With “Carpe Diem” Olamide serves a Riposte to “999” – Dami Ajayi

With a dainty album cover styled like an adaptation of The Last Supper painting, Olamide sits gallantly holding court in the company of four beautiful women, issuing a plume of smoke, as he seizes the day – Carpe Diem. Olamide’s second record in 2020–it might be his own riposte to his underwhelming 999 released earlier in the year.

At 12 tracks, it is only three tracks longer than the numerically apt 999—and, in a sense, it is a typical Olamide year after all. Prior to this release in batches, he would issue a 20-something track album typically in November.

But one month early does not mean much has changed about the Olamide shtick. Carpe Diem belongs to Lamba music which may be a bigger subset to subsume his Wobey sound. Lamba music, essentially, is about feeling good and that mood is reflected, even in the album title.

Beginning with an auspicious brag ‘Another Level’ is quite underwhelming. Olamide has been adored for his opening songs. Even on Eyan Mayweather, an album that endured more singing than rapping, the opening track was a pugilistic rap anthem, with Olamide flexing his lyrical muscles. ‘Another Level’ may be an empty brag but the album begins to delight from ‘Green Light’, another interesting song in his discography.

The Olamide of Street OT was nailed for his ‘Story for the Gods’ which summarily valorised date rape and deprived females of agency. Perhaps maturity has set in, on ‘Green Light’ Olamide finally sings about consent. It may not be as explicit as dotted lines but it is everything but implicit; the traffic light metaphor is probably as conspicuous as it can get.

Omah Lay assists with the hook on ‘Infinity’, a mild mid-tempo still about lamba—infinity is an exaggeration on playtime. The album revels in sexual innuendoes that continue to be replicated to suit different scenarios.

‘Eru’ is an onomatopoeic ode to voluptuousness. ‘Do Better’, on the long run, is also about sexual prowess; ditto for ‘Chimichanga’ and ‘Shilalo’.

‘Loading’ features Bad Boy Timz and explores the recipes for disaster, drugs and sex. ‘Unconditionally’ is a tad decent—with Peruzzi sounding unusually like Victor AD while still delivering a love song that does not revel in sex.

‘Triumphant’ stands out as the Anifowoshe moment, where Olamide reflects on his personal difficulties in coming to terms with the loss of his parents. It also stands apart from the album as one of the moments he displays vulnerability. Bella Shmurda seemed to have a good handle of the hook, even if his belly-gazing hardly serves the song.

Carpe Diem is a pastiche of Olamide’s finest moments yoked by his latter-day confidence and  earnestness and low moments.

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