Falz and Simi Deliver a Good Record
Illustration by Seun Ajibola
On a long road trip, I am concerned with two things – good road conditions and music. This particular trip had me on the road for a 14-hour adventure from Toronto to St Louis with my cousin. Music was the constant on the trip and great music often leads to great discussions. Specifically, we talked about the top Nigerian artists. I mentioned the connection I have to artists that are able to move seamlessly between English and their native tongue. For example, 9ice. She mentioned Falz as a breath of fresh air on the music scene. He has a comedic style, she said, but also is able to use the languages seamlessly in his music. I noted the name and made sure to visit his music at a later date.
Falz released a short album with just seven tracks with his complimentary collaborator named Simi on October 27, 2016. I have listened to this album over the past few weeks to judge his abilities accurately and measure it on a set of criteria. The album has been given strong ratings by a wide range of publications and lauded for its production, cohesiveness and the undeniable chemistry between Simi and Falz throughout the album. I don’t disagree that this is a good album, however, I don’t think it does much to challenge the current musical landscape of Nigeria. This is a pop album with good hooks, mediocre lyricism and a hypnotic production for mainstream consumption.
Falz is considered a rapper, which he proves with his ability to throw in some interesting punchlines in the songs but it does become gimmicky with the comedic aspects by the time you arrive at the final track on the album. Charisma is on a hundred thousand trillion throughout the album and Falz excels in his ability to make sure you feel him on all seven tracks. As stated earlier, the album is cohesive and this can be attributed to the lack of features and the use of just one producer on all seven tracks. When I think of production, I look for sounds that challenge my ears to pay attention to the diverse range of instruments used in the composition. MBTDF was considered best Rap album of the year because each track made us picture the possibilities of sound on a Hip-hop album. Chemistry’s production failed to achieve this level of excellence and fits rather with the current mold of production in Afrobeats that can grab the most audience.
I can’t understate the hardwork and dedication it took Falz to carve a niche in a fragmented music industry that exists in Nigeria. He figured out how to blend English with Yoruba and is considered one of the top rappers. He definitely exceeded my expectations given that I found out about a him this year. As for this album though, you will enjoy it thorouly but reserve any idea of hearing music that challenges the music created in Nigeria.