Hype Belied: The truth about Davido’s debut album

by Ore Fakorede

“Hype is the awkward and desperate attempt to convince journalists that what you’ve made is worth the misery of having to review it.” – Federico Fellini

Davido had all the time in the world to hype his debut, but I have just this brief opportunity to tell the ugly truth about it. And tell it I will, because “the truth is always more heroic than the hype.” Fact: ‘Omo Baba Olowo’, that misnomer of an album, is a contrived collection of forgettable formulaic tracks. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Clearly, someone (I suspect a certain Asa Asika) has been lying to Davido about his music. Or perhaps the notoriously shallow Nigerian music audience unwittingly invented the deception that is his so-called talent. Either way, the young man must have taken his sudden, almost Illuminati-ish rise to fame to the head, (mis)leading him to release a directionless, decidedly premature product as his debut album. To his credit, if he had recorded this hack job with a loaded and cocked shotgun aimed at his privates, he couldn’t have done much worse. *cue Homeric laughter*

Inspired by the jack-of-all-trades running wild in Nigeria’s unfortunately prolific movie industry (Funke Akindele-Oloyede, I’m looking at you), Davido wears multiple hats – singer, songwriter and (occasional) producer – to disastrous effect on ‘Omo Baba Olowo’. While I can bite my tongue and allow his passable (read: untrained and Auto-Tune compensated) singing voice, er, pass without much comment, it is impossible to voluntarily ignore his particularly terrible songwriting. No one song on the album epitomises that lyrical deficiency better than the delusively catchy ‘Down’, a poster child for the nonsensical formula currently being applied with resounding success across the Nigerian music scene: [vacuous lyrics] x [sexual theme] + [upbeat instrumentals] = surefire hit.

For a person who fancies a hands on approach to just about everything relating to his music career, it is surprising that Davido exclusively produced just one track on album, howbeit one that stands out – ‘Back When’, featuring hardly unimpressive rapper Naeto C. Nonetheless, his influence and sonic preferences resonate throughout the album, characterized by its distinctively pop feel. The consequence? Most of the instrumental arrangements are composed of the same musical elements. Translation: boring. The album comes off as over-synthesized and artificial, helped along by a destructive overdose of Auto-Tune.

Like the now epically failing Mo’ Cheddah before him, Davido is a spawn of the hype machine. So much noise has been made about him, with little thought given to what kind of artiste he is or if he is making real music for that matter. And with only two good singles to his name, the buzz surrounding his career far outsizes the substance that exists, and his potential to create more of that substance. While branding ‘experts’ may argue that Davido represents a phenomenal marketing success, one would want to ask how long you can fool the world for with a Volkswagen Beetle cloaked in a Ferrari skin. *starts stopwatch* Shallow is the word here. Nothing more, probably less.

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Comments (65)

  1. Brutally honest nd I support this review,nigerians hav lost wot tha essence of music is-davido hyped rubbish OBO,no lyrical ingenuity jst pop beats nd autotune shit,prefer to listen to sir victor uwaifo-joromi,ksa or nneka or asa

  2. i'm sorry,.,.i desperately intended to read this article with an open mind, #team-no-one in particular, uknow actually read an honest review,.,but i had to stiffle a whole multitude of cringes.,.,.too painful to read!this is personal vendetta,.,m sorry brah, but it just reeks of unbridled disdain no matter how u tried to disguise it!u thot u found an expedient platform to air ur masked contempt devoid of *side eyes* because of course u wished to give an "honest review" and no one could attack you or question ur intent right??wrong,.,.any one with half a brain would see wat u did here,.,.quench ur unsettled scorn with this young man(watever it is or the cause)

    I usually judge hatin by my general rule of thumb. If someone asks me and I keep it real it’s definitely not hate. When I go on and on about why someone else is some sh*t or why for the life of me i cant fathom why ppl think he is the sh*t(talentwise) it never comes from a non-biased and non-jealous place. some valid points u make about how genereic and densely commercialized mainstream nigerian music has become, i wont discount that, but heck if anyone should be blamed, it should be those before davido for setting the pace for mediocrity,.,.bland and overly repititive lyrics??maybe but kid is only 19, just starting out and was never pretentious as to being a grand lyrist.with a hit like dami duro, a club banger dat both yunginns and old folks jammed to, we all knew kids' forte was deliver fun tunes we could dance to on weekends after them burnt out days of work ,.,i bet most ppl didn't have musical ainstien who would ovehaul the whole game in mind wen he came out.,.,he chose this type of music,.,,it reflects where he is at at this point in his life. young, fun, energetic and full of life.u cant discredit it just because it falls short within ur confines.do better plz in offering constructive crit nxt time!

