Black Magic is the third studio album released by Nigeria’s intriguing songstress, Yemi Alade. Over the last decade, she has dazzled her fans as well as music lovers with her thrilling lyrics, sonorous voice, and amazing dance steps. After venturing into the Nigeria music industry in 2005 under the label, Effyzzie Music Group, Yemi Alade has been in the business of releasing Dancehall and Afropop tracks. Now, she ranks high not just in the Nigerian music community but also in Africa and the world in general. Such a feat could only have been possible because of her consistency and mastery of her niche – With the success of her debut album, Kings of Queens, Yemi sought to do more, which culminated in the widely accepted second album, Mama Africa. Upon the release of her third studio album, Black Magic, the expectation was that she would move on to the next stage of her career. Rather sadly, the album didn’t get the anticipated positive acclaims, as she had to deal with criticisms from many quarters. As some of her critics posited, the album reflected her dwindling fortunes in the industry, given the fact that she obviously lacked the right lyrics and composure that were expected to make the tracks a hit – Now, you may ask, “What is the essence of the title, Black Magic?” Does this imply that the songstress was indirectly promoting the negative undertones attributed to the term? It’s worth mentioning that “Black Magic”, as described by many sources, including Wikipedia, has to do with the “use of supernatural powers or other acts of exorcism to achieve a selfish or evil purpose”. Critics of the album went further to wonder about the correlation of this definition to the lyrics and visuals of the tracks in Yemi Alade’s Black Magic album. Whether these have to do with the supernatural is a story for another day. Yet, one thing remains clear – the album took another dimension of exercising powers within your reach. In this case, Yemi Alade hinged hers on the innate power of the womenfolk, in particular, the African woman. A "power" that stems from the average African woman's ability to use her physical attributes to achieve her aim – A critical look at the album reveals that the songstress was literally battling to remain in charge after the success of her previous releases. To some extent, Black Magic is miles away from the vibes accrued to her hit single, “Johnny”. Except for the sonority of her voice and her dance steps that don’t seem ready to go away anytime soon, some analysts believe that Yemi Alade might just be at the tail-end of her career. Considering her rise to stardom in 2013, and subsequent success of her two previous albums, one expects that she would have brought in more factors to spice up the new album, Black Magic. Yemi proved her readiness to remain in the spotlight with the amazing personalities she featured in her Mama Africa album with the likes of Flavor, Psquare, and Selebobo lending their vocals to add flavor to her tracks. The same was expected on Black Magic but only a few prominent artists like Falz and Olamide were there to make the album thrilling – Although the sky mightn’t seem rosy as expected, Black Magic, which was released on December 17, 2017, can pass for one of the sacrifices Yemi Alade has to make, as she should draw strength from the criticisms and integrate more efforts into subsequent singles/albums.
Mama Africa (also known as Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman) is the second studio album by Nigerian Afropop and Dancehall Songstress, Yemi Alade – Yemi Eberechi Alade is a fast-rising Nigerian singer that has made her mark in not just the national music industry but also in the global scene. Venturing into the Nigerian music industry in the year 2005 under the Effyzzie Music Group record label, Yemi rose to stardom after the release of her hit track, “Johnny”. Although the single depicted her quest to find true love only to fall prey (alongside others) to the prey of a "playboy", she never rested on her oars as she tried her hands on many other genres. Today, she is acclaimed for her mastery of Afropop and Dancehall. Also in her list of vocals are Highlife and R&B. These go to show her prowess at adapting to different situations to give her fans an all-around entertainment – Following the wide acclaims that trailed her singles, Yemi decided to “give her fans something else to talk about”. This paradigm shift from single tracks like “Johnny” led to the release of her first album titled, “Kings of Queens", which was released in the year 2014. Buoyed by the trails of negative and positive reviews on the album, she went back to the studio the next year (2015) and commenced work on her second album. After a painstaking effort and utilization of some best hands in the industry, Yemi Alade, on March 25, 2016, released her second studio album entitled, "Mama Africa”. In furtherance of the significance of the contents of the album, she added an illustration, “Mama Africa: The Diary of an African Woman" as a way to depict the true meaning of the songs therein. Truly, most of the songs were in the appraisal of the African woman. You would discover the growth process of the African girl child in “TumBum”, after which Yemi takes us through the love life of the average African woman as depicted in “Kom Kom”, “Ferrari”, and “Ego” – One thing that can’t be taken away in this album is the fact that Yemi Alade went out of the way to put forward her best. This is depicted in the features of prominent artists such as Psquare, Selebobo, Sauti Sol, and Rotimi Keys. This is not to forget the great vocals pitched by Flavor and Sarkodie. Yemi also incorporated legendary producers like Mr. Chidoo, GospelonDeBeatz, and DJ Arafat. As usual, she didn’t leave out her lead