Away And Beyond Album Review
He needs no introductions; he’s done that Face 2 Face (2004). He came a long way from humble beginnings; of which he intimated us with in Grass 2 Grace (2007). In an era of which the Nigerian music industry was rapidly evolving; this trailblazer demonstrated his consistency with a message to his contemporaries with The Unstoppable (2008). He’s got the recognition and accolades home and abroad with the release of The Unstoppable Int. Edition (2010).
This album was about his maturity, his independence. On the album cover, he’s crispy embellished in a Sweet Suite. A subliminal message of this aspect of him. The first album from his own record Hypertek Entertainment. Indeed an amiable musical career. He’s flying Away&Beyond.
Here’s my track-by-tracks review of each song
1. Higher (Spiritual Healing) Feat Huma Lara The project introduction both lyrically and musically. A steady, thoughtful and well crafted poetic track. The Indian (supposedly) vocals of Huma Lara perfectly gave it a soulful, spiritual sprinkling.
2. Omo T’osan A beautiful lady. How would one express the beauty of a lady? Let the master show us how. The production on this one was fresh and creative. Lyrically, he hooked me with the hook; kept it simple with a mix of the English and Idoma. An enjoyable steady song. If sounds had taste, this one was *** and crisp.
3. Bother You Feat Terry Tha Rapman On a complex mix of instruments beautifully interwoven into a classic; the lyrics rather stood out. On a topic frequently touched on, he still deftly displayed his lyrical adeptness. Terry tha Rapman crafted this one with tight choppy flows. A massage for her: Don’t let hearsay bother you!
4. Spellbound In reflection of his reggae influences; this one had a raga feel. Fans of that sound angle would love this. A little too choppy on the drum loops and off the total build of the feeling the album was reflecting.
5. Steady Steady This one got me dancing to a serious message. If you’ve been crying for messages in current songs, this groovy one’s for you. Simple lyrics that leave room for every listener to pick a meaning. While avoiding the cliché lyrics on most dance tracks, the maestro once again displayed his lyrical virtuoso….. “if I sell tomato and you sell tomato, na de same tomato”
6. Dance In The Rain If you’re hungry, eat. If you are tired, sleep. If something is funny, laugh. If you feel like dancing, play a dance track. What if I feel like chilling and listening to something cool? That’s where this track comes in. A masterfully crafted one; a good song structure; where he mixed his lyrics with a poetic style. Either out of a long experience of composing songs or from having a sixth sense of how songs should be created, there was a reflection of supreme musical adeptness to this one. Won’t be long forgotten; an enjoyable classic.
7. In Your Eyes A bold and brave step musically. I got the impression this track was born out of how incomplete this album would be without a political statement… “I C... Some politicians dem looting; some police dem shooting”. I’d call this one a creative experiment; listen carefully between these poetic lines.
8. Freedom Is Life Both in sound and context; this was about the abstract idea of freedom. Lyrics contained a message especially for his Idoma brethren; another inkling of this being a filler track, one to make the count. You’d agree with me that you’ve heard better from him.
9. Rainbow Most songs on this album embraced the abstract and deeper poetic angles of his creativity. A love song? Got the impression the beats did not match the lyric. Probably another one to make the count.
10. Dance Floor Probable a lyrical inspiration of MJ’s Blood on the dance floor; the string in the background gave it a South African flower; with the impression this one was for his international fans. It snacked of a weak version of ‘Enter the place’. For a dance track? He could have done better.
11. Keep On Pushing If you’ve been enduring the last 4 tracks, this was the refresh button. Up tempo, this was arguably the hit of the album. His ability to pour a message laced lyric over slick, sweet, enjoyable dance production should not be underestimated here. “Dem no de learn finish, nobody holy pass”. This is your early morning caffeine. The track you put on repeat. The trailblazer again set a new height for his contemporaries with this spicy one.
12. Ihe Neme A high tempo progression; which I could not place on steady or dance. Immigrative lyrics that kept it Nigerian with his linguistic powers of using more than one local tongue. Something will happen, but I wasn’t really feeling it.
13. O.N.O (Omo No Dulling) Feat Dammy Krane and Rocksteady. Another one to dance to. Though a clicked loop sequence of the popular dance tracks, a background melody gave it a unique signature. Featured were two of his Hypertek Soldiers Dammy Krane and Rocksteady who held their own but not lyrically though. This album would not be complete if we did not hear a line like; “give you what your body is wanting”.
14. Bad Man, Bad Girl Feat Becca This was the first feminine feature of this album. A steady cool beat a slight high flavor. A laid-back track, vocally impressive. Those who would love this one would have the beats as their attachment.
15. Chemical Reaction Feat Naeto C. As an exit track, it failed to meet my expectations. The beats were too choppy, Naeto C still did justice as a reflection of his lyrical competence with his sleek, cool delivery. Just another fill-in-track. It was an enjoyable one with its ups and downs.
An album you fall in love with after each listen. Though in the acres of his creative freedom, it gives the impression he could do better than this.