Album review: Could Ajebutter 22’s ‘Anytime soon’ be the sound of the future?

by Wilfred Okiche

Ajebutter22...

The sound of the local urban music landscape has been pretty much defined these past few years. From 2face Idibia and the Plantashun Boys, Eedris Abdulkareem and the Remedies down to the teeny bopping swagger of the Wizkids and the Davido’s, it has been a safe accepted style to today’s pop music. Someone obviously did not send this memo to Ajebutter 22. His breakout single Omo pastor with BOJ is a witty, stylish send up to the children of righteous men all over the world. You know the type, those black sheep who have made up their minds to put their pious parents to shame with their every action. Easy on the ears, with a fresh style and new attitude, Ajebutter 22 growled his way to attention.

His debut album ‘Anytime soon’ made a splashy debut when it topped the Nigerian and UK iTunes chart, relegating madam Beyonce’s hush hush new album to a lower position. On the opening number Humble guy, Ajebutter immediately states his cases, narrating his rise from music fan to potential game changer. He slurs, “just dey make tracks that all sounds the same that drives me insane, I swear its getting boring” and makes clear his intentions of standing out from the pack of zombies. He also speaks for a whole generation of kids inspired by the raging successes of Wizkid and Davido when he asks “Why will I strive and do 9 to 5 when singing the rhymes will get me more profit?”, immediately aligning himself with the cool kids.

The 16-track album produced almost entirely by Studio magic has the breezy sound and the feel of something fresh, something exciting but where it could have broken new grounds sonically had the producers been more daring, it stays within safe limits. Ajebutter blurs the increasingly hard to differentiate lines between rapping and singing and rewards listeners with an effort that scores points for daring to be different.

The music is dancey, trance at times and can be played in the clubs as much as they can be enjoyed while cruising down the freeway. He betrays his age a number of times and appears to be fixated at the teenage years, what with the number of songs that begin with the word omo (Yoruba for child). Apart from the popular Omo pastor, there is Omo mummy and Omo Ibo with Wizboy. With Wizboy, he tries to please the Easterners and crafts a sweetened contemporary highlife ditty that is sure to get the job done. This highlife mix is a constant in making today’s pop album and it is the only assign shown here that Ajebutter is aware of current trends in music making.

Songs like Dancing competition, Okafor’s Law and Celebrate in advance and the previously released  Senrenre showcase Ajebutter’s brilliance with their laser light sounds and futuristic synths. His songs are for the thinking youth. He is wise beyond his age on the slow relationship number What are we now as he tries to figure out the nature of his relationship with a paramour.

The drawback of all this is that the whole album tends to give up a monotonous vibe as song after song blurs into the next with hardly anyone standing out of the pack. It makes the disc easier to play at once without skipping a track but eliciting another breakout hit single might be a task for the young man.

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