Orezi’s long-awaited album is here finally, after a series of postponement and
often define their own journeys but while we waited for a robust body of work
from the slight, punk-wearing artist who transformed Rihanna from an international
diva to a local metaphor for sexy, singles, like homing birds, kept our
airwave was agog every so often with new hits that demanded improvisational
dance. One of such was the Shoki dance which, sixteen months later, is still
catching fire from Nembe to Nairobi. With the Shoki dance, there was a controversy
on ownership between Lil’ Kesh and Orezi. By far the more popular and clearly
the poster song for Shoki is the Lil Kesh’s All Stars remix with a delectable
black and white video. So persuasive is it as a cardinal point in African
contemporary dance that a shirtless May-D-looking Orezi could hardly match up
with his rather mid-tempo Shoki song. Truth be told, dance instructional songs
have a mind of their own: you can bring a dance to the song or bring a song to
dance, but you cannot be sure which will catch fire. Orezi is lucky. His attention
to imminent patterns on the way to becoming trends almost paid off. For every
successful Shoki and Alanta song, there is a heap of acoustic misfortunes in
the graveyard of silence.
the twenty-track Ghen Ghen album begins with assertions about perfect timing,
takeovers and territorial markings with a pseudo-track, “Asiko”. It
subsequently lurches into a medley of dance songs about big beats, wiggling big
behinds and songwriting that tilt towards buffoonery. At the risk of peddling a
single story, the defining quality of contemporary Nigerian music is that it is
dance-oriented, night-club profiteering and self-praise indulging. In the course
of this album, Orezi anoints himself as a major force, anoints beautiful women
with a generous spread of buttocks to respond to his music while the listener
becomes the onlooker.
Perhaps when our musicians become less egotistical in the entire span of their albums and more absorbed in the rudiments of their music, they may foster headway in energizing their sounds. This egotism does not even diminish on songs with featured acts. Orezi’s album features a slew of bigwigs—Davido, Flavour, MI, Wizkid, Timaya, 9ice and Iceprince. This qualifies this album as one of the most anticipated albums of the year, alongside albums by Wande Coal, Wizkid as well as Iyanya.
humour in songs like “Maserati” is double-edged. It is unclear whether he is channeling
the Ace Hood’s Bugatti song or the Adult Film darling. Either way, his
influence is bearably American. “Shuperu” echoes 90s dance music, but slightly
adapted to a contemporary Nigerian mode. A trope that runs through all these
songs is dance. If Sean Tizzle’s debut album was the dance album of last year,
Orezi’s Ghen Ghen is putting in an early application for this year.
Your Hustle” enjoys melodious percussions reminiscent of Juju music. It is
noteworthy that though Orezi from Delta-state (Isoko tribe) he uses Yoruba
language proficiently and his album is unmistakably South-western in its
cultural aesthetics. To define Orezi’s genre is yet another conundrum: his
sound oscillates between Dancehall ragga and Afrobeats, whilst being energized
by a battery of influences that varies from hip-hop to highlife to soukous. In
some ways, it is a Wayne Wonder meets an overman archetype of D’Banj.