2000NProphecy is the new album by rapper and hypeman, Prophecy aka Rap Ojukwu. If you have never heard of him it is because Prophecy has spent the bulk of his career in the rap underground and in the background where he commands sufficient levels of respect.
In any case, his eleven-track 2000NProphecy, while unlikely to set the mainstream charts afire, is certain to attract wider attention to his work and talent.
2000NProphecy opens with Picture me Blowin, where Prophecy makes a big show of stomping through his enemies. Prophecy’s hype skills come in handy in service of himself as he plays up his strengths, career longevity and manages the compulsory commercial rap diss. As boisterous rap singles go, it is far from novel and ends just about you start warming up to it but Prophecy’s energy is infectious enough that it works with the mid-tempo beats that his rhymes are laid over.
This zeal is carried over into Flawless, a modest charmer that has the rapper tracing his influences back to everyone from KRS-One to Rakim and Talib Kweli. He cannot quite resist the urge to throw some disses at rappers he considers not up to scratch. But even without the attempts at creating tension, Prophecy is an interesting enough MC and his delivery top notch. His rhyming is also evocative, creating easily accessible imagery that can appeal to different types of audiences.
He might identify strictly with the OGs but on L.O.B, Prophecy isn’t above flirting with trendier trap sounds. For this wishful thinking exercise, he is assisted by Floss & Boss DJ Yo Sir. L.O.B’s companion sonically and thematically has to be the MC Blinks assisted Mulla. Prophecy raps menacingly about not toying with his money and getting what he’s owed. Perhaps, it is instructive that on these most radio-friendly of tracks, Prophecy is unwilling to go it alone. The records on 2000NProphecy, just like another MC Blinks collaboration Virus 19 are designed for maximum streaming value, what with their obvious influences, concise running times and easy listening set up.
In the Ghetto, a mid-tempo rumination on hustling and living on the wrong side of town attracts a solid brief verse from Vector, the biggest star to lend his voice to 2000NProphecy. The repetitive chant of Caesar’s chorus will likely give it some replay value. Ditto, the familiar chorus of All the Way Up. And with God Save Naija, Prophecy taps into the national mood. Never a bad time to pray for country obviously.
Making a song about the whole city on lockdown doesn’t sound like the most party friendly of ideas but Prophecy manages to make it work with the album closer, Lockdown. Obviously recorded during the worldwide lockdowns necessitated by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Prophecy’s Lockdown acknowledges the unusual situation and retreads scientific advice on how to deal.
Hip hop is alive and well if the sounds coming from 2000NProphecy are anything to go by. Prophecy is nothing if not a student of the game. He’s been around long enough to understand how it works. The arrangement of the record is proof that there is some strategic thinking at play. Hardcore rap is a tough sell these days but Prophecy smoothens the hard edges out with brief verses and production values that will appeal to the kids who get their music straight from streaming sites. It is a trade-off that works well enough.
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.