Nine years ago, Toni Kan reviewed Davido’s debut album – O.B.O The Genesis. For an album that received ‘mostly negative reviews ‘Mr. Kan’s review now appears to have been uncannily prescient with his final summation – “the young man has produced and delivered an album that acquits him well, one that shows that he is here to stay.”
With news this week that Davido’s hit single “If” has been certified Gold in the US and with him making it into Time Magazine’s ‘2021 TIME100 Next’ list of influential people we return to that album review and what, in essence, is Davido’s rise to global stardom.
Releasing an album is a tricky thing, especially in this age of singles and music videos.
First off: a full album exposes the artist to scrutiny the way singles do not. Secondly, in an era where musical artists become bona fide superstars and millionaires to boot on the strength of one or two singles (think MI, Davido, Ice Prince, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and many more) a debut album is beginning to feel a lot like a sophomore outing.
And that is the feeling you get as you start listening to the songs on Davido’s debut album, O.B.O The Genesis.
The 17 track album sounds very familiar in places, leaving you with a heavy feeling of deja vu especially with tracks like Ekuro, Overseas, Back When and Dami Duro. These were songs that were on heavy rotation on radio, songs that burned up charts on television and made millionaires of bootleggers.
Listening to the album, I am not sure who decided that All of You should be the first track on the album, but whoever did deserves an award. The choice works, the song is lovely.
The song’s mid-tempo beat sucks you in, teasing and moving your feet and it does help that, for once, we can really hear what Davido is saying.
New Skul Tinz, which features frequent collaborator Sina Rambo and B Red, doesn’t quite hit the mark. The only thing I like about the song is Sina Rambo biting Big Pun’s classic line: I’m not a player, but I crush a lot.
But track four, Video, makes up for New Skul Tinz. Produced by Maleek Berry, it is a beauty. Something about it makes you want to dance. The pace is measured, Davido’s voice is clear and the lyrics are silly and funny at once.
She wants to ride me like a rodeo/She want my car/She want my keys/she says she want to chop me like an oreo/Why you dey form long story o/You wan’ attend my burial ceremony o.
There is an almost imperceptible dancehall feel to it that just screams “get on the dance floor”. This one is a definite club banger.
In Enter the Center, Davido pulls a Terry G on us. If he was aiming for street-cred and followership, this doesn’t fly and when he goes I want to nack her, nack her. He sounds like Terry G with a hangover.
Gbon Gbon is another club banger for sure. The ladies are going to love this one for its catchy groove that just makes you want to shake it all off.
Davido may be a debutant, but he has enough star power to attract major names like Naeto C, Ice Price and 2Face. His song with Ice Price has a high life feel to it. Omo Baba Olowo displays some artistry on the Afrobeat inflected song produced by Jay Sleek.
The song, Mary Jane works a double entendre from start to finish. On the surface and to the non-initiate, it is simply a song about a bad girl, but what the song is in reality is a paean, an ode to Marijuana aka Mary Jane.
Listening to this song you can actually visualise Davido dancing, his hands beating the air, his head cocked at an angle.
When Davido sings with 2Face, you get a sense of a young man paying tribute to a legend. There is something solemn, something akin to a benediction.This song underlines Maleek Berry’s production wizadry. His two tracks on this album are about the best. Davido’s delivers a killer line: For Las Gidi/ na we be Will and Jada.
But listening to 2Face sing, the nagging feeling persists that their vocals were recorded at different studios.
Davido had a good run on the strength of just two mega hit singles, Damiduro and Back When, and I suspect that there would have been some apprehension as he prepped his full album.
But apprehension be damned, the young man has produced and delivered an album that acquits him well, one that shows that he is here to stay.
The production is sharp, he manages to slow the pace of his rapid fire delivery and delivers songs that would tear up dance floors and steam up car windows
As Naeto C rapped on Back When, Je un soke, Omo Baba Olowo!!!