Home Album Reviews ALBUM REVIEW: “UNRULY” BY OLAMIDE

ALBUM REVIEW: “UNRULY” BY OLAMIDE

by 234 Homeboy

Olamide hasn’t lost any of his celebrity status from when he had the streets eating out of his hand, finished an album trifecta, and won the Headies Album of the Year award three times. The trio of Eskeez, Magic Sticks, and Olamide produced an intriguing sonic experiment

The entire community knew that YBNL’s top boss had an album in the works, but there needed to be more PR about it. Perhaps Olamide stepped back so his protege, Asake, could grasp the fullness of the limelight he earned last year. “Unruly” has been in the works for a while, there were some doubts about it. He withheld it for a while and the release date was altered several times. However, after being advanced one final time, it was eventually released.

With the release of his eighth album, “Carpe Diem,” in 2020, Olamide ceased caring about popular songs. Despite the album’s three smash singles, “Infinity,” “Loading,” and “Triumphant,” his artistry underwent a noticeable shift.
Olamide would underline this change in his ninth album, “UY Scuti,” replacing the hard-spitting bars with easygoing flows and the fast-paced, party-starting sounds with more mid-tempo Pop arrangements.

Olamide, who holds the distinction of functioning at the pinnacle of the industry as both an artist and a label head, brags about himself on his 10th album, “Unruly,” in the stereotypical boss-like fashion. A deeper look at ‘Unruly’ reveals Olamide’s brave foray into primordial urges, tantalizing fetishes, unashamed profanities, and a faint touch with nihilism. However, for fans of the wisdom of the streets, a small tinge of dissatisfaction may be felt when ‘Unruly’ deviates from the direction of a deliberate or pedagogic collection. Indeed, Olamide himself issued a clarion appeal to all ears before to the album’s release.

Only new-generation artists—including his own Asake, Fireboy, ckay, Rema, and Bnxn—are featured on the album’s 15 songs. Two pre-released singles, “New Religion,” and “Trumpet,” were also used to support it. On their separate features, the new school artists demonstrated their talents and established themselves as generational talents.

So it’s no surprise that Unruly begins with a mellow single titled “Celebrate”, where Olamide…well…celebrates. It’s a good approach to start an album like this. “Celebrate “has all of the makings of a nighttime hit in Nigeria. It’s a song you want to listen to with your favorite drink, surrounded by your favorite people, he talks of lavish champagne lifestyles, insatiable fetishes, and eventually, basking in his success. It’s a wonderfully peaceful song, made much better by the amazing saxophone performance.

Asake’s influence must have rubbed off on Baddo during their long hours in the studio, as evidenced by his mid-tempo progression on the Log drum-driven ‘Jinja’ and his flow scheme on ‘Problem’.

On this album, Olamide demonstrated noteworthy shapeshifting. Aside from Asake’s Amapiano influence, the legendary rapper’s flow scheme in ‘Come Alive’ and ‘Supplier’ is extremely similar of British-Gambia Rap sensation J Hus. In ‘Doom,’ his flows are influenced by Ice Spice, a 2023 global smash star, and Big Shaq, a British rapper-comedian.

Due to its melodic structures, the midtempo song “Problem” is delightful and easy to remember, but it is one of those tracks that has a hard time fitting anywhere on the album. Eskeez, a producer of music, is Unruly’s most important sound contributor; he contributed to more than five of the album’s fifteen tracks. His abilities, along with Olamide’s customary antics, are helpful in the fast-paced “Gaza.” Eskeez also contributes to the next song, “Doom,” but this time he collaborates with Magicsticks.

The song “Gaza” brings the mood to the streets. Olamide raps about chameleon pals who are fast to shift colors when the grass is green and the difficulties of coming of age. This song should begin receiving widespread exposure in all of Lagos’ neighborhoods in the upcoming months.

Olamide experiments with Drill, or AfroDrill in this case, and the resultant song “Doom” is quite good. In order to prevent the version from seeming like a clumsy first try at a genre-bend crossover, the rapper finds a way to spice it up. He cautions about the fatal implications of ruining his vibe while rapping about obtaining the bread and getting dirty with the wicked bitches. But you hear Ice Spice in his cadence.

His collaborations with BNXN, Fireboy, and Rema have resulted in productions that are synonymous with the guest artists’ talent. On the love song ‘Come Alive,’ BNXN delivers an over-flogged melody, but Olamide’s swaggering J Hus-like flow injects some excitement. Fireboy finds some amazing pockets on ‘Shibebe,’ and Rema exhibits an impressive but tiring range on the Highlife-infused ‘Mukulu,’ with Olamide shifting to fit in with the artists on both albums.

Of course, the album’s top feature was CKay, who gave a strong vocal performance on the song “Trumpet”. I relate this to the theory that he might have contributed in some way to the track’s mixing as a producer. This is a perfect song.

In songs like ‘Life Goes On,’ ‘Hardcore,’ and ‘No Worries,’ he leans into his elements and delivers commanding rap verses without resorting to sonic shapeshifting, creating the familiarity needed for listeners to resonate with him.

“Street Jam” closes the record, reminding you of old Olamide and a little bit of Dagrin. The rapper dedicates the track to the streets, talking about the hustling and the never-ending pursuit of paper.

In summary, Olamide’s highly anticipated 10th album is a project that neither offers excitement nor disappoints as Baddo has spent the past three years laying the groundwork to prepare. ‘Unruly,’ while its superb production and aural and thematic coherence, lacks the rawness and soul that Olamide used to win fans’ hearts. His major fan base consists of individuals whose youth he soundtracked with his Street-hop tracks and astounding rap attacks, and they will never accept this Popstar version of him.

Ratings: /10

  • 0-1.9: Flop
  • 2.0-3.9: Near fall
  • 4.0-5.9: Average
  • 6.0-7.9: Superstar
  • 8.0-10: Legend

234HB Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.5/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1/2
Production: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1/2
Execution: 1.5/2
Total: 6.5 – Superstar

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