Skales Is Not Man of The Year

For the introductory skit to his ‘Man of the Year’ album (a title borrowed from one of Phyno’s songs), Skales also borrows Do-2d-tun straight out of Olamide’s magnum opus, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth. An album that curiously begins in copycat mode clearly cares nothing for originality, obviously.

Skales, acronym for Seek Knowledge Acquire Large Entrepreneurial Skills, is a self-professed seeker. He rummages through other people’s materials and acquires them to make his own hits. In his latest album, he gives himself a laurel for his efforts in his titling of the album.

‘Man of the Year’ is about aggregating sounds of potential hits under an umbrella but Skales fails to realize that this is not a rainy season. Plus, people don’t get accolades for appropriating other people’s tendencies.

Make no mistakes: Skales is a competent singer; his song writing and delivery is at par, if not slightly above average from inception. Regrettably, he has always failed to distinguish himself as a personalized brand of African rhythms biting into Hip-Hop ethos.

Reekado Banks of Mavin Records, Ice Prince, Burna Boy, Phyno, Davido OBO, Olamide YBNL, Victoria Kimani of Chocolate City amongst others lend him their voices for his twenty track album to which he was generous enough to add two bonus tracks, the English and French versions of his biggest hit, Shake Body for Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

He is alone on eight tracks— ‘What’s Up’ and ‘I am for Real’ stand apart as sterling tracks but their successes cannot be attributed to Skales. For instance, ‘What’s Up’ starts off with him styling his verses after Jazzman Olofin of the ‘Raise Your Roof’ fame. ‘I am for Real’ borrow its beat from R.Kelly’s ‘Slow Wind Remix’ and the lyrical phrasing is straight out of ‘If It’s Lovin’ That You Want’, a song on Rihanna’s debut album Music of the Sun. ‘I’m A Winner’, the first song on the album, sounds like Crunk with a decent dose of Naija optimism. In ‘Always’, he briefly references D’banj’s ‘Fall in Love’ from The Entertainer album.

An allocutus can almost be made on behalf of Skales that no idea is original. Yes, no idea is original but Nas also opines further in that eponymous song from his The Lost Tapes—which Skales hasn’t listened to because he did not borrow from—that it is not what you do, but how it’s done.

Besides not breathing his brand of originality into these songs, Skales did not list his references on his album sleeve. Clearly history is not exerting teacher in the Nigerian musicscape if one refers to 2Face’s song, Flex where he controversially “claimed” to have featured R. Kelly himself.

The lack of originality does not make these songs abysmally bad but it also doesn’t save them from the mediocrity that is the rule with contemporary Nigerian songs. Skale’s music is melodious, his lyrical phrasing is quite delightful, the beats from his producers (mostly Jaypizzle) are charming—the finished product will not leave a dance floor unattended but neither will it leave a lasting impression. ffff

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