Odunsi’s EP “Everything You Heard is True” is the Truth – Dami Ajayi
Odunsi is still the name to drop, especially in the alte circuit.
Oh yes, that off-kilter bougie sub-genre of contemporary Nigeria music, synonymous with breezy Lagos Island, has had its sun tan.
More than music, more than attitude or an affectation, now an aptitude honed with finesse as an elegant brand, the alte marked even with its own diacritic, has been returned to what it used to be, a way of life that got a lease of life, a blip on the mainstream. All the same, it remains a vibe. And Odunsi is still without a doubt its piston.
It has been a few years since his astounding LP album, rare. But Odunsi does not strike you like one to skive. This may be the inspiration behind logging output with Everything You Heard Is True. A title that may have been adapted from a novel or memoir title, it is as catchy as the tunes it introduces.
Seven tracks lasting fourteen minutes is a new record by streaming standards. Calling this an EP requires bending what Extended Play used to mean. But, then again, Odunsi has always been one to defy labels.
Think of this EP as some kind of smorgasbord, or small chops if you favour local metaphors, and you will not be wrong. It is difficult to reflect on Everything You Heard is True without deploying that woke and alte-savvy term, vibe.
It is all vibe and sonic vibrations. From the syrupy croons to the dreamy hypnotic soundbites, Odunsi is at the vanguard of Alte music avant-gardism. He stays relevant pushing the sound in that dreamy destination and as you listen you get the sense that the lagoon is an influence as far as atmospheric flair is concerned. And even though the music is forward moving, there is the retro undertow of disco, the airy hypnosis of psychedelia, propelled by the defiant percussion of trap music, all frilled with the tenderness, warmth and vulnerability of rhythm and blues.
Most of the songs on this project reflect on love at best and lust at worst. There is an uncanny tendency for epiphany and abject love idling at crossroads. Odunsi enlists help on several tracks. Maison 2500 is that frequent collaborator on ‘wicked, sexy!’ and ‘PDA’ all styled with textual inconsistency requiring the emphatic exclamation mark.
If there is a standout track, it may be ‘body count’ featuring Amaarae, Deto Black, Gigi Atlantis. The magic of the track lies in the dreamy artmosphere it evokes and the deadpan hook: don’t worry about your body count/let your body bounce.
Sitting at the cusp of sex, disco and dance, it is a rap song about bodies and, wait for it, body count. In a sense, the title project may be about sex, or about music as foreplay. But it is all niche, avant-garde and alternative leaning at its core.
Odunsi continues to push the envelope forward creatively. And even if ‘Everything You Heard is True’ is not that rare thing, there is evidence aplenty that work is ongoing. It all feels a bit snippet-y, dreamy and interrupted but it is Odunsi striving towards perfection and showing workings—and that will suffice as artistic truth.