  3. oh my!!! if this person is a guy …i am kissing u right now…if ure a lady..*nw shaking ur hand*…ure Absolutely RIGHT…i had been saying it that this Davido doesnt have talent…he doesnt even have a good speaking tone..he sounds like therez a frog in his throat when he speaks…he doesnt even have a admirable brand..just look at how he disgraced us on the bba stage…i am totally inlove with this writer..big ups to you on exposing this fake auto tuned artist..please lets promote artists that really have the talent and take the time to build an admirable brand for themselves. thank you

  4. Apparently this post was spot on if it can drive this much response…my deduction would be this:

    1. The angry responses are from Davido fans

    2. The supportive responses are from those who are critical about REAL music content.

    Okay…you can guess where I fall with this comment…lol

  5. Lol! A fan rages! No.1 point is true. No.4 point is not true oh. No be all of us be club bangers. As for the rest, I'm not sure.

  6. I just dropped my comment and I wish I did not, because you are just trying to sell yourself too by bringing others down, controversy sells you know. Keep up your dirty work. Can't even believe you said something about lyrical content and you listen to nigerian music, smh, that boy is only 19yrs old. And he brought out 3 club bangers. Davido musta done something to you.

  7. This is not an album review, if you want an album review go to google and search for shouldyoubumpthis, I think it is http://www.shouldyoubumpthis.wordpress.com the writer here has wrote a whole lot of crap, and it looks like the beef is personal. Because we have so many artist that make thesame kind of music in nigeria. Your beef is fucking red meat. Ode supo

  8. first of all for those of you saying 'not one track was mentioned' i do believe there's a part in this review where a reference was made to 'down' as delusively catchy. As much as i'd like to believe the writer was being objective i find it quite hard cos it does somewhat seem like he took it quite personally, that being said, i understand the message and i quite agree with it, in plain terms and i stand to be corrected, this article simply states that davido is not so much of talent as he is resources and connection, which isn't a lie , sadly he stays relevant undeniably which is as a result of the dying values of our music industry. having said that, to the writer i'd say this… there's a reason horror movies are not shown to kids, all they see is blood and gore, they see no meaning.

  9. I wonder what you have to say about funke akindele!

  10. Well written and articulated, but these days, crap sells more than good music. A lotta artist's release their album without just one Single Hit. I think it is an 'OKAY' album. Just that he could have done better if he had taken more time. And this isn't much of a Review, its just an Opinion and I respect it.

  11. Well said.

    You may downtalk his debut album all you want. If you would, go listen to 2Face's debut album with your inner ear and compare its overall lyrical depth to Davido's. I listen to 2Face now and can say he is an extra-ordinary talent, because he has matured overtime and not fallen off like some of his contemporaries.

    Give the teenager a chill pill. Let's see what he's got to offer years from now. You don't need to trash all that effort he put into pursuing his passion in lieu of craving for a regular 9 – 5. The end justifies the means.

  12. *sigh* like Goodluck Johnathan before him, Davido's 'talent' is as phony as a seven-naira note. Cue: 'na-na-na-na-na neniyo'….balls.

  13. This is the best Album review I've ever read in ages… Too apt!

  14. BTW, I don't see how Davido's father's money should be an issue for anyone, neither do I understand why it's now a crime for a man to care for/invest in his son, with HIS money. It's his son. Who else is he supposed for care for first, with his hard earned money? You don't know the struggles he went through in his own life before making it.

    If Davido grew up poor in a ghetto, he would be hailed, but since he grew up in comfort he is now a 'little boy wasting his time/future'. Oh please. Let's hear. It's his choice to choose his career path. Respect that and let him grow, don't tear him down unnecessarily.

