A-Q contradicts retirement with “Golden” – Emmanuel Daraloye

Nigerian rapper A-Q released Golden two months ago with no fanfare. While the exact description for the project remains elusive, a debate has ensued between A-Q and music critics –as he refutes their claim that it is an extended play (EP). But no matter,  fans have been relishing the project, if social media feedback is anything to go by. 

Golden is yet another rap intervention from A-Q, his second since he “retired” from music. After the release of his critically acclaimed God’s Engineering album, which won in the Best Rap Album category at the 14th Headies Awards, he worked alongside MI Abaga to produce, in a matter of days, The Live Report EP , but it would be safe to assume that the prospect of retirement is one that continues to lurk in his consciousness. This album is yet another testimony that retiremencontinues to t elude  A-Q who has plenty to say about #ENDSARS protest, feminism, class struggles, death, cancel culture, and other problems bedevilling Nigeria.

He unretires ever so often because Nigeria needs his music.

The project begins with “Abraham’s Blessing”  which features BabyboyParis hoisting the hook. Using the biblical Abraham as muse, A-Q compares the transformation he is experiencing  to that of Abraham. Think OG behaviour and you wont be far from the truth. The bible or stories from it always show up in his music.

A-Q also reflects on his past, connecting it with the present.With beef season of Hennessy/Martell cipher over, A-Q finds it easy to forklift brags out of his pocket: his most recent gem is that he got a the best rap album without releasing a single. 

Of course, that is gangster and he has earned gloating rights, plus he is a GOAT or at least in contention for it but he does not dwell too deeply on that.

In October 2020, #ENDSARS protest held across the country. It was not particularly a call for Revolution but for reform, specifically Police reform but the state responded with violence.  On “Shoot the messenger” , A-Q speaks from the point of view of a protester who died in the Lekki Massacre. The latest news is that there were more 90 bodies killed in that massacre. A-Q immortalizes the dead, energises the living and gives the government its well deserved middle finger.

A-Q pulls off brilliant collaborations with Wavy The Creator, Tomi Thomas, GoodgirlLa , and Oxlade but Chike’s hook on “Breath”  takes the trophy home. In a world powered by slangs, instead of shouting ‘E Choke’ like Davido, A-Q says “I Just Wanna Breath” while touching on friendship, camaraderie and  life.

A-Q  likens himself to a messiah, he reminds us of this on “HeLa”, a somber ditty, where he explores mortality. He pleads for more time to achieve his earthly mission before death strikes.

“System Failure”  is a nod to “Brave Heart”  off The Live Report. On this track A-Q raised questions on morality,  world powers, racism, nuclear weapons and terrorism. The choral background makes the song airy.

On the Sossick produced “Hardwired” , A-Q is on a self-introspection mode without the luxury of a chorus, he unleashes a talking spree and also opined that  he no longer raps but speaks. This, of course, is not well thought. Per rap is a product of speech, no? Thankfully moments like this are few on the project.

 “Read the room”  began with a cut from President Barack Obama’s speech where he addresses activism and freedom of speech. On his part, A-Q had words for cyber bullies, the cancel culture prevalent on Twitter. AQ seems to have subtly revealed why he doesn’t post often on social media.

God’s Engineering has been adjudged as A-Q’s critically acclaimed project, with Golden, A-Q seems to have topped that. With relevant themes,  cohesion, maturity and perfect A & R in collaborative choices, there is a factory work type ethic to the A-Q album.

We don’t know if this is an entirely good thing—be the judge of that!

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