#AlbumReview: How Afrobeats got ‘A Better Time’ on Davido’s latest album

Much fanfare had been generated because of Davido’s third studio album and on November 13th, the artiste, born David Adeleke, didn’t disappoint his global legion of fans with the scheduled release of A Better Time.

A Better Time comes on the back of last year’s A Good Time which hit a whopping one billion streams in just eight months after its release. AGT also contained some tracks which were certified platinum and gold in the United States and beyond. This meant that there was already a ridiculously high standard set by the singer himself and to continue on such wavelength would require a high level of consistency that only few could dream of in the music industry. 

A Better Time is then expected to be better and in terms of streaming numbers in the few days of the album’s public availability, the signs are incredibly good. ABT has reportedly amassed over 100 million streams in barely 3 days after its release and a billion streams may come sooner than it did for AGT.

In terms of music content, Davido retains the same number that worked for ABT – 17. The choice of FEM as the opening song is perhaps not surprising as recent interviews the US-born singer has granted have featured multiple claims of him being the “biggest” and “best” Afrobeats singer. FEM literally means ‘shut up’, a gesture of superiority to rivals. However, the song, given it predates the album, was picked up by #EndSARS protesters as they attempted to shush the government over high-handedness of security agents.

Another track which stands out is Holy Ground on which American rap star, Nicki Minaj is featured. Holy ground already has a million views in just 24 hours on YouTube and it’s shaping up to be the album’s biggest song. Nonetheless, as is characteristic of a typical Davido project, many songs will definitely be on playlists of music fans for a long time. 

Apart from Afrobeats, listeners are treated to elements of other genres such as South African House and Amapiano on Heaven and I got a friend tracks as singer Sho Madjozi gets a feature on ABT

While it is not in any way surprising to see the overflow of Afrobeats on Davido’s latest project, he deserves credit for the cross-overs and collaborations. It is not Davido trying to adapt to the style of foreign acts, it is the other way round. On Holy ground, in Nicki Minaj‘s opening line, one would be forgiven for mistaking her for Simi. It was typical Afro flow before she switched to the rap style she’s more popular for. 

Despite the presence of other American stars such as Young Thug, Nas, Lil Baby and Chris Brown, Davido does not go out of the line to accommodate them. Rather, you hear hooks sung in pidgin and Grammy winners bent to the will of Afrobeats. 

Also, the ‘rhyme game’ of the album is top-notch which indicates painstaking attention to songwriting. And, lyrics wise,  the gap between Davido and typical Naira Marley is just a mile of euphemism. 

However, it is surprising to see that Mayorkun is the only member of the DMW gang to feature on the album. It is not in doubt that Mayorkun is probably the most in-form after Davido but others could use some boost with a cameo on the album.  Also, the album cover art which features Davido’s son, Ifeanyi, also seems to be more of emotional marketing than content reflection as no track on the album was dedicated to family life or the little boy.

Overall, with A Better Time, Davido appears to have achieved the often spiny balance between doing Afrobeats and making international appeal with the blend of songs and features.

While outdoing a globally acclaimed album such as A Good Time was always going to be a daunting task, A Better Time represents a commendable attempt from the singer who looks forward to celebrating his 28th birthday in the same grand style his album has been climbing charts.

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