  15. First off, I don't see how this can be called a review, which makes me wonder how it got past the editor.

    Not one song off the album is mentioned in this piece, not one. This isn't constructive criticism at all. This comes across like the opinion of an angry person. A VERY ANGRY, BITTER individual. The writer of this article sounds like he has unresolved issues with Davido as a person, not the music he makes.

    The Mo' Cheddah reference was quite unnecessary, as well as all the big words that are in this trashy piece. This doesn't sound like the write-up of an intelligent person at all.

    Please do better, if you're going to critique in this case insult and degrade something that a group of young folks are working hard at, do it with all the facts, and not just a shallow rant. Thanks & God bless.

  16. Omor just said it all..don't compare pple,nobody walkin onthis earth surface is Perfect!no wen sum1 does an attempt(lik davido)giv a credit,if not for annythin..buh cos he made sumfin out of sumfin(with his fada's moni)..he's done tryin in his own part..if you don't lik it..go attempt sumfin ɑ̤̥̈̊п̥̥̲̣̣̣d̶̲̥̅̊ watch ppl give you credit!!#teamliveyourLife

  17. Smh..jst goin through all dis comment nd discovering that sme pple have serious bad belle!!!Nobody is perfect

    U can't use ur grammar to confuse pple(gone are those days)..Music is sound that iz pleasant to the ear..it musnt be pleasant to u..FYI Mocheddah was goin to schl that's while she was off the scene for a while..nd its the music industry(Industry in the sense that its nt jst about music..its about the money too)..MJ that u sme1 gave credit to died a poor man(bankrupt)..Omo baba lowo(Davido is actually the son of a rich man)that's his real life nd he chose to sing about it or u xpected him to start awt wit songs complainin about societal problems that neva affected him(unlike 2face)..sme1 compared his music to those in the american industry,the americans sing 'Jingles too (pussy,money,weed)nd its sells.. So I dunt undastand why smeone will be bitter about smeoda persons sucess…if u dunt like Davido's music..make ur own nd listen to it!!

  18. I LOVE YOU FOR THIS BLUNT AND NECESSARY POST! THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT NOTICED THE SHALLOW NATURE OF HIS SONGS!!!!!

  19. Ouch…..

    Again too bad Davido can't read, this review is wasted on him.

    Soon these kind of music will be unacceptable…soon

    Maybe 'the monkey' or 'the vjay vjay' would dust off his Babcock certificate and beg his father for more money atink!

  20. Yup Yup!To me, its a case of 'bad,worse,worst' or 'good,better,best' depending on how you would want to rate them. On a more serious note, i personally feel it is not davido's album that needs a review but the entire Nigerian Music Industry.So please,do not turn davido into the fall guy…If u really want to address this issue,start from the root not the branches…If u want to uproot a tree, do u cut off the branches or pull out the roots???

  21. Just can't seem to understand why Nigerians are just so abashed when it comes to criticism. @ Fakorede,you were spot on with your article. All you people praising Davido were the same Mofos that said Olu Maintain was the best thing to happen to 9ja music scene. With just ONE hit to his name,tell me where the f**k is that douchebag now. Well,Davido…… I got a piece for you…… Your music sucks!!! Just like your mentor,Soulja boy,who you obviously swaggerjacked so cleverly, you 10mins of fame is quickly winding up…… 10,9,8,7,6,5……….

  22. I haven't listened to the album but I started getting turned off by Davido's music when he released Ekuro(I'm not just feeling that song-my opinion)….Anyways, I think this review is very blunt (which is how it should be). What we need to do is categorize our musicians. There are the Dareys of this world and the Davidos. As @Toscar Roberts said, I don't see myself listening to Davido's kinda songs @ work. Back When seems to be the only good song from him so far…[email protected], Ore Fakorede of OAU right? Nice one

  23. SO your argument is that he's doing better than them that means he's not as equally bad?

  24. Ummmm, someone shud pls remind d Davido critic dat d artiste is still a kid n just about leaving his teens, how much lyrical prowess did he expect him to've? If d people like his music, den its gud music. Stop d beef!