producer, Selebobo in the whole affair. The two have worked on many songs, and they sure brought another classy vibe with this album – Mama Africa has significance for Yemi Alade. It would be recalled that she was literally bashed after the release of her first album. The criticisms were hinged on the fact that she seemed to “be running away” from her Nigerian origin and in its place, embracing the culture of other countries, such as Kenya, as was reflected in most of her costumes in the visuals of songs from her first studio album. To prove naysayers wrong, Yemi Alade brought back the vibes by showing more of her Nigerian culture in the visuals of her second studio album. As the name hints, Yemi also took out time to incorporate cultures from other countries such as Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Swahili in her second studio album, “Mama Africa” – Away from the praises, Yemi Alade also received some backlashes after the release of this album. For instance, it was discovered that she seemed to flutter with lyrics at certain points. Some pundits even went further to posit that her "savior" was the remarkable inputs of the featured artists and her sonorous voice. This is just as she got the jabs for not portraying the African culture, especially from the average African woman's perceptive of the culture – Aside from these perceived negative aspects to the album, Yemi Alade must be commended for churning out the album comprising 15 tracks and 54 minutes runtime. Besides, the album extended her reach, as she dazzled the audience at the 2016 edition of the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) with select tracks such as Tumbum and “Na Gode”. She later went on to grab the NEA Best Female Act, MAMA Best Female Artist, and Best Female Artist in Western Africa. This is just as she was able to extend her horizons by performing in several African and Western countries.
Tove Styrke had not really joined the group of legendary pop artists until the release of her latest studio album “Sway”. The artist began her career in 2009 after she won the Swedish Idols competition. Just after the victory, she released two Electro-pop albums which attained a level of success but that wasn’t really enough to classify her as legendary. The album “Sway” comprises of a bunch of romantic ballads. A few of them are more infectious with the romance vibes than the others but that isn't a problem. The songs tells tales of both the good, the bad and the ugly sides of romance, although they sounds a lot like fantasies than real life experiences. It also includes a series of personal questions by the artist to herself and her close friends about why they do and want certain kinds of things. She was able to sound both curious and joyful while she searched for answers and that is quite exceptional. “Sway” is a display of the excellent vocals and song writing skills of the artist. The album displayed a mixture of different moods. Some tracks displayed a playful Tove while others a deeply emotional pop star. Quite a number of sounds were experimented on this album. The fact that she was able to create decent songs from all these experiments is quite impressive. The album failed to meet the need her listeners developed for the new sound of Tove Stryke. A major reason for their dissatisfaction is the fact that the album was made up of just eight songs. The tracks were so good, it kept her fans begging for more. Hopefully, she will drop more tracks sooner than later.
If we were asked to talk about the best things that has happened to the Nigerian Music industry in the past five years, we can never over emphasize the arrival of Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, popularly known as Kiss Daniel. He arrived at a time when the sounds and tunes of music in the country were becoming all too familiar and boring, he arrived at the exact time the industry desperately required someone that could give a vibe that was different to spice up the music scenes, and his own vibe was even more than what anyone could have ever thought or asked for. The day I came across his song the first time is still very fresh in my memory. It was late in 2014 and I was visiting a friend at his apartment, he mentioned to me that he had a party to attend and that I should tag along. There was something about the way he asked that seemed like “fam, you’re definitely coming to this party with me”, I just smiled and nodded in affirmation. Thankfully, I was well dressed that day, I would have used that as an excuse but I was left with none. I waited till he got ready and then we drove off to the venue of the party. We arrived there a few minutes later and the party was way beyond what I had in mind, cars, drinks, music, and lots of girls. The venue was an open field and girls were literally in every corner I turned to. My friend had introduced me to his other friends that were there, including the guy whose birthday was being celebrated and then in midst of my looking around, I lost track of where he and his friends had gone into but I wasn't bothered, I just continued with my looking game, sipping from the wine the celebrant had offered me. I couldn't keep my focus on just one girl as they were all beautiful and well dressed but there was this one that finally took my fancy. What first attracted me to her was the see through gown she was putting on. One could effortlessly see the colours of her underwears. As if that was not attention seeking enough, she moved right to the center of the field and started twerking. She didn't do this for long before all eyes focused on her. Mind you she really was a very good dancer. I am sure most of the guys, if not all were dying to approach her for a dance but none of us went close to her, we