Who the f*ck is CKay? (Revisited)- Dami Ajayi

Those with retentive memory may remember the controversial and heated episode of Pulse’s flagship podcast, Loose Talk, where MI and Loose Kaynon came to clear the air about certain concerns with the three hosts of the show.

Within a spirited argument the lead anchor, Osagie Alonge, blurted, “who the f*ck is Ckay?”

I have a few questions of my own.

 Is Ckay 22 and getting it?

Is Ckay a singer, songwriter and music producer?

Ckay may be Koker’s replacement but Rema is definitely his nemesis. It might have been appropriate to call him Chocolate City’s response to Mavin’s Rema but for an obvious anachronism: Ckay came first. And this may have inspired his tepid album title, Ckay The First.

Chukwuma Ekwuani is definitely asserting territorial rights even if the irony is that Rema blew first. Hence, his syrupy, hypnotic and low-tempo falsetto would only remind you of another. This is not entirely bad; the race for those who will take over the baton from the trio of Olamide, Davido and Wizkid has only just begun. Again those with an apetite for history will remember how Shaydee, Wizkid and Skales began.

Already, there is a crew of contenders. Rema is by far the youngest. He has got age on his side, a babyface and a gift for meandering between styles. T-Classic has got that indigenous  touch on lockdown. Fireboy DML has already made good his threat, encroaching into Adekunle Gold’s territory and Joeboy is seducing en masse with his sultry vocals.

Ckay has now thrown his hat in the ring with his guest-studded 8-track 23-minute record. He features Boj, Blaqbonez, Barry Jhay and DJ Lambo on four separate tracks then holds it down all by himself on the other four tracks.

The album starts with an eye-popping proposition. Slow beats dredge sultry vocals on the seeming harmless song, ‘dtf’ until you find out what this acronym stands for. ‘love nwantiti’ (also called ‘ah ah ah’) has got nothing to do with Nelly Uchendu. It is punishingly low-tempo and features a lot of uvula retracting ‘ah’. Sadly this song did not have its tonsils looked at by an Artist & Repertoire person.

Thankfully ‘kalukuta’ borrows from Fela Kuti’s “Beasts of No Nation’. Although neither the steely protest nor optimistic Pan-Africanism gets sampled, there is a delightful horn trailing in and out of this song, covering all nocturnal activities between partying and police posts.

‘way’ leaves  us with a verdict that Ckay is not wary of originality; he is not interested in doing anything differently from his Afrobeat forebears and peers. Indeed his is also a dance music about self-praise, expensive automobiles and liquor, beautiful and coquettish ladies who will consume you or be consumed as some form of material indemnity. DJ Lambo’s role in this song is somewhere between negligible and questionable.

‘ski ski’ is a little bit of the same old same old. It is wondrous to release EP songs that manage to sound like a medley spool. Ckay samples Mafizikolo’s ‘Khona’ to tell the story of one sketchy woman, ‘Angelina’. One is reminded of Rex Lawson’s ‘Angelina Pay My Money’, even though this ditty moves in a diametrically opposite direction to that Grammy deserving Rex Lawson song.

‘oliver kahn’ returns us to lovey dovey mode with some Afrobeat inflections. It is delightful to hear the hoarse but silky Boj even if his appearance doesn’t save the song from its mediocrity.

‘like to party’ is nothing like Burna Boy’s smash hit whose title it shares. Of course, it is vibey in its own right and Blaqbonez switches on his insouciant trap side even though a well-crafted 16 bars from him may have saved this song, who knows?

‘beeni’ features Sikiru Ayinde Barrister’s musical heir, Bharry Jay. It feels like they saved the best for the last. The song-writing could be a bit more circumspect but the beauty in Jay’s melody alters the mood of the entire album.

A different track organisation should have put this song in the middle as some kind of lumbar spine instead of the coccyx where it is located.

Ckay The First is Ckay throwing himself into a departing train. His last minute effort feels punishingly mediocre for someone who has arrived late to the party.

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