  25. This review or whatever you may call it reeks of beef abeg! Why all of a sudden is Davido a nonsense artiste?! I'm sure, Mr Ore, that you bump and grind to DamiDuro! Use ur church mind and no lie o! I'm not a fan but I wldnt criticize him destructively like this! And not all songs in any album is a 10/10! Ejor e fi bobo naa le!

  26. the nigerian music industry is dead

    no one sounds different anymore

    same pattern of beats

    same musical concept (girls)

    same flow same everything and its because of people like davido teaching people that you can succeed if you just make a song by repeating one phrase over and over again

  27. The term album review unknown to many illiterate Nigerian music lovers (I refuse to use the word fans as they have not the slightest idea of what a fan should be to his/her demigod personae) is meant to correct and make the artiste a better provider of entertaining musical tunes that can stand the test of time. Many of these our so-called "music lovers" were in diapers when tunes like Thriller by Legendary Michael Joseph Jackson was reigning…put the song today and they'd go crazy with ecstasy. That is a work of art that was objectively reviewed. Mr Ore took the bull by the horns and addressed this abnormality of a character whose career thrives on "over-hyped hype". The use of misnomer is also on course. Let me ask…as an artiste are you supposed to talk about your wealth/background or entertain people? Omo Baba Olowo…your father's wealth..where is yours? Youthful exuberance is a rightful characterization. Sad Reality: A friend came from America and said.."why is our music sounding likes jingles?" Many of our acts are mere conjurers of noise…music is pleasant to the ears. The album has one song..Back When…the so much loved Dami Duro is more of repetitive concoction of noise…not musically inclined. Mr Davido…since you choose music over education, do it well and don't let your father's initial hesistation visit its wrath on you. Radio houses…you guys used to be portals of good musical tunes…please do not be part of the killers of our source of fun and relaxtion. As for club houses…one line of thought: have you ever sat back and watched the drunken displays going on in our clubs? Do you think they are dancing to the songs in their right senses? Can that "Big Boy" popping Champagne in the club play that kind of music in his home or office? Why is it when you visit houses/offices of such people you would be hearing classical jazz tunes oozing from micro speakers..at a reduced volume? And some of you here want to use clubs to justify your sheepish and blind butt-licking anecdotes here! Mr Ore well done…Mr O.B.O give us good music. GBAM!!!

  28. You are a messed up hater,let's see if you can do a tad better than him,and ignorant illiterates believe you are smart because of your cunning arrangement of words and unnecessary verbosity,Davido represents originality,he produces music that people enjoy,which is the objective and in outcome he makes his money,please listen to ekuro and hear his original voice and keep in mind that not every effect used in a studio is auto-tune,get your facts right next time,his money is probably paining you,he's 19 and way richer than you,I feel your pain.

    1. Jinmi you have a very low IQ its not your fault

      if you were ever to become an artist you will be an epic fail if continue with this view of music

      you may last 1 year in the industry making money off your songs that show your level illiteracy.

      i would admit his music sounds nice but he seriously needs to add lyrics to his songs cause his songs are what upcoming artists use as reference they hear davido and believe this what music should sound like and until we are able to eliminate artists like davido nigerian music will be something anybody can do. anybody that has beat and autotune

      money really isnt the matter

      you are advised to delete your foolish comment

    2. true but i believe this is more of beef than a review and you shouldn't be judging if you cant sing or rap yourself if youre soo sick of it why don't you make the difference i believe can and i would make the difference i believe i can change the concept of nigerian music and still add that rhythm that people will enjoy just hope i make it so nigerians can see what music is supposed to sound like…THANK YOU

  29. luv d way u said mochedda was failing…..

  30. Hooray! Music Critic?Its a welcome development for music in the nigerian scene..in newyork,before an album hits the store,its gotta be reviewed by a critic..letting ppl know what 2 expect or if the artiste needs 2 head back to the studios, In as much as I can't play O.B.O at home,I feel like the club aint started yet when his songs haven't been played..Nice one ore fakorede!

  31. Spot on review! But expect the usual suspects to jump on it. The mainstream bloggers & their affiliates etc who are too close to these clowns and can't speak the truth for anything! I see some already here yarning dust! Ass kissing is their life though, they can't deal! Nice one Ore!

