Asake’s “Mr Money with the Vibe” goes above and beyond vibes – Abdul-jabbar Obiagwu

The release of Mr. Money with The Vibe began a chain reaction of unprecedented artistic success for the 27- year-old Lagos native. Backed by YBNL Records, the album does not feel like it was released in September, rather it feels like it occurred in the first quarter of 2022.

With production from Magicsticks, the record’s direction is specific enough to keep listeners engaged for the 30-minute runtime. Asake incorporates Amapiano, Fuji and Apala music to achieve a sense of cohesion throughout the album. This is a big reason behind Mr. Money with The Vibe’s innate replay value.

Starting off with ‘Dull’ an anthem regarding his inability to be caught slipping, he establishes his story with the adlib “tune into the king of the sounds and blues” and brings in the choir for the first refrain of the project.

The album engages the first gear with ‘Terminator’ and bleeds into ‘Organise’, two of the project’s biggest hits. The former is an unassuming love song with a display of inner-city affection serving as the bridge and lyrical dexterity through the verses. The latter exhibits Asake’s songwriting talent. While the lyrics do not immediately allude to anything, a closer listen reveals thoughtfulness. ‘Dupe’ and ‘Muse’ are great examples of Asake’s ability to create sleeper hits out of nothing. The first directly translates to “give thanks” which is the clearest description of the record’s dominant emotion while the second is a covert expression of affection in coy riddles.

The reappearance of ‘Joha’ with updated production after its release over five years ago reveals the futureproof nature of Asake’s efforts – the record holds up immaculately well after five years. It is also the halfway mark for the project where Asake introduces more introspective lyrics and themes over the course of ‘Nzaza’, ‘Ototo’ and ‘Reason’. Over the three-song run, Asake and Magicsticks also decide against Amapiano in a bid to mellow out the album.

Representing the second feature on the project, Russ’ verse on ‘Reason’ is a nod to Asake’s ability to share the spotlight while maintaining peak star status. ‘Ototo’ describes the pros of individualism and self sufficiency as Asake sings “ototo sha la waye sha, carry your own I no get stamina”.

The project closes with two club bangers, ‘Sunmomi’ and the ‘Sungba Remix’ featuring Burna Boy. While album lengths have shrunk in the last five years, this is one of the occasions where brevity represents economy. Over the course of 12 songs (10 new ones and two singles), Asake and Magicsticks deliver a statement piece.

With spiritually charged songs delivered in an updated Fuji vocal technique, backed by improvisation ad libs that would make the Migos proud, Asake is at the heights of his powers.

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