only admired her from afar. We all enjoyed her dance moves up until a guy approached her on the dance floor, obviously just to dance. I squinted my eyes to get a clearer view of whom the guy was because he kind of looked familiar. Finally, I realised it was my friend that brought me to the party. As soon as he got close to her, she shoved him aside softly and it was clear that she didn't need a dance buddy, but my friend must have missed the signs as he tried to get close to her again, only to be shoved aside again, he wasn't ready to back down from this babe’s rejection. He wanted to dance with her and would get to do so as he was confident of his game. For the third time, he moved closer to her, this time, more closer and stronger that she couldn't shove him aside but some way, she found a way to get her hand out of his grip, raised it high and landed a very loud slap on his face. Like a perfectly rehearsed movie scene, the DJ stopped the music as soon as the impact of her hands landed on his face. She walked away immediately after she did this while my friend stood there with his legs fixed to the ground. He couldn't take a step further as he was too embarrassed to even raise his head. At this point, the DJ played "Woju", a song I wasn't too familiar with at that time and everyone jumped back on the dance floor almost immediately, dancing as they sang the song at the top of their voices word for word. In the middle of all of these, my friend had found a way to disappear off from the dance floor. It appeared I was the only one who hadn't heard the song. I tried to link the voice and style to all our reigning artistes then but none of them fit, as the sound and tune was way different from what we were used to. I wondered who the guy that sucked the attention out of what could have been the most awkward moment of the party was. That guy was Kiss Daniel.
When he stormed the industry with his debut studio album Rapsodi, he immediately became one to look out for. Especially when the lead single of that album "Eni duro" started getting continuous airplays. It didn't take long before I became a fan of his and I didn't regret the decision for a minute as he really lived up to his potentials with succeeding albums. Albums like YBNL, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, Street OT, Eyan Mayweather, The Glory but then he really went ahead to release Lagos Nawa, I was highly disappointed. Olamide started off as a rapper and he came at a time when the industry really needed a rapper who could create the balance between Rap and commercial music. He did this excellently well with songs like "First Of All" "Ilefo Illuminati" and "Voice Of The Street", after he achieved success with these songs, which appealed to both lovers of rap music and everyone alike, I thought to myself "Yes, he is the rapper we have been waiting for." Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, he went completely from doing rap to singing, I was a tad bit disappointed but I took it as an idea of him going out of the box and he actually did excellently well with that album. Maybe this was what prompted him to stick to singing in the next album that he titled Street OT. Gradually, Olamide kept drifting away from Rap music, and this didn't hinder the love I had for him and his music. I remember sometimes in 2014 when I was at a a friend’s birthday party, a small gathering to be precise, drinks, foods and of course music was all available. The guy that doubled as the DJ kept on playing Olamide's songs from the Street OT album as it was the reigning album at that time. While most of us were vibing to the songs, there was this guy that kept on nagging about how the songs were trash, after about 10 mins, another fellow confronted him and an altercation ensued. We restored normalcy and chalked it to too much alcohol, ever since that day, the name "YBNL Soldier" was bestowed on the guy that stood up for Olamide at the party. YBNL, initials for Yahoo Boy No Laptop is the name of Olamide's record label that he founded. After the success of this album, he released yet another album in 2015, Eyan Mayweather, at this point, people started wondering if Olamide would ever go back to rap music. This album had excellent songs like "Melo Melo" which turned out to be Olamide's best attempt at a love song. I guess Olamide must have seen the comments from people complaining about how he had completely ditched rap music and as a way of compensating the fans that fell in love with him because of his rap he announced that his next album would be a rap album. Although I was excited about the news as I really couldn't wait to hear my favourite rapper do his thing again, I very well knew it was not a good idea. He had already made a switch from rap to singing just to please the Nigerian market, that didn't really fancy rap music, now he wants to switch back to rap from singing to please the people that love rap music by doing a whole rap album. He fulfilled his promise indeed with the release of his next album which he titled Glory. The album was nothing short of fire, he went all out with his rapping prowess, further establishing the fact that rap is really what he was made for but as expected, the album had a very poor commercial performance due to the fact that not many people like rap music in this part of the world. Realizing that he had taken a huge risk and might have offended some fans by delving away from what they love him doing, he released another album, Lagos Nawa as a form of apology and compensation to them but it turned out to be an over reach and an epic disappointment of an album. Lagos Nawa sounded nothing like his previous works and the album was the trashiest of them all.
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