  32. wonder y some of y'all only thrive @ destructive criticism.. that album was aii, and ur opinion nonetherless, d dude is made, as for whether he wld stand d test of time… time wl tell, u shld do smn more productive and rewarding with ur time..'bye hater'!

  33. Some people are taking this piece very personal. I reckon it has hit a vital nerve, no? The truth is very hard to bear.

  34. O.B.O – Waste of N200….

  35. Bitter truth.davido makes fyn videos with absolute rubbish songs.don't blame him dou.80% of nigerian artiste do same so many hit songs are mere gibberish.if its not enininini ninenino.its rollon rollon or nananana.its is well with our soul.nigerian artiste kwenu!.lol!

  36. Truest talk. I was even suprised that a radio station while advertising the album credited the song "Carolina" to Davido whilst the song's video and all credits Saucekid. That to me is extreme hype and crap. The people who make good music in 9ja's industry are rare.

  37. Hey @Miss_Jayla… Thanks for drawing our attention to this. Meanwhile I will like to break this to you ma'am, this is called 'CONSTRUCTIVE' criticism not 'HATING'. The truth is bitter but someone's gotta say it like it is. So if you don't agree, kindly STFU very much thank you. Or better yet give us your take on the O.B.O album and please don't hesitate to sugar coat where necessary since you seem to enjoy the 'Celebrity' worship.

    1. LOL! Some of these people are so personally close to these artistes that their heads are so far up their asses. They will always defend rubbish work

  38. There is being brutally honest, and there is beef!

    1. "Omo Baba Olowo" is NOT a misnomer, because Davido IS an Omo baba Olowo.

    2. It also seems Davido is not the only one whose success offended the writer wrt the references to Funke Akindele and Mo' Cheddah.

    3. When someone sang "and on the beat is Davido, and I'm driving all the girls crazy tho, inenenskxnsnxnx…" what lyrical prowess did you expect from him, that you guys are forming disappointed all of a sudden?

    4. "Dami Duro", "back when", "ekuro" we're all club bangers, nobody was lying to Davido about his Music. Blame the consumers instead.

    5. The reference to illuminati, was that really needed?

    If there's something you want to say to the o o baba Olowo, just go ahead and say it instead of hiding behind "album review"!

    1. LOL Thank you, Bumight. I doubt this "music critic" has even listened to the album. Heshe sounds like one of those people that is just mad that you're rich and they're not. The album is no sterling work of art but this article gives "beef" a whole new meaning. LOL, writer, it is well.

    2. Case in point, the above post!

      He is reviewing an album, why does it translate to beef in your narrow mind? Because he isn't kissing ass like all these other bloggers do? SMH!

  39. U either choose to make money or make good music..never the two! Blame d masses..nt d artistes!

  40. How can you call this a review and not mention any song off the album?

    Not possible. There are too many flaws to mention here.

    Biased and very poor review. You should have filed this under opinion.

  41. guy i like u bt u fall my hand big time….. pls go back 2 skul….tnx

  42. Too bad Davido can't or won't read. Otherwise this artricle might just have been his road to salvation.

  43. OGA FREE GRAMMAR JOOR! Have you listened to the songs being released lately by our so called musicians? If you have, then you should give davido some credit because he is doing better than a bunch of them…His music might not be perfect but it is not as bad as you just portrayed it to be.

  44. You know what I love about ur articles? Your use of words and its honesty, not caring whose ox is gored. Good piece….and yeah u jus had to bring mocheddah into it right? Lmao.

  45. Hehehe. Hahaha. Remove 'Davido' and replace with just about 70 per cent of the people putting out songs (I can't bring myself to call them musicians) in Nigeria today. It might be vacuous and empty, but watch him making money. Even many people who value good music will still be jumping up to this rubbish in the clubs and parties. So trust that we will continue to have this kind of music. Mindless senselessness. And oh wait, his voltrons are coming for you.

  46. this is one of well though out written piece.the writer was although objective but brutally honest especially so as i have echoed this same sentiments on a blog just a couple of days ago about his so called album launch.

    mr ore fakorede i applaud you on a very well written article

  47. this is one of well though out written piece.the writer was although objective but brutally honest especially so as i have echoed this same sentiments on a blog just a couple of days ago about his so called album launch.

    mr ore fakorede i applaud you on a very well writted article

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail