OUR SPOTLIGHT ALBUMS FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER
BY EMMANUEL CHIDERA AMOKE
For the month of September, we shine our spotlight on 4 standout albums from both emerging and established artists. Two of these artists, both part of the new wave of artists of the early 2020s, and the other two, artists who both returned after a hiatus, marking a great comeback, each with their newly released sophomore albums.
Zyno- Street Goes to Church
Zyno, born Urama Henry Olisaemeka is one of the fastest rising trap artists of the early 2020s. With his unique blend of motivation, hustling, and street-hop themes, Zino infuses gospel in his music. His debut EP, Street Goes to Church, dropped on September 21, 2023, and it’s a captivating fusion of trap and gospel sounds that transport listeners to a realm of prayers while vibing to secularism.
Street Goes to Church, a title that perfectly depicts his deliberate creativity comprises six tracks, with a special collaboration featuring Jeriq. Zyno’s signature style involves drawing inspiration from the solemn melodies of Christian hymns, often directly sampling these sacred tunes and seamlessly intertwining them with trap beats as he passionately raps about his life experiences, motivations, and aspirations.
In the opening track, “Surrender,” Zyno masterfully samples the beloved Christian hymn, “I Surrender Lord.” This track exemplifies his ability to blend the somber notes of the original hymn with infectious rap and trap beats. The sampled hymn’s chorus becomes the hook, while Zyno pours his heart out about his reliance on divine guidance to lead him towards success.
This pattern continues in two other songs on the EP, “More Joy” and “Olisa.” In “More Joy,” Zyno skillfully samples Onyeka Onwenu’s Igbo Christian song, “Bia Nuru Olu Anyi,” while in “Olisa,” he turns to Mercy Chinwo’s “Excess Love” for inspiration.
The remaining three tracks on the EP seamlessly blend Igbo lyrics with pure trap beats and rhythms, and in Hustler, amapiano beats, showcasing Zyno’s versatility and ability to navigate between different musical landscapes.
Zyno’s debut EP is a testament to Zyno’s artistic prowess in bridging the gap between the sacred and the secular, all while delivering powerful messages through his music. With this release, Zyno solidifies his place as a star for better recognition in the ever evolving Afrobeats industry in Nigeria.
Tekno-The More The Better
With the opening track of this album, Tekno makes a remarkable return that will leave listeners impressed. Known for his previous focus on vibe, rhythm, and groove, Tekno has now embraced a more lyrically driven approach on his sophomore album, The More the Better, released on September 1st, 2023.
However, as you delve deeper into the album, you’ll notice his signature delivery style, characterized by simplicity, repetition, and one-liners that make his songs easy to sing along with, still present. While he occasionally reverts to this signature style, he has made strides in showcasing his versatility. The latter tracks follow Tekno’s formula of repetitive lines to build familiarity, but what sets them apart this time is the well-crafted verses. This represents a noticeable improvement in Tekno’s songwriting, demonstrating his commitment to evolving and adapting to the evolving tastes in contemporary music.
The album as a whole can be seen as a musical journey through different ages and genres, from sampling Dido’s 1998 classic hit, “Thank You,” in the album opener “Twice Shy,” to exploring Amapiano in “Pocket,” Afro-R&B in “Regina,” highlife in “Permit,” and makosa in “King Of Pop,” where he samples Fela Kuti’s “Shakara” and incorporates local percussive flavors with Log drums.
Tekno’s dynamic side shines through on tracks like “Twice Shy,” “Flashing Lights,” and “Regina,” where he showcases his speed-melodic rapping run. Thematically, the album touches on romance, celebration of life, skepticism, individualism, and caution.
In “Twice Shy,” he urges caution and highlights social behaviors that can be detrimental if not approached mindfully. “Peace of Mind” echoes this sentiment as Tekno emphasizes the value of peace in one’s life.
The album’s eponymous track, “The More the Better” and “Pocket” celebrate life and encourage listeners to forget their problems and enjoy the moment. Tekno effortlessly blends Log Drums, Highlife Chords, and lush Horns to create an easily digestible yet musically rich experience.
The album takes a romantic turn with tracks like “Flashing Lights,” “Lokation,” “Permit,” “Borrow,” and his R&B infused collaboration with CKay in “Regina.” Aside “Regina,” this writer opines Tekno infuses simpering lyrics like “to this your love I submit,” “you go don open new mumu control for my body,” which are sharp contrasts to the closing track, “Can’t Chase,” another romance song where he rather asserts that “I dy like love, but I can’t chase… I no like to force anything.”
The standout track, “Play,” reflects on Tekno’s journey from his struggling days to his current success. He emphasizes the role of providence and the steady progression towards success with lyrics like “na play play we take reach where we dey.”
Generally, it is remarkable how Tekno went out of his way to do more on this album and it is indeed a solid improvement on this sophomore album, compared to his immediate last project, Old Romance released in 2020 that didn’t accomplish much success.
Khaid, the “Jollie” crooner is part of the new wave of Nigerian musicians bringing fresh style and unique voices to the ever-evolving Nigerian music industry. His potential as a musician is evident, and he’s gradually unveiling his versatility.
Emotions, Khaid’s sophomore EP, released on the 1st of September 2023 houses six romance-themed songs, including the teaser singles “Jollie” and “Anabella.” These tracks were strategically crafted to align with the musical tastes of the Nigerian audience, particularly those influenced by TikTok trends.
As much as Khaid’s personal life remains overtly known, his music, especially in his latest EP, Emotions, serves as a collection of love stories expressing his longing for his lover, his insecurities within their relationship, and his promises of commitment. The EP’s title itself, Emotions, encapsulates the depth of feeling conveyed throughout.
Although the songs are not arranged chronologically, a closer look reveals a relatable emotional journey as the artist navigates the stages of wooing, the ups and downs of a relationship, and expressions of love.
Starting with “Jollie” the lyrics delves into the complexities of wooing a love interest, highlighting the flirtatious language employed by Khaid. He acknowledges the wait-and-see game played by his love interest but expresses his willingness to patiently pursue her.
Continuing the theme of love, “Hold Me” sees Khaid’s unwavering commitment to winning his potential partner’s heart. He’s willing to stand by her side, even in the face of her inner struggles.
In “Jara,” the album opener, he passionately pleads with his love interest not to take advantage of his vulnerability, a testament to his romantic nature born from past heartbreaks.
With Anabella, the relationship has started taking a rough twist. The singer expresses regret for any past actions that may have hurt the girl and emphasizes his desire for her not to leave him for someone else (“no go leave me follow zaddy”). He praises her and acknowledges her power to turn him on, making it clear that she’s the one he desires.
The lyrics also touch on the idea that he’s willing to spend money to make her happy (“take anything wey you want, I be talk and do money too long e get part two”). He’s aware of the rumors and insults that may come their way, but he’s willing to endure them for the sake of their relationship.
In “No Time,” introduced by an upbeat Afrobeat atmosphere, Khaid candidly discusses the uncertainties of his relationship. While still professing his undying love, he will be better, though not altogether fine, if his lover lets him know anytime she falls out of love.
In the standout track, “People (Evil),” Khaid experiments with trap music the second time after “Ski”, appealing to the growing demographic of young people who enjoy American trap music. The personal and commercially driven lyrics include the line, “I want to be a baller, not a mechanic,” which references Khaid’s past as a mechanic before being discovered as a musician. This track showcases Khaid’s talent and versatility as an artist.
The Nigerian reggae dancehall artist has staged a triumphant return with his latest offering, aptly titled World Best. However, upon closer examination, World Best doesn’t appear to represent a significant departure from Patoranking’s signature style. In all honesty, it seems that this album doesn’t push the boundaries of Patoranking’s artistry to new heights when compared to his previous projects. Instead, it treads water, aiming to maintain the artist’s existing glory.
One consistent thread in Patoranking’s music is his unwavering acknowledgment of divine providence. From “Alubarika” to “Prayer Request,” “God Over Everything,” “Another Level,” and more, Patoranking reaffirms his faith in divine providence while declaring affirmations and demonstrating his resilience to achieve success. He has also established himself as a prominent figure in African music, using his music to address social issues, advocate for unity, and celebrate African culture and life in general.
Patoranking’s World Best album is a diverse collection of tracks that perfectly encapsulates his distinctive fusion of reggae, dancehall, and Afrobeat influences. As an artist, Patoranking is renowned for his ability to create irresistibly catchy and danceable music, all while delivering profound messages through his lyrics. His hallmark style features infectious melodies, irresistible rhythms, and his unmistakable voice.
Throughout this album, Patoranking continues to explore themes of hope, positivity, faith, and the celebration of life—recurring motifs in his body of work. The album’s very title, World Best, reflects Patoranking’s self-assuredness and ambition, as he endeavors to cement his place among the finest artists on the global music stage.
In World Best, Patoranking presents a mesmerizing masterpiece that delves deeply into his multifaceted musical talents. Notably, the album features collaborations with a roster of distinguished artists, including Kizz Daniel, Zion Foster, Popcaan, Ludacris, Victony, Diamond Platnumz, Beenie Man, and Gyakie, which adds an extra layer of diversity to the sound and underscores Patoranking’s versatility as an artist.
While tracks like “Inshallah” and “Higher” convey messages of faith and spirituality, “Miracle Baby,” “Babylon,” and “Lighters Up” underscore themes of resilience and the relentless pursuit of success. On the other hand, “Smoke and Vibes” and “Abobi” tackle pressing societal issues.
Meanwhile, songs like “Gyal Like You,” “Na Na Na,” “Kolo Kolo,” “Control Me,” “Tonight,” and “Amazing Grace” showcase Patoranking’s capacity to craft both soulful love ballads and exhilarating dance anthems.
Lastly, “Mama” captivates with its melodious Highlife rhythm, complemented by richly layered base and lead guitar strings, and harmonious backup singers. In this track, Patoranking pays heartfelt homage to his mother and expresses his profound love and gratitude for her sacrifices.
In summation, “World Best” may not break new ground for Patoranking, but it’s an album that underscores his unwavering commitment to his signature style, while continuing to celebrate themes dear to his heart.
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