be a fighter. And he knew when to be a darling. He was all these (and more) to me, during the three hour interview, and I told my colleagues that –forget the lies he told us about his collabos with Busta Rhymes and Rita Marley, and which international star is feeling his shit, without their fingers in his anus- this one artiste will go places if he continues to adhere to his formular.

 

The year was 2002. Eedris was big and established. He was the darling of the media, and fans loved him so much that at a show in the north, he jumped into the crowd face down and a chain of hands emerged from nowhere to sustain him. Though criticised by critics and hip hop heads for his questionable rap skills (Eedris was infamous for ‘speaking in tongues’ and constantly rhyming ‘dudu’ and ‘fufu’), Eedris was unperturbed. He’d tell anyone who cared to listen: ‘rap is hip hop, hip hop is Africa, Africa is Nigeria, Nigeria is Lagos, Lagos is Eedris Abdulkareem –If you don’t believe that, eat spaghetti’. He had conquered the local scene. He had his eyes on the international scene, and a Grammy gong. And to show that he was on the right track, he soon got announced as one of the few Nigerians voted to lift the Olympic torch as it passed through Africa for the first time ( he carried out this noble assignment with respected citizens like Pat Utomi and Dora Akunyili).

 

But in 2004, Eedris goofed. He hit his foot on a rock, stumbled, and fell. It was the fourth of December, seven days before his wedding, when he picked up a fight with G-Unit bodyguards aboard an ADC aircraft conveying the performing crew to Port Harcourt for the final leg of Star Megajam 2004. Eedris was occupying a business class seat reserved for 50 Cent. A G-Unit bodyguard demanded he vacate the seat. Eedris refused, maintaining he ‘can’t be treated like a second class citizen’ in his own country. A brouhaha soon followed, leaving Eedris’ bodyguard – a poor guy named Malo- injured, the show cancelled and 50 Cent hurrying back to the US with his crew.

 

Eedris claimed he was ‘fighting’ for the right of the Nigerian artiste who, as a matter of fact was constantly maltreated, underpaid and humiliated anytime their foreign counterparts were visiting. But the backlash that followed showed that no one exactly believed him. The media unanimously asked for his head, fellow artistes condemned his action, and corporate Nigeria blacklisted him. As he was settling down to marriage, he had to get used to the media bashing and dwindling income.

 

Instead of selling more albums and heading for the Grammies, his career was trapped in the doldrums, his image in tatters and his account in red.

 

True, Eedris took the most tragic step of his career in 2004. He made a mistake he should not have made and we all bashed him for it. But now, it’s four years after and I think we may have taken the ‘war against Eedris’ too far. And when I say we, I mean the media, the promoters, corporate sponsors and fans.

 

It’s four years after and Eedris has apologised severally. He has even apologised to 50 Cent in person, and he has stayed out of ‘trouble’ for the better part of the past few years. Yet it doesn’t appear the media have forgiven him. It doesn’t appear the big-budget brands have started considering him again.

 

Eedris did wrong. Yes. But time should have healed all the wounds his action inflicted on us all. The guy has suffered tremendously; he’s been to hell and back. He may be too arrogant to admit it, but we all know he has paid the price of his December 4, 2004 action.

 

Now that he’s making another bold attempt at resuscitating his damaged career; now that he has a new album again, and he’s battling hard to reclaim his lost position, I think we should all remember the biblical story of the prodigal son and embrace Mr Abdulkareem again. I think we should give him another chance!

 

If not for him, let’s do it for his beautiful wife, his ageing mother, and his two lovely kids. And no, you don’t need to send him a donation. We can start by buying a copy of his new album, by showing him love anytime we see him, or by buying tickets to see him anytime he’s in our neighbourhood.

 

I’ve already played my part. How about you?