“Wo n’ lo miss wa n’ gboro”, Olamide yelps, on the first verse of “Wo”, his latest single following a rare silent stint. After Olamide spent most of last year cashing in wins from the previous year, the Rapper capped it all off with the third installment of his OLIC concert annual concert series. Musically, Olamide released his sixth solo studio album, The Glory, a project that housed a slew of trap and lyrical hip-hop tracks. Though unstated, the album was considered by many critics as part of Olamide efforts to re-write what seems likely to become a jollof rapper legacy. Sadly, as it is with Olamide albums, popular reception waned between indifference and downright ignorance.
Yet, Olamide did not relent in efforts to signal-boost the project with video releases and promotions aimed towards gearing the same fan base who danced “Shakitibobo” to get them to bump heads to introspective cuts like “Letter To Milli” and “Journey Of A Thousand Miles”. Hard to tell if his efforts amounted to much, but Olamide has spent most of 2017 simmering down, barely marking territories with “Love No Go Die” (a flute-based love song) and “Summer Body” (featuring Davido). The mid reaction to these two singles already began to raise question about Olamide’s next moves.
Enter “Wo”, Olamide’s energetic new single produced by YBNL’s in-house producer, Young John “Wo” is instantly discernible as an Olamide song. The first thing that sticks out is melody on a fast paced beat and cheeky bars inherently driven to no central narrative except dancing. Olamide’s last few videos have either portrayed him out of state and overseas (“Journey Of A Thousand Mile”, “Summer Body” or animated (“Love No Go Die”), though he didn’t look too out of place, the abstraction is clear when contrasted with the grime-y street video he debuts for “Wo” .
Over the past few months, the insistence of Afropop artists on floating international brands means increased pressure on all acts in the game to ‘clean up’ their acts. Thanks to the rising profile of SoundCloud’s millennial generation acts, even upcoming acts now pre-package their music with visual and audio aesthetics that indicate a dedication to craft and presentation. Olamide’s place in the game therefore becomes precarious. As a firebrand for a style of easy-to-consume street-hop, a dying genre by many standards— safe for Small Doctor’s auto-tune re-purposing of the same genre— Olamide’s upcoming artistry would no doubt require the much talked about rewiring critics have always demanded from him. “Wo” will no doubt do well in the clubs and perhaps even serve as a refresh from the minimalist sound Tekno, Runtown have popularised since last year, but this is still the same type of empty mindless pop we’re all frustrated with. However, if attention is turned away from a soul-baring album like The Glory, can anyone really blame Olamide from returning to the streets?
Watch “Wo” below: