Ajebutter22 has been around the block. But given the timing of his blow-up on the cusp of the digital media revolution for distribution and promotion of Nigerian music, a lot of people know the singer at the peaks of viral celebrity with caption-worthy singles like “Omo Pastor”, “Senrenre” and “Bad Gang”. However, save, for “Senrenre”, both “Omo Pastor” and “Bad Gang” heavily lean on social commentaries at their core.
Ajebutter22’s story-telling technique infuses humour and some of pop’s accessibility, but he also often seems be intent on standing on the outside of the focus of his subject matter. A great example is “Bad Gang”, a track that may have been contrived as a ride-along anthem by any other rapper, inverted instead, by Ajebutter22 as a pseudo-preaching about navigating the youthful freedom. Perhaps this is why his new track “Rich Friends” off his newly-released What Happens In Lagos album, could have only been made by a rapper like Ajebutter22.
“Rich Friends” is a bass-heavy Remy Baggins production, that bears an almost striking semblance with Drake’s 2015 track, “10 Bands” , except the Ajebutter22’s song is stripped down to basics: pianos and bass drops. But this sparse production is not purposeless, as the space on the arrangement let Ajebutter22 hover across the beat, poking fun at the lifestyle of his more affluent friends, who he says are always spending money without earning money.
Ultimately “Rich Friends” concludes with Ajebutter22 praying against temptation, as if the rant around his wealthy and excessive friends only counts as conversation and nothing more (after all, he did go: chilling with my rich friend is like a vacation). Still, Ajebutter22’s nuanced perspective does not only reflect his cynicism about unexplained wealth, he also explores how some of our social anxieties and insecurities are inherent in comparing ourselves with people with rich oil magnates or corrupt politicians as parents. At some point he says “I just wonder if my parents got it wrong”, but his moral lesson here is even more potent, as he closes the track hinting sinister underlinings to the lifestyle of his “Rich Friends”.
Perhaps Ajebutter22 did find out his parents were not wrong?
Stream “Rich Friends” via Apple Music here.