by Uche Briggs
Only last week, the frenzied Twitter streets were abuzz with the confrontation between Don Jazzy and Wande Coal following the latter’s alleged intellectual property theft. While Don Jazzy’s part in the debacle leaves a lot to be desired, he has responded like any mercurial producer would – orchestrating a smash hit single in the shape of Dr. SID’s Surulere.
Dr. SID is perhaps not the most talented of the lot (pun intended), but his work ethic is undeniable. From his first appearance over ten years ago in ‘Oya’ with Da Trybe over ten years ago, he has managed to re-invent himself switching from a rapper to an ‘afro-pop’ artiste; a feat unattainable by many of his peers. His relevance in today’s music industry is not just a result of Don Jazzy’s influence but also a result of the artiste’s unrelenting drive to push the limits. After a volley of hits such as Chocolate, Lady Don Dada and baby Tornado, dude seems to be saying on Surulere: “You will respect my hustle!”
Off the pop artiste’s second studio album, SIDUCTION, Surulere (Patience is Rewarding) has a flavour that reminds one of Yam and palm oil – with salt, of course. There are songs that grow on you – Surulere is not one of them. From the very first listen, the easy flow laced with the afrobeat production makes for a remarkable tune. And Guess what? The song actually has a message! The Surulere hook, beautifully rendered in Yoruba underscores the power of deity in successful endeavours, laced on a sinfully melodious afrobeat something.
While Jazzy may be reputed for his production, it is his mixing and mastering that leaves one enthralled. Save for the rushed Solar Plexus project, his works are largely created such that the beats and lyrics co-exist in perfect harmony. Surulere reveals such mastery yet again. Like Don Jazzy showed with his magnificent work on label mate D’Prince’s Goody Bag, Surulere reinforces many fans’ belief that Don Jazzy is perhaps the complete producer. In more familiar lingo – he is a ‘One Man MOPOL’.
While many have been concerned about Don Jazzy’s ability to find a connection with an artiste following his break up with D’Banj, Surulere allays those fears. The transition from Don Jazzy to Dr. SID is almost effortless with the two artistes fluidly flowing in their deliveries without glitch.
Surulere is the kind of song to listen to with the windows down, baked by Lagos’ unmerciful sun with the inner conviction that with time, the hand of your Chi will show forth in your life. As experienced by self, it also fits perfectly while one contemplates life’s deep mysteries over the second bottle of Star lager and Nkechi’s assorted Nkwobi. You’re welcome.
The message of the song aptly defines the position of the record label at the moment – pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned. The future of the MAVINS is highly uncertain with the only acts on the label being Dr. SID, D’Prince and the vocal powerhouse Tiwa Savage. However, as long as Don Jazzy remains at the helm of the music production; creating such melodious works as Goody Bag, The Kick, Rotate, Eminado and Surulere, hope yet lives.
Indeed, it’s Don Jazzy Again and Forever.
Uche Briggs writes from Lagos. He is a lover of God, Tiwa Savage and Nigeria. In that order.