The street continue to support Olamide, both as a source of inspiration, and an endless validation of his credentials as a rapper.
Album- The Glory
Producer- 2kriss, Pheelz, Young John, Sossick, Paul Clever Lee, Major Bangz
Record Label- YBNL (2016)
Duration- 53 minutes
We’ve had his state of the Hip-hop addresses, both before he blew up and became this rap behemoth and after he claimed the rap throne.
We’ve had his struggle through the years as a young man trying to survive the streets. We have had piercing records dedicated to the grind and how pragmatism is favoured over street hype. We’ve have had his half-singles and loose tracks just thrown from his record label into the funnels that feed our playlists. But through it all, we have learnt about the life on the streets, the mantra of hustlers, the joy of family, dance styles and pop culture elements that all come from…well, the streets.
He’s arguably the foremost creative Hip-hop innovator of our times and very generous with his art, yet he’s remained, enigmatic, then at least opaque, withholding some, creating more and still keeping fans ready to receive from his YBNL fountain, which has become shrouded and further successful with Lil Kesh and Adekunle Gold.
But here’s another reveal from Olamide. Adorned with a ‘street’ shot, scarf concealing eyes, hands clasped in a very familiar manner, and accompanied by a video that showed him taking back his throne from pretenders. This is the ‘Street Tape’, a crucial embrace to his dynamic roots which still forms the bedrock of his support, and continues to buoy him, both as a source of inspiration, and an endless validation of his credentials as a rapper.
That is why his 6 solo studio album is a high-five to the streets, honest and exposed. So what do we learn from it, first that Olamide is still at his best lyrically, despite his recent embrace of Nigerian pop sounds, he is still capable of combining all influences to create sublime rap tracks.
“Letter To Milli” – a motivational lesson to his son Miliano – will move you too tears with its sheer truth and overpowering emotion. There’s many more where that came from in ‘Journey of a thousand miles’ and ‘Woyo’; “This one na conscious shit…” he begins what becomes a heart-rending recording of life as the struggle as we know it…only more musical and emotional. As far as conscious music for this generation is concerned, Olamide taps into the magic of 2face Idibia on ‘2baba Zone’. Only 2face Idibia can give you the depth in consciousness that Olamide draws on to croon “I maintain to sustain, when I see the gain, but monkey dey work, baboon dey chop, I de hustle in vain.” It’s a fulsome bonus that sits right in line with the theme.
Young John and Pheelz and a select few, continue what has been an amazing streak for the production of the artiste. They bring Olamide forward to ride the waves that made 2016 a dope year in Hip-hop worldwide. There’s the familiar Trap making a solid stand on ‘Underground’ and ‘Oluwa lo ni Glory’, its mainstream 808s diversifying the local sound. The relaxed and intimate ‘Be mine’ is a rare invasion of ‘un-hood’ romance by Olamide, and he wins at it with Pheelz supplying the percussion and adlibs to bring it home.
These aside, you are left with the ever-present singles ‘Omo Wobe’, ‘Who you epp’, and ‘Owo Blow’, who carry the rapper into the clubs and hood celebrations.
It’s been a phenomenal run for Olamide in Nigeria; six solo albums in six years is the stuff of legends. And while “The Glory” is a fitting addition to that dedication to full-length projects, it is far from a being a classic project. That lack of a classic street album from Olamide is still his only flaw in a blistering career of many wins and countless highs. That flaw remains.
But for this day and project, he wins. He wins for effort. He wins for dedication. He wins for music. And above all, he wins for the streets.
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