With Pheelz behind the production of this album, Olamide drops an album for his main constituency – the streets.
Features- Buckwylla, Davido, Minus 2, Dammy Krane, Kay Switch, Aduke, Kidakudz, Tiwa Savage, Base One and Reminisce
Producers – I.D Cabasa, Tryone, Pheelz, Samklef and 2 Kriss
Record Label- YBNL Nation/1805 Entertainment
Running Time- 1 Hour, 19 minutes, 38 seconds
On the cover of Olamide’s second album, YBNL, his eyes are closed as if he is in deep thought or in a trance. He’s wearing a black leather jacket and a gold chain. With an all-black backdrop, his album cover signifies what Olamide is all about presently – a shiny symbol from the dark streets representing struggles, triumph, victory and hope.
Like a real Lagos hustler, money is the first thing on Olamide’s mind in the morning. He opens the album with ‘Money.’ On this track, Olamide lets us know that he is always in paper chase mode as he spits ‘mo le payan tori one Naira (I could kill someone because of one Naira)/messing with my money ain’t good for your health like cholera’. The YBNL phrase is a paradox of sorts. Olamide wants to be fly like a Yahoo boy, but he doesn’t want to be involved in the sending of scam e-mails. This contradiction is represented on the second track ‘F*cking With the Devil’. ‘Mi o se born again (I am not born again), I be gangsta‘ Olamide readily admits while claiming that he can hear angels calling.
He leans on the Lord on ‘Jesu O’ Kola‘ featuring Aduke as his support in a music industry that he believes has castigated him. ‘Oluwa ni champion (God is my champion)…no god father I wonder how he made it underground‘ raps Olamide.
Even though he loves the Lord, Olamide also loves the streets that raised him with vigour and passion. What does a young man do when the street life is the only life he knows? He embraces it. On ‘V.O.T.S’ (Voice of the Streets), Olamide channels the angst and chutzpah of young hustlers on the streets. He raps about his determination to blow, spiritual stunting – ‘eclipse flow nigga, mo so osan doru (I turned day to night)‘ and his divorce from poverty. On ‘Street Luv’ featuring Minus 2, Olamide reminisces about his street upbringing while reminding those that laugh at his humble background that Jesus came from the ghetto too.
Is Olamide the new messiah of Yoruba rap? Well, on YBNL he makes a strong case for himself. Lyrically, he doesn’t dwell on impressing with punchlines. His lyrics are from the heart, street oriented, boastful, dominant and peppered with urban slang. Does he remind of you a certain C.E.O yet? The self-proclaimed Young Erikina has definitely matured, not only in confidence, but in his ability to pen hits that will cross over into non South-Western states in Nigeria. The success of ‘First of All’ proves that.
‘Yarinya’ is a smooth track dedicated to appeal to radio and ladies. Olamide rides the whole track through and spits in English. ‘Ewo Idi’ is a rump shaking track where Olamide screams ‘work it!’ till he spazzes out. On these two tracks Olamide shows he has gotten better at singing. Unfortunately ‘Stupid Love’ doesn’t live up to these two songs, as it comes off as a generic attempt to make a ‘Naija’ hit track.
By the time this album is over, you get the feeling that Olamide has defeated his troubles and has come out a stronger and wiser man. ‘Jale’ sums up this triumphant feeling. Olamide thanks God for not allowing him steal after all he has been through. The song boasts of a white garment church-like chorus. It has hit potential written all over it and will most likely produce a new slang for Nigeria’s urban dictionary “swagoo baba e dripping (your father’s swagoo is dripping)”
Besides album fillers like ‘Picture’ and ‘Owotabua’, YBNL is a confident album with a lot of presence. Olamide stakes his claim in Nigeria’s Hip Hop scene, which normally pushes native tongue rappers down the ladder. YBNL is the proud work of a rapper who has emerged from the shadows of a hit making producer and a late Nigerian rap legend to stand in the spotlight and boldly show us what Nigerian rap has been missing for a while- the heartbeat of the streets.BADOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.MICVIC